Lakota Sioux -
The Bravest Americans
By Kathryn A. Graham
--- - And So It Begins
In an incredible irony, the very people that the United States
have most oppressed throughout our history may hold the key to
freedom for all of us.
Few Americans remember the siege at Wounded Knee in the
mid-1970s, but perhaps they should. Members of the AIM, or the
American Indian Movement, occupied parts of Pine Ridge in
protest over the brutal killings of two of their own, the
disgustingly mild prosecutions for those murders, and the
beating of the mother of one of those two when she attempted to
seek justice from the U.S. government. The AIM were seeking
their rights under U.S. law and for the U.S. government to honor
treaties with the American Indian that had been ignored for more
than a century. It was a lawful - and a peaceful until attacked
In response, the FBI fired almost 200,000 rounds at the
protesters (the protesters did fire weapons in their own
defense, but only over their attackers' heads) in an illegal
show of force that betrayed every ideal of real freedom. The
siege at Wounded Knee lasted 71 days. This was Waco decades
before Waco, largely ignored by the U.S. population due to media
indifference and the fact that the victims were not white
Later, the defense team for Russell Means and Dennis Banks was
infiltrated by a government informant, which led to perjured
testimony and a very angry judge who stated that the government
was more interested in convictions than in justice. South Dakota
Judge Nichols was quoted as saying, "It's hard for me to believe
that the FBI, which I have revered for so long, has stooped so
low," and dismissed all charges against the defendants.
Apparently, all those years ago, at least a portion of our
justice system still operated as it was designed to do.
Leonard Peltier was not so lucky. He was tried in North Dakota,
and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in prison.
He remains there today, even though evidence recovered after the
siege clearly showed that the two FBI deaths were attributable
to friendly fire. During his years in prison, through his art
and letters, Peltier has continued to work for oppressed people
Russell Means has remained free, and he has not been idle in the
intervening decades. A committed libertarian, he has written
several books, run for office on the Libertarian ticket, and
continued to pursue a film career that has made him a household
face and name. Apart from that, he has bided his time, waiting
for just the right moment in history.
That moment has come. In September of this year, the United
Nations passed a non-binding Resolution on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples. Naturally, Canada, the United States and
Australia refused to sign, but this resolution paved the way for
a move that has been waiting in the wings, so to speak, since
On Wednesday of this week, Russell Means led a delegation of the
Lakota Sioux people to the U.S. State Department and the
embassies of Bolivia, Chile, South Africa and Venezuela,
declaring their secession from the United States of America.
Means stated, "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." The lands of the
Lakota Sioux encompass portions of Nebraska, North Dakota, South
Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. In the coming weeks, they will take
their diplomatic mission overseas to seek further support.
Means also stated that anyone willing to renounce their U.S.
citizenship would live on Lakota land tax free, and that the
Lakota would issue their own passports and driving licenses.
Since a large group of libertarians have recently moved to
Wyoming, this opens up some interesting possibilities for a free
society growing up in our midst.
The coming road will not be an easy one. I cannot see the U.S.
neo-conservatives leaving this alone. I imagine that there will
be another bloody and vicious siege taking place on Lakota land,
but I also believe that Means has timed his move correctly. If
this happens as I fear it will, the neo-conservatives will be
the clear authors of their own destruction. The American people
have had enough!
You go, Russell!! You are the bravest and best of us, and the
sanest and best of America stands with you in the trials you
will face over the coming months and years.
Kathryn A. Graham, author of Flight
From Eden and America Hijacked!.
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