Lakota End Treaties with United States

This is the odd news of the day. You can read the full story but the Lakota people have decided to end their treaties (generally not signed willingly) with the United States.

The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday. "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 told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference. A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old. They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and will continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months, they told the news conference. Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free -- provided residents renounce their US citizenship, Means said.

I wonder how serious the Lakota leaders are in doing this or if this is more of a tactic for better aid to the reservations and a recognition of their grievances. Twenty years ago, this would have been immediately crushed but I expect the U.S. Federal government to be a bit more careful (because of appearances, if nothing else) in reacting to this. Personally, I doubt if they will really make a go of it as a completely independent nation, for economic reasons if nothing else.