I’ve been trying to look into the Lakota secession, with an eye towards making into a Master’s thesis project. I’ve started by downloading all the articles I can find about Russell Means, who is among the activists who delivered the declaration to the State Department.
A Lexis Nexis search on Means–a couple days ago–yielded 999 articles. I’ve plowed through about 400 of them. Suffice it to say, he’s a character. While he’s been involved with the (capitalist) Libertarian Party, he has criticized the government for enabling corporations to fix prices. He doesn’t quite seem to understand, however, that it is as important to address the economic hierarchy as it is the political hierarchy. While he has been a strident advocate of tribal sovereignty, he has quickly resorted to U.S. courts when the tribal courts didn’t rule to his liking. He has argued that tribal governments are in collusion with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which many Indians blame for keeping their people in poverty. It also appears that tribal governments should not be confounded with tribal elders, and that legitimacy rests more with elders than with governments.
The Lakota Freedom Delegation is the powerful realization of an ongoing process lasting no less than 33 years. Despite criticism the Delegation does not speak for the Lakota people, Delegation representatives have been in ongoing communication with the traditional chiefs and treaty councils all across Lakota for the last three and a half years.
Canupa Gluha Mani (Duane Martin Sr.) , leader of the Cante Tenza (Strongheart Warrior Society) of the Ogalala Lakota and Oyate Wacinyapin (Russell Means) have been in discussion with the traditional treaty councils across Lakota. The traditional treaty councils in the following communities were consulted:
- Pine Ridge
- Lower Brule
- Cheyenne River
- Standing Rock
Additional consultation with the treaty council occurred during Defenders of Black Hills meeting in Rapid City. Mni yuha Najin Win (Phyllis Young) also consulted with the people in Standing Rock regarding this action.
With this in mind, the Delegation does not act for IRA [Indian Reorganization Act] Indians, “stay by the fort indians”, or other Lakota people unwilling to be free.
According to Peterson, “Canupa Gluha Mani indicated to me that the 8 delegates listed above, out of 77 came to the meetings and support the withdrawal.” The grammar there is ambiguous; I don’t know what she refers to when she writes the number, 77. A page on the Minnesota State University site on Lakota Indians lists seven bands of the Lakota:
- Sihasapa- Reservations at: Cheyenne River, Standing Rock
- Oohenumpa- Reservation at: Cheyenne River
- Miniconjou- Reservation at: Cheyenne River
- Hunkpapa- Reservation at: Standing Rock
- Itazipco- Reservation at: Cheyenne River
- Sicangu- Reservation at: Rosebud
- Oglala- Reservations at: Pine Ridge
I’m not sufficiently familiar with the geography or the relationship between “communnities” and reservations, but it looks like this declaration legitimately applies to a significant portion of the Lakota nation.