Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

June 15, 2011

Wealth over Integrity

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

American history is filled with conflicts between Indians and the United States government.  Perhaps one of the best known battles is the Sioux War of 1877.  Most people, even if they know little of the details, recall Custer’s Last Stand.

There were  many conflicts prior to 1877, of course.   The white man began to push west, and the Indians would oppose this invasion. The U.S. government sought to protect the white man, and  U.S. troops pushed the Indians away from their lands.  Many treaties  emerged between the U.S. government and the various Indian tribes.

Reservations were provided for the Indians.  In the treaties, they were given certain lands and exclusive rule over those territories.  Although the U.S. government would provide for much of their needs, the Indians had the privilege to hunt, farm, and fish the lands.  Many tribes were unhappy with the forced reservation life and often left the reservation and attacked various settlements.  That brought about conflict with U.S. troops.

But to consider the cause of the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877, there are some facts that are not often revealed.  I cannot verify all the details , but there is a certain fact that surfaces to reveal why the Sioux Indians rose up in anger and rebellion.

The Sioux Indians were living on the reservation in the Black Hills.  Prospectors began to roam through this territory looking for gold.  The U.S. government would send troops to evict these prospectors.  Yet, they continued to come.  The prospectors were soon joined by those seeking timber to build the growing towns in the northwest.  The Sioux Indians became upset over this trespassing.  And rightly so!

Sioux leadership met with the U.S. government and ask for an end to the invasion of their lands.  The government offered to buy the land and relocate the Sioux. Evidently the government would buy the land so that the invaders could secure wealth.  The Sioux refused the offer saying it was sacred land and the land of their birth.  The government agreed the land was sacred to the Sioux and  they would respect it.

However, shortly after such a conversation, the government seemingly discontinued to evict the prospectors and others who continued to invade the territory given to the Sioux.  There were small skirmishes between the trespassers and the Sioux.  Then one day there was a shout from the prospectors, “Gold!”  Gold was discovered in the Black Hills — on this sacred land.  Immediately the news of the discovery of gold swept across American and the Black Hills Gold Rush began!  Thousands of miners arrived — settlements emerged — and the respect for the sacred lands was ignored — and abuse of the Sioux became common among the settlers.  And the U.S. government did not interfere. 

The Sioux reacted.  They began to attack these settlements.  U.S. troops arrived to defend the settlers . . . and the Sioux War began! There were many battles — Custer’s Last Stand at Little Big Horn being the most notable!

Why am I giving a history lesson today?  Recently going through the National Archives I came upon a statement that this war began because of the invasion of the land and the abuse of the Sioux.  I thought about that.  Perhaps it needs to be traced back a little further.  We need to ask the question why was the sacred land of the Sioux invaded?

I will give my opinion.  Greed!  Greed!  Greed!  Men trespassed . . . abused . . .  a government ignored treaties . . . broke promises because of the desire for wealth!  I titled this blog Wealth Over Integrity because I believe it defines the motivation of those trespassers and even defines an attitude of the government at that time.

But I am not making judgement or seeking to redefine history.  I am simply asking myself if I would compromise my integrity for wealth.  Would I surrender my integrity for personal gain?  We all need to think on such a question.  I believe  no wealth can ever buy integrity.  Integrity has no price!  And a person has little in this life without integrity!

There are many ways to express integrity, but I define it as holding to strong moral principles.  And adhering to them in all situations!  It is being honest, keeping your word, being steadfast in personal ethics.  I deeply desire that my life can ultimately be defined as one of integrity.  Yet, the only way I can truly be a person of integrity in all circumstances is to allow Jesus Christ to envelop my total being with His power and presence!  He is the source of integrity!

“The integrity of the upright guides them.”  (Proverbs 11:3)  “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and men.”  (Acts 24:16)




  1. Thanks, Lawson! The history buff in me loves this! When teaching world history at FCS, we looked at so much “stuff” done by “Christians” in the name of Christ that had to have broken God’s heart. Though many of the settlers in this territory were “Christians,” it is hard to understand the justification of the actions by both the government and the settlers. Keep the writings coming!

    Comment by fcspatti — June 15, 2011 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  2. What a wonderful lesson from this history lesson. Thank you Pastor Jolly once again for giving us the meat of God’s WORD!

    Comment by Doris — June 15, 2011 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

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