Yeah!! I think this is a great idea!
And it’s for real too.
WASHINGTON (AFP) “” The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.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.
Russell Means is pretty well known in Hollywood and in the American Indian Movement, although not without a lot of controversy (whatever). He was also the inspiration for several articles on this site, including Living On The Reservation (which is what we all do). He’s an activist and loved and hated by both sides. I’m not defending him, but I’ve heard him speak and can understand what his position is and that of AIM.
“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.
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.
Sign me up!! My own research into the plight of the American Indians reveals a horrifying history of abuse, sterilization, murder, assassination and oppression. Now lets see if they can succeed, but I hope so, I really do.
Expect this to trigger a MASSIVE backlash down the road (as long as this gains some real ground), media “spin” and more bullshit rhetoric from the Bush Administration about how “illegal” this is. Worse, expect a Wounded Knee all over again, and of course, martial law. In fact, you can expect about anything from this point on.
I’d like to see the rest of the American Indian tribes do exactly the same things. I’m not holding my breath, because this really isn’t a big event yet, but maybe? I still don’t believe in political solutions anymore, but hey, starting your own country would circumvent a lot of red tape (and create a lot more).
Time to stand up and be counted folks – where do you stand?