American Indians

The Free Reservation Project

|

Twenty years ago, the race for the Libertarian presidential nomination was a cowboys-and-Indians struggle between Ron Paul and Russell Means. We all know what Paul's been up to lately, but what about Means?

aimpatchThe Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

"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 told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.

They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and will continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months, they told the news conference.

Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free—provided residents renounce their US citizenship, Means said.

In case you were wondering: No, the officially recognized Lakota tribes have not joined the secessionist movement:

"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.

Means has appeared in three movies this year, with another in post-production. But apparently he hasn't abandoned theater.

NEXT: Ron Paul on the Glenn Beck Show

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It doesn’t surprise me that the “official” tribes aren’t involved in this. Tribal leaders are politicians just like any other politicians.

  2. Go Chingachgook! Wonder if he’s still swinging that hockey-stick-with-spikes thing?

  3. Chingachgook isn’t actually a Mohican? My world is crashing down!

    “Tribal leaders are politicians just like any other politicians.”

    And what’s worse, celebrities are still celebrities. He may as well be Zach de la Rocha crying out for the return of California to Mexico.

  4. I like what you’re selling. Can I join your franchise?

  5. I think in the later books, Hawkeye moved out to the plains trying to escape civilization…I don’t remember if Chingachgook made it out west with him or not…but maybe he became a transplanted Lakota…

  6. Better shine up my Cav boots and spurs. Good thing I have a flight physical coming up next month too. As I am part Injun myself, of a “nation” not related to those named, who would have slaughtered my beloved Cherokee for being too peaceful, I know which side of this fight I am on.

  7. does this mean that bush will wage war on them in order to preserve the union.

    that would be awful. he might even suspend habeus corpus, violate the privacy of individuals, and regulate the press.

    oh crap!

  8. Yea! Let the liberation of America begin!

  9. Sad, isn’t it? 🙁

  10. Why should the conquered be well-behaved?

    It seems like a silly and unrealistic expectation. From Roman problems in Judea to Franco-Prussian jockeying in the Saar and Alsace-Lorraine, people ruled by those they don’t identify with (culturally, socially, politically) inevitably start shit.

    See also: Germany. Mesopotamia. Spain. Persia. Turkey. Formosa. The Philippines. The Balkans. Afghanistan. Et cetera, ad nauseaum.

    Let the Indians have their casinos, and their revenge, by fleecing the stupid white man. If they want Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and the Dakotas back…hm, so much the better. We get to keep Paul, though.

    Beyond the snarky parody and the sad, sad history of aboriginal peoples in America, though, there is some comedy to be had via giving the natives some guns and having them take seriously the rhetoric of freedom and self-determination, you know, with those guns.

  11. Oooo! I know how this one ends! They have a “compound” right?

    Somebody’s looking for a tear-gassin!

  12. The Indians aren’t doing all that badly as things go for a conquered people.

    It’s all in “fly-over country”, maybe the elites will give in to Means?

  13. But can any fightin’ whities join?

  14. bilgewater,

    But can any fightin’ whities join?

    Only if you are bringing firesticks and firewater.

  15. “Somebody’s looking for a tear-gassin!”

    “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it’.”
    -A. Lincoln

  16. Can I join? This would be great if it weren’t for the fact that, even if the whole Lakota Nation went for this, the US Government will never, ever let it happen. Sorry, dudes, the US Government would fuck you once again. Maybe you can go before the BIA with a complaint.

  17. They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies,

    And y’all think there’s *anything* libertarian about what the Lakota are doing?

    also:

    “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

    Puts the ‘win’ in goodwin. Most people don’t use the second order analogies. I’m genuinely impressed by this soundbite.

  18. But apparently he hasn’t abandoned theater.

    Yeah. It sounds, if nothing more, like he’s simply mocking the U.S. government’s history of abandoning treaty agreements made with Indians (or illegitimately made with nominal leaders).

  19. I’m afraid, for Mr. Means sake, that the 7th cavalry is a little better armed than they were in 1876.

  20. I’m afraid, for Mr. Means sake, that the 7th cavalry is a little better armed than they were in 1876.

    Means’ Last Stand?

  21. Well, he’s got the Bolivians on board so it must be legit.

  22. The elite’s government FEARS you!!!!!!

    Their fear is manifested in the laws they pass. Here is a law banning what MANY of the Founders wrote is a RIGHT of citizens when a government no longer represents them:

    Section 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government

    Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or
    teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of
    overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or
    the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession
    thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by
    force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any
    such government; or
    Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any
    such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates,
    sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed
    matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity,
    desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any
    government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts
    to do so; or
    Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society,
    group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the
    overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or
    violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any
    such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes
    thereof –
    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
    twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by
    the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five
    years next following his conviction.
    If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in
    this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
    not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for
    employment by the United States or any department or agency
    thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
    As used in this section, the terms ”organizes” and
    ”organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of
    persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new
    units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes,
    and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.

    The federal government is allowing MILLIONS of illegals to invade our country. Corporate America is becoming increasingly more powerful and influential. Yet, according to the government of for and by the elites YOU, a citizen, have to accept whatever the government does with NO recourse other than voting…… and there is sufficient proof that shows to me voting is worthless since the entrenched power structure ensures that the emplaced elite class can not be removed.

    Several Founders specifically wrote of the people’s right to abolish a government when it no longer represents them.

    We are forced to live under an elite’s TYRANNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. I’m afraid, for Mr. Means sake, that the 7th cavalry is a little better armed than they were in 1876.

    But is it any better led?

  24. If you believe that the US had the right to secede from the British in 1776, you must also grant this to the indigenous people of America.

    I feel bad in a way about this. They will either be ignored by the US government or imprisoned. As well, real media attention may only come out an act of violence perpetrated upon them.

    That and the Vichy reference was golden.

  25. The last article I read about Means had him as unstable as before. It mentioned his problems with the law over alleged beatings of his wife, if I remember corecctly. And it had him quoted going into an anti-Jewish diatribe with the reporter who had a Jewish surname. Those movies he was in…. they wouldn’t have been with Mel Gibson would they?? : )

  26. If you believe that the US had the right to secede from the British in 1776, you must also grant this to the indigenous people of America.

    Excuse me, whitie, we are about as ‘indigenous’ as the rest of the Asian immigrants. From recent studies, it seems we are no more ‘indigenous’ than the post-Columbus immigrants.

  27. I think any group in the US has the right to secede if they want to – the question is whether they can win a war over it or, if the nation lets em go, if they can survive on their own.

    Russell Means is a noted asshole, who has, among other asshole things, been arrested for beating up his wife’s dad at one point. An angry, violent guy with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, a penchant for meaningless publicity stunts and a love of attention.

  28. wmv: Gibson and Means were in Pocahontas together, which if nothing else should call their taste into question.

  29. “And y’all think there’s *anything* libertarian about what the Lakota are doing?”

    Of course not. Everyone knows that *real* libertarians don’t establish relationships with other democratic countries, der der der!

  30. I’m afraid, for Mr. Means sake, that the 7th cavalry is a little better armed than they were in 1876.

    Don’t be silly. We won’t send in the military to slaughter them all. We’re far more civilized these days.

    We will simply just declare them enemy combatants and make them disappear to a country of our choosing where they will be held as ‘guests’ until we decide otherwise.

  31. Walker,

    I’ll let your comment slide since it seems to have been made in ignorance. I mean, “Colors of the Wind”? Come on. Besides, one of the lead characters in the movie was a raccoon. That last sentence requires no justification.

  32. Will pot, porn and machine guns be legal in the independent Lakota Nation?

  33. “Colors of the Wind” may be the worst song ever to appear in a Disney movie — and yes, I’m aware that The Lion King is a Disney movie.

  34. “And y’all think there’s *anything* libertarian about what the Lakota are doing?”

    Of course not. Everyone knows that *real* libertarians don’t establish relationships with other democratic countries, der der der!

    Maybe all those embassies were simply the first ones you encounter as you walk up Mass Ave from foggy bottom. (although I misread Chilean as Columbian, the former does not have a significant leftist indigeous rights movement, the latter does)

    Or maybe the AIM and its sucessors are maoist organizations with no difference, other than capabilities, to groups like the Black Panthers, Sendero Luminoso, or Khemer Rouge.

  35. “Or maybe the AIM and its sucessors [sic] are maoist [sic] organizations with no difference, other than capabilities, to [sic] groups like the Black Panthers, Sendero Luminoso, or Khemer [sic] Rouge.”

    We’re talking about a specific organization run by a former libertarian presidential contender, not AIM. I think it may be a little early to start comparing it to Khmer Rouge, seeing as how, you know, they’ve neither said nor done anything that remotely resembles anything about the Khmer Rouge and whatnot. What they *have* done is seek out the support of a number of mixed-economy countries with sizable populations of indigenous peoples who have been specifically targeted and singled out in the not-so-recent past by their own governments, which is a pretty reasonable move on their part seeing as how they are the ancestors of a group that was subjected to genocide by people such as Andrew Jackson (“The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”) What embassy *should* they have sought out? The Saudi Arabian one? Good luck getting an appointment; they’re too busy filling out the paperwork on all those huge weapons shipments from the U.S. and Britain. Oh, look, the U.S. deals with disreputable countries that are far more disreputable than Bolivia! We must be like the Khmer Rouge, too! Let’s napalm D.C.!

    The Republican Party is right over there, sir.

  36. Maybe they went to the Bolivian embassy first to get some guidance on how the Bolivian secession movement is going:

    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jllDWRVY-Eicrqo4aCEQgi4p45dA

  37. I honestly can’t imagine how this would play out. Just to pick one issue:

    Wouldn’t all the Indians still be “birthright” citizens of the US? Would Means revoke their citizenship? How should we respond to a foreign nation trying to strip our citizens of their citizenship?

  38. Can Hawaii be far behind?

  39. For a conquered people they’re sure getting uppity.

  40. Re: AIM and Means

    Russell Means was another early leader.
    Or is this a different Russel Means we’re talking about?

    But of course, free Leonard Peltier! Free Mumia!

    I would love to know of any ‘ethnic empowerment group’ that actually believes in *individual* liberty, and not just redistribution of wealth to its collective members (with off course, the leaders getting their piece of the action as enititled by their efforts). I’ll give some credit to that Graemen bank guy on this score, however.

    It is also interesting that those who are actually given a plebicite to go their own way E.g. Puerto ricans and the CNMI most recently, tend to vote to keep things as they are, and with a larger portion wanting full in vice full out. The (tiny) Hawaiian Sovereignty movement has the unusual combo of ethnic grievence, leftist economics, and monarchy restoration. It’s not very Republican to want a King or Queen, is it?

    And pace Dr Johnson, critizing speling is actually the last refuge of the scoundrel. Additionaly I think you got a least 2 to many sics up there.

  41. I met Russell more than 20 years ago.
    To get an idea of his “presence,” picture Anton Chigurh of “No Country for Old Men.”
    Sounds like he still has his “edge.”

  42. With apologies to Dr. Johnson, comparing groups led by noted libertarians to the Khmer Rouge when said groups have done absolutely nothing Khmer Rouge-like is the last refuge of the scoundrel. I won’t bother to add the sic notations into your latest comment because one can only type so much (and, no, all of the sic notations I put in above are correct).

    “Or is this a different Russel Means we’re talking about?”

    No, we’re talking about the same guy. This one: “In 1986 Means traveled to Nicaragua to express his support for Miskito Indians who were allied with the US-funded contra guerrillas against the Nicaraguan government.”

    Damn Maoist!

    “I would love to know of any ‘ethnic empowerment group’ that actually believes in *individual* liberty, and not just redistribution of wealth to its collective members”

    Meet the Indian National Congress! Oh, and the American civil rights movement. Oh, and the Irish resistance movement against the English. Oh, and the Netherlands. Oh, and the Zionists.

    Well, I’ll leave you guys to get acquainted.

  43. From the very little I know about Means he seems like a good guy. It’s very insulting and unfair, though, to call one’s fellow Indians, “Vichy”, just because they don’t want to go along with your crazy idea, which you have every right to attempt, that is likely be squashed with extreme prejudice by the Federal government.

  44. American civil rights movement

    Since 1970?

    the Irish resistance movement against the English

    Since the Irish Civil War? (Ok, for a time in the forties it was more convenient for them to be Nazi allies, but communist/fascist, po-TAY-to / po-TAH-to and all that)

    the Netherlands
    Those damn opressed Dutch?

    Ok, a quick glance at the flemmish movements do seem about equally split between hard right and hard left, so you may have a point here. (‘hard-right’ & ‘hard-left’ is the exact wording of what I read; not sure if hard right = xenophobic racist in their formulation)

    zionists

    My impression is that zionism has as many socialistic tendencies and nationalistic ones (pre-buttal antigoodwin: do not read this as Zionism = National Socialism). Primarly by military necessity, but also by sociopolitical preference, the govt of Israel is the most socialistic of any democracy on earth.

    The INC is also a left leaning movement whose history and development shares many traits and events with zionism (mainly because the principle opponent was a late-empire Britain)

  45. I always thought indians didn’t have the concept of the ownership of land? I’d also always heard the other tribes hated the Lakota because, horror of horrors, the were very warlike and invaded other tribes lands and took them over.

  46. They didn’t have the exact European legal formulation of the concept of individual land ownership with grant deeds and stuff like that, but they definitely had the idea that each Indian nation had its home territory.

  47. seeing as how they are the ancestors of a group that was subjected to genocide by people such as Andrew Jackson (“The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”)

    Mudkipz:

    I would suggest consulting an American History book before you type(Andrew Jackson subjected the Lakota Sioux to genocide?) . A dictionary wouldn’t hurt either.

    bill:

    I always thought indians didn’t have the concept of the ownership of land?

    They had the concept of the ownership of slaves.

  48. Chief Wanker-in-public Means will do anything to get his moronic puss in the public eye. When are the Lakota tribal elders & presidents going to repudiate this impostor for once and for all?

    But the MSM will pick up on him anyway, even though it’s a dog bites man story.

  49. I was being sarcastic.

  50. I reckon the feds will make it illegal for whities to gamble at the indian casinos now since an indepentant tribe is now international gambling. Oh yeah, and stop giving the tribes all those groceries given away as commodities for the poor on the rez.

  51. Means only wants tribal sovereignty when it is convenient for him. When he beat his Navajo girlfriend and her one-armed WWII veteran father on the Navajo reservation, he was arrested and charged under Navajo law. Subsequently, he escaped and filed suit in the US Federal court claiming that the Navajo nation lacked sovereign authority to charge him. …wanker

  52. Could this be a golden opportunity for a “libertopia”?

  53. Obbop wrote, “Section 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government

    Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any
    such government…”

    I always point people to provisions such as this when they jeer at the Libertarian Party for making people sign the so-called “pledge” to become members. The practical purpose of the latter is to establish legal evidence in case is ever necessary to defend against charges based on the former. It is not to establish who is or is not a “real libertarian,” or who is “more libertarian” than the next guy. The people who agitate for elimination of “the pledge” are, in effect, clamoring for the party to leave itself open to persecution and prosecution under laws like this (which are nevertheless directly contrary to the letter and spirit of the Declaration of Independence, to name just one relevant document from our own founding era).

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.