The Indians just quit US! ...Or DID they?
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withdrawn from agreed upon treaties with the US government and that they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Cloud and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from all treaties their forefathers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