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Tribe official says council will consider treaty pullout

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.in-forum.com/articles/index.cfm?id=187209§ion=News&freebie_c heck&CFID=78055867&CFTOKEN=32699764&jsessionid=8830fefa5e44654c2772 Tribe official
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 28, 2007
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      Tribe official says council will consider treaty pullout

      Mike Nowatzki
      The Forum - 12/27/2007

      Avis Little Eagle says she understands the frustration that led Lakota
      activists to announce a plan to withdraw from the tribe’s treaties with the
      U.S. government.

      However, the vice chairwoman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council
      advocates holding the federal government to the provisions in those
      treaties, rather than withdrawing from them.

      “I see where they’re coming from,” she said of American Indian Movement
      leader Russell Means and other members of the Lakota Freedom Delegation who
      declared the Lakota people’s independence to the State Department last week
      in Washington, D.C.

      “But we, as elected officials, on a daily basis we refer to those treaties
      because to us they are living documents,” Little Eagle said Wednesday from
      the tribe’s headquarters in Fort Yates, N.D.

      Little Eagle said council members will probably discuss the delegation’s
      letter, “and I can’t say what action they will take.”

      Duane Martin Sr., a delegation member and leader of the Strongheart Civil
      Rights Movement, said Wednesday that the State Department had yet to
      respond to the notice of withdrawal from the treaties.

      “We are anxious that they will (respond). We’ve got other nations looking
      at us in a positive venue,” he said, noting that the delegation has sought
      recognition of sovereignty from Bolivia, Chile and South Africa, among
      others.

      In its notice, the delegation claims that the United States’ continuing
      violation of treaties, including the Treaty of 1851 and the Treaty of 1868
      at Fort Laramie, “have resulted in the near annihilation of our people
      physically, spiritually and culturally.”

      If the federal government doesn’t recognize the tribe’s independence,
      Lakota people will file liens on land in the five-state treaty area, which
      includes parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and
      Wyoming, the letter of withdrawal says.

      Means said members of the new Lakota nation wouldn’t pay taxes, and the new
      government would issue its own driver’s licenses and passports, the Sioux
      Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader reported. Non-Indians could still live in the new
      territory.

      Little Eagle, a Hunkpapa Lakota, said many tribal governments are
      frustrated with a lack of federal support for health care, law enforcement
      and other provisions in treaties the U.S. government has failed to honor.

      “If they bring attention to it, maybe it’ll be to the good,” she said.

      She said she didn’t know about the delegation’s plans before the
      announcement.

      Delegation members have made it clear that they don’t represent tribal
      governments, which are described on the group’s Web site as “beholden to
      the colonial apartheid system” and “ ‘stay by the fort’ Indians who are
      unwilling to claim their freedom.”

      Martin said members spent 3½ years gathering input and support from tribal
      elders and others on the reservations before announcing the plan.

      “They’re tired of this colonial oppression,” he said.

      Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528
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