Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lakota Sioux Secede from the US

Published on Friday, December 21, 2007 by Rapid City Journal (South Dakota)
Lakota Sioux Secede From US, Declare Independence
by Bill Harlan

Political activist Russell Means, a founder of the American Indian Movement, says he and other members of Lakota tribes have renounced treaties and are withdrawing from the United States.

“We are now a free country and independent of the United States of America,” Means said in a telephone interview. “This is all completely legal.”

Means said a Lakota delegation on Monday delivered a statement of “unilateral withdrawal” from the United States to the U.S. State Department in Washington.

The State Department did not respond. “That’ll take some time,” Means said.

Meanwhile, the delegation has delivered copies of the letter to the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa. “We’re asking for recognition,” Means said, adding that Ireland and East Timor are “very interested” in the declaration.

Other countries will get copies of the same declaration, which Means said also would be delivered to the United Nations and to state and county governments covered by treaties, including treaties signed in 1851 and 1868. “We’re willing to negotiate with any American political entity,” Means said.

The United States could face international pressure if it doesn’t agree to negotiate, Means said. “The United State of America is an outlaw nation, we now know. We’ve understood that as a people for 155 years.”

Means also said his group would file liens on property in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming that were illegally homesteaded.

The Web site for the declaration, “Lakota Freedom,” briefly crashed Thursday as wire services picked up the story and the server was overwhelmed, Means said.

Delegation member Phyllis Young said in an online statement: “We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren.” Young was an organizer of Women of All Red Nations.

Other members of the delegation include Rapid City-area activist Duane Martin Sr. and Gary Rowland, a leader of the Chief Big Foot Riders.

Means said anyone could live in the Lakota Nation, tax free, as long as they renounced their U.S. citizenship. The nation would issue drivers licenses and passports, but each community would be independent. “It will be the epitome of individual liberty, with community control,” Means said.

To make his case, Means cited several articles of the U.S. Constitution, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and a recent nonbinding U.N. resolution on the rights of indigenous people.

He thinks there will be international pressure. “If the U.S. violates the law, the whole world will know it,” Means said.

Means’ group is based in Porcupine on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

It is not an agency or branch of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Means ran unsuccessfully for president of the tribe in 2006.

Lakota tribes have long claimed that the U.S. government stole land guaranteed by treaties — especially in western South Dakota. “The Missouri River is ours, and so are the Black Hills,” Means said.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1980 awarded the tribes $122 million as compensation, but the court did not award land. The Lakota have refused the settlement. (As interest accrues, the unclaimed award is approaching $1 billion.)

In the late 1980s, then-Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey introduced legislation to return federal land to the tribes, and California millionaire Phil Stevens also tried to win support for a proposal to return the Black Hills to the Lakota.

Contact Bill Harlan at 394-8424 or

© 2007 The Rapid City Journal

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Voicing Indigeneity Homegirls

Madel is back! And we missed her. Miget is in Guam, so it's just me and Madel and Maile on the last day of the fall quarter, thinking about home and talking about everything.



big mouth

Thursday, December 13, 2007

(Not) Losing My Indigeneity

I apologize, the end of the term rush and some technical difficulties stopped me from putting this podcast up immediately after we did it nearly two weeks ago. We have a lot to talk about, Miget went to the UN and describes that experience, there is a conference to discuss, I am closing in on my ma thesis and I ramble on about that for waaaay too long, my apologies, Maile describes a paper she is writing and we sing a little REM to wrap it up!

Watch this space, Madel, Maile and I are doing another podcast tomorrow so that should be up this weekend. We haven't heard from Madel since last spring so you know she has plenty on her mind!

ta da!  back!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Indigenous Peoples Shut Out of Climate Talks

Published on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 by One
Indigenous Peoples Shut Out of Climate Talks, Plans
by Haider Rizvi

UNITED NATIONS - Global initiatives to reduce carbon emissions are bound to fail if the interests of indigenous communities are not taken into account, leaders of the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples are warning.

“The success of efforts to lower carbon emissions from deforestation hinges primarily on whether indigenous peoples will throw their support behind proposed mechanisms,” said indigenous leader Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chair of the UN Permanent Forum.

Tauli-Corpuz told the UN Summit on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia, this week that indigenous communities are increasingly worried about plans by governments and international financial institutions to control forest degradation.

The indigenous communities, according to her, are particularly concerned about the World Bank’s Carbon Partnership Facility, which is likely to provide large-scale incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

The tropical and subtropical forest, the subject of the Facility, is home to 160 million indigenous peoples who are seen by many scientists as custodians and managers of forest biodiversity.

“While the Facility can be a good thing, we are very apprehensive on how this will work,” Tauli-Corpuz continued, “because of our negative historical and present experiences with similar initiatives.”

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes native groups’ right to control their lands and resources, including forests, but many governments and corporations continue to abuse the rights of forest communities.

“We remain in a very vulnerable situation,” said Tauli Corpuz, “because most states do not recognize our rights to these forests and resources found therein.”

Last week, a report released by an international advocacy group raised similar concerns about the role of governments and corporations.

In its report, London-based Survival International named and shamed countries where the violations of tribal peoples’ rights are most egregious, including Botswana, Brazil, New Zealand, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States.

The report entitled, “The Terrible Ten: Key Abusers of Tribal Peoples’ Rights in 2007″ says tribal people in West Papua are facing appalling violence at the hands of Indonesia’s army, including killing, torture and rape. The natives’ lands are often exploited by the government and foreign companies.

In Botswana, the government continues to prevent Bushmen from returning to their home in the country’s diamond-producing area, despite a landmark court ruling that declared their 2002 eviction ‘unlawful and unconstitutional.’

According to Survival, cattle ranchers occupying Guarani Indian land in Paraguay are committing armed violence against the natives. This year they killed two Guarani leaders and raped two Guarani women. Fear of rape has led many women to commit suicide.

In Peru, which is home to an estimated 15 of the world’s last uncontacted tribes, the government has opened up the indigenous peoples’ territories to oil companies and illegal loggers. Paraguay’s Ayoreo-Totobiegosode people face a similar situation.

In Malaysia, land has been taken from the Sarawak tribe to make way for logging, dam construction, and oil palm plantations. The government has told the nomadic, hunter-gatherer Penan people that they have no land rights until they ’settle down’ and start farming.

Meanwhile at the UN Summit in Bali, many indigenous groups protested against their exclusion from the climate change negotiations. They wore symbolic gags that read UNFCCC, the acronym of the United UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Last week, an indigenous delegation charged that despite having received an invitation, it was forcibly barred from entering the meeting between the UNFCCC executive secretary and civil society representatives.

“There is no seat or name plate for indigenous peoples in the plenary,” stated Hubertus Samangun, the representative for English-speaking Indigenous Peoples of the Global Forest Coalition.

“Indigenous peoples are not only marginalized from the discussion, but there is virtually no mention of indigenous peoples in the more that 5 million words of UNFCCC documents,” argued Alfred Ilenre of the Edo People of Nigeria.

“This is occurring despite the fact that indigenous peoples are suffering the most from climate change and climate change mitigation projects that directly impact their lands,” IIenre added in a statement.

UN Permanent Forum’s Tauli-Corpuz demanded the governments and corporations must obtain the “free and prior” consent of indigenous peoples before taking any initiative on forest protections.

“I imagine that donors and the private sector would not like to put their resources in high-risk projects which will not genuinely involve indigenous and other forest-dwellers,” she said. “If there is an acceptance of the Facility, indigenous peoples must have a representation in [its] governance.”

© 2007 One