As a follow up to my post on the Lakotah Indians withdrawing from its treaties with the United States (which you can see here) I emailed the tribe with some follow up questions and received a response from Phyllis Young (aka Mni yuha Najin Win) one of four signatories on their "Declaration of Independence" which you can see here.
The following is part of Young's response to me on how they got to the point of withdrawing:
Lakotah chiefs and treaty councils made the Declaration of Continuing Independence in l974. This was a conference of over 5,000 people and 98 tribal nations held in Lakotah country. There were two objectives: one, to seek recognition and support from the United Nations. The International Indian Treaty Council was recognized as an NGO(non-governmental organization) in l977. At that time, the first International Conference on Indian Peoples and their Lands was held at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. After thirty three years, the United Nations adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with l43 countries supporting it and four opposing, including the United States. The US does not recognize collective rights, which is, of course, Indian tribes.Of course, the big question that hasn't yet been answered, and which a quick google search failed to yield any results for, is how exactly are the Feds going to react to all of this.
With the culmination of this Declaration at the United Nations, Lakotah set out to fulfill the second mandate of l974: to address the United States Department of State on the Treaty Relationship and the negotiation of the treaties. The United States unilaterally abolished treaty making in l87l on an Appropriations Rider because they did not want to continue payments to Lakotah. But the provisions of the treaties are continuing rights.
My own opinion is that, based on Article l3 of the l868 Treaty, our us citizenship has been nullified due to the taking of our land. This provision provided each family with a tract of land and with that land came the citizenship of the United States. Our own Lakotah citizenship was retained as well and so we have dual citizenship. When that land was forcefully taken from us, the citizenship went with it.
There are a number of factors that come into play here. I had mentioned in one of my previous posts that a number of Montana public officials have gone on record saying that secession from the United States would be on the table if the Supreme Court decided that the 2nd Amendment referred to "collective" rights and not individual rights. If Montana were to secede, would the United States recognize Montana as a sovereign country? If so, how can the Lakotah NOT be recognized as sovereign as well? If anything, their argument is at least as compelling as the one Montana has.
That's a lot of if's and in my opinion, the bridges to be crossed seem a long way off. But, it's a fascinating story to me and I'll be watching closely for a couple of reasons. First, the self determination angle (how can we preach democracy and self-determination abroad when we can't even practice it here). Second, one of the questions that I asked in my email was this: Do you (the Republic of Lakotah) plan on establishing a currency? And do you plan on having it asset backed (say with gold)? Phyllis Young wrote back two short answers: "Yes" and "yes". Given my long term financial prognosis of the United States, trying to find a currency that doesn't lose its value at 10 percent per year is something that makes me sit up and take notice.
Here is the official site for the new Republic of Lakotah