Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lakota Sioux Secede from the US

It is probable that most people in the United States will have no idea that such an act as the one described in the article below, where members of the Lakota Sioux nation declared their independence from the United States. This action however is a perfect point of discussion for the "Postcolonial Futures in a Not Yet Postcolonial World" conference.


Published on Friday, December 21, 2007 by Rapid City Journal (South Dakota)
Lakota Sioux Secede From US, Declare Independence
by Bill Harlan

Political activist Russell Means, a founder of the American Indian Movement, says he and other members of Lakota tribes have renounced treaties and are withdrawing from the United States.
“We are now a free country and independent of the United States of America,” Means said in a telephone interview. “This is all completely legal.”

Means said a Lakota delegation on Monday delivered a statement of “unilateral withdrawal” from the United States to the U.S. State Department in Washington.

The State Department did not respond. “That’ll take some time,” Means said.

Meanwhile, the delegation has delivered copies of the letter to the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa. “We’re asking for recognition,” Means said, adding that Ireland and East Timor are “very interested” in the declaration.

Other countries will get copies of the same declaration, which Means said also would be delivered to the United Nations and to state and county governments covered by treaties, including treaties signed in 1851 and 1868. “We’re willing to negotiate with any American political entity,” Means said.

The United States could face international pressure if it doesn’t agree to negotiate, Means said. “The United State of America is an outlaw nation, we now know. We’ve understood that as a people for 155 years.”

Means also said his group would file liens on property in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming that were illegally homesteaded.

The Web site for the declaration, “Lakota Freedom,” briefly crashed Thursday as wire services picked up the story and the server was overwhelmed, Means said.

Delegation member Phyllis Young said in an online statement: “We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren.” Young was an organizer of Women of All Red Nations.

Other members of the delegation include Rapid City-area activist Duane Martin Sr. and Gary Rowland, a leader of the Chief Big Foot Riders.

Means said anyone could live in the Lakota Nation, tax free, as long as they renounced their U.S. citizenship. The nation would issue drivers licenses and passports, but each community would be independent. “It will be the epitome of individual liberty, with community control,” Means said.

To make his case, Means cited several articles of the U.S. Constitution, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and a recent nonbinding U.N. resolution on the rights of indigenous people.

He thinks there will be international pressure. “If the U.S. violates the law, the whole world will know it,” Means said.

Means’ group is based in Porcupine on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

It is not an agency or branch of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Means ran unsuccessfully for president of the tribe in 2006.

Lakota tribes have long claimed that the U.S. government stole land guaranteed by treaties — especially in western South Dakota. “The Missouri River is ours, and so are the Black Hills,” Means said.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1980 awarded the tribes $122 million as compensation, but the court did not award land. The Lakota have refused the settlement. (As interest accrues, the unclaimed award is approaching $1 billion.)

In the late 1980s, then-Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey introduced legislation to return federal land to the tribes, and California millionaire Phil Stevens also tried to win support for a proposal to return the Black Hills to the Lakota.

Contact Bill Harlan at 394-8424 or

© 2007 The Rapid City Journal

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Date Change for Conference

Due to unexpected and unavoidable scheduling conflicts, the conference has been rescheduled for MARCH 5-7, 2007. If you have linked to us or posted our information on your blogs, website, listservs, could you please make the necessary changes.

We apologize for the inconvenience. Please email if you have further questions.

Indigenous Peoples Shut Out of Climate Talks

The Fourth and Third Worlds are not the same. The modern world has shifted to such a point, where pieces of the formerly savage not-Europe, have been gifted seats at the table of world affairs and the deliberation of its order. At this table, sit all those who do play a role in the course of History. Sadly, true power in the world of today is not by those who play a "role" in History, but rather is found with those nations who have the power to "end it."

There is something peculiar and frustrating about the position of indigenous peoples, as not even meriting that token seat at the table, but instead continuing to be a collective group which numbers close to 400 million, which can be quietly and unproblematically left out of the deliberations of the world which they are still very much a part of. I've posted an article below, in which we can see this dynamic through the exclusion of indigenous peoples from the recent discussions on global climate change.


Published on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 by One
Indigenous Peoples Shut Out of Climate Talks, Plans
by Haider Rizvi

UNITED NATIONS - Global initiatives to reduce carbon emissions are bound to fail if the interests of indigenous communities are not taken into account, leaders of the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples are warning.

“The success of efforts to lower carbon emissions from deforestation hinges primarily on whether indigenous peoples will throw their support behind proposed mechanisms,” said indigenous leader Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chair of the UN Permanent Forum.

Tauli-Corpuz told the UN Summit on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia, this week that indigenous communities are increasingly worried about plans by governments and international financial institutions to control forest degradation.

The indigenous communities, according to her, are particularly concerned about the World Bank’s Carbon Partnership Facility, which is likely to provide large-scale incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

The tropical and subtropical forest, the subject of the Facility, is home to 160 million indigenous peoples who are seen by many scientists as custodians and managers of forest biodiversity.

“While the Facility can be a good thing, we are very apprehensive on how this will work,” Tauli-Corpuz continued, “because of our negative historical and present experiences with similar initiatives.”

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes native groups’ right to control their lands and resources, including forests, but many governments and corporations continue to abuse the rights of forest communities.

“We remain in a very vulnerable situation,” said Tauli Corpuz, “because most states do not recognize our rights to these forests and resources found therein.”

Last week, a report released by an international advocacy group raised similar concerns about the role of governments and corporations.

In its report, London-based Survival International named and shamed countries where the violations of tribal peoples’ rights are most egregious, including Botswana, Brazil, New Zealand, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States.

The report entitled, “The Terrible Ten: Key Abusers of Tribal Peoples’ Rights in 2007″ says tribal people in West Papua are facing appalling violence at the hands of Indonesia’s army, including killing, torture and rape. The natives’ lands are often exploited by the government and foreign companies.

In Botswana, the government continues to prevent Bushmen from returning to their home in the country’s diamond-producing area, despite a landmark court ruling that declared their 2002 eviction ‘unlawful and unconstitutional.’

According to Survival, cattle ranchers occupying Guarani Indian land in Paraguay are committing armed violence against the natives. This year they killed two Guarani leaders and raped two Guarani women. Fear of rape has led many women to commit suicide.

In Peru, which is home to an estimated 15 of the world’s last uncontacted tribes, the government has opened up the indigenous peoples’ territories to oil companies and illegal loggers. Paraguay’s Ayoreo-Totobiegosode people face a similar situation.

In Malaysia, land has been taken from the Sarawak tribe to make way for logging, dam construction, and oil palm plantations. The government has told the nomadic, hunter-gatherer Penan people that they have no land rights until they ’settle down’ and start farming.

Meanwhile at the UN Summit in Bali, many indigenous groups protested against their exclusion from the climate change negotiations. They wore symbolic gags that read UNFCCC, the acronym of the United UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Last week, an indigenous delegation charged that despite having received an invitation, it was forcibly barred from entering the meeting between the UNFCCC executive secretary and civil society representatives.

“There is no seat or name plate for indigenous peoples in the plenary,” stated Hubertus Samangun, the representative for English-speaking Indigenous Peoples of the Global Forest Coalition.

“Indigenous peoples are not only marginalized from the discussion, but there is virtually no mention of indigenous peoples in the more that 5 million words of UNFCCC documents,” argued Alfred Ilenre of the Edo People of Nigeria.

“This is occurring despite the fact that indigenous peoples are suffering the most from climate change and climate change mitigation projects that directly impact their lands,” IIenre added in a statement.

UN Permanent Forum’s Tauli-Corpuz demanded the governments and corporations must obtain the “free and prior” consent of indigenous peoples before taking any initiative on forest protections.

“I imagine that donors and the private sector would not like to put their resources in high-risk projects which will not genuinely involve indigenous and other forest-dwellers,” she said. “If there is an acceptance of the Facility, indigenous peoples must have a representation in [its] governance.”

© 2007 One

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sovereignty Activists as "Terrorists" in New Zealand

One of the recent events which led to the questions and conversations that this conference is invested in.


New Zealand activists held in 'anti-terrorism' raids
Oct 15, 2007

WELLINGTON (AFP) — New Zealand police arrested 17 people in a series of 'anti-terrorist' raids across the North Island Monday, with Maori and environmental activists the main target, media reports said.

In the first operation under New Zealand's Terrorism Suppression Act, police said they had information that a number of people had taken part in military-style training camps involving the use of firearms and other weapons.

"It was military-style activities they were training for," Police Commissioner Howard Broad told a media conference.

"Based on the information and the activity known to have taken place, I decided it was prudent that action should be taken in the interests of public safety."

Television Three said it had been told a napalm bomb had been tested.

Broad released few details of information obtained by police but said it was "the first time that the Terrorism Suppression Act has been considered in terms of an operation" and Prime Minister Helen Clark was kept informed of events.

He said several firearms were seized and 17 arrests made in connection with the training camps, which involved people harbouring "a range of motivations" and from various ethnicities.

Media reports said campaigners from Maori sovereignty, environmental and "peace" groups were implicated.

Among those arrested was the heavily tattooed Tame Iti, New Zealand's most prominent Maori rights campaigner.

Iti was most recently in the headlines last month when he went to Fiji to offer support to coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama.

Prime Minister Clark said she was briefed on the planned police raids last week, but she would not comment on whether she was personally at risk.

"Senior ministers have been briefed as a courtesy but this is a police decision to proceed on the basis of information they have," she said.

Asked if she was surprised by the police information, Clark said: "Yes and no, surprised at the scale and numbers of people involved".

Fairfax Media said the arrests were the culmination of months of work by a police anti-terror unit which had hundreds of hours of recordings from bugged conversations, video surveillance, and tapped cellphone calls and texts.

It understood police had video of military-style training with live ammunition in camps deep in mountain ranges and expected to find machine guns and grenades during their raids.

"These guys are serious. They are talking of killing people," a source was quoted as telling Fairfax.

The Fairfax report said investigators believed that the various groups were planning to hit targets related to their own interests but with all the hits "coordinated to cause maximum chaos and stretching police resources across the country."