Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of History
This thesis will examine how the United States Congress abdicated their plenary power over Indian affairs in the Black Hills claim that culminated in United States v. Sioux Nation. In Sioux Nation, the Supreme Court admitted to governmental misconduct in taking the Black Hills. Nevertheless, the Court awarded a monetary settlement instead of returning the land-based on sovereign treaty rights as the Lakota desired. The Court’s ruling codified Congress's plenary power to perform such actions. However, the Supreme Court was upholding a verdict from the Court of Claims, which was upholding a ruling from the Indian Claims Commission (ICC). Congress created both the Court of Claims and the ICC. Congress effectively abdicated their plenary power over Indian affairs when they made these judicial organs and only empowered them to grant financial restitution for losses. This thesis will prove that Sioux Nation should have taken place in the halls of Congress rather than the slow machinations of the judicial system where a justice of more than a financial outcome could have been achieved. Congressional abdication of plenary power has elongated the struggle, poverty, and historical trauma of the Lakota people brought on by the illegal abrogation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.
Greer, Mark, "United States V. Sioux Nation: Congressional Abdication of Plenary Power and Lakota Resistance" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 1545.