Google the words “Lakota” and “secede,” and watch the fun. It’s an exercise in hysteria.
The story was first reported yesterday morning. The best version I’ve seen is an Agence France-Presse report, on the News Australia website.
THE Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the US.
“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,” long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means said.
A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department and said they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the Federal Government, some of them more than 150 years old.
The group also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and said they would continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas.
The article mentions visits to foreign embassies, declarations that old treaties with the U.S. are invalid, and the intention to issue passports and drivers’ licenses, and to live tax-free. It sounds radical and exciting, and the perfect response to the Bush Administration’s having made the United States an international pariah. In other words, lots of people are going to want to impute great significance to this declaration. There’s just one little problem.
Russell Means is a legendary activist. That’s a given. That’s also why many people seem to think this means more than it does. What they should be asking themselves is this: whom does Russell Means represent? By what authority are he and his fellow activists declaring independence. Because this is where we get back to reality.