Wikinews has learned that the Lakota Freedom
Delegation, also known as Lakotah Oyate, an organization of activists
fighting for the Sioux Indian Nation to withdraw all treaties with the
United States, was "hijacked" by its spokesman, Russell Means, an
activist for Native American Indians.
On December 19, 2007, Means and the "delegation" went to Washington,
D.C. and hand-delivered a letter, signed by the Delegation, to the U.S.
State Department claiming that the Lakota Indian Tribe was declaring
that all treaties between the tribe and the U.S. have been withdrawn or
They also held a press conference declaring their freedom.
"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. This is according to the laws of the United States,
specifically article six of the constitution," said Means during the
Since then, Russell Means has gone on to announce the formation of a
"provisional government" of the "Republic of Lakotah" with himself as
Chief Facilitator, as well as to promote the establishment of a bank and
a utility company for the country. Despite the claim Means has made,
Naomi Archer, liaison of Lakotah Oyate stated to Wikinews that Means
took control of the organization and hijacked it and its website on
Archer also said that Lakotah Oyate or the delegation are not a
government entity and do not make decisions for the Nation.
"The legitimate actions of the Lakota people are not determined by one
person (referencing Russell Means) or even one group, but by the people
themselves," added Archer.
Other signers of the withdrawal letter are all still involved in the
movement, including Canupa Gluha Mani who heads the Strong Heart Warrior
Society which will "probably become the paramilitary force" of Lakotah,
said Archer. Wikinews asked Archer if Means would still be involved in
the movement, but she refused to comment.
The Bank of Lakotah and Provisional Government of Lakota are not
supported by Lakotah Oyate; Means is acting without having consulted the
other elders of Lakotah; Means is himself, at age 69 [sic], an elder,
and "people need their elders to set better examples than that," said
While the idea of establishing a power company, bank, and other such
institutions was an idea that had come from Means and the rest of
Lakotah Freedom Delegation knew that he was going off to Washington D.C.
on his own to conduct negotiations, they did not know what the
negotiations were going to be regarding. Lakotah Oyate hopes that this
dispute will be resolved in a few weeks because this "all has to be
about the people".
Since the Delegation's press conference, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the
Cheyenne River Reservation have rejected Means's and the delegation's
declaration of secession.
"They're individuals acting on their own. They did not come to the
Rosebud Sioux tribal council or our government in any way to get our
support and we do not support what they've done. We do not support what
Means and his group are doing and they don't have any support from any
tribal government I know of. They don't speak for us," said Rosebud
Sioux Tribe president, Rodney Bordeaux.
Despite those rejections rejection, Archer said that the Pine Ridge
Reservation's council will "consider the proposal." A representative for
the Standing Rock Reservation's council has said that that reservation
is also considering Lakotah Oyate's proposal. Lakotah Oyate have also
been holding discussions with "about 150" other indigenous organizations
in the U.S. and mentioned particularly the Native Hawaiians.
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