Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lakota Sioux Secede From US, Declare Independence

In an interesting move, members of Lakota tribes have renounced treaties and are withdrawing from the United States.

“We are now a free country and independent of the United States of America,” “This is all completely legal.”
A Lakota delegation on Monday delivered a statement of “unilateral withdrawal” from the United States to the U.S. State Department in Washington.

The State Department did not respond.

Meanwhile, the delegation has delivered copies of the letter to the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa. “We’re asking for recognition,” Means said, adding that Ireland and East Timor are “very interested” in the declaration.

Other countries will get copies of the same declaration, which Means said also would be delivered to the United Nations and to state and county governments covered by treaties, including treaties signed in 1851 and 1868. “We’re willing to negotiate with any American political entity,” Means said.

The United States could face international pressure if it doesn’t agree to negotiate. “The United State of America is an outlaw nation, we now know. We’ve understood that as a people for 155 years.”

Means also said his group would file liens on property in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming that were illegally homesteaded.

Read more details at the “Lakota Freedom,” website:

Means said anyone could live in the Lakota Nation, tax free, as long as they renounced their U.S. citizenship. The nation would issue drivers licenses and passports, but each community would be independent. “It will be the epitome of individual liberty, with community control,” Means said.

To make his case, Means cited several articles of the U.S. Constitution, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and a recent nonbinding U.N. resolution on the rights of indigenous people.

He thinks there will be international pressure. “If the U.S. violates the law, the whole world will know it,” Means said.

Lakota tribes have long claimed that the U.S. government stole land guaranteed by treaties — especially in western South Dakota. “The Missouri River is ours, and so are the Black Hills,” Means said.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1980 awarded the tribes $122 million as compensation, but the court did not award land. The Lakota have refused the settlement. (As interest accrues, the unclaimed award is approaching $1 billion.)

I don't know what response the US Government will have. The Government is loathe to give up power. Oh! If the tables could be turned, I certainly support the tribes desire to break away from the outlaw nation the US has become.

*** Historic reference: Red Cloud was a war leader of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). One of the most capable Native American opponents the U. S. military ever faced, he led a successful conflict in 1866–1868 known as Red Cloud's War over control of the Powder River Country in northwestern Wyoming and southern Montana.
In June 1865 Red Cloud's Sioux joined a coalition led by Woqini (Roman Nose) of the Cheyenne to attack a military post on the North Platte River. Believing they had taught the bluecoats to respect the treaty, they returned home only to learn in August of further encroachments. The U.S. Army was constructing forts along the Bozeman Trail straight through Lakota territory (modern-day Wyoming), from the South Platte River in Colorado to Montana's gold country. Red Cloud foresaw the eventual expulsion of the Lakota from their land.
In 1866, he began what has come to be known as Red Cloud's War, the most successful war an Indian nation ever waged against the U.S. military. He achieved several victories, resulting in a new Treaty of Fort Laramie by which the U.S. abandoned all forts on the Bozeman Trail and acknowledged Lakota possession of what is now the Western half of South Dakota, including the Black Hills, and much of Montana and Wyoming.

Uneasy relations between the expanding United States and the natives continued. In 1871, Red Cloud visited Washington D.C., and met with Commissioner of Indian Affairs Ely S. Parker and President Ulysses Grant. In 1871, the Red Cloud Agency was established on the Platte River, downstream from Fort Laramie. As outlined in the Treaty of 1868, the agency staff was responsible for issuing rations to the Lakota weekly as well as providing the annual annuity goods. In the fall of 1873, the agency was removed to the upper White River in northwestern Nebraska.

Red Cloud settled at the agency with his band by the fall of 1873. He soon became embroiled in a controversy with the new Indian agent, Dr. John J. Saville.
In 1874, General George Armstrong Custer led a reconnaissance mission into Sioux territory that reported gold in the Black Hills, a sacred area to the Indians. Formally, the Army tried to keep miners out but did not succeed; the threat of violence grew. Red Cloud, along with other leaders, rejected a treaty ceding the territory; he was unsuccessful in finding a peaceful solution, and did not take part in the Lakota war of 1876-1877 lead by T‘ašunka Witko (Crazy Horse) and Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull).
In the fall of 1877, the Red Cloud Agency was removed to the Missouri River and the following year, removed to the forks of the White River where it was renamed the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Red Cloud continued fighting for his people, even after being forced onto the reservation. In 1889 he opposed a treaty to sell more of the Sioux land; his steadfastness and that of Sitting Bull required the government agents to obtain the necessary signatures through subterfuges such as obtaining the signatures of children. He negotiated strongly with Indian agents such as Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, and opposed the Dawes Act.
Red Cloud became an important leader of the Lakota as they transitioned from the freedom of the plains to the confinement of the reservation system. He outlived the other major Sioux leaders of the Indian wars and died in 1909 at the age of 77 on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where he is buried. It is the Lakota of Pine Ridge Reservation, where Red Cloud is buried that are taking this action to Secede, and Declare Independence from the U.S.

Mitaku Oyasin! We are all related!

Anasazi clouds

* Thanks to Common Dreams for running the story


Gary said...


While driving through Montana a few years back, I saw this bumper sticker:



In Canada, many treaties are just now reaching the table and there's a lot changing with First Nation relationships.

Fran said...

I just added a historical reference of Red Cloud. That gives it an even more historically important link to the past.

Nice bumper sticker.... there is another

Indian Parking Only
All others need a Reservation

D.K. Raed said...

This situation will be VERY interesting to follow. I hate to point out the obvious -- that the last time a group of people tried to secede from the U.S., it didn't work out too well for them. However, recognizing the native american's unique position, maybe it is possible.

Nice vid. Many familiar pics. At 4:44, that is the view taken from Navajo Bridge over Marble Canyon which might be considered the very very beginning of the Grand Cyn.

Fran said...

DK~ I was reading through the Lakota web site, the pdf files of the actual documents they turned over to withdraw. It is heartbreaking, the raw deal and short end of the stick these indigenous people have endured. Just reading the current staticstics

In the face of the colonial apartheid conditions imposed on Lakota people, the withdrawal from the U.S. Treaties is necessary. These conditions have been devastating:
Lakota men have a life expectancy of less than 44 years, lowest of any country in the World (excluding AIDS) including Haiti.
Lakota death rate is the highest in the United States.
The Lakota infant mortality rate is 300% more than the U.S. Average.
More than half the Reservation's adults battle addiction and disease.
The Tuberculosis rate on Lakota reservations is approx 800% higher than the U.S national average.
Alcoholism affects 8 in 10 families.
Median income is approximately $2,600 to $3,500 per year.
1/3 of the homes lack basic clean water and sewage while 40% lack electricty.
60% of housing is infected with potentially fatal black molds.
97% of our Lakota people live below the poverty line.
Unemployment rates on our reservations is 85% or higher.
Federal Commodity Food Program provides high sugar foods that kill Native people through diabetes and heart disease.
Teenage suicide rate is 150% higher than the U.S national average for this group.
Our Lakota language is an Endangered Language, on the verge of extinction.

After I read the list, I though of the lyric *when you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose*
The Lakota Sioux tribe has not been financially wealthy, but they are morally and spiritually rich.
Their ability live their lives free, in the lands that were theirs to begin with, but greedily snapped up because of profitable resources by the US guvmnt, has clearly had a devestating effect to the Lakota Sioux Nation.

But the statistics above show the vast neglect and what they themselves call genocide, I can see where they feel they can only benefit from seceeding.

I don't know what will become of it. If they have formally withdrawn & are a soverign nation, then even if the US guvmnt wanted to go to court over archived laws, if the Lakota Nation does not participate in the US guvmnt, then the US court of law is not a binding legal entity in their eyes/country.

This is an historical event!

Dada said...

I pray it is successful and an inspiration for others to follow, e.g., California, Oregon, etc. whose environmental standards are too high for the rest of America (formerly known as the United States thereof).

Fran said...

It is a real wildcard Dada. I hope they have it right & can be their own soverign nation. Certainly looking @ their statistics, I can see why they came to the conclusion they needed to get out from under the regime of the illegal immigrants (gives it a whole different twist). I don't even want to think about potential worst case scenarios, so I won't even bring them up. They have every right to claim genocide, it is just a slow, painful version.
But I have to admire the long thoughtful planning, and the timing was great.... just before xmas break. These folks don't have a lot of money, but they sure have soul. I support them in their effort.

Dada said...

Amen, Fran. And, yes, I don't want to think about possible worse case scenarios. (But I'm sure the Lakota did before they declared their independence.)

Such is the nature of desperate conditions birthing desperate reactions, with very desperate outcomes possible. But victims of genocide have little to lose I suppose.

Fran said...

Dada: Sometimes though, those with pure hearts, and in the Spirit are able to prevail. There is strength & goodness that shines through the darkest of times. Look at Apartheid in Africa, black Africans were severely oppressed & abused in their homeland for 40 years, Mandala imprisoned for decades.... who would have expected his release from prison & to then go on to be president?
I look at the civil rights movement- sheer hell was endured, but people pulled together in a non violent way & turned things around. Not to say there is no more prejudice & segregation, if not in some individuals minds.... but we've come a long way from white only drinking fountains, and gross discrimination. Black students no longer require National Guard escorts to go to elementary (or any ) schools.
Another example is Watada. These people have the light within. They will prevail, they will endure.
I want to think those kinds of positive thoughts, and certainly it will be important to bring it into the International spotlight for Indiginious people.
But the non-native/tribal people of this country can step up as well. The gvmnt would love to have this be a quiet, out of the limelight situation.
We the people need to join them & not allow that to happen.
So for all those who have endured oppression,
who have the spirit, carry on.
May they prevail. May they have the strength to endure. May the light shine through this darkness.

D.K. Raed said...

Fran, I'd been successfully avoided watching "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" that we DVR'd some time ago. But becuase of your post here, I thought it was time to immerse myself in it. I wasn't expecting much of an HBO movie, but was amazed at how well they captured the hopelessness. Like you said, when you ain't got nothin'. I recommend it if you haven't seen it. Sitting Bull & Red Cloud are both portrayed pretty realistically, I thought.

As I was watching the movie, I kept thinking about Bush stumbling over the meaning of sovereignty. I might be crazy (hmmm), but I almost think if the tribes were conveniently located all together, the govt might just go for it. As it is, didn't the state of Vermont recently try something similar?

We spent today on & near a local rez. It's amazing the lack of services encountered as you step through the invisible door.

D.K. Raed said...

ok, I was disrupted by a long ph call in that last comment. Didn't get to proofread. What I meant to convey was we spent xmas eve watching Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Inspired by your post. And then that inspired us to spend xmas day on the rez. As we left, we saw a big yellow billboard with two checkboxes. It said make your choice: beside one box said, "hide your head in the sand". beside the other said, "get some science at". Now, I've never seen this billboard elsewhere, only on the rez. It made me think of all the toxic waste, coal-burning plants, etc, that many reservations have had foisted on them "for employment". well, now I AM rambling .... but certainly living in abject poverty in contaminated areas has to contribute to health problems, crime, hopelessness, etc/etc. I shudder about the tribes who think casinos are a solution! The casino tribes we saw in calif are making a few tribal elders wealthy. Much MUCH better to go the Lakota way, if it is viable.

Fran said...

Having visited several reservations-- you are right- there IS an invisible door, and you get the sense of extreme poverty and neglect by the US gvmnt. right away. These people got the raw deal.
But their own sense of culture, and overall kindness and support of each other is also something to behold. I am going to stay on top of the Lakota move to free themselves of this outlaw nation. They themselves said it best when they use the word "genocide", right here in our own country. People living with statistics worse than Haiti, which is considered one of the most poor & troubled Countries on the planet. Damned shame, it is. But right on for them to declare enoughs' enough.