POSTED: 22 DECEMBER 2007 - 1:00pm HST

The Lakota Indians have seceded

Mni yuha Najin Win (Phyllis Young) and Oyate Wacinyapin (Russell Means) at Press Conference

by Naomi Archer on 19 December 2007 for

Freedom! Lakota Sioux Indians Declare Sovereign Nation Status
Threaten Land Liens, Contested Real Estate Over Five State Area in U.S. West
Lakota Satisfies Treaty Council Mandate of 33 Years, Drafted by 97 Indigenous Nations

Dakota Territory Reverts back to Lakota Control According to U.S., International LawWashington D.C. – Lakota Sioux Indian representatives declared sovereign nation status today in Washington D.C. following Monday’s withdrawal from all previously signed treaties with the United States Government. The withdrawal, hand delivered to Daniel Turner, Deputy Director of Public Liaison at the State Department, immediately and irrevocably ends all agreements between the Lakota Sioux Nation of Indians and the United States Government outlined in the 1851 and 1868 Treaties at Fort Laramie Wyoming.

“This is an historic day for our Lakota people,” declared Russell Means, Itacan of Lakota. “United States colonial rule is at its end!”

“Today is a historic day and our forefathers speak through us. Our Forefathers made the treaties in good faith with the sacred Canupa and with the knowledge of the Great Spirit,” shared Garry Rowland from Wounded Knee. “They never honored the treaties, that’s the reason we are here today.”

The four member Lakota delegation traveled to Washington D.C. culminating years of internal discussion among treaty representatives of the various Lakota communities. Delegation members included well known activist and actor Russell Means, Women of All Red Nations (WARN) founder Phyllis Young, Oglala Lakota Strong Heart Society leader Duane Martin Sr., and Garry Rowland, Leader Chief Big Foot Riders. Means, Rowland, Martin Sr. were all members of the 1973 Wounded Knee takeover.

“In order to stop the continuous taking of our resources – people, land, water and children- we have no choice but to claim our own destiny,” said Phyllis Young, a former Indigenous representative to the United Nations and representative from Standing Rock.

Property ownership in the five state area of Lakota now takes center stage. Parts of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana have been illegally homesteaded for years despite knowledge of Lakota as predecessor sovereign [historic owner]. Lakota representatives say if the United States does not enter into immediate diplomatic negotiations, liens will be filed on real estate transactions in the five state region, clouding title over literally thousands of square miles of land and property.

Young added, “The actions of Lakota are not intended to embarrass the United States but to simply save the lives of our people”.

Following Monday’s withdrawal at the State Department, the four Lakota Itacan representatives have been meeting with foreign embassy officials in order to hasten their official return to the Family of Nations.

Lakota’s efforts are gaining traction as Bolivia, home to Indigenous President Evo Morales, shared they are “very, very interested in the Lakota case” while Venezuela received the Lakota delegation with “respect and solidarity.”

“Our meetings have been fruitful and we hope to work with these countries for better relations,” explained Garry Rowland. “As a nation, we have equal status within the national community.”

Education, energy and justice now take top priority in emerging Lakota. “Cultural immersion education is crucial as a next step to protect our language, culture and sovereignty,” said Means. “Energy independence using solar, wind, geothermal, and sugar beets enables Lakota to protect our freedom and provide electricity and heating to our people.”

The Lakota reservations are among the most impoverished areas in North America, a shameful legacy of broken treaties and apartheid policies. Lakota has the highest death rate in the United States and Lakota men have the lowest life expectancy of any nation on earth, excluding AIDS, at approximately 44 years. Lakota infant mortality rate is five times the United States average and teen suicide rates 150% more than national average . 97% of Lakota people live below the poverty line and unemployment hovers near 85%.

“After 150 years of colonial enforcement, when you back people into a corner there is only one alternative,” emphasized Duane Martin Sr. “The only alternative is to bring freedom into its existence by taking it back to the love of freedom, to our lifeway.”

We are the freedom loving Lakota from the Sioux Indian reservations of Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana who have suffered from cultural and physical genocide in the colonial apartheid system we have been forced to live under. We are in Washington DC to withdraw from the constitutionally mandated treaties to become a free and independent country. We are alerting the Family of Nations we have now reassumed our freedom and independence with the backing of Natural, International, and United States law.

Descendants of Sitting Bull and
Crazy Horse break away from US

20 December 2007 Agence France-Presse

The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

"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," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.

They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and will continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months, they told the news conference.

Lakota country includes parts of the states of 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 US citizenship, Means said .

The treaties signed with the United States are merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists say on their website.

The treaties have been "repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life," the reborn freedom movement says.
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.
"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," said Means.

The Lakota relaunched their journey to freedom in 1974, when they drafted a declaration of continuing independence -- an overt play on the title of the United States' Declaration of Independence from England.
Thirty-three years have elapsed since then because "it takes critical mass to combat colonialism and we wanted to make sure that all our ducks were in a row," Means said.

One duck moved into place in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples -- despite opposition from the United States, which said it clashed with its own laws.

"We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977, told the news conference.

The US "annexation" of native American land has resulted in once proud tribes such as the Lakota becoming mere "facsimiles of white people," said Means.
"We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977, told the news conference.

The US "annexation" of native American land has resulted in once proud tribes such as the Lakota becoming mere "facsimiles of white people," said Means.
Oppression at the hands of the US government has taken its toll on the Lakota, whose men have one of the shortest life expectancies -- less than 44 years -- in the world.

Lakota teen suicides are 150 percent above the norm for the United States; infant mortality is five times higher than the US average; and unemployment is rife, according to the Lakota freedom movement's website.

"Our people want to live, not just survive or crawl and be mascots," said Young.
"We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren," she said, predicting that the battle would not be won in her lifetime.

Lakota Freedom Delegation withdraws from US
20 December 2007 in

A group called Lakota Freedom Delegation is withdrawing from the treaties their ancestors signed with the U.S. and is setting up their own independent nation. Four activists, including Russell Means, were in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to announce their plans. They said the federal government has failed to abide by 33 treaties that promised land, health care, education and other services. "Our people want to live, not just survive or crawl and be mascots," Phyllis Young said, Agence France-Press reported. Members of the new nation won't pay taxes . The new nation's territory covers western parts of North and South Dakota and Nebraska and eastern parts of Wyoming and Montana.

Get the Story:
Lakota group pushes for new nation (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 12/20)
Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US (AP 12/20)
Lakota group declares sovereign nation status (The Rapid City Journal 12/20)

Remembering Wounded Knee
by Tim Giago on 18 December 2007 in

I wonder if Tom Brokaw knew what was happening on the nine Indian reservations in his home state of South Dakota in 1968. I seriously doubt it.

On December 29, 1968, as they have done for many years, the Lakota people were gathered around the mass grave at Wounded Knee to pray. And on December 29, 1990, they would gather to mourn the 100th anniversary of the massacre of their people.

To the non-Indians of South Dakota and the rest of America, December 29, 1990 was another day. But to the Lakota people, December 29 was a day they commemorated every year since 1890. It was a day when nearly 300 of their relatives were shot to death in cold blood by the enlisted men and officers of the 7th Cavalry. Ironically, 21 members of the 7th Cavalry were awarded Medals of Honor for this horrific slaughter of women and children.

White people ask why we Lakota still talk about Wounded Knee as if it was not ancient history. If something terrible happened to your grandmother — that's right, your grandmother — something so heinous that it became a part of American history, would you still consider that to be ancient history? I think not. A grandmother can never be ancient history or you wouldn't be able to ride over the river and through the woods to her house on holidays.

Consider this. On December 29, 1890, my grandmother, Sophie, was a 17-year-old student at the Holy Rosary Indian Mission, a Jesuit boarding school just a few miles from Wounded Knee. She was called out with the rest of the students to feed and water the horses of the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry that had just rode on to the mission grounds chasing down survivors that had escaped the slaughter. My grandmother recalled seeing blood on their uniforms and she overheard them bragging about the mighty victory they had just scored at Wounded Knee.

That's right, my grandmother, who is now deceased, remembered. Now does that make the Massacre at Wounded Knee ancient history to me? You bet that it does not. Many other Lakota still living today had grandmothers and grandfathers that were either killed or survived the massacre. No, it is not ancient history to the Lakota.

In early December of 1990, as the 100th anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee approached, I wrote the cover story for USA Today. I quoted an editorial that appeared in the Aberdeen (SD) Saturday Review on January 3, 1891, just five days after the massacre. The author wrote about those terrible "Redskins," his favorite word for Indians. He wrote, "The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to prprotect our civilization, follow it up by one or more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth."

That editorial calling for the genocide of the Lakota people was written by L. Frank Baum, the man who would later write, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." There have been many others before and since that called for genocide against a race of people. Adolph Hitler and Pol Pot come to mind. But then they never followed up their calls for genocide by writing a charming book for children. It appears to be unthinkable to most Americans that such a wonderful man as L. Frank Baum could be compared to other inhuman beasts that called for the extinction of a race of people.

In 2006, descendants of Baum asked the Lakota people to forgive Baum for the editorials he wrote calling for their annihilation. What do you think the Jewish people would say today if the descendants of Adolph Hitler approached them asking them to forgive Adolph for nearly exterminating all Jews? It's a tough question because the attempted extermination of the Jews was taken much more seriously than the extermination of the Lakota people. After all, according to the white man, we were just Indians and sub-humans at that and we didn't have the power of the press or of the free world to support our claims to life. In order for America to expand, the people of the Great Sioux Nation had to be expendable.

December 29, 2007 will mark the 117th anniversary of the slaughter of innocents at Wounded Knee. As is their custom, the Lakota people will gather at the mass grave where the bodies of men, women and children were dumped and they will pray and ask the United States government to apologize for this day of death. They will pray that the Medals of Honor handed out to the murderers be rescinded and they will pray for peace between the Lakota and the rest of America. There will be a ceremony called "Wiping Away the Tears," and this ceremony will conclude a day of mourning, a day when the Lakota reach out to the rest of America for peace and justice.

Americans may have forgotten Wounded Knee and pushed it to the back pages of history, a bad memory to some, but the Lakota people have not nor will they ever forget this terrible day until they at last see justice.

Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, was born, raised and educated on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in the Class of 1991 and founder of The Lakota Times and Indian Country Today newspapers. He founded and was the first president of the Native American Journalists Association. He became the first Native American ever inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame on November 10, 2007. He can be reached at

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