Lakota Indians unilaterally withdraw from treaties with US, declare independent & sovereign country

(Note: please also have a look at my follow-up post “Lakota ‘withdrawal’ raises the question of standing, authority” and chime in if you have pertinent info.)

This is a very interesting development and it will test our nation’s laws, our values, and assumptions made about us. The Lakota Indians have announced that they have unilaterally withdrawn from all treaties with the United States, have renounced any US citizenship, and have formed a sovereign country within an area that covers part of 5 US States: Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free – provided residents renounce their U.S. citizenship, Mr Means said.

The treaties signed with the U.S. were merely “worthless words on worthless paper,” the Lakota freedom activists said.

Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said.

“This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution,” which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said.

Well, now, hold on there a minute, Skippy. You’re paraphrasing Article VI just a wee bit too shortened. Let’s have a look at the whole thing, shall we?

Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

(Emphasis mine.) Please note that the Constitution lists both itself and the laws made “in Pursuance thereof” in the same sentence and, I might add, it lists them first. Without the Constitution, the treaties aren’t accorded the position of being part of the “supreme Law of the Land”, so the implication that treaties are somehow to be considered above all else is incorrect.

I would like to say, however, that I do not argue against the point that people are within their rights to be free and, should they choose, independent of the United States. I do not recognize their rights to be independent of the United States inside the borders of the United States. Nor do I absolve them of the consequences of such a declaration, as our founding fathers were not immune to the consequences of the Declaration of Independence. I would also point out that there are ways that this unilateral withdrawal from treaties with us can turn out that aren’t near so romantically positive as some might think.

The issues with having a foreign country as an overlay onto US soil are far more involved than simply issuing passports and printing up new letterhead. While I realize that the Tribes have their own police force and that tribal laws apply within the boundaries of the existing reservations, this situation goes far beyond that. For starters, the Lakota are rescinding the very treaties that set those reservations up to begin with. Since those treaties are now dissolved, there is no legal basis for the tribal justice system to claim jurisdiction over a given area. Now what? If the Lakota decide to enact some kind of law that is in direct violation of the US Constitution – let’s say they decide to dispense with their law enforcement’s need for a search warrant – what law prevails when a US citizen gets stopped by a Lakota police officer? What happens when that US Citizen makes a run for it? Are they on US soil or Lakota? And what ultimate authority makes that call? The US Supreme Court no longer has jurisdiction over Lakota police without those treaties.

And what about the offer to US Citizens to switch to Lakota nationality? If they’re living on what is now US soil, do the Lakota believe their switch will annex the property? Do those people who accept have to move? What about people who are living in the area claimed who choose not to switch citizenship? Do the Lakota suggest that those people have to move out?

And where, exactly, are the Lakota drawing their map lines, anyway? According to the BIA map of Indian Reservations, there is no reservation that stretches between the states listed in the Lakota’s announcement. And if they’re simply declaring that the 5-state area in question is to be turned over to them, what are they suggesting they’re going to do with the people currently living in those states under US citizenship and what are they implying if we say we’re not turning that land over?

Something else to bear in mind – those treaties have also kept the US from bringing military action against the tribes.

I am interested to see how this will play out but the advocates of the “noble savage” rendition of history should understand that the US isn’t going to gather up all Americans of European descent and cram them into the area of the original 13 colonies. Anyone holding that hope out needs to get grip.

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61 thoughts on “Lakota Indians unilaterally withdraw from treaties with US, declare independent & sovereign country

  1. Who’s going to pay for the hospitals, public transportation, various infrastructure, etc. without the aid of the US? If they are to be autonomous like they are dreaming (and they are dreaming) without the financial backup of the US, their “economy” will collapse, the life expectancy will drop, suicides will increase, and of course, rampant unemployment, etc. Remember when the Indians tried to take over Alcatraz Island in the early ’70’s claiming it was “Indian land?” They lasted a year and a half nearly starving on a very small island. How do these guys think they will manage thousands of square miles? Good luck.

  2. What about people who are living in the area claimed who choose not to switch citizenship? Do the Lakota suggest that those people have to move out?

    I don’t know, were the people of Palestine required to move?

  3. Actually our laws and values were tested in 1861 when Southern States seceded from the Union. The result was a revelation that the US was no different from the Britain we revolted against in not wanting to allow a people to freely chose their political destiny. The values of the Colonial Revolution were dead in the North. After loss and occupation the people of South have themselves now largely rejected the principals of the Colonial Revolution and Southern Independence.

  4. Well this is quite a pickle that the Lakotas have gotten themselves into. However if the federal govt. has not lived up to the treaties that were laid down in the 1800’s then there needs to be consequences. As a southerner first and foremost I can tell you that breaking away from the union will not work and surely will not be tolerated by the federal government. However if this stunt gets the government to realize the plight of the indigenous peoples of the United States then I say “good on ya and good luck”. Just be smart about it and dont push to hard beacuse the feds are notorious for snapping back and doing it real hard. Maybe the Lakota nation can do the gaming thing and take there own plight or fate into there own hands instead of blaming the federal govt. Nothing worse than a cry baby. If you can declare your autonomy then use that gaming revenue for the betterment of your people and there lot in life. Or is there lot the result of an inept tribal leadership who talk too much and get nothing done or better yet, is it a people who are looking for yet another handout and an easy alternative too pulling your self up from your own bootstraps? Either way the Lakota have a hard road too hoe and angst will get you no where!

  5. While I am not completely sure of my own stance on this issue yet…let me address a few things in the first post.

    To begin, it was mentioned that it was the treaties withdrawn from that set up the borders for those reservations. Let us not forget that it was also those treaties that gave nearly all the land in America to the United States…if you are unclear about that, I encourage you to check it out for yourself…Helen Hunt Jackson wrote a fascinating book about it in the 19th century.

    It was also mentioned that it would be unrealistic to expect all americans to return to an area the size of the original colonies. While this is common sensical, let us not also forget that we were all expected to move to an area the size of Oklahoma…which based on treaties was to have been governed by Native Americans perpetually.

    I don’t expect annexation to be a viable alternative, for any tribe. However there is a great deal of resentment in Indian country based on the sheer number of treaties that the United States broke with so many indigenous nations.

    If you will allow me to be a “cry baby” for a moment. My g-g-grandfather lived in the home of his father, a wealthy landowner in NE Alabama in 1837. One day in 1838, they were removed with only what they could wear, held in cattle stockades for months before being forced to march to what is now Oklahoma…watching their family members die along the way. The Euro-Americans who moved in took over the home, took the possessions, the land, the livestock, and everything that was not being worn by my family and kept it for themselves from that day on.

    It may have passed as acceptable to break treaties and swindle land away from the Natives for a while…but if anyone really thought that these issues wouldn’t re-surface at some point…then in my opinion…they need to get a grip.

  6. Hey, guys – it’s just the beginning. As all multinational Empires Uncle Sam will have to face fall and defragmentation. This is just the first echos….

  7. The elite’s government FEARS you!!!!!!

    Their fear is manifested in the laws they pass. Here is a law banning what MANY of the Founders wrote is a RIGHT of citizens when a government no longer represents them:

    Section 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government

    Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or
    teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of
    overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or
    the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession
    thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by
    force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any
    such government; or
    Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any
    such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates,
    sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed
    matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity,
    desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any
    government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts
    to do so; or
    Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society,
    group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the
    overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or
    violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any
    such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes
    thereof –
    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
    twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by
    the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five
    years next following his conviction.
    If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in
    this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
    not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for
    employment by the United States or any department or agency
    thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
    As used in this section, the terms ”organizes” and
    ”organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of
    persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new
    units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes,
    and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.

    The federal government is allowing MILLIONS of illegals to invade our country. Corporate America is becoming increasingly more powerful and influential. Yet, according to the government of for and by the elites YOU, a citizen, have to accept whatever the government does with NO recourse other than voting…… and there is sufficient proof that shows to me voting is worthless since the entrenched power structure ensures that the emplaced elite class can not be removed.

    Several Founders specifically wrote of the people’s right to abolish a government when it no longer represents them.

    We are forced to live under an elite’s TYRANNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Just a thought, what if we did not sign the treaties and just wiped out the remaining natives through war? What if we did not offer a peace? It seems to me that the US could have just said no we wont allow you land we will just take over the rest of your land and you can either stay or leave or die defending it. Seems to me that the US was pretty generous in allow the Natives to stay. What other country in the history of the world allowed their conquered lands and people to vote, run for office, pay for there education, subsidize there health care and infrastructure, allow them to voice there opinions or even entertain the idea of autonomy. Seems to me that only in the United States would such generosity exist and the Lakota people will learn not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

  9. The previous post begs the assumption that natives could not have fought, were militarily defeated, and should be thankful for not being exterminated. This is an extremely naive version of history. History clearly shows that there were few instances where the U.S. government attacked armed Native Americans…to a positive result.

    The native americans (predominantly) did not fight the United States as an organized group (though there were some who tried) because we had faith in the diplomatic resolution to our differences. It has been the repeated failure of the U.S. government to fulfill its treaty obligations that has been so disconcerting to native americans.

    In closing, the U.S. didn’t “allow” the natives to do anything…it was the treaties themselves that ceased hostilities, (that the U.S. government did not want to continue either because of the exacting toll that they were taking) based on an agreement between the natives and the government. The natives gave up land and home in exchange for a cease in fighting and annuities…few of which were ever paid. If there was a gift given, it was the gift of free land, given by agreement, for which the U.S. still owes a substantial sum of money.

  10. These are a handful of cranks who don’t even have the support of the local Souix.
    Russel Means is also a hypocrite. In 1997 he beat up his Navajo wife and her one-armed WWII veteran father. He was arrested and charged under Navajo law. He escaped the reservation and then sued in U.S. Federal court alleging that Navajo Nation lacked the sovereign authority to charge him. So, apparently he only believes in Indian sovereignty when it is convenient to him.
    This whole group is just trying to relive the 1960’s glory years and pissed that has passed them by. Meanwhile, Indian nations in the U.S. have successfully sued the BIA for mishandling their funds, created the worlds biggest Casino (Pequots), bought the Hard Rock Cafe (Seminole) and become a decent sized defense contractor (Cherokee – yes, us Matt).
    At the same time Indian comprise one of the biggest immigrant groups in the U.S. It’s unnoticed because most are called Mexican, but their Aztec faces belay that.

  11. I’m just interested in seeing all these people fight the “tyranny” of the American government within its borders over the next several decades citing historical reasons… simply because they can.

    History is history–It should be a beacon to forward progress, not an anthem for unintelligent change.

    My point is things are going great right now across the board, and will only get better. If you question me, let’s visit this blog post again in 50 years and see who was right–I’ll admit defeat then. Although I sympathize with the Lakota people, and all Native peoples for that matter, because I myself am an African-American, if this action because a template for future seperatists movements from others who feel smitten by the American government at some point, they are failing to see that it’s probably best to simply continue the status quo.

  12. It’s the Feds who have to void the treaties and sit down and come up with something that everyone is satisfied with. If Bush thinks he can nation-build over in Iraq, this should be a snap by comparison. I have no respect for a government that continues the premise that the Americans have control over their reservations, yet refuses to let them alone to live on them. Either they are going to honor the treaties as they are written, or they aren’t. They need to decide which it’s going to be. Until then, this problem will always be in our faces.

  13. TJ… you state that no other country in history has allowed a conquered people to vote, become citizens etc. I hate to say it but you are wrong. The Roman empire when conquored a people would leave a small force in place and turn over the majority of control to the people themselves. So feared was the Roman army that the people would not dare to revolt. But once under Romes protection the people were treated very well. Another group that treated their conquered very well were the Muslems in the middle ages, they did not force coversions of christians or jews in their newly aquired lands (mostly in the holy lands) of course then the crusaids came through the christians sloughtered and raped and pillaged and forced the conversion of anyone they came into contact with.
    Now the point is that the US govt was nasty and deceitful when dealing with the Native people of america. Andrew Jackson is on record as saying that the US should completely iradicate the Natives to take their land. There was a planned decimation of the Buffallo herds as it was the main source of food for the plains indians. once the Lakota were settled into North and South Dakota gold was found in the Black Hills and thus the white man come in and took more of the land that had been given to them in “treaties”. The US has broken more treaties with Native Americans than they have kept. Hopefully this attempt to create a country within the US does not result in another Wounded Knee (you remember were all the women, children and old were killed by the US Arny while the Men were off hunting)

  14. Re: “they are failing to see that it’s probably best to simply continue the status quo.”

    I disagree. the staus quo is leading us down the garden path. We are depleting the earth’s soil of nutrients and poisening water, earth and soil with all of our “progress”. 90% of the ocean’s large fish (like tuna) are gone. More toxic uranium mining to supply nuclear energy is not really a good solution to the global warming issue. Scientists are predicting that a sudden, cataclysmic “event” is feasable in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, for thousands of years the Indigenous people of the Americas lived within a sustainable culture. Let them go back to it, if they can.
    I know it’s a complex issue with no easy solutions, but I think the Lakota are within their rights.
    On another track,
    I read that the Lakota plan to place liens on the properties in question. I am interested in seeing how the situation progresses.
    (more on this issue below)

    http://www.freewebs.com/bands4bands/index.htm

  15. You are now witnessing the last stand of the native american. Their last fight will be a footnote in history. The U.S. government cannot allow them to succeed. it will give to many other states ideas.

  16. RTyler7071, a nation can only be destroyed once it has destroyed itself. As long as there are living native americans the lakota nation and the dream of freedom will be alive. The only nation I see in it’s last stand is the USA. Every grand nation in the world has collapsed after a while. I think the USA is coming close to it’s end.

  17. The whole west coast should also secede from this failed union. We the people do not need a Washington DC, we do not need a failed federal government. All states should secede from this union. This is a bankrupt country. This is the start of the next revolution.

    Go Pacifica.

    Go Lakota Nation. Do it and do it good.

  18. i support the lakota nation for self determenation,they have that right .other countries can give them assistance in starting off .from ireland

  19. The Romans, English, Spain, USSR and others have tried this World domination thing and it didn’t work.

    Israel set a precedent, when the Palestinians were forced from their homes when Israel was founded and given back to the Jews. Ironically it was an act of Israeli terrorism that forced the British to capitulate..

    America took over portions of Mexico and all of Hawaii and the peoples there had to conform. And many in Hawaii and Mexico want their lands returned as well.

    Why is it so unthinkable that the Native American’s land is restored to them?

    Military force and deception does not make theft legal or right. The indian culture does not recognize land ownership the same way as white society does. To the whites, this lack of borders and fences meant it was wide open for everyone, but it wasn’t. If the whites had taken time to study the Indian way, they may actually have appreciated it and adopted some of it, but no, in their arrogance they assumed it was theirs and their way was right. It was only firepower and numbers that overwhelmed the Native Americans.

    I don’t think it is realistic that the current residents are displaced, but the Tribes don’t want that either. Their motto is “We are All Brothers”, and I assume that includes all of us regardless of race or creed. They are tired of what happened to them for just cause, now they are using white man’s law against them, and why not?. If it was the other way around the US would have no difficulty murdering thousands to achieve an end. They have in the past, and they will do so in the future.

    In any case, the future is only determined by God, and the ultimate fate of these that dare defy Washington and millions of antagonists is only know to God.

    I give the Natives credit for their stance, they display the courage and faith of their ancestors.

  20. Russell Means has done more to hurt the cause of native americans fighting to recover their land than any other person….white, red, or otherwise. He is not the second coming of Crazy Horse. The Sioux should accept the money they won in court in 1980 and use that to put their young people through law school to fight the whites at their own game. The IndiAN nations can only win in a court of law…..not trying to force their tribal law on the United States.

  21. This is very interesting. Surely it can’t happen…

    They don’t sound very keen on the US, one might even say they appear hostile – “anyone who gives up US citizenship” etc. Plus with tax exemption, subsistance farming etc it will surely not be an economic powerhouse. What if they plan a Cuba right in the middle of the US. With Russia slowly reconsidering Communism and their Cold War ways this could spell disaster. What a great army base they could build there….

    Just my imagination running riot….

  22. If the lakota don’t give in then it will ultimately get down to fighting. For a long time now there have been no wars fought on USA soil. This might spiral out of control.

  23. If they manage it, how will it be? What will be the capitol, what will the laws be, who will be the leader?

  24. What about all of the hardworking people that live in the intended “Lakota Nation”? We’d have to either move or succeed with them. What’s their big problem with a check every month from uncle sam, tax free living and anything they want from the Government. Also, why didn’t the U.S. break the treaties earlier? This is 2007, everyone should have a job, make a living, and do something with their life.

  25. I’m hungarian and I know that nothing can replace total freedom. Stuff like the broken treaties, conquering etc… will be always stay in the hearts and souls of the people. Look up the “trianon peace” from 1920. Even 80 years later many people in the country want to undo the “disgraceful” treaty. The antant didn’t keep a single promise they made to us.

  26. Full Disclaimer – Part Native American from my Mother’s family

    In trying to explain to my children the greater situation I would like to present a current day example and why we should not be shocked.

    One day you wake up and someone is in your front yard. You attempt to inform them that they can’t be there, however, they stay. You are then branded as a trouble maker, and those who want your house destroy everthing that is of value. Of course you would fight back. They then march into your house, with loaded weapons, kill half your family and subject you to abuse that makes Rodney King look like a day in the park. You are then thrown out of your house without any possesions and kicked into the street. You can’t stay in the street with your remaining family so you are forced to leave the only area that you ever knew. Realizing that there is a problem, you’re given a small piece of land – worthless compared to your house, your livelyhood and your possessions. You reestablish your self, with 1/8th to 1/4 of your family (if you’re lucky) and try to live. The same individuals who stole your house the first time now come and say that you really don’t need everthing that we “gave” you and proceed to take 1/2 to 3/4 of what you now have.

    Just remember, the United States used germ warfare and genocide to deal with those who were living in the continental North America. Where Hitler failed, the US was completed the objective. All you need to do is try to find a decendant of one of the 100’s of Native Nations that no longer exist.

    With the context of the aforementioned. It’s curious why people are questioning the Lakota Boundries – do a little research, their nation was at a minimum in those areas. The US has acknowledged that there are independent nations within the US.

    Regarding the people who are currently living within the boundries, they should be thankful – I don’t think that the Lakota will be as blood thirsty as the US government. Check out what happened at Wounded Knee. The group had already surrendered 2 days before – they were forced to camp in a valley bowl so they could easily be shot – we would call that genocide today.

    Don’t forget that there is the law suit in Vermont to take over the entire state – they treaty was signed and there are trespassers in the Native Nation. I don’t believe that courts threw it out and it’s still going on.

    One last thought – we were in SD this fall and asked someone at a popular tourist destination for directions. He suggested that we don’t go through the reservation because “they’re a bunch of drunks who will be walking in the road or passed out on the road. Why would you want to see that .” As long as that type of mentallity still exists the Native Nations should assert their rights and if non Natives are displaces so be it.

  27. All this uneducated whining is giving me a headache. Anyone recall the wildfires in California a few months back? Do any of you who say that the US is “Holier than thou” know that there was absolutely no assistance provided by the US for the wildfires that travaged the reservations out there? Even though it would have been a stratigic advange for fighting the wild fires as they approached the reservations instead of waiting for the fires to reach “US territory” again.

    Indians of all tribes have been treated like shit and lied to since settlers first arrived to the “New World.” And I fully agree that the Lakota are within their “legal” bounds to withdrawl. Being, as Chief Red Cloud stated, “They made us many promises, and they kept but one…they promised to take our land, and they did.”

    Native Americans are not relient on the “economy” in the typical sense. American greed has control of you if you think that the who world is based on the dollar. Mother nature provides us and everyone else with the means of survival. Take what is needed, and only what is needed. Greed is what forces society to colapse (research Rome, and take a look at America’s greed). I fully support the Lakota and any other tribe that follows suit. For I too will live free or die. America is taking a turn for the worse, and if it’s governement doesn’t wake up and return to what the Constitution has laid out for them to follow, America will fall, or there will be a masive revolution. History has proven this fact, and since the situations are repeating themselves once more, the revolution to bring the gov’t down or change it to the liberty based gov’t we were founded on will not be far behind (only this generation is seemingly more willing to roll over and take the tyrany, but the day will come if events don’t drastically change.)

  28. Also, it was stated in the withdrawl. People are welcome to join the Lakota Nation and live tax free is they renounce their US Citizenship. So if they want to remain in the Lakota Naiton, and still remain US citizens, they will have to pay taxes. It’s that simple.

  29. “(the problem with) having a foreign country as an overlay onto US soil”

    thats the thing, it isn’t US soil…..

    J

  30. Do your research, and you will realize that the United States government set aside reservations/reserves for Native Americans after they GAVE their land to the government through the establishment of treaties. Essentially, that land DOES belong to the United States Government. The reservations belong to the Native Americans, who have the right to do basically whatever they want, including being exempt from all state taxes and codes.

    HOWEVER, through casino funds, wills, deeds, sponsors, etc., many tribes have been able to buy back land. Reservations, while in financially dire states, can be improved. Do you think that forming your own “nation” will solve anything? Who is going to invest there? Is Microsoft or GM or Toyota going to suddenly decide to open tons of factories or offices there?

    There are many ways Native Americans can gain back what they have lost. Lobbying in Congress has gotten better over the years and the Supreme Court has generally been favorable to the tribes. Also, there has been quite a few Senators/Reps in Congress who are Native Americans.

    You cannot be a separate country within the United States; as was previously stated, all countries prior to the 20th century were made through conquering others. Just because we enslaved African Americans for centuries didn’t mean we couldn’t man up and free them because that was the right thing to do. Sure, the government can do a better job when it comes to providing for Native Americans, but that doesn’t mean we all hate them. We can change our ways, buy the past is the past and this is the 21st century. We are better than that.

    Some have referred to the possible creation of a Kosovonian state outside of Bosnia, blah blah blah. Some have questioned why Native Americans can’t do that. 1 reason: are Americans killing Native Americans left and right or prosecuting under the law to the fullest extent for whatever they do? That answer is no. Our country has realized that we were wrong in the old days and so now champion human rights (to some poor extent). Our country is made up of ALL cultures. No one is pure American but everyone is an American no matter what. Native Americans are part of that culture. This country exists because every race has found some harmony (except those who insist on hating one another). Let’s keep it together as the melting pot it once was.

  31. Just a thought…do some more research.

    We did not “give” our land to the U.S. through treaties we sold it, and some of us (Cherokees) through a treaty that the U.S. knowingly entered into with a group of people that held no office in our nation. The U.S. then ratified that treaty, knowing full well that the manner in which they did entered into it would have been no different than going to France, Germany, or England and pulling some people off of the street to sign a treaty.

    In spite of the invalid treaties that sold our land, we were never given the complete, agreed upon price.

    To some others on this post who seem to be of the belief that we all receive a check from the government and can “get anything we want.” This is perhaps the most uneducated position on Native Americans present today. Many of our tribes receive money from the government, though not enough to make up for what was promised when we sold our lands. However, we do not receive a “check” from the government, and we do not have access to some set of outstanding benefits…unless you consider the Indian Healthcare System a benefit (it was horrendous until about a decade ago when great improvements began to be made).

    When I served in the Army (as our race disproportionately does), we had a term for those who seemed to ‘know’ everything, yet were always wrong in the hearsay they passed on…we called them ‘barracks lawyers.”

    Be careful…most of the general knowledge out there about Natives today is a misconception. Don’t think that because you heard someone say complain about something once that it is true. Do your own research…learn about the treaties and how they were ratified and executed, learn about how we attempted to deal with the U.S. in good faith and were treated in return…history has documented it well…and then make an informed opinion…

    …or leave it alone.

  32. I got my info from encarta (if anyone wants to know). i wasn’t aware that the US bought its land from the native americans.

    what i’m beginning to get from all these posts is that the main issue here is about the money. if the US would just give you’ll the money per the treaties, etc. would you’ll just be content and drop these issues?

  33. As per Ric James statements regarding the constitution specifically Art VI
    He claims that treaties are not accorded law of the land status but that is because he misunderstood the constitution the statement about the laws “which shall be made in pursuence there of” is talking about applying the constitution and future laws and so forth the word “and” after it, is meant to include treaties as the lsupreme law of the land also

  34. To be able to successfully defend state sovereignty you need to have clearly defined borders, as well as armed forces which are at least a match for those that you are up against. You also need to have the support of the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the state (regardless of ethnicity). It appears far from clear if this particular this state project has such a level of support.

  35. All of this conversation is pointless. The US Govt. will never allow the Lakota to break away from the US. We will humor the Lakota and allow there complaints to be heard and if it gets to the point of secession we will just take the land back by force. If the Indians spent there time and money getting educated, improving health care and building an economic base instead of constantly complaining about what they dont have then they would be better off. People die and risk jail to come to this country every day and the Indians are trying to leave. Doesn’t make sense to me why anyone would want to leave this country.

  36. T. J said “If the Indians spent there time and money getting educated, improving health care and building an economic base…then they would be better off.”
    T.J. you are the one who needs to get educated. As for “building an economic base” the Lakota already had an “economic base” before Europeans came to the continentent. And the Lakota had a sustainable way of life, while the the American way of life is unsustainable.
    You say it doesn’t make sense to you why anyone would want to leave the USA: Yes the US has a high standard of living but the price of that lifestyle has deadly consequences for the future of life on this planet. You think more industrial development is what the world needs and the Lakota should just do the same thing Americans do– when it is industrial development that is undermining all life on this planet. Indigenous people’s culture does not pollute the air and soil and water with toxic metals. It was not Indigenous culture that unleashed acid rain and global warming and it was not indigenous culture that devastated the fishing industry. It doesn’t make sense to me for the US to expand their unsustainable way of life at the expense of sustainable culture.

  37. “Hokahay! Brave hearts, strong hearts to the front! Weak hearts and cowards to the rear! It is a good day to die!” Crazy Horse, TaSunke Witko.

    These words by my great hero he cried out at Little Bighorn when he led the charge up the deep ravine and thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe warriors defeated the arrogant Custer, who killed himself at the end like the stupid coward he was.

    He also said, “We don’t want your ‘civilization.'” Sitting Bull, Tatanka Iyotake, another great hero there that day, said many other wise things like, “Now that we are poor, we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights.” He never signed a treaty.

    Now my friend Garry Rowland is following In the Spirit of Crazy Horse along with Means and the others in doing what Americans have always been so proud of their “founding fathers” for supposedly doing: declaring themselves free and sovereign. American mythology has built this ideal of liberty up, and yet they never did mean it to apply to anyone but rich, white males, and so people who have not been educated or who fail to understand that they are not the only ones here still do not respect those who were here first.

    They are like the rapist who breaks into a woman’s home, moves in, beats her, takes everything she has, and then when she finally breaks free and says, I am a woman and have the right to choose for myself and I would rather die on my own, he says,
    “You ungrateful child! I gave you a nice house, money, food, and only beat you a couple times a week last year, now where are you going to go and how are you going to live without me?”

    That is what the US government is to native people, and all the casinos and quotes from your law books and refusing to acknowledge that we are the rightful inhabitants of this soil and our bodies and destinies will never change it.

    That is why I made my t shirt: HOMELAND SECURITY FIGHTING TERRORISM SINCE 1492 with Geronimo and Apaches on it, that has become famous, because people around the world and we have a perspective of truth in the midst of the hypocrisy of the colonialist imperialism which is the reality of what you call the US. The Lakota and all of us were freer nations or tribes or individuals than any of you have ever known, before the US was here and after the US is gone we will still be here. How will we ever get along if we stand for the right to reclaim what is ours against 500 years of being told we are lucky that the ones who slaughtered us were christian or they would have killed us all? How wil the earth get along without man’s destruction? Much better than we do now. People who think their ways, religion, government, culture is superior to all others and dismiss the rights and legitimacy of this action by this group are the reason the US keeps taking over other countries for profit like Iraq using weapons of mass deception. You have no clue of the reality of indigenous people.

    The Lakota are surely some of the most miserable people I have ever seen in general and yet are remarkable in spirit also. They cannot move forward until they are free, no one can. A “foreign” country within the US? The corporation of the US is a foreign country within 500 which illegally occupies this land in violation of international treaties, the same as it is doing in the middle east. Those of you who think in the European domination-control-might makes right our god’s better than your god way are continuing to infect this land with that disease of thought like the smallpox wiped our ancestors out It is the not the way humanity wishes to live anymore. We wish to be free of you so let my people go.
    Colleen-Lloyd
    http://www.westwindworld.com
    westwindworld.com

  38. This is in response to Matt – Cherokee Citizen, on December 20th, 2007 at 12:37.

    I agree with you . The past wrongs the US government did towards the people who were here before European migration are not forgiven nor forgotten. It is a natural law; what goes around comes around, for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, etc.

    I believe there is a biblical warning here also; the sins of the father are visited down upon future generations (paraphrased).

    The U S government has many sins against it’s people. The sins against the native Americans are multitude. God help us all.

  39. Love
    Respect
    Honor

    American Indian Peoples never took anything from the land that they didn’t replace. They never took more than they needed. From my experience with them, this is still their way. No, I’m not American Indian, not in this life, but I am in spirit.

    This isn’t even about Indiginous Peoples of the North American Continent. This is about the whole human family. We ALL live on this Earth, our Mother, our home. Why do only a handful care about taking care of her?
    Why are they/we instantly outcast when we get fed up with the lying, and the conniving to keep doing the damage? Why is it wrong to want freedom in the purist sense of the word? It can be had. It WAS had before Others came here. Same way in parts of Europe before the Romans conquered. It’s true of ALL lands on ALL continents.

    Social injustice should be a thing of the past by now. Why do we need such a thing as US citizenship anyway? Is there something wrong with being human without a label?

    Are they taking non-indiginous people up there? I may have to go.
    Love Mother Earth and ALL her People
    Respect Mother Earth and ALL her People
    Honor Mother Earth and ALL her People

    Hoka Hey!

  40. I AM NOT A AMERICAN NATIVE BUT I DO UNDER STAND SOME OF THE PROBLES ON THE AMERICAN INDIAN REVERSATIONS THAT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED I USED TO TRY TO HEAT MY HOUSE WITH A ELECTRIC OVEN WAIT ON A GOVERMENT CHECK ONCE A MONTH FOR FOOD HAD A OUTSIDE TOILET I HAVE BEEN A VICTEM OF THE AMERICAN GOVERMENT IN ANOTHER WAY I WILL NOT DESCRIBE TO CAUSE THIS SO I SAY GOD SPEED TO THE NATIVE AMERICANS EVER TREATY THE GOVERMENT MADE WITH THEM WAS BROKEN BEFOR IT WAS WROTE THEY DESERVE BETTER IF PEOPLE CAN FORM THEIR ON COUNTRY FOR THE BETTER GOOD LUCK THANKS LESTER

  41. I need to point out that “so the implication that treaties are somehow to be considered above all else is incorrect.” is incorrect.

    Chief Justice Marshall in 1829: “A treaty is, in its nature, a contract between two nations, not a legislative act. It does not generally effect, of itself, the object to be accomplished; especially, so far as its operation is intraterritorial; but is carried into execution by the sovereign power of the respective parties to the instrument.

    “In the United States, a different principle is established. Our constitution declares a treaty to be the law of the land. It is, consequently, to be regarded in courts of justice as equivalent to an act of the legislature, whenever it operates of itself, without the aid of any legislative provision. But when the terms of the stipulation import a contract—when either of the parties engages to perform a particular act, the treaty addresses itself to the political, not the judicial department; and the legislature must execute the contract, before it can become a rule for the Court.”

    And a again with Justice Miller
    “A treaty is primarily a compact between independent nations. It depends for the enforcement of its provisions on the interest and the honor of the governments which are parties of it. . . . But a treaty may also contain provisions which confer certain rights upon the citizens or subjects of one of the nations residing in the territorial limits of the other, which partake of the nature of municipal law, and which are capable of enforcement as between private parties in the courts of the country.”

  42. Ryan,

    You’re the second person to misread my statement, only you’ve done the favor of actually providing the documentation to support me. I said, and I stand by the comment, that a treaty is not considered above all else. It is, as your quotes helpfully prove, “equivalent to an act of legislature” but it is most certainly not above such acts. Nor do treaties stand above the Constitution – a treaty signed that forbade public assembly on the streets or prohibited private ownership of firearms would not be enforceable in the United States, period, because such treaties do not supersede the Constitution.

    That was what I said, that is what I meant, and your text backs me up on it.

    Thanks.

  43. Kosovo’s independence from Serbia set an international legal precedence as of February 17, 2008. So I don’t think there is anything the U.S.A. can legally do to prevent the Lakota Nation becoming a sovereign nation.

  44. go back to the basics of living?live like we were before greed,the arrogance of the dominate society.when people cared more for each other the planet the creator all life.not just how much stuff you have how cool you are what celeb is doing what.to all my relations!were do i sign?can someone write in how to contact the lakota nation.and if all lakota are one on this?

  45. I wish the best of luck to all of you. I saw the alarming statistics of the life expectancy of your tribe. You should be very wary of the federal government. They may be poisoning your water, or something worse. To have a life expectancy of only 44 years is troubling, to say the least, and the teenage suicide rate is staggering. Should this work, I might be inclined to move within the boundaries and live with your tribe.

  46. I routing for the Lakota Nation. Any one who knows anything about Child Protective Services and their violation of rights, perjury, fabrication of evidence, failure to give a defendant (parent) a trial, use of anonymous informants, false accusations, and general sadistic treatment of good, loving parents, will be routing for the Lakota Nation. Over 50% of the children in BC, Canada have been taken by Child Protective Services – every year that percentage has been growing – less than 10% of the population in BC is Native – yet over 50% of their children are in foster “care.” Our government apologized for ripping children from their parents decades ago and putting them in residential schools, but that same gov’t won’t even acknowledge that it is doing even worse today – ripping children from parents and putting them in foster homes and up for adoption. A very large percentage of foster children are abused (at least 5 times more than in biological parents) and a very large number of foster children become addicted, homeless, drop out of high school, become incarcerated, or commit suicide. Natives in BC have had enough too; they also want to ban CPS from their land. And everyone is sick of working 6 months of the year just to pay the government. I hope the Lakota Nation is successful. I wish them all the best.

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