January 10, 2008

Republic Of Lakota Withdraws Treaties Signed With U.S.

Recently, a friend brought this to my attention, along with some interesting, and thought provoking questions, and I quote: "Wouldn't it be interesting if they declared their independance, (they have essentially done just that!)? Would the US squash it? Would they send troops? This could be very interesting...would it incite other Native Americans to follow suit?"

While reading this, I immediately thought of Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, who now owns more than 2 million acres and 16 ranches in seven states – Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Oklahoma!

Lakota Indians Withdraw Treaties Signed With U.S. 150 Years Ago
Thursday, December 20, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,'' long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means said.

A delegation of Lakota leaders has delivered a message to the State Department, and said they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the U.S., some of them more than 150 years old.

The group also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and would continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months.

Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free - provided residents renounce their U.S. citizenship, Mr Means said.

The treaties signed with the U.S. were merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists said.

Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said.

"This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution,'' which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said.

"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent,'' said Means.

The Lakota relaunched their journey to freedom in 1974, when they drafted a declaration of continuing independence — an overt play on the title of the United States' Declaration of Independence from England.

Thirty-three years have elapsed since then because "it takes critical mass to combat colonialism and we wanted to make sure that all our ducks were in a row,'' Means said.

One duck moved into place in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples — despite opposition from the United States.

Here's the actual notice which was posted on the Lakota Republic's website:

Republic of Lakotah

P.O. Box 99Porcupine, SD 57772
JAN 1, 2008
Notice to All Foreign Governments and Private Owners of Real Estate within the Republic of Lakotah

The United States of America;
The States of: Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska;
The County and Municipal Governments Operating within the Republic of Lakotah; and All Private Owners of Real Estate within the Republic of Lakotah
Lakotah, through its government, have appointed representatives to withdraw from all the treaties with the United States of America.
Lakotah, through such representatives, have formally withdrawn from all agreements and treaties with the United States of America. The reinstitution of our freedom and independence is found in law.
Lakotah has reclaimed sovereignty as a nation and over its traditional lands.
Despite many years of repeated bad faith on the part of the United States government towards the Lakotah People, the Lakotah hold no animosity toward the American people, most of whom have had no part in the actions of their government. We wish to deal with the American people in good faith and in a win-win manner.
While we have the right to impose liens on all of the real estate in our country, we prefer to come to resolutions with you all with out resorting to such measures. Accordingly, at this time, we are only declaring liens on real estate held by governments foreign to the Republic of Lakotah, but not on real estate held by private parties.
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties substantiate this freedom.

Lakotah welcomes the opportunity to meet and discuss this matter. We are in the process of scheduling meetings and will issue public invitations. Should you desire input with regard to scheduling these meetings, please contact us at the above.

Russell Means, Chief FacilitatorProvisional Government
Republic of Lakotah

Well, okay--I guess Ted Turner doesn't have too much to worry about, then. But then again, I don't think that Mr. Turner worries all that much about anything. Unless it would be about having to renounce his citizenship? Hmm..now that is thought provoking.


rockync said...

I have sort waited for this for many years. It was something that would pop in my head at odd moments. I once had a boyfriend who was mostly American Indian; not Lakotah but Eastern Band Cherokee. He didn't care about any of this but he had a cousin who was all fired up about Indian rights. He once told me, "We will take back our land one day. There is a movement, right now and one day it will happen."
Somehow, I always believed him and I've watched Russell over the years and whenever something like this happens, I remember and wonder if the cousin is involved. I hope so; I hope he kept that fervor.I keep threatening to move to another country, maybe I can do that without leaving the mainland. Now, that is thought provoking!

Jan said...

rocknyc..now that IS thought provoking! :)

On a more serious note, there has been a lot of talk of that in the past few years, but I think that many people are not aware of it.

I hadn't heard anything recently, but I know a few years ago, I heard mention of it, but didn't take it too seriously.

I think mostly what the talk about then, was being able to establish a certain per centage of Indian blood, in order to claim rights.

The Frank Family said...

It seems like we should allow them to have this land. After all, that is exactly what the US is asking Israel to do. What's the difference? I sure am going to miss Custer State Park. :)

rockync said...

Jan, the blood percentage has always been at the crux of all Indian issues. Since the tribes were so dessimated, there are few who can claim full blood status. And when you get down to 1/32 and 1/64 what are we really talking about? I think for Indian issues to be taken seriously, there needs to be a better cut off point. I think once we get down to "well, I think my great great great uncle was part _____" there is a disservice being done to the Indian Nation. That being said, I don't think the American people in general are very aware of how many Indians there are or that many with high percentage blood live on reservations, mostly in appalling conditions.
I think Russell Means, although he has a knack for attracting attention, may in the long run hurt the AIM in it's long quest for justice and reparations.
While some tribes have won the right to own and govern their own lands, ie the tribes with casinos, there are many nations who suffer illness, poverty and illiteracy right in our own back yard.
I know you did a post on Geronimo that got a few comments about his cruelty, but I have to tell you, if someone invaded my land and killed my family, I don't know as I'd be any more merciful.
Sorry this is turning into a rant rather than a comment, but having hung out with some of these guys during the early days of the Movement, I was given a unique insight into their cause and, as usual, I just can't stop myself from throwing in my two cents. :)

Jan said...

frank family...I certainly see your point, and it is hard to say what will happen in either case.

No matter what happens, someone will lose, one way or another.

Jan said...

rocync..it's okay, I understand what you're saying.

Concerning the per centage of blood, I think that it has to be a lot more than the figures that you mentioned...at least, from what I remember about it.

My late brother had quite a few friends and acquaintances living on the reservation, and he told me what it was, but it was a long time ago, and now I've forgotten what it has to be to qualify.

rockync said...

I do believe you are correct that the percentage has to be significant, but that doesn't stop some grifters from trying to cash in. As soon as these cons sniff money, they come out of the woodwork. Funny how they aren't around when it comes to living in shacks with no electricity on wasteland. What they do is make a circus out of a serious situation, drawing attention away from what should be the real issues. I know that you have some Indian blood through your grandmother so I think you might know what I'm talking about, especially since your brother knew many indigenous people.

Jan said...

"As soon as these cons sniff money, they come out of the woodwork"

rockync..that is something that has been going on since the beginning of time, I'm sure.

There will always be those with the desire to get something for nothing.

Who knows how it will all come out?

Reading what you have had to say about it, I can tell that you are genuinely concerned.

sheoflittlebrain said...

I know little to nothing about this issue, but I've been very happy to see our local Tribe, the Yavapai, benifit from their casinos and Real Estate holdings.
I have a friend who grumbles because they don't pay income tax. Not me, more power to them I say.

This is an interesting post and I've learned a lot from it and from the comments.

I've been wondering what Ted Turner has had in mind by purchasing all that land in that area...I don't think he or his wife would have a problem renouncing their citizenship.

Jan said...

She..now, there's a thought!

If you are speaking of his ex-wife, I think there are a few who would like that to happen, as long as it meant going somewhere other than the whole U.S. of A.! :)

Yankee Doodle said...

What I find interesting is the precedent being set in the Balkans.

Both the Clinton Administration and now the Bush Administration have been supporting separatists in Kosovo, which has belonged to Serbia for centuries, but is now ethnically mostly Albanian and Muslim.

President Bush is pushing hard for independence for Kosovo from Serbia, frankly in violation of international law, and the administration is claiming no precedent is being set -- but, of course, one is, and that precedent will reach to Russia and China, as well as to India, Pakistan and Iran with their ethnic minorities, but it will also reach to certain parts of the United States, as well. Areas predominantly inhabited by people of Mexican descent, whether US citizens or not, come to mind, but here in your post we see another way in which the precedent might be interpreted.

Interesting post.

Jan said...

Yankee Doodle..it will certainly be interesting to see what the consequences will be...exactly how it will be interpreted.

Thank you for your thought provoking take on it..your comments are much appreciated.

Thanks for dropping by!

rockync said...

This is the best of blogging; when an otherwise obscure event is brought to the forefront to be pondered and discussed. I had not heard of this until you posted it and I'll bet other readers hadn't either. The media can't wait to show us Brittany without her underwear, but, God forbid they should report on we might actually WANT to know about.

Jan said...

rockync..thank you, and I couldn't agree more with what you are saying about the asinine reporting of every detail of these so-called celebrities' lives.

I think that we need to start getting our priorities in order..our country is in big trouble in so many ways.

k said...

jan, I'm surprised I missed this one. I can tell I've been too tied up when I haven't surfed the AP Breaking News site in weeks and weeks.

The current wrangling over the multi-billion dollar misplaced Indian Trust etc. funds is something I've been watching for...I guess years, now. It has a feeling about it of something that will never be over, never decided.

This is fascinating. What happens in the next year or two will be as well.

Jan said...

k..I missed it too, but a friend alerted me to it. I must say that I was rather surprised.

It will be interesting to watch.

LaDonna said...

It is somewhat disheartening to read such a blog and all the accompanying comments, all of which suggesting a total lack of awareness of the fact that the story is about another crazy stunt perpetrated by an AIM huckster who is well-known for his fondness for such moves, Russell Means. Two comments:

1. In response to Russell Means, the Lakota traditional elders have done two things. One, they published a commentary signed by Charmaine White Face, spokesperson for the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council , which reads in part: "There is a provision within the treaty of 1868 which our ancestors had included. Article 12 says that the Treaty of 1868 could not be changed except by 3/4 of the Lakota adult male vote. This was done expressly to protect the people, the land, and our way of life.... Russell Means is only one man and has not received the 3/4 adult male approval. However, his efforts remind the world that we still have an international treaty with the USA. "

Secondly, Lakota traditional elders from eight reservations (all fires of the Lakota nation) gathered on Jan 28-30 in Pine ridge to consider and render a judgment on this action. Let's see what their deliberations will have been and what their pronouncement is.

2. In order to comprehend the true historic place of AIM and their devastating presence in Pine Ridge, the destruction they have wrought among the Oglala people, and the real nature of their actions, I recommend the recently published (2007) book of well documented 650 pages by Joseph Trimbach, "The American Indian Mafia" which corrects a lot of the myths that have grown around that movement. Superb reading. The American Indian Movement is seeing its last days, and its aging founders, Russell Means included, are slowly being confronted with the consequences of their past actions.

The beginning of truth that emerged recently in the murder investigation of Anna Mae Aquash, for instance, with the testimonies of Lakota women who lived the dramatic period of its heyday alongside the AIM leaders, may have opened doors to some legal redress in the near future.

Jan said...

LaDonna..thank you for your comments.

I'm sure that you realize that many of us have no real idea about what is going on in the Indian community, and since there is hardly any media coverage, it is difficult for us to learn of these things.

The book that you mentioned sounds like it would be informative, but I am wondering if you have a blog, or know of a reputable blog which covers what is actually happening in the Indian community?

Any information would be much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

LaDonna, what Russel Means did this time - just as he's done with other acts in the past - truly is interesting.

That doesn't mean we all just thoughtlessly agree with what he's done, or that we're ignorant of his controversial status. Indians of many different nations have expressed distrust and dislike for him and for AIM, and for good reason. IMO.

Several years ago, I read one commentary that said that many AIM members are far less Indian-blooded than other res Indians. There was speculation about what influence that had on the actions of AIM - and the influence on what appeared to be a much higher level of anger and unsettled emotions among their members. I don't recall who wrote that, or where, but I think they were Navaho.

Jan, there are Indian newspapers that might be of interest to you. I read them, off and on, especially when I'm out driving around the country. Personally, I find the reporting much more objective than MSM usually is. (And I do include companies like Fox in *MSM.*)

From what I've read, the percentage of Indian blood is set by tribes - whether sometimes or always, I don't know. I had a friend in Lousiana who was 1/16 Cherokee, and signed up with an Oklahoma tribe.

Since the casinos took root, a disgusting number of BIA types, working for the Federal government, have suddenly decided they are Indians too. They've gotten themselves listed and now reap significant financial benefits. They do this while they continue to maintain their BIA jobs, sometimes in clearly adversarial positions. Under the circumstances, this is obviously a conflict of interest. But no one in the Federal government - or the MSM - seems particularly interested in it.

Anonymous said...

Here are three popular Indian newspapers I've read in the past.




Here are sites showing lists of various Indian newspapers and/or websites.





k said...

erk! Sorry! Both posts above were me not anon. Why does it say *anon* when the sign-in screen says *k*? I don't have the faintest idea.