December 20, 2007

Means declares independence

Lakota group pushes for new nationA group of "freedom-loving" Lakota activists announced a plan Wednesday for their people to withdraw from treaties their forefathers signed with the U.S. government.

Headed by leaders of the American Indian Movement, including activist, actor and Porcupine resident Russell Means, the group dropped in on the State Department and the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa this week seeking recognition for their effort to form a free and independent Lakota nation. The group plans to visit more embassies in the coming months.

The new nation is needed because Indians have been "dismissed" by the United States and are tired of living under a colonial apartheid system, Means said during a news conference held at Plymouth Congregational Church in northeast Washington. He was accompanied by a bodyguard and three other Lakota activists--Gary Rowland, Duane Martin and Phyllis Young, all of South Dakota.

"I want to emphasize, we do not represent the collaborators, the Vichy Indians and those tribal governments set up by the United States of America to ensure our poverty, to ensure the theft of our land and resources," Means said, comparing elected tribal governments to Nazi collaborators in France during World War II.
How it might work:Members of the new nation would not pay any taxes, and leaders would be informally chosen by community elders, Means said. Non-Indians could continue to live in the new nation's territory, which would consist of the western parts of North and South Dakota and Nebraska and eastern parts of Wyoming and Montana. The new government would issue its own passports and drivers licenses, Means said.

"Our withdrawal (from the treaties) is fully thought out," Means said, referring to peace treaties the Lakota people signed with the government in 1851 and 1868. "We were mandated by our elders in 1974 to do two things. First, to establish relationships with the international community... and the second mandate, of course, was to reestablish our independence."
Some comments from readers:Posted by: smerp Posted: 12/20/07 1:27 pm

Russel Means never grew up on the reservation nor does he live there.

Posted by: Elvis with a Bra on Head Posted: 12/20/07 2:43 pm

It does smack of grandstanding.

Posted by: dustyj Posted: 12/20/07 3:32 pm

What is up with these self-appointed leaders? I am amazed people are even paying attention to this. Do we have a trained army and police force prepared to oust squatters??

Posted by: WhateverSD Posted: 12/20/07 4:10 pm

Russell Means and thugs like him are the reason that nobody wants to do business on the reservations now. You get rid of him and get a real government with stable business laws and businesses with move to the reservation.
Rob's comment:  Does this have anything to do with Russell Means's inability to get elected chairman of the Oglala Sioux Tribe? I wonder why he ran for office if he thinks tribal leaders are Vichy-style "collaborators."

So this withdrawal is "fully thought out," eh? Did the activists fully think out that they're not the elected representatives of any Lakota nation? That even if they were, they'd have no power to abrogate treaties unless the US Congress granted them that power? Which it hasn't done and won't do?

This is a cute political stunt, but Means and company are delusional if they think it has a chance of happening. As in the TRIBAL FORCE comic book, the US will declare war on a tribe that declares independence before it lets the tribe go. Means better have a few Native superheroes up his sleeve or his scheme is bound to fail.

For more of the activist's views, see Russell Means Speaks.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Please note that in the supposed abrogation of treaties between the Sioux and the United States, thus 'ending' US intervention on Sioux lands, that US laws were used to indemnify the abrogation. One simply cannot have it both ways. Either you deny ALL the laws or you use all the laws, and treaties are law. That rather is like Daffy Duck's answer when Bugs Bunny asked, "Shall Elmer Fudd shoot you now, or shoot you later?" As was included in the dialog of his ANASAZI THE SCREENPLAY anent Native militant protest groups, writerfella long has approved of their aims, but not their Means...
All Best
Russ Bates

Bendigenous said...

Russ Means personifies everything that went wrong with the American Indian Movement. His publicity stunts are lame. He spent twenty years trying to become a famous Hollywood Indian, failed... and now he cares about what happens in our communities? I'm no expert, but if I wanted support for making change in Indian Country I would start with my own people. Besides, what can Bolivia do to help American Indians? They can't even keep NAFTA from raping their agricultural landscape... That's like trying to solicit help from a blind monkey in a wheelchair. Russ Means is more than a joke, he's a threat to our collective sanity. I pray the mainstream media doesn't crucify Native America for this one.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
As was posted here earlier by another blogger, it unfortunately already has begun. That's how AIM and its 'movers and shakers' always have worked: they create a controversy, then move on to drink beer from the money they made, and leave the people who live there to endure AIM's consequences...
All Best
Russ Bates

Anonymous said...

Russell Means is brave and most of all a free man. Americans are too brainwashed to understand this.