Many of you know that I have been following the developments unfolding in the Republic of Lakota, and that I have been very sympathetic to their struggle. If you have followed the postings since December 2007, you would have noticed that first the US government rejected the legitimization of the withdrawal of the treaties, then they secretly began paperwork for return some of their land "the badlands", and now there is a referendum to the Oglala.
Russel Means is running a freedom ticket. Should he win, and become a legitimate representative of the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux, the US government would have to take his withdrawal from the Treaties between the Sioux and the US Government seriously.
Though he is targeting the liberal and libertarian voters within the tribe, he makes great points to the conservative mind. I may contact him and suggest that he expand his target to include the conservatives as well.
There is a 20 minute video on his website in which he outlines the violations of the treaties with the Sioux... but he does more than that. He outlines cause for concern, and the cause of the Lakotah people being the poorest with the lowest life expectancy in the western hemisphere (lower than Haiti, he indicates). He notes that on the Indian Reservation, it is against the law for private property ownership, because the land is held in a public Indian trust by the US government - a socialist dictum forced upon the people by the US government. With no private property, there is no will to protect and enhance that property... economics 101. There are no banks on the reservations, no industry, no jobs... He claims that the regulations by the US government over the land and the people (they are ruled, as long as they remain on the reservation - our policy is intended to discourage Indian-ship) are to blame for discouraging innovation in Lakotah way of life... There is no motivation or innovation for fixing the education system, providing energy, and upholding the rule of law. His platform is that of independence against the archaic laws and regulations regarding Indians in America, and as such he is promising a vote for him is a referendum to the US government that the Sioux are supportive of his struggle to make them free.
It will be interesting to watch his campaign.
One thing to note is that during the wrangling of all the Indians onto reservations, regardless of the treaties signed with the US government at the time, all other tribes accepted payment for their stolen land and accepted the reservations as their homes - EXCEPT the Sioux. The Lakotah Sioux have refused to accept money for their stolen land, even though the Supreme Court ordered a payment to sit in trust for when they do accept it. This act of defiance brings further attention to the fact that the transfer of legally owned land (per the Fort Laramie Treaty) from the Sioux to the US was not legal. The land was taken at gun-point, by force, often resulting in acts of murder of unarmed Sioux women, Children, and Elderly (see Wounded Knee).
I have heard that the stance of conservatives is that Indian-ship is a racist mentality... and that Indians should embrace the free market capitalist society that America has become. Though I agree that the Indians should join the world market, it is the US government holding reservations in Trust that keeps them from doing so... But if the government cancelled their handling of the tribes, it would have to indicate that the US government is finally granting them freedom, and the option to join the Union peacefully and legally...
If they do not... if they decide to form their own government, free from over regulation of the US government - is that not their right? Don't our treaties recognize them as sovereign entities? If not, if we never thought of them as sovereign, why ever sign a treaty with them?
Food for thought... but November in South Dakota is going to be interesting.