Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lakota Secession? Or Not?

This article from the December 21, 2007 Rapid City [South Dakota] Journal at first sounds quite momentous--like the Lakota Nation has taken an official action:
Political activist Russell Means, a founder of the American Indian Movement, says he and other 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," Means said in a telephone interview. "This is all completely legal."

Means said 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. "That'll take some time," Means said.

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, Means said. "The United State of America is an outlaw nation, we now know. We've understood that as a people for 155 years."
The more I read the article, however, the more apparent it became that Means' declaration, and this delivery of notification by a "Lakota delegation," is really a publicity stunt by a small number of Indian activists who have no official status with the Lakota Nation.

There's a lot of really ugly history involving the federal government, state governments, and a number of Indian tribes. It isn't quite as consistently ugly as some leftists would like to believe, but there's plenty of history that shouldn't make you proud to be an American. Still, Indian tribes have been doing better in getting restoration of their rights through the federal courts than they ever did as independent nations.

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