Friday, January 4, 2008

Lakota Indians try secession--we should, too!

This is beautiful! And who can blame them? Hope it works, because it might give us enough courage to follow suit. The Lakota Indians are severing ties with the government of the United States because the Feds have not met their treaty obligations and have continually run roughshod over the rights of the tribes.

Well, well, well. This is certainly interesting....
The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States.
"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 said.
A delegation of Lakota leaders has delivered a message to the State Department, and said they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the U.S., some of them more than 150 years old.
The group also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and would continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months.
Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. [...]
The treaties signed with the U.S. were merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists said.

The only thing that's surprising is that there hasn't been a more aggressive push towards self-determination for indigenous Americans. We're all familiar with the struggles of groups like the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran, or the Basque in Spain and Southern France, among others, but there are independence movements going on all over the world. That our own indigenous nations haven't struggled to secede -- with obvious exceptions like the AIM movement -- is, I suppose, a testament to just how thoroughly Europeans wiped out the natives. The Chechens, Nunavut, Palestinians and Papua New Guineans may have had some fight left in them, but America's indigenous people were well and truly decimated, and the fact that they remain living in squalid poverty in Bantustans called "reservations" -- and that everyone goes about their business like that's not a big deal -- really speaks to that unique American combination of extreme brutality and the exceptionalism that allows us to deny its existence.

The Lakota actually declared independence back in the mid-1970s, but that went nowhere. It's worth noting that a shifting perception of indigenous rights in general is part of the equation:

[The effort gained momentum] 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.

One note about the plan: the Lakota intend to issue their own passports and driver's licenses, and anyone within their territory would be eligible for citizenship. Citizens of the new state would live tax-free, and all a person has to do is renounce their allegiance to the United States.

I can see conservative heads exploding over that Sophie's Choice: On the one hand, you can live in Nebraska without ever paying taxes again, but on the other, you've got to become a dirty, rotten, un-American foreigner and can never mindlessly (but honestly) scream U-S-A! U-S-A! at a sporting event again.


And a map of the new nation of Lakota (H/T- Jazz From Hell)


Wow!! "Worthless words on worthless paper." Imagine if our government treated us like it has treated our indigenous peoples, lying and breaking treaties and promises to serve their own ends-- treating us like dirt and ignoring our pleas. Oh, wait--it does treat us exactly like that!

I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Nation, and would suggest that since our government has failed to meet its obligations to us, has lied to us repeatedly, and is unresponsive to the will of the people, that it would behoove us to do as the Lakota have done, and sever ties to the government of the United States.

We-- every state-- should secede from the Union, and leave our lying, corrupt government sitting in Washington in charge of nothing. They don't deserve us, and we certainly don't deserve them. We should take our beloved Constitution with us, and use it as a template for a new document, correcting all of the weaknesses that have been exploited to bring us to our sorry pass, and start anew.

Maybe, with selfless dedication like that so admirably demonstrated by our original Founding Fathers, we can forge what is truly a "more perfect union". And welcome the Nation of Lakota as our 51st state.

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