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Republic of Lakotah

Republic of LakotahIn December of 2007, the Republic of Lakotah was formed by the formal withdrawal from its Treaties of 1851 and 1868. This was not a “cessation” from the United States, but a completely lawful “unilateral withdrawal” from the Treaties as permitted under the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, of which, the United States is a signatory.

Russell Means lived a life like few others in this century – revered for his selfless accomplishments and remarkable bravery. He was born into a society and guided by a way of life that gently denies the self in order to promote the survival and betterment of family and community. LA Times has called the famed political activist and early leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM) the most famous American Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Reflecting the consciousness of the sixties, he captured national attention when he led the 71-day armed takeover on the sacred grounds of Wounded Knee, a tiny hamlet in the heart of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation.

The Lakota elders demanded of their people in 1974 that their community begin making lasting relationships with the international community and re-establishing their identity and autonomy. The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said 19 December 2007. The Lakota content that parts of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana have been illegally homesteaded for years despite knowledge of Lakota as predecessor sovereign. A spokesperson said: “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,” and the article says, “The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free — provided residents renounce their US citizenship.”

The borders of the Lakota nation, once withdrawn from treaties, would be demarcated by the Missouri River on the northeast, the North Platte River to the south, and the Yellowstone River to the west.

The history of Native Americans in North America dates back thousands of years. Exploration and settlement of the western United States by Americans and Europeans wreaked havoc on the Indian peoples living there. In the 19th century the American drive for expansion clashed violently with the Native American resolve to preserve their lands, sovereignty, and ways of life. The struggle over land has defined relations between the U.S. government and Native Americans and is well documented.

The Lakota are the people most often associated with the public's image of an Indian. They were a semi-nomadic tribe of tipi-dwelling Indians who followed the buffalo herds to obtain the necessities of life. The Lakota Sioux were one of three groups of people who spoke a related language. They were called "Sioux" by the French in an adaptation of the Chippewa word Nadouessioux, a word which means "adder" or "snake." Since the Chippewa were the enemies of the Sioux, it is understandable that the people they were describing did not also call themselves snakes. Lakota, meaning "allies," is the term these westernmost Sioux use to describe their own people. The Nakota, composed of the Yankton and Yanktonais tribes, were the middle of the three Sioux nations, the eastern being the Dakota.

The tipi was one of the most perfect architectural solutions to the problems posed by harsh environment, ready mobility, and comfort ever devised. Historically, a plains Indian woman could set up a tipi in 15 minutes time. The women made the tipis, owned them, and were responsible for moving them from place to place. The tipi was erected so that the back was higher than the front, with the doorway oriented toward the East; the back braced the tipi against the westerly winds and helped the fire to draw. The tipi also faced east so that it might greet the rising sun.

Next to the buffalo, horses were the most important animal to the Lakota people. The horse was a fairly new arrival to the Plains. Spaniards first introduced horses to the New World in South America in the 16th century. As Spaniards moved north into Central America, Mexico and the American Southwest they brought their horses with them. Horses eventually reached the northern Great Plains around the mid-18th century. The Lakota people quickly realized the value of the horse in battle, hunting, and everyday life while becoming master equestrians.

The horse transformed life for the Lakota people. Hunting on horseback made them much more efficient and successful, and they no longer had to rely on individual stealth or face the personal dangers of driving bison toward a buffalo jump on foot. In battle, horses allowed Lakota warriors to move and strike quickly, and to use their knowledge of the land and its resources as geographical advantages. In addition, the Lakota people used horses in a variety of ways from recreational activities to moving camps.

Most of the tribes associated most strongly with the Great Plains did not originally live there, and migrated from other areas. Migration was hastened by white settlement in the east, which produced a domino effect of westward movement by Native Americans. The horse was probably a factor in the adaptation of American Indian tribes to a truly semi-nomadic, plains lifestyle, and away from their farming village roots. The Lakota did not farm at all by the early 1800s, and depended entirely on consuming the bounty of the land, hunting and gathering all they needed for their existence.

From the 1860s through the 1870s the American frontier was filled with Indian wars and skirmishes. In 1865 a congressional committee began a study of the Indian uprisings and wars in the West, resulting in a Report on the Condition of the Indian Tribes , which was released in 1867. This study and report by the congressional committee led to an act to establish an Indian Peace Commission to end the wars and prevent future Indian conflicts. The United States government set out to establish a series of Indian treaties that would force the Indians to give up their lands and move further west onto reservations. In the spring of 1868 a conference was held at Fort Laramie, in present day Wyoming, that resulted in a treaty with the Sioux. This treaty was to bring peace between the whites and the Sioux who agreed to settle within the Black Hills reservation in the Dakota Territory.

Republic of Lakotah Republic of Lakotah Republic of Lakotah
The Black Hills of Dakota are sacred to the Sioux Indians. In the 1868 treaty, signed at Fort Laramie and other military posts in Sioux country, the United States recognized the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, set aside for exclusive use by the Sioux people. In 1874, however, General George A. Custer led an expedition into the Black Hills accompanied by miners who were seeking gold. In 1876, Custer, leading an army detachment, encountered the encampment of Sioux and Cheyenne at the Little Bighorn River. Custer's detachment was annihilated, but the United States would continue its battle against the Sioux in the Black Hills until the government confiscated the land in 1877.

In three tragic decades, between 1860 and 1890, the Indians suffered the humiliating defeats that forced them to walk the white man’s road toward civilization.

“It is clear that, based on the representations of the United States negotiators, the Indians cannot have regarded the 1868 Treaty as a treaty of cession. Nowhere in the history leading up to the treaty negotiations themselves is there any indication that the United States was seeking a land cession or that the Sioux were unwilling to consent to one. On the contrary, the evidence is overwhelming that the Sioux would never have signed the treaty had they thought they were ceding any land to the United States.” Sioux Tribe v. United States, 42 Indian Claims Commission, 1978

“Here, there is no doubt that the Black Hills were “taken” from the Sioux in a way that wholly deprived them of their property rights to that land. The question presented is whether Congress was acting under circumstances in which that “taking” implied an obligation to pay just compensation, or whether it was acting pursuant to its unique powers to manage and control tribal property as the guardian of Indian welfare, in which event the Just Compensation Clause would not apply.” U.S. Supreme Court, UNITED STATES v. SIOUX NATION OF INDIANS, 1980

The court also remarked upon President Grant’s duplicity in breaching the Government’s treaty obligation to keep trespassers out of the Black Hills, and the pattern of duress practiced by the Government on the starving Sioux to get them to agree to the sale of the Black Hills.

“That there was tragedy, deception, barbarity, and virtually every other vice known to man in the 300-year history of the expansion of the original 13 Colonies into a Nation which now embraces more than three million square miles and 50 States cannot be denied. But in a court opinion, as a historical and not a legal matter, both settler and Indian are entitled to the benefit of the Biblical adjuration: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’” Hearing before the committee on Indian affairs, united states senate session on Tribal Sovereign Immunity 9-24, 1996

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Page last modified: 19-10-2017 15:23:42 ZULU