Last week, members of the Lakota people announced that they are withdrawing from all treaties negotiated with the United States. The declaration was read in Washington, DC by a delegation consisting of veteran Native American activists Russell Means, Phyllis Young of Women of All Red Nations (WARN), Duane Martin Sr. of the Ogala Lakota Strong Heart Society, and Garry Rowland of the of the Big Foot Riders. Means, Rowland, and Martin Sr. were all involved in the 1973 takeover of Wounded Knee.
The declaration is reprinted below:
Lakotah Unilateral Withdrawal from All Agreements and Treaties with the United States of America
We as the freedom loving Lakotah People are the predecessor sovereign of Dakota Territory as evidenced by the Treaties with the United States Government, including, but not limited to, the Treaty of 1851 and the Treaty of 1868 at Fort Laramie.
Lakotah, formally and unilaterally withdraws from all agreements and treaties imposed by the United States Government on the Lakotah People.
Lakotah, and the population therein, have waited for at least 155 years for the United States of America to adhere to the provisions of the above referenced treaties. The continuing violations of these treaties’ terms have resulted in the near annihilation of our people physically, spiritually, and culturally.
Lakotah rejects United States Termination By Appropriation policy from 1871 to the present.
In addition, the evidence of gross violations of the above referenced treaties are listed herein.
Lakotah encourages the United States of America, through its Government, to enter into dialogue with Lakotah regarding the boundaries, the land and the resources therein. Please contact the Lakotah Interests Section, Naomi Archer, at (828) 230-1404 or info@Lakotafreedom.com.
Should the United States and its subordinate governments choose not to act in good faith concerning the rebirth of our nation, we hereby advise the United States Government that Lakotah will begin to administer liens against real estate transactions within the five state area of Lakotah.
Lakotah, through its government, appointed the following representatives to withdraw from all the treaties with the United States of America based on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties entered into force in 1980 and the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007:
Heretofore known as Gary Rowland
Canupa Gluha Mani
Heretofore known as Duane Martin Sr.
Heretofore know as Russell Means
Mni yuha Najin Win
Heretofore known as Phyllis Young
The declaration was accompanied by a summary of Lakota treaties and interactions with the United States and its government. The summary helps explain why the Lakota reservations are among the most impoverished areas in North America. Lakota has the highest death rate in the United States and Lakota men have the lowest life expectancy of any nation on Earth-excluding AIDS-at approximately 44 years. The infant mortality rate is five times the U.S. average and teen suicide rates are 150% more than the national average. 97% of the people live below the poverty line and unemployment is near 85%.
Lakotah – Political and Diplomatic Relations with the United States of America
The first official contacts between Lakotah and the government of the United States of America began in earnest after the United States conducted a commercial transaction with France, commonly known as the Louisiana Purchase, in 1803. Prior to that time, Lakotah exercised complete and unfettered freedom and independence in their territory.
According to the fantasy of United States’ history, the Louisiana Purchase was a purported sale by France to the United States of 530 million acres (2.1 million sq.km.) for $15 million. Part of this sale included the territory of Lakotah who, of course never had knowledge of, nor gave consent to, the sale of their national territory.
The first treaty between the U.S. and any segment of Lakotah occurred in 1805, , and various other treaties of “peace and friendship,” between Lakotah and the U.S. As citizens of the U.S. began to invade and encroach on the territory of Lakotah in increasing numbers, tensions and violence erupted. To prevent full-scale war, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 was requested by the U.S., to allow a transportation route through Lakotah territory. The treaty did not impair the sovereignty or the independence of Lakotah. In fact, the treaty expressly recognized Lakotah as an independent nation, and the treaty respected “all national business” of Lakotah.
After repeated violations by the United States of the 1851 Treaty, warfare broke out between Lakotah and the U.S. Lakotah defeated the U.S. in the so-called “Red Cloud War,” leading to the U.S. to call for another treaty conference at Fort Laramie. The second treaty agreed for the U.S. to abandon the Bozeman Road, and the accompanying military forts that had been built along it, and promised to keep U.S. troops and settlers out of Lakotah territory.
Almost immediately, the U.S. began violating terms of the treaty, allowing railroad and mining interests to trespass and steal Lakotah resources and territory. In 1874, the infamous U.S. military commander, George Custer, led an invasion of the most sacred part of Lakotah territory, the Paha Sapa (Black Hills), prompting an invasion of gold seekers, and provoking another war between the U.S. and Lakotah. As a result of the war, Lakotah territory was illegally occupied by the U.S., and billions of dollars of natural resources have been stolen from the occupied territories of Lakotah.
The United States has engaged in multiple military, legal and political strategies for more than a century to deny Lakotah our right to freedom and self-determination. In 1876-77, in violations of the treaties that it had signed with Lakotah, the U.S. engaged in a sell-or-starve policy to coerce Lakotah to sell our national homeland. Lakotah refused, and has consistently refused to the present time.
In 1871, the U.S. decided no longer to enter into treaties with indigenous nations, but the U.S. treaty-ending legislation made explicit that the new policy of the United States would in no way impair or limit those treaties already in force between indigenous nations and the U.S. Lakotah have consistently relied on the sanctity of the
treaty between the U.S. and Lakotah.
As mentioned above, the United States has consistently violated the treaties between Lakotah and the U.S., resulting in the loss of life, resources, and territory for Lakotah. Although the United States was willing to take the benefit of its bargain (i.e., territory and natural resources) in signing treaties with Lakotah, it was almost immediately unwilling to respect the mutual bargain to the Lakotah. The U.S. began to use U.S. law and policy to attempt to diminish the political, economic and cultural freedom of Lakotah.
After signing the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, the U.S. allowed its military, and its civilian citizens to invade Lakotah territory to steal gold, silver and other natural resources. The U.S. unilaterally violated the 1868 Treaty throughout the 1870s and 1880s by coercing alterations in the Treaty onto Lakotah, without the required 2/3 agreement of Lakotah, as required in the Treaty.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the ongoing freedom and independence of Lakotah in the landmark case of Ex Parte Crow Dog (1883), two years later, the U.S. Congress attempted to steal Lakotah independence through the passage of the Major Crimes Act, that unilaterally extended U.S. criminal jurisdiction into Lakotah territory.
These actions were followed by more arrogant actions of the United States, culminating in the shocking Supreme Court Case of Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock (1903). Although Lone Wolf involved the Kiowa and Comanche Nations in what is now the State of Oklahoma, its impact adversely affected Lakotah. In Lone Wolf, the United States not only said that it could violate, change or abrogate treaties with Indian nations unilaterally, but it also said that the U.S. Congress possesses plenary (absolute) power to legislate in any way in indigenous affairs without the consent or consideration of indigenous nations.
By extension, Lone Wolf has been used to violate hundreds of treaties between the U.S. and indigenous peoples, including Lakotah. Through the operation of Lone Wolf, the U.S. stole the sacred Black Hills, allowed the mining of billions of dollars of gold from them, admitted that the Black Hills were taken in violation of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, and then offered to compensate Lakotah at 1874 land values. Lakotah have, to this day, rejected the offer of payment, and continue to insist on the return of the Paha Sapa (Black Hills).
An overview of violations follows:
* Homestead Acts
* Allotment Acts
* Citizenship Act forcing United States citizenship upon all American Indians
* Indian Reorganization Act a.k.a. Howard Wheeler Act (the first Apartheid Act)
* Forced relocation during the decades of the 1950’s over the 1960’s.
* Supreme Court decision disallowing our religions.
* Even though we are citizens of the United States of America, we are denied protections of the United States Constitution while living on Indian reservations, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
The operation of the United States in the nefarious ways outlined above are a violation, not only of the sovereignty and independence of Lakotah, not only of the solemn treaty signed between the U.S. and Lakotah, but it is a violation of the fundamental law of the United States itself. Article Six of the United States Constitution explicitly states that treaties signed by the United States are the supreme law of the land, and must be respected by every court and by every lawmaker, as such.