Category Archives: abioriginal

Was The Declaration For A Lakota A Bloodless Takeover?

Who is behind the current push for Lakota sovereignty? When Russell Means and a group of activists announced a Lakota withdrawal they were not representing the Lakota nor other Sioux tribes in the area according to those leaders.

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?


The Man That Will Lead A New Nation, Russell Means

To take the reins of the Lakota people and pull them out of poverty is a worthy cause but is Russell Means the man to do this? Means has lived a hard life including harming his family. What are the chances that he won’t do this to the rest of his people?

Freedom is for everyone, whatever lifestyle they
choose, as long as it’s peaceful and honest.
—Russell Means

“I’m Russell Means,” he said. “I’m a convict.”

Russell Means is an actor. He is also a proud Lakota member. Born November 10, 1939 on the Pine Ridge reservation he is the man that is behind the movement for his people to be a sovereign nation.

Means is the first national director of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and has been an active member for the past 27 years. In 1973 he helped lead the takeover of Wounded Knee. He also resigned from this group at least six times. He has been in conflict with other chapters of AIM for many years. In 2004 he ran for president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe but was defeated by Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first woman to be elected to that position.

On his personal web page he solicits money for the Russell Means Philanthropy and AIM Club Membership in name of the American Indian Movement.

He has appeared in films including “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Natural Born Killers”. He has penned an autobiography “Where White Men Fear To Tread.”

For some time now he has stated that he and his current wife Pearl are building a “Treaty Total Immersion School” on the Pine Ridge reservation. The hope of this is to instill children with pride of their Lakota heritage. As far back as the late 1990’s he has talked on this matter. The school still does not exist.

Means was arrested in Chine Dec. 29, 1997 for battery against Leon Grant, his father-in-law. That act in itself shows that he doesn’t always respect the laws of his own people, one of the most important beliefs is that of respect for elders. He plead not guilty to those charges. He fought the court for years on this one case because Grant is Navajo and he is Lakota. Means fought the Navajo Nation’s jurisdiction since 1997 on this matter. The “Duro fix” (the power of tribes to exercise criminal jurisdiction within their reservations over all Indians, including non-members) was applied to this case.

He has stood trial a total of twelve times. In 1975 he was accused of the murder of Martin Montileaux. He was acquitted on that charge. He served a year in 1979 on charges that resulted from a riot that took place at a courtroom in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Means has been married four times. He blames substance abuse for wrecking three of those marriages. His wives were the ones that supported the family by holding down jobs.

In 2003 South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow pardoned Means for the felony conviction for riot to obstruct justice.

“The Means pardon deals with a felony conviction for riot to obstruct justice. The law was repealed by the Legislature in the late ’70s, but with no retroactive provision for those convicted, Means said. He recalls the incident in the Sioux Falls courtroom.”

“I refused to stand up for Judge Joe Bottum. There is no crime for not standing up for a judge, but it is a polite show of respect. So he sent in the riot police to deal with us, and we (Means’ supporters – W.) beat up the riot police,” Means said. “I did my time, one year, three days, 22 hours in the Sioux Falls penitentiary.”

We agree with Walter that while Means might have committed other transgressions in his younger days, “The charge for which he was actually imprisoned is bogus. Federal and local authorities pulled out all the stops to try to convict Means of something, anything, but that was the only charge that stuck.”

The bottom line has to be is this the man that the Lakota Nation should put on the front line? Is this even something that the people of the Lakota want? Means talks a great game but looking at his actions it does cause at least for me to pause and question what is behind the call for sovereignty now. Is it truly for the people of the Lakota Nation or is it a way to insure Means stays in the public eye?


Map of the Lakota Nation Revealed

Declaring freedom is a powerful responsibility. Can the Lakotah provide for it’s people without making their desperate conditions even harsher? Will the release of their map cause problems with the United States government? What is Lakotah’s next step?

“The free Lakota nation is regaining the original natural territory of its unceeded land,” said Lakota Freedom Delegate Canupa Gluha Mani (Duane Martin Sr.). “The white man promised that as long as the grass grows and the rivers flow this land will always be yours[the Lakota]. This promise still lives within the heart of the Lakota Nation.”

The Lakota Freedom Delegation does not speak for the Lakota people. They do not act for those who have been “colonized” not wanting the freedom the Delegation is proposing.

The first mandate for the Lakota Nation was the Declaration of Indigenous Rights in September of 2007. The second mandate is the returning to the original status they once had as a free and Independent Nations. That process began with the notification the the Department of State of the United States of America that they were withdrawing from all Treaties and Agreements that had previously been entered into between the US and the Lakota.

PREAMBLE
The United States of America has continually violated the independent Native Peoples of this continent by Executive action, Legislative fiat and Judicial decision. By
its actions, the U.S. has denied all Native people their International Treaty rights, Treaty lands and basic human rights of freedom and sovereignty. This same U.S. Government,
which fought to throw off the yoke of oppression and gain its own independence, has now reversed its role and become the oppressor of sovereign Native people.

Might does not make right. Sovereign people of varying cultures have the absolute right to live in harmony with Mother Earth so long as they do not infringe upon this same right of other peoples. The denial of this right to any sovereign people, such as the Native American Indian Nations, must be challenged by truth and action. World concern must focus on all colonial governments to the end that sovereign people everywhere shall live as they choose; in peace with dignity and freedom.

The International Indian Treaty Conference hereby adopts this Declaration of Continuing Independence of the Sovereign Native American Indian Nations. In the course of these human events, we call upon the people of the world to support this struggle for our sovereign rights and our treaty rights. We pledge our assistance to all other sovereign people who seek their own independence.

Lakota Oyate have just released a map of national boundaries which will they believe will change five states in the United States. They released the map in order for the US government to begin the process of planning governmental initiatives without the massive land that the Lakota Nation has taken back.

Now the Lakota people start the process of reclaiming what they had lost for decades. They are recovering their natural land base without interference or help from the United States government. They claim that at the forefront is protecting sacred sites and confrontation with exploitative government and private enterprises that have damaged by removing or polluting Lakota lands. As they work through that simple common things will have to be taken care of also. Passports, drivers licenses and dealing with those who are not Lakota who reside on their land. There is a call for the members of the new Nation not to pay taxes.

They do have the backing of several countries including Bolivia.

Bolivian Ambassador Gustavo Guzman, who attended the press conference out of solidarity, said he takes the Lakotas’ declaration of independence seriously.

“We are here because the demands of indigenous people of America are our demands,” Guzman said. “We have sent all the documents they presented to the embassy to our ministry of foreign affairs in Bolivia and they’ll analyze everything.”

As the tribal leaders make these grand announcements do they have the backing of their people? Are these leaders, many of whom have police and prison records according to a private source qualified to “take back” what time has stolen from the Lakota people? Those in the lead of this process have faced allegations in the past of being corrupt and taking from the very people that they serve. How will they deal with their own past as they work to rebuild their once proud nation?

Will the change of who is in “charge” improve the crime levels in this land? Will rapes remain uninvestigated? Will the women’s shelter that takes care of those abused by their mates be maintained in a better fashion? Will cut phone lines be fixed quickly unlike now where months can pass? Or will it remain as the shelter’s director stated, “This is a lawless land where people are making up their own laws because there’s no justice being done.”

Those answers will be in the next installment.

Canupa Gluha Mani added, “The He Sapa will never be for sale, its just returning to its natural owners, the Lakota Independent Nation.”


op-ed: Lakota Nation Withdraws From United States

On December 19, 2007 the Lakota Sioux people declared sovereign nation status in Washington D.C. after the withdrawal from all signed treaties with the United States government.

“Today is a historic day and our forefathers speak through us. Our Forefathers made the treaties in good faith with the sacred Canupa and with the knowledge of the Great Spirit,” shared Garry Rowland from Wounded Knee. “They never honored the treaties, that’s the reason we are here today.”

The withdrawal of all treaties was hand delivered to Daniel Turner, Deputy Director of Public Liaison of the State Department. The full document is here.

A four member Lakota delegation, activist and actor Russell Means, Women of All Red Nations (WARN) founder Phyllis Young, Oglala Lakota Strong Heart Society leader Duane Martin Sr., and Garry Rowland, Leader Chief Big Foot Riders traveled to Washington D.C. to claim their people’s destiny.

“In order to stop the continuous taking of our resources – people, land, water and children- we have no choice but to claim our own destiny,” said Phyllis Young, a former Indigenous representative to the United Nations and representative from Standing Rock.
Property ownership in the five state area of Lakota now takes center stage. Parts of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana have been illegally homesteaded for years despite knowledge of Lakota as predecessor sovereign [historic owner]. Lakota representatives say if the United States does not enter into immediate diplomatic negotiations, liens will be filed on real estate transactions in the five state region, clouding title over literally thousands of square miles of land and property.

Young added, “The actions of Lakota are not intended to embarrass the United States but to simply save the lives of our people”.

After the withdrawal from the State Department the Lakota representatives began the process of meeting with foreign embassy officials to hasten their official return to the Family of Nations. Bolivia and Venezuela both have had positive reactions.

The Lakota people live in the most impoverished area of North America. There has been a legacy of broken treaty promises and apartheid policies between the tribe and the United States. Lakota has the highest death rate in the United States and its male population has the lowest life expectancy of any nation on this globe at the young age of 44. Teen suicide rates are 150% higher than the United States average. 3% of the Lakota nation live above the national poverty line and only 15% are gainfully employed.

“After 150 years of colonial enforcement, when you back people into a corner there is only one alternative,” emphasized Duane Martin Sr. “The only alternative is to bring freedom into its existence by taking it back to the love of freedom, to our lifeway.”

Now the Lakota people are taking stock of their priorities; education, energy and justice. By using solar, wind, geothermal and sugar beets to provide electricity and heat they hope to become energy independent. There are plans to mesh cultural immersion education to protect their language, culture and sovereignty.

One very telling difference is the address of a story, Wounded Knee, Lakotah (formerly South Dakota) that change is in the air. 44 riders began a ride under the weight of United States treaties at Standing Rock on December 15 287 miles from Wounded Knee. They completed the ride 13 days later a new sovereign nation.

“The purpose is to ride the spirit trail of Chief Big Foot,” said Tegihya Kte also known as Garry Rowland, leader of the riders and recent delegate of the Lakotah Freedom effort in Washington D.C.. “The Tree of Life died in Wounded Knee in 1890, and the ride was begun to mend the Sacred Hoop.”

Is it to late though for the Lakota people? Have the decades that they have been opposed be undone? Will they be able to stand on their own two feet without aid? Are their tribal leaders to immersed in corruption to lift all of their people up? Will the mighty reign over those that have lost hope for the future?

Only time will tell.