This is my analysis of a particularly strange piece of “non-news” that cropped up a few weeks ago. I noted it first in Freedom’s Phoenix. Because of my professional work, and because of my historical research and ancestry, and interest in the West, I look at these things with great interest.
I think many other folks will be interested as well. This is part 1 of 4 parts.
WARNING: I consider Stephen Lendman to be an evil, vicious, hateful, and spiteful individual who taints any cause he supports by his blindness, arrogance, and ability to twist any innocent thing into what he considers to be evil. At the same time, I force myself to read his screeds because too many people think like him and it is important that we understand his kind of evil. I’m grateful that Freedom’s Phoenix posts his columns: they are good about posting ravings like this one we are going to look at.
In this case, Lendman’s espousal of a cause and a person does damage to that cause and purpose, but I find it hard to be sympathetic to either.
I was unable to find Dennis Means’ pronouncement directly on-line: Lendman’s link is to a video from 2007 or 2008. He apparently made this latest statement on Saturday, 29 September 2012, and at first it was picked up by CNSNews.com from la Voz de Aztlan but was removed before I found it (it was not on their usual daily digest). I suspect that one reason is that his announcement was not news as it was virtually identical to the original proclamation made on 17 December 2007 – nearly a half-decade ago. In other words, it was not news: it was a stunt by someone.
The reasons for the declaration are not new, either, but the claims made are not all true: many have been exaggerated for whatever reason, and many are political statements with no real meaning, or ad hominem attacks and use of the typical swear words found in politics: “genocide,” and “fascist” and “racist” and “hater” and “bigoted” are all so very common and twisted beyond meaning.
Lakota Sioux Nation Leaves America
by Stephen Lendman
First off, this “Lakota Sioux Nation” (actually, Means proclaimed the “Republic of Lakotah” and not the LSN or anything like it) hasn’t left America. I suspect there are not more than a few hundred adherents to this cause: you can find more people who claim to be citizens of the Republic of Texas. Russell is still here in the USA, and I suspect virtually every one of his supporters are as well. There is no border fence around the area he claims (more on that, later), and there are no border signs or customs checkpoints, or anything else to indicate that you have crossed from a part of South Dakota or Wyoming that is still part of the Union, to one that is not. And the area is inhabited by around a million people, of which only about 1/10 have any AmerInd blood, much less Lakota blood.
“America betrayed them and all Native Peoples. Throughout US history and earlier, genocide was policy.”
This is a favorite theme of Lendman’s – but I’ll go along with him with this proviso: it was not just “Native Peoples” but ALL people that have ever dealt with the US that have been betrayed time and again, from indentured servants in 1783 and American merchant seamen in 1803 to Texan frontiersmen in 1849 and Oregon emigrants in 1850 and LDS settlers in 1854 and Southern yeoman farmers in 1860 and coal miners in 1900 and Hutterites and German emigrants in 1917 and Japanese emigrants in 1942 right down to business owners and medical patients in 2012. As for genocide, yes, at one time that was the de facto policy, but it has not been the legal policy for more than 130 years, and not the actual policy for a century. But it happened, and we don’t have a time machine, and we cannot undo the past.
“Historian Ward Churchill explained four centuries of systematic slaughter. It went on from 1492 – 1892. It continues today against Native culture.”
Anytime you hear Ward Churchill cited as a reference or an authority, pull your pants up and get on your wading boots; it is gonna get deep quick. To call it “systematic slaughter” is patently absurd: there is not a single government – not even Massachusetts or Virginia, that can really honestly trace its existence back 400 years. And the “slaughter” – effective though it may have been – was not systematic: it was sporadic, driven by many reasons, and hardly to be equated to even the Soviet campaign against the kulaks, or the Holocaust. To compare the actual killing of people with the destruction of culture is not only false and demeaning to both, but incredibly stupid.
“Churchill estimated around 100 million Native People throughout the Americas ‘hacked apart with axes and swords, burned alive and trampled under horses, hunted as game and fed to dogs, shot, beaten, stabbed, scalped for bounty, hanged on meathooks and thrown over the sides of ships at sea, worked to death as slave laborers, intentionally starved and frozen to death during a multitude of forced marches and internments, and, in an unknown number of instances, deliberately infected with epidemic diseases.’ ”
So too were hundreds of millions of others, of every race and skin color and ethnicity and nationality and age and sex – for the entire history of the human race since Cain spilled Abel’s blood. The AmerInd – and especially the Lakota – are pretty lucky as these things go: how many Azteca or Dumonii or Etruscans or Montanards or real Moors are still around?
“Destruction of their culture continues in new forms. ‘The American holocaust was and remains unparalleled, in terms of its scope, ferocity, and continuance over time.’ ”
This is Churchill’s stock in trade. Churchill, like Lendman, makes his preferences clear. Russian Soviets can kill 50 million, Mao’s Communists can kill 100 million, but American efforts are “unparalleled.”
“Silence and denial suppress what happened and goes on today. Try finding coverage anywhere by America’s major media. Virtually nothing is said, let alone explained.”
You won’t find me supporting the mainstream media, of course. But there is a LOT of coverage – notice nothing is said about Barbara Walters’ recent crybaby “expose” of Pine Ridge. Of course, that happened in October 2011, long after this initial “declaration of independence.”
“Survivors represent a tiny fraction of original numbers. They also symbolize a longstanding US tradition of butchery and viciousness.”
“After centuries of systematic slaughter, Census Bureau data estimated around a quarter-million US survivors. Those living struggle to get by.”
Note, of course, that “survivors” are defined as “full-blooded, original language speakers who believe only in the ancestral religion” – and of course this ignores the tens of millions of Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans whose genes come from a mix of “native American” and Euro-Asian-African blood, but didn’t have ancestors that let them get trapped on the reservations. Never mind that much of the killing and other actions were NOT the “US” but various imperial and royal governments, from Spanish and Russian to French and English.
After centuries of systematic slaughter, Census Bureau data estimated around a quarter-million US survivors. Those living struggle to get by.
Like I said, unless you use Means’/Lendman’s secret definition of “survivors,” you can’t come up with this. Quarter-million? There are twice that many Navajo (and that is the enrolled, half-blood or better kind); there are that many Ahkota (Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota) in the Dakotas and Minnesota alone! And there are hundreds of thousands, though enrolled members of various tribes, who are ARE doing well as private businessmen and women, professionals, military personnel, and (sadly) government employees: federal, tribal, state, and county – even local. Even on the Rosebud or Pine Ridge, there are still a significant percentage of the population that are well-off, even by American standards. And that does not include those of us whose ancestors were smart enough to NOT get on the government rolls and “protected” but assimilated to our nation’s culture, just as did tens of millions of Campbells and O’Rourkes and Goldsteins and Lees and Gonzalezes and Spinellis and all the rest. But we aren’t “real Native Americans” because we cut our hair short and don’t worship Wakan Tanka and spend a day a week in a sweat lodge or go to fancy-dance competitions or have the right shade of skin or hair. Not for Means or Lendman.
In part 2, I will look at the bogus land claims and the odd contradiction in how they address these treaties.