Posted by: Lister | December 21, 2007

Russell Means declares independence

Breaking away from the US:

The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.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

Lakota group pushes for new nation:

“I want to emphasize, we do not represent the collaborators, the Vichy Indians and those tribal governments set up by the United States of America to ensure our poverty, to ensure the theft of our land and resources,” Means said, comparing elected tribal governments to Nazi collaborators in France during World War II.

Rodney Bordeaux, chairman of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said his community has no desire to join the breakaway nation. Means and his group, which call themselves the Lakota Freedom Delegation, have never officially pitched their views to the Rosebud community, Bordeaux said.

[…] Bolivian Ambassador Gustavo Guzman, who attended the press conference out of solidarity, said he takes the Lakotas’ declaration of independence seriously.

“We are here because the demands of indigenous people of America are our demands,” Guzman said. “We have sent all the documents they presented to the embassy to our ministry of foreign affairs in Bolivia and they’ll analyze everything.”

The comments which go with that second article are not supportive of Means.



  1. This article is misleading. It refers to the action of “Indian leaders” when it means four Indians. Not all Indians are leaders.

    Russell Means is no longer part of A.I.M, and is not an A.I.M leader today.

    Russell Means is not an Oglala Lakota leader. He was not voted into office on Pine Ridge reservation for the very good reason that Oglala people know he is not a member of their group. His genealogy is in the archives of the Oglala Lakota College: born of a Rosebud mother and a father who was the son of a Crow woman and a white military man, he is actually a member of the Rosebud fire, through his mother. The Lakota Nation is composed of seven fires, the Sicangu, the Brule, the Burned Thighs, the Sisseton, the Wahpeton, the Rosebud and the Oglala. The Fort Laramie Treaty Council is formed of traditional elders representing these seven fires. Meetings are conducted in Lakota, a language Russell Means does not speak. It is not up to Russell Means to declare himself to the white man’s press as a leader capable of making any decision concerning the Treaty of Fort Laramie for this is a matter that concerns all of the elders of the Lakota Nation. To promote oneself as a spokesperson of the Lakota nation would simply amount to perverting the truth of actual relations and responsibilities.
    When I lived on Pine Ridge, I was asked by one of the most respected of those elders, Charlie Under Baggage, to accept certain important papers concerning that Treaty and I received certain confidential information concerning the past and future of the dialog with the US. With those papers which have been deposited by me in the sealed archives of the tribe, came the plea from a representative of this old generation, now gone, not to let this all important matter fall into the hands of fools. I would hope those who have inherited the task of carrying on the mandate of their elders concerning the Fort Laramie Treaty will not let that happen.

  2. Thanks for that, LaDonna.
    I can see how people who have not been consulted could be angry when declarations are made in their name.

    The story has no direct effect on me beyond surprise. I blogged it because I found it interesting.

    I’ve found a couple of threads at this forum which discuss the matter. Here’s the other: Link.

    I don’t know if they involve the same LaDonna.

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