Creative Destruction

December 30, 2007

Yeah, Right, Whatever ….

Filed under: Current Events,Human Rights,Politics — Brutus @ 4:34 pm

I learned a few days ago that a group of Lakota Indians residing in South Dakota have seceded from the United States and disavowed all past treaties. They are apparently demanding recognition as a sovereign country and have cited, among other things, the UN Resolution on Indigenous Peoples, which I blogged about earlier this fall.

This is pretty astounding. Secession! But not surprisingly, the news of it has hardly been noticed. A quick Google search reveals that none of the usual mainstream media have created articles about it. Further, the U.S. State Department was notified and their nonresponse thus far amounts to a big, fat “yeah, right, whatever ….”

If there is any true revolutionary spirit still alive within the U.S., I’d have to say that Native Americans (to use the politically correct term) have a far more compelling claim to moral authority than any other group of which I can think. Only a few days ago, the group’s website was called Lakota Freedom. I see that it now redirects to Republic of Lakota.

I for one will be interested to see if this movement gains any traction. There are rumors that Russia will recognize the Republic of Lakota, though one has to wonder whether that’s just a means of jabbing a figurative elbow in the ribs of the U.S. State Department. (Considering how many think of international politics as mere gamesmanship, I wouldn’t be surprised to see others enjoying the opportunity to poke at the U.S.) It would also be curious to see how land claims dating back to the middle of the 19th century are sorted out, as the Lakota intend to reclaim their ancestral lands and revert to open plains populated by bison. I can’t imagine for a moment anything really coming out of Lakota secession, but I’m oddly sympathetic to the notion of letting them go and seeing what happens.

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11 Comments »

  1. It’s probably not your fault, but rather the fault of the news media reporting this. However, the Lakota are not seceding. Russell Means and some other native activists, who have sought political authority within the Sioux nation but been defeated in multiple elections, made this “announcement”. There is no Lakota government that recognizes Means as its head, and his statement has no legal effect, which is the reason that the State Department has no comment. There’s nothing to comment on.

    Comment by Robert — December 30, 2007 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  2. Robert’s comment does indeed change my perspective considerably. If it’s really just a few dudes with a website rather than a unified effort on the part of Lakota leadership, then I guess it’s probably correct to ignore it as mostly the irrational dreams of a few cranks.

    Comment by Brutus — December 31, 2007 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

  3. Its more than just a few dudes w/ a website it is a confederation of local representatives of the Lakota people not aligned with the US government endorsed and implanted pseudopolitical colonial regime. They represent the view of the heirs of the indigenous population which entered into the treaties and are therefore legally entitled and morally beholden to repudiate and anull the treaties in as much as it is the right of any member of the population in question to do such according to international law. The idea is so correct and dangerous to entrenched interests that the website and email has been censored. The information vacuum created by this indicates to me that the United States of America has just declared war on the Republic of Lakota.

    Comment by Windtalon — December 31, 2007 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  4. Windtalon, So what you’re saying is they’re a out of power faction of the Lakota?

    Comment by joe — January 5, 2008 @ 10:44 pm | Reply

  5. “the Lakota intend to reclaim their ancestral lands and revert to open plains populated by bison.”

    The Lakota’s ancestral lands are in Minnesota, not out on the plains. The Ojibwa kicked them out when they got French firearms and became a powerful militarily back in the 1700’s. The lands you are speaking of belonged ancestrally in the east to the Plains Apache, who are extinct now at the hands of the Lakota, and in the west the land belonged to the Absaroka. The Lakota occupied these lands for perhaps 150 years before the whites defeated them.

    At the time the Lakota were pushing west into Absaroka territory and south into Pawnee territory, which is why those two nations allied with the US. Now they are crying that someone succeeded at doing what they were attempting, pushing people off the Great Plains and replacing them with new people. So now there are Germans on land the Lakota tried to take away from the Absaroka and did take away from the Plains Apache.

    Windtalon has a point about the legitmacy of this attempt to repudiate the treaties, even if his description of the censorship – I don’t exactly what he means, but it may be a reference to someone taking the site down – is a little flambouyant. What would an actual war against the Lakota look like?

    The point is that if this group can talk around the others, that is democracy in action. What next? The lands the Lakota hold at present are disjunct, but that is a matter of jusrisdiction, not ownership, and if jusrisdiction is what is being re-negotiated, they coul concievably draw some kind of boundaries that made sense. It’s not as if whites are not leaving the Plains in droves and have been for decades; after all the palce has all the charm of Mongolia. No wonder the Lakota are so impoverished.

    On the other hand, what would their bargaining position be. It’s not as if they have much leverage for a bargain. Are they just going to say what they think justice would be? What a humiliation, that what used to be a nation of warriors should be in a position to beg for justice with nothing to back it up.

    Comment by Jim — January 16, 2008 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

  6. Hey, parts of Mongolia are very lovely.

    Comment by Robert — January 16, 2008 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  7. Thanks, Jim, for your comment. I was interested primarly in the notion of secession and repeated several of the things I read in the media without my own fact checking or historical review. It also strikes me that the apparent lack of response from the U.S. State Dept. is as good a strategy as engaging in what would probably be a mere war of words.

    The starkness of the landscape in the Dakotas was striking when I visited as a boy. Even now it wouldn’t be much to take possession of. And your comment on the humiliating collapse of the warrior spirit might be a bit uncharitable, considering what an anachronism that way of life is in the modern world.

    Comment by Brutus — January 16, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  8. And your comment on the humiliating collapse of the warrior spirit might be a bit uncharitable, considering what an anachronism that way of life is in the modern world.

    The warrior spirit, whether possessed by white man or red, is a permanent inheritance of the human race. And thank God for it, because without it, we’d all be buffalo fodder. That may suit you; peace be unto you. It does not suit me.

    Comment by Robert — January 16, 2008 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

  9. “And your comment on the humiliating collapse of the warrior spirit might be a bit uncharitable, considering what an anachronism that way of life is in the modern world.”

    It is never anachronistic. I saw a beautiful example of it recently on Black Amazon’s blog – she had been attacked, was really wounded and in tears, and was still blogging and carrying on. That was the warrior spirit, more than resignation and survival; she was still fighting.

    In this context, a lot of Lakota men have continued in that same spirit – dealing with the present with as much dignity and stoicism as they can muster. Quite a percentage are literally warriors; they are disproprotionately veterans.

    One of the very best explanations of the warrior spirit is in the Bhagavad Gita, which BTW has become the new trendy thing in the Army’s officer corps I hear, now that most people have the art of War under their belt.

    Robert, I think almost every part of Mongolia is beautiful. It’s just a real hard place to make a living. The same is true of the Great Plains. Without bison there is basically nothing there. Wheat farming is not a real sustainable option. And I agree

    Comment by Jim — January 16, 2008 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

  10. we should engender a cultural revolution and send robert to the countryside to raise water buffaloes.

    Comment by obie1993 — January 16, 2008 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  11. Regarding the warrior spirit, I was thinking somewhat more narrowly about a Native American way of life that no longer exists. More broadly, the stoic resistance of oppression and defense of freedom I can definitely get behind. Used as an instrument of imperialism and dominance, well, that’s not something I can wax poetic about.

    Comment by Brutus — January 16, 2008 @ 11:07 pm | Reply


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