Rodney Bordeaux, president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe says that Russell’s group was not authorized to speak on the behalf of the tribe. The announcement to the United States was done by individuals acting on their own. The Sioux tribe is not behind this and does not support this action.
The Rosebud Sioux number 25,000 enrolled members. Of those members 15,000 to 20,000 live on 900,000 acres of trust land.
”That’s all our treaty lands,” Bordeaux said. ”Russell made some good points. All of the treaties have not been lived up to by the federal government, but the treaties are the basis for our relationship with the federal government and also the basis for the trust relationship to our lands. We’re trying to recover the lands that were wrongfully taken from us, so we are going by the treaties. We need to uphold them.
”We do not support what Means and his group are doing and they don’t have any support from any tribal government I know of. They don’t speak for us.”
This is something that Means himself does not deny calling those that do not support his actions “hang around the fort” Indians. Means states that the actual name is “Republic of Lakotah” and that his group went through legal means according to Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution. At this time the republic is operating with a provisional government.
”I maintained from the get-go I do not represent, nor do the free-thinking, free-seeking Lakota want to have anything to do with, the ‘hang around the fort’ Indians, those collaborators with the government who perpetuate our poverty, misery and our sickness – in other words, our genocide. They are part and parcel of that genocide. I couldn’t care less what the bought-and-paid-for, ‘hang around the fort’ Indians represent or what they say. End of conversation,” Means said.
But is this new nation real? Not so much according to the Native groups that could support it. This tribal government was not elected by the people and therefore does not represent the desires of the people. While some may agree and others disagree the key to last month’s declaration is that it was not so much for the entire Lakota people but more for a few select members who deemed it right for themselves.
When asked how the republic’s government was formed Means revealed very little.
”Actually, that’s none of your business. I went around and we, the people who are leading this, we got critical mass – enough freedom-seeking Lakotas – to make it worthwhile for us to seek our freedom.”
There is no question as to the United States not honouring treaties made with the Lakota people. There are no questions that those that reside at Pine Ridge reservation live in third world country conditions. What can be questioned though are the true motives behind the push for a sovereign nation and who would benefit from this. Those who went to Washington D.C. are not those who have been elected by the people who live within the new boundaries.
Could this be a set up for a new version of Wounded Knee?