"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,"says Lakota Native Russell Means, former Libertarian Presidential candidate and now angry secessionist. "It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the U.S. and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," he added during a press conference yesterday in Washington."We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," said Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977.
This is far too much to cover in my little blog, and there is far to much information to cover. Pine Ridge has a long and sordid history.
It is impossible as far as I can tell. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of a large Lakota population will be unable to organize its population.
Although Pine Ridge is the eighth largest reservation in the United States, it is the poorest reservation. It is probably easily comparable to the least developed countries of the Third World. Unemployment on the Reservation hovers around 35% and 61% live below the Federal poverty level. Adolescent suicide is four times the national average. Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewer. Many families use wood stoves to heat their homes. The population on Pine Ridge has among the shortest life expectancies of any group in the Western Hemisphere: approximately 47 years for males and in the low 50s for females. The infant mortality rate is five times the United States national average.
Similar "activism" occurred in the 1970's, and ended in death and controversy.
On June 26, 1975, the reservation was the site of an armed confrontation between AIM activists and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in an event which became known as the Pine Ridge Shootout. This resulted in the death of two FBI agents and one AIM activist. The hunt for the killer(s) of the two FBI agents led to the controversial acquittals of AIM members Bob Robideau and Dino Butler as well as the extradition, trial, and conviction of Leonard Peltier.
On February 24, 1976, Anna Mae Aquash, a Mi'kmaq activist and member of AIM was found shot to death by the side of State Road 73 in the far northeast corner of the Pine Ridge Reservation. The alleged motives for the murder was the mistaken belief that Ms. Aquash was a government informant but that she also knew Leonard Peltier killed the FBI agents in 1975. In 2004, one of Anna's captors was found guilty of murder. Another suspect was recently extradited to the U.S. to also stand trial for the murder.
Russell Means, is probably one of the best known contemporary American Indians.
According to Wikipedia...
Means, an Oglala Sioux, was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation; both of his parents had been educated at Indian boarding schools. In 1942, Means's family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Means attended San Leandro High School, graduating in 1958.
Since the late 1970s, Means has often supported libertarian political causes, putting him at odds with several of the other leaders of AIM. In 1984, Means campaigned for the Republican nomination for vice president on a ticket with Larry Flynt; they lost to the incumbents, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. In 1986 Means traveled to Nicaragua to express his support for Miskito Indians who were allied with the US-funded contra guerillas against the Nicaraguan government. In 1987, Means sought the nomination of the Libertarian Party for president and attracted considerable support within the party, but eventually lost the nomination to Congressman Ron Paul.
Russell Means speaks at a DC Anti-War Network's anti-war protest on November 11, 2001.
Russell Means speaks at a DC Anti-War Network's anti-war protest on November 11, 2001.
In 2001, Means began an independent candidacy for governor of New Mexico, but was kept off the ballot because of procedural problems. Instead, he again ran for president of the Oglala Sioux with the help of Twila Lebeaux, this time narrowly losing to incumbent John Yellow Bird Steele. Means has argued against the use of the term "Native American" and in favor of "American Indian". He argues that this use of the word Indian derives not from a confusion with India but from an Italian expression indios, meaning "in God" or "as God made them". He also states that since treaties and other legal documents say "Indian" on them, and not "Native American", use of the term Indian can help today's Indian people forestall any attempts at loopholes as they engage in legal proceedings to regain their land.
On December 20, 2007, Means announced the withdrawal of a small group of Lakota Sioux from all treaties with the United States government. Means and a delegation of activists declared the Lakota a sovereign nation with property rights over thousands of square miles in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana. The Republic of Lakota website asserts that their group met with what they termed "traditional treaty councils" in eight communities. However, they admit their delegation does not act for elected tribal governments, or as they described them "IRA Indians, 'stay by the fort indians', or other Lakota people unwilling to be free." At a D.C. presentation Means also stated that his group does not "represent collaborators, the Vichy Indians and those tribal governments set up by the United States of America," comparing tribal leaders to the French leaders of Nazi Germany-Occupied France headquartered at Vichy, France. However, on January 1, 2008 other members of the delegation started the Lakota Oyate ("Freedom") group which charges that Means hijacked the group's web site. They disagree with Means' use of the non-Lakota concepts "Republic" and "provisional government," arguing that Lakota Oyate's government is continuous with the traditional government of the Lakota people.
I do not see the Lakota Nation being able to organize at all.
by: David Melmer / Indian Country Today
LINCOLN, Neb. - Legislation in Nebraska has taken a page from the history books and has proposed a no alcohol buffer zone around reservations that prohibits alcohol sales.
Two bills, introduced by Sen. Dan Preister may not solve the alcohol problems that have been fought for years on the Pine Ridge Reservation, but may bring about some public awareness of the problem.
Preister said he was not hopeful that either of the bills would get out of the General Affairs committee this session, but he was more pleased that debate and media attention to the bills brought the problem before the legislature.
"We attempt to educate through public hearings and the media. There are 11,000 cans of beer sold daily in White Clay, mostly to people from the Pine Ridge Reservation. We need to educate people to the severity of the problem," Preister said.
The proposed legislation is directed at White Clay, a village of 17 people and four establishments that sell alcohol two miles south of the Pine Ridge Reservation.
He said law enforcement is not shutting the establishments down for illegal behavior, nor stopping the consumption of alcohol in public, which is prohibited by Nebraska law.
Without the introduction of the bills, Preister said, the media would not have paid attention to the problem. Without the public hearings, the voice of American Indians and others who oppose the sale of alcohol would not have been heard.
The gist of the bills is to create a buffer zone of five miles around any reservation that prohibits alcohol sales and consumption within the reservations exterior boundaries. No licenses could be sold, but existing licenses would be grandfathered in. The first bill was introduced in 2003 and the second bill followed in 2004. The second bill adds the element of no license renewal.
The problem of alcohol sales two miles from the Pine Ridge Reservation has existed for many years, but in 2000, the deaths of two American Indians prompted an all-out effort to shut White Clay down.
The murders of Ron Hard Heart and Wilson Black Elk Jr. have never been solved. The two brutally-beaten bodies were found near the South Dakota border between White Clay and Pine Ridge. The deaths were blamed on alcohol purchased and consumed at White Clay.
White Clay is nothing more than four stores that sell alcohol, an estimated four million cans of beer annually. Patrons cannot consume the beer on the premises of any business, or on the street in public view. The consumer cannot take the alcohol on to the reservation either.
Even though consumption of the alcohol is illegal many empty beer cans litter the roadside between White Clay and Pine Ridge.