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The Indians just quit US! ...Or DID they?

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/huston/071230 The Indians just quit US! ...Or DID they? Sioux Indians withdraw from the USA ? Or not! Warner Todd Huston
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4, 2008

      The Indians just quit US! ...Or DID they?
      Sioux Indians "withdraw from the USA"? Or not!

      Warner Todd Huston
      December 30, 2007

      Here is the kind of story that really proves how little the MSM bothers to
      research things, how they often simply print glorified press releases
      without doing any real "journalism," and how the defective end product gets
      picked up and regurgitated like it is suddenly a "fact." In this one we
      have the story of "the Lakota Sioux Indians" announcing that "they" have
      withdrawn from agreed upon treaties with the US government and that they
      are now a sovereign nation, no longer to be called citizens of the USA.
      Problem is "the Lakota Sioux Indians" that have made this announcement are
      just an unaffiliated group of Indian activists the leader of whom does not
      represent the official Lakota tribe leadership! Yet here is the news media
      reporting this story as if all "the Lakota Sioux Indians" have banded
      together and quit the union.

      Take this report from USA Today: Lakota withdraw from treaties, declare
      independence from U.S.

      The Lakota Sioux Indians, whose ancestors include Sitting Bull, Red
      Cloud and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from all treaties their forefathers
      signed with the U.S. government and have declared their independence. A
      delegation delivered the news to the State Department earlier this week.

      Wow, it sounds momentous, alright. But, who says that "the Lakota Sioux
      Indians" have abandoned their treaties?

      "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," said Russell Means, a longtime Indian rights activist. "This
      is according to the laws of the United States, specifically Article 6 of
      the Constitution," which states that treaties are the supreme law of the

      And who is this Russell Means? He is a long time Indian activist and
      sometimes Hollywood actor who does not officially represent any tribe,
      that's who. It takes the local press to make this clear. The Rapid City
      Journal of Rapid City, South Dakota informs us that, "Means' group is based
      in Porcupine on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation," and that "it is not an
      agency or branch of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Means ran unsuccessfully for
      president of the tribe in 2006."

      Yet in report after report, this Means character is presented as if he is
      "the Lakota Sioux" when, in truth, all he really is, is A Lakota Sioux —
      not a representative of all of them. He does not represent American Indians
      except as a tangential, activist. He has no authority to make this
      "declaration of Independence" from the U.S.A. for "the" Lakota or any other
      American Indian tribe for that matter.

      It turns out that these reports are nearly all just a rehash of Russell
      Means' press releases and not based on any real reporting at all.

      And here is the worst part. The bulk of the news outlets that have picked
      up this story are foreign press agencies like the Agence Presse France, The
      Telegraph, and Radio Netherlands, all of whom presented this as if it was
      somehow legal and binding instead of an activist's scheming.

      So, since this story wasn't reported correctly, foreigners are imagining
      that all American Indians are trying to leave the USA and become a new
      nation. The truth is less shocking, that Russell Means does not represent
      "the Lakota Sioux Indians" at all.

      What we end up with here is lazy reporting, pure and simple. Instead of
      making clear to the reader that this Means fellow is but an activist, a
      cheap version of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton without the clout, the reader
      could be excused for imagining that the entire of the Sioux Nation is
      prepared to quit the U.S.A.

      The American media at work once again.

      Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often
      historically based, is featured on many websites such as renewamerica.us,
      townhall.com, opinioneditorials.com, and americandaily.com, among many,
      many others. He has also written for several history magazines, and appears
      in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture," which can
      be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of Publius'
      Forum. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions at

      © Copyright 2007 by Warner Todd Huston
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