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.
"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."
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.
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.