A provocative, complex reexamination of the trail of broken promises marking historical relations between the US and the once- mighty Sioux nation, and the book debut of attorney/historian Lazarus, whose father met with substantial success after representing tribal interests in the federal judiciary for 20-odd years. Succinctly condensing the record of generally violent contact between whites and the Sioux tribes through the 19th century, including the signing of two major treaties in 1868 and 1877, Lazarus's narrative faces its real test in his subsequent treatment of the intricate legal maneuvering that began in the 1920's, as Sioux laments over the loss of their sacred Black Hills became a protracted struggle for rights by law. Through the tireless efforts of Ralph Case--portrayed here as a sympathetic, folksy attorney with romanticized ideas of the judicial process and a drinking problem--a flurry of claims was filed against the federal government on behalf of the Sioux; all were either dismissed or were still pending appeal after decades of litigation. New representation was sought as faith in Case declined in the 1950's, when Arthur Lazarus--a prot‚g‚ of Felix Cohen, New Dealer and specialist in Native American law--and his associates were engaged. The ins and outs of 50 years of legal wrangling are the real focus here, with the discussion surprisingly lucid and readable given the technicalities involved. A valuable, well-informed contribution to the legal view of Native American history, despite necessary doubts about the author's impartiality, as when the relationship between his father and the Sioux went sour. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
This comprehensive view of a 57-year legal battle puts the tragic plight of the Sioux Indians into focus with unusually sharp clarity. The Sioux's successful attempt to gain compensation for the U.S. government's 1877 takeover of their sacred Black Hills, in what is now South Dakota, led to a mostly hollow victory. The unprecedented $106 million awarded to the Sioux in a 1980 Supreme Court decision remains untapped by a destitute people, as tribal leaders pursue restoration of the land itself. Lazarus, the lawyer-son of one of the winning Sioux attorneys, Arthur Lazarus Jr., blames the "false hope" of the Sioux as he meticulously details the broken treaties and the lawsuit's serpentine path. Villains are charged, none more harshly than longtime Sioux attorney Ralph Case. The author, however, is guilty of seeking a lofty place in history for his much-assailed father. Still, while a tedious read, the book is an important addition to Native American history. $50,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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