SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio says he would bring tribal and federal leaders together to “determine a path forward” on returning the Black Hills to its historic occupants, the Lakota Sioux tribal nations.

“The history referred to around the Black Hills must be answered it can’t be ignored,” Mr. de Blasio said Tuesday at an American Indian presidential forum here. “And the only way to do that is to have leaders of your community with leaders of the federal government to determine a path forward.”

The New York City mayor referred to his serving as a city government liaison to American Indians under Mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s. He said he did not know the “exact path” to transferring back to the tribes ownership of the Black Hills — a mountainous region in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming.

In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government unlawfully took control of the resource-rich region from the Sioux Indian Nation.

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, lies about 90 miles easy of the Black Hills.

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