The Lakota Get Serious
Posted by Ryan on December 20, 2007
A Lakota Indian delegation, part of the Greater Sioux Nation of Indians, has formally withdrawn from all 33 of its treaties with the United States Government and wants to speak with the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa. They are citing the US Constitution as justification for their actions based on a 1980 treaty Congress approved (there’s the specter of the Carter Administration coming back to haunt us again!) at the Vienna Convention giving special recognition to indigenous peoples. If honored, Lakota territory would comprise of parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana.
This is significant and a very difficult situation. Devolution of nation-states has been happening since World War II when the empires of old came apart due to a lack of will from the mother country and indigenous pressures winning out: most of Africa since 1948, Tibet should probably be its own country, Scotland has pushed for and achieved more autonomy in the last fifteen years, some in Quebec keep hopes alive for an independent country one day, just to name a few.
What do you do if an Amerindian tribe wants to push its autonomy like the Lakota? Let them have it, since they’ve been punished enough by our government throughout history? Let the five states in question vote on the proposition? Flat out tell them no and risk a potential military conflict?
This could end up being a great day for the Lakota, or another instance where an Amerindian tribe takes on the US government with tragic consequences. We’ll just have to wait and see how this whole thing plays out. I’d like to hear where Congress and the President stand on this, but I have a feeling this will be kicked down to the next President and the next Congress to handle.
Pic from USGS.