"Worthless words on worthless paper."
That is the view Lakota Freedom Activists have of the 150 year old treaty
thier ancestors signed with the United States government. The treaty has been formally withdrawn and the land described as the Sioux Nation has been claimed from the United States. Lakota delegates sent a formal message to United States officials that they were unilaterally withdrawing from all treaties signed between the government and the Sioux people,
The Sioux nation is comprised of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota sub tribes that each have groups within those sub categories. The Lakota have a high rate of diabetes and obesity as well as a high rate of addiction to Meth. Nation leaders have indicated that the government treatment of the Sioux has lead to their loss of culture and of a loss of hope. Poverty, drug addiction, and an endless amount of laws intended to help the Native Americans have actually held them back. The Lakota men have only a 44 year life expectancy, teen suicides are 150 per cent above the U.S. average, and the infant mortality rate 5 times higher.
To succeed young Sioux must leave the reservation as well as any hope of government assistance to pursue college and careers in places outside of their homeland. Fortunately in larger cities like Chicago small groups can be found to help support one another. Then they are faced with the decision of going back to help their tribe and live poverty stricken lives of live outside of the reservation. Many choose not to return.
With support from the United Nations who passed a non binding resolution which supported the rights of indigenous peoples, the Lakota have decided it was time to claim the rights to their property.
"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 said.
Means indicates that withdrawing from the treaties is completely legal according to article six
of the United States Constitution which indicates that treaties are the supreme law of the land. The 33 treaties between the Lakota and the United States have been violated according to Lakota Freedom Activists.
"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent,'' said Means.
Since 1974 the Lakota have been on a long process to freedom with the drafting of their declaration of continuing Independence. Now with the support of the international community they are closer to their goal.