According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, leaders of the American Indian Movement, including activist and actor Russell Means, dropped in on the State Department and the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa last week seeking recognition for their effort to form a free and independent Lakota nation.
The new nation is needed because Indians have been “dismissed” by the United States and are tired of living under a colonial apartheid system, Means said during a news conference held at Plymouth Congregational Church in northeast Washington.
“I want to emphasize, we do not represent the collaborators, the Vichy Indians and those tribal governments set up by the United States of America to ensure our poverty, to ensure the theft of our land and resources,” Means said, comparing elected tribal governments to Nazi collaborators in France during World War II.
Rodney Bordeaux, chairman of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said his community has no desire to join the breakaway nation. Means and his group, which call themselves the Lakota Freedom Delegation, have never officially pitched their views to the Rosebud community, Bordeaux said.
Members of the new nation would not pay any taxes, and leaders would be informally chosen by community elders, Means said. Non-Indians could continue to live in the new nation’s territory, which would consist of the western parts of North and South Dakota and Nebraska and eastern parts of Wyoming and Montana. The new government would issue its own passports and drivers licenses, Means said.
Bolivian Ambassador Gustavo Guzman, who attended the press conference out of solidarity, said he takes the Lakotas’ declaration of independence seriously.
“We are here because the demands of indigenous people of America are our demands,” Guzman said.
I wonder if the Lakota Freedom Delegation would consider taking on dissidents who believe in their cause.