The Republic of Lakotah – Wrong? (Part 2)

In part 1, I addressed the first part of Lendman’s article about Russell Means’ fresh proclamation of the independence of the “Republic of Lakotah” on 29 SEP 2012.  This continues my discussion of Stephen Lendman’s article.

I have omitted Lendman’s exhaustive (and biased) discussion of “genocide,” with the sole comment that the word is stretched far out of its original or standard meaning.  The definitions he uses could be established as a basis for saying that telling someone you hate them and their family and tribe and culture is genocidal in nature.

To read that, go to: Freedom’s Phoenix (No, I don’t have the foggiest idea why they use the picture of the girl waving at the sky.  I suppose it is better than the other picture I’ve seen associated, of an “Indian brave” that is more suitable for the cover of a romance novel than for a modern political article.)

Based on Lendman’s definition, the war against Hitler’s Germany was a war of genocide, as was the war against Imperial Japan, and even the war against Mussolini’s Italy.  Indeed, I cannot think of a single nation on earth that has not, at one time or another, practiced genocide against some distinct group of people.  Examples would include the French Revolution (genocide against the royal family (the Bourbon Clan), the nobility, the clergy, and the monastic orders), Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, and of course, the Spanish-Portuguese Reconquista of Iberia.  Picking up at the end of the “genocide” discussion, we see this:

“Constitutional provisions don’t let government abuse people or deny them their rights. They don’t authorize genocide, either within or outside the country. They don’t permit theft and occupation of their lands or any others.”

Bold claims, indeed.  I’ve yet to hear of a nation on this planet which has a constitution that EFFECTIVELY prevents government from doing these things.  Indeed, many constitutional provisions in various nations are designed (and used) to empower government to do this.  Just legally!

“Nonetheless, binding principles are spurned. America, Israel, and rogue NATO partners violate them with impunity. Crimes of war, against humanity, and genocide are official policy. Millions of corpses bear testimony.”

Lendman’s words, almost certainly.  I do not think that Russell Means cares much one way or another about Israel or NATO.

“On December 17, 2007, a delegation of Lakota people went to Washington. They declared independence. They called it “the latest step in the longest running legal battle” in history.”

A delegation representing whom?  Themselves, certainly, but who else?  How many tens of thousands of Lakota men and women signed petitions for them, nominated them, elected them, or gave them powers of attorney to represent them?  As near as I can find, virtually NONE.

“It’s not a cessation, they said. It’s a lawful “unilateral withdrawal” from treaty obligations permitted under the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.”

Wait for it.

At the time, American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Russell Means 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.”

“We offer citizenship to anyone provided they renounce their US citizenship.”

Nothing but rhetoric: there is no process that I can find on the Republic of Lakotah website or anywhere else for a single non-Lakota (as defined by them) to declare for the republic, or renounce US citizenship.  Meanwhile, remember that “unilateral withdrawal” bit?  Just wait for it.

“United States colonial rule is at an end.”

I am sure that is a great relief and encouragement to millions of Southerners, more millions of Texans, quite a few Alaskans, to say nothing of Puerto Ricans, Afghanis, and Okinawans.  Oh, and did I mention Latter-Day Saints (not just “fundamentalist Mormons”) and Scientologists?

“Signed documents were delivered to the State Department. Sovereignty was declared. The Republic of Lakota was established. It’s based on the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie. It created the Great Lakota (Sioux) Nation.”

Indeed?  Signed by whom?  The people that delivered it?  They claim only a quarter of a million survivors: how about just a measly five percent of those: 12,500 people?  Many states require that just to get a political party on the ballot.

Here is what I’ve asked you to wait for:  That 1851 Treaty supposedly is one of the several treaties from which they are unilaterally withdrawing.  Yet, they admit (or claim) that the Great Sioux Nation (the term used in the treaty) was founded by the very treaty that they are now rejecting!

You see, there WAS no “Great Sioux Nation” as defined by international standards, until that evil US government MADE ONE UP.

There was a people – actually, many peoples, who had a common language (relatively common – slight variations called “Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota” (with or without the h’s and substituting a “c” for a “k” or not) because the dialects swapped a L for a D for a N.  But each of those groups of common language speakers (which didn’t even share a common economy, ecology, or society) was made up of various independent, self-governing bands.  These bands sometimes preyed on each other.  But mostly they preyed on speakers of other languages or relatives whose language departed enough from the basic Ahkota that they were hard to understand (“These people talk funny, they are not really human and they are not related to us; we must kill or enslave them!”)

There were no chiefs of even the Seven Council Fires who were elected or acclaimed: no one had ANY authority to speak for the Sicangu or the Oglala or the Sicasapa as a group.  “Oyate” (now usually translated as “nation”) meant only “a group of related people that share a lot of things and get together now and then.”  They were less of a nation than Germany was prior to 1871 or Italy before 1861 or Ireland before the Five Kingdoms.  These various groups were as much a nation because they shared a common language as the Americans and the British, or Swiss German-speakers and Austrians and Germans.

It took the US government to appoint some of the chiefs of those bands to be Chiefs of the Great Sioux Nation.  And they didn’t even get the name right: most of the real “Dahcotah” (those who used D instead of L) lived EAST of the Missouri and even in Minnesota: it was not for another dozen years that they would be driven west – and even then, most didn’t make it to the Missouri.  So the boundaries include ONLY the general area where the Lakota wandered.

It states in part:

“The territory of the Sioux or Dahcotah Nation, commencing the mouth of the White Earth River, on the Missouri River; thence in a southwesterly direction to the forks of the Platte River; thence up the north fork of the Platte River to a point known as the Red Buts, or where the road leaves the river; thence along the range of mountains known as the Black Hills, to the head-waters of Heart River; thence down Heart River to its mouth; and thence down the Missouri River to the place of beginning.”

It gave Lakota people portions of northern Nebraska, half of South Dakota, one-fourth of North Dakota, one-fifth of Montana, and another 20% of Wyoming.

It “gave Lakota people” something that was not Uncle Sam’s to give.

But the maps that the Republic of Lakota has used actually claim ALL of Nebraska north of the Platte River clear to the Missouri, south of Omaha, and so claim Omaha and most of the state.  Some claim all the way to the Solomon River in Kansas.  There are more problems: little ones like the fact that the US government agents who negotiated this did not understand (or care) that much of this chunk of territory was also claimed as the hunting and living territory of a good many other tribes, such as the Ponca, the Cheyenne, the Crow, and the Arikara and the Pawnee.  Nor did they seem to note or care that the Lakota themselves had only fairly recently (in historic terms) come into control of most of their territory. They did not steal the Black Hills from the Cheyenne until 1776, and had not even discovered the Black Hills until three decades after French explorers did (1642 versus 1678 or so). (And yes, I use the term “steal” deliberately and intentionally and specifically. The Lakota took the Black Hills from the Cheyenne in precisely the same way that the Americans took the Black Hills from the Lakota – by invasion, conquest, and a “treaty.”  That the Lakota and Cheyenne then became allies is as inconsequential as the fact that tens of thousands of Lakota men and women have served in American armies in the last century.)

This map is one of many on the web showing what the Republic of Lakotah claims.

However, here is a map showing the area described in the treaty which they claim established to “Great Sioux Nation” as a political entity.  The differences are significant, and the land “recognized” by the US government still included a LOT of land claimed by other tribes – and in which other tribes lived!

For those who are interested, the “White Earth River” in the treaty is today known as the White River, in South Central South Dakota including both the Sicangu and Oglala country (the Rosebud and Pine Ridge).  For an interesting discussion, see

David Bernstein: Current Projects: Geography

Not only did the US government make up the “Great Sioux Nation” out of several dozen different bands of Lakota (and didn’t even understand their name correctly), but the US also created their boundaries out of whole cloth – subject for a separate article.  They gave the new Lakota nation a bunch of other folks’ territory.  Nice, huh?  But it is the very treaty that Means wishes to unilaterally withdraw from that established the boundaries that he claims.

“Unilateral withdrawal from all treaties and agreements became policy. America never honored its own. More on that below.”

The exact logic here escapes me.  But there is certainly a lot of exaggeration in these statements.

“Earlier events led to the 2007 declaration. In 1974, 5,000 International Indian Treaty Council delegates, representing 97 North and South American Indigenous People, signed a Declaration of Continuing Independence.”

Just as the numbers here baffle me.  5,000 delegates represented 97 people?  Or 97 groups of people?  Out of how many separate tribes?  There are more than 200 federally-recognized tribes in the US alone – many more in Canada, and certainly hundreds more in MesoAmerica and South America.  It sounds neither VERY “democratic” and/or “republican” in nature.  It DOES sound like something that the Bolsheviks (or modern Transnational Progressives/Socialists) would do.

“It was a ‘Manifesto representing the wisdom of thousands of people, the Ancestors, and the Great Mystery supports the rights of Indigenous Nations to live free and to take whatever actions are necessary for sovereignty.’ ”

Apparently, it is only “Indigenous Nations” that have these rights: not individuals, and not “non-native” individuals or groups.  To people like Lendman and Means, despite their “libertarian” protestations, there is no individual sovereignty, there is no individual liberty and no personal responsibility: there is only the GROUP.  For the Group, of the Group, by the Group.  The GROUP may be the state, or the tribe, or the “proletariat” or the clan or whatever.

In Part 3, I will look at the idea of just who can claim to represent the Lakota people, and for that matter, the entire Seven Council Fires (Great Sioux Nation), and at the various claims made by Means and Lendman.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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