What is "Paha Sapa" in the Lakota language?
The Black Hills are a small and isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, United States. Black Elk Peak, which rises to 7,244 feet (2,208 m), is the range's highest summit. The name "Black Hills" is a translation of the Lakota "Pahá Sápa". The hills were so-called because of their dark appearance from a distance, as they were covered in trees.
The conflict over control of the region sparked the Great Sioux War, the last major Indian War on the Great Plains. Following the defeat of the Lakota and their Cheyenne and Arapaho allies in 1876, the United States took control of the Black Hills. The Lakota never accepted the validity of the US appropriation. They have continued to try to reclaim the property and filed a suit against the federal government.
On July 23, 1980, in United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Black Hills were illegally taken by the federal government and ordered remuneration of the initial offering price plus interest, nearly $106 million. The Lakota refused the settlement, as they wanted the Black Hills returned to them. The money remains in an interest-bearing account, which, as of 2015, amounts to over $1.2 billion, but the Lakota still refuse to take the money. They believe that accepting the settlement would allow the US government to justify taking ownership of the Black Hills.