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Why Lakota Nation Seceded From the USA and Blockaded the Keystone XL Pipeline

Updated on February 17, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

A descendant of Mohawk Nation and trained in anthropology, Patty has researched and reported on Indigenous Peoples for over four decades.

Keystonr Pipeline, unfinished
Keystonr Pipeline, unfinished | Source

Lakota Nation Leaves the Untied States

In the first decade of the 21st Century, relationships and interactions between Native American Nations in the Lower 48 States and the US Federal Government began to change radically. In fact, the year 2009 became a year of hopeful change for America overall, politically.

Under the Bush Administration (2001 - 2009), we heard rumblings of certain tribes wishing to seek sovereignty independent of the USA. By the beginning of the Obama Administration, our new POTUS had been adopted into the Crow Nation, which was a good omen for understanding among peoples.

However, other American indigenous nations here were unhappy with a list of injustices incurred from the US Federal Government. They felt that these injuries had not been reconciled yet.

The Lakota Nation seceded in their own way in December 17-19, 2007.

The Obama years were to be years of a big change, according to campaign promises, and some Native American Nations decided to be the change themselves.

Just as the citizens of the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry time and again have taken up plans, rumors and support of possible secession from the Union, Native American Nations have begun to secede in fact.

The Lakota Nation seceded in their own way in December 17-19, 2007 via meetings in Washington DC. Russell Means (Oyate Wacinyapin ) is their Governor and Glenn T. Morris is their Attorney General. They have always had their own tribal government in addition to the US Federal authority and since the end of 2007, consider themselves a sovereign nation.

Quote from a Letter From Russell Means to President Obama and Secretary Clinton of June 22, 2010.

'Under the established international legal principle of inadimplanti non est adimplendum (“one has no need to respect his obligation if the counter-party has not respected his own”), as well as under Article 60ii of the Vienna Convention, the Lakota assert, and will substantiate below, that the United States of America has been, and continues to be, in material breach of the provisions of the treaties between itself and the Lakotah.'

Before this letter mentioned above, in 2009, the Lakota people held out The Constitution of the Six Nations Confederacy (The Great Peace) as an example to the US, since it had greatly influenced the US Constitution. No peace was made with Lakota complaints and the letter above was sent.

The Lakota people do not feel they are losing any Federal help, because they already have not had clean water or electricity in a large proportion of their homes. National health statistics show that the incidence of infant mortality, TB, and Cervical Cancer in 2008 was many times that of the US national average.

However, the Republic has begun its own businesses, including real estate in the form of single plots of land and even “RoL Villages” in which several families band together to form an official Village on Lakota lands. A RoL Village is under construction in Newell near Rapid City, SD.

Another business is the production of geothermal infrastructures, the first in a Village in Hot Springs, SD. Immigrants from the USA are welcomed.

Villages and Geothermal Infrastructure Business Around I-90

show route and directions
A markerNewell SD -
Newell, SD 57760, USA
get directions

B markerHot Springs SD -
Hot Springs, SD 57747, USA
get directions

The Republic of Lakotah/Lakota

The Lakota Freedom Delegation of Lakota Nation led the way toward become a sovereign state. Members of the official Delegation traveled and brought documents to the US State Department in order to notify the US Federal Government of the tribe's cancellation of treaties for cause and cutting ties from with the Union.

The Lakota pointed to laws that proved their action was not secession. They instituted a unilateral withdrawal from all 52 Treaties with the US Federal Government, which action is legal under the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, signed by representatives of the United States.

Lakota Beaded Saddle Belt, 1850.
Lakota Beaded Saddle Belt, 1850. | Source

Causes sited for the Lakota withdrawal from the USA included the following unreconciled affronts:

  • Genocide of Indigenous North American Nations.
  • Failure of the US Federal Government to openly admit that the 1621 "First Thanksgiving" was in reality a meeting in which the colony of Plymouth attempted to obtain Wampanoag Nation lands that were owned by a large native village at Plymouth Rock centuries before the British settlers landed with the Mayflower.
  • The first officially government-declared Thanksgiving was declared by the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637, William Braddock, when he said that it was

"A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that we have eliminated over 700 men, women and children and

“This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.”

(Reference: From the historic documents and the works of William Newell, former Chair of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. The statement is included on the Republic of Lakotak website. The Governor's words were taken from settler's diaries and a book written by settler John Underhill.)

  • Native groups of the Western US have been consistently exposed to low doses of radiation from the 1940s over the decades into the 2010s, through activities such as uranium mining and nuclear testing.
  • Federal assault son Lakota political, cultural and economic freedoms.

Lakota Nation boundaries for their new entity, Republic of Lakotah, were drawn by the tribe to include all of:

  • Northern and Central Nebraska,
  • 50% of South Dakota,
  • 25% of North Dakota (southwestern corner), which state is largely on the MHA Nation Reservation where an Oil Boom is underway,
  • 20% of Montana, and
  • 20% of Wyoming.

The Lakota people and government want to take possession of several natural parks and related lands that were one in their control. This will be very difficult.

Roughly, Land Between These Cities Is Claimed by Republic of Lakotah

show route and directions
A markerWilliston Basin and Bakken Oil Field -
Williston Basin, West Mercer, ND 58523, USA
get directions

B markerBillings Montana -
Billings, Mt, USA
get directions

C markerCasper Wyoming -
Casper, WY, USA
get directions

D markerGrand Island Nebraska -
Grand Island, NE, USA
get directions

E markerSioux City Iowa -
Sioux City, IA, USA
get directions

F markerLakota Reservation, South Dakota -
Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, SD 57752, USA
get directions

Pipeline Fraud

Trucking and Transportation Fraud Along the Pipeline

From Raw Story and Censored News websites -- On March 5, Native Americans of Republic of Lakotah blocked Keystone Pipeline trucks and 5 men and women were arrested. The Lakota people are continuing to press for a legal injunction and restraining order against the trucks passing through their lands on Pine Ridge Reservation. If the legal documents come through, future trucks will be stopped and confiscated by Republic of Lakotah.

The Canadian XL Pipeline company and the State of South Dakota worked a deal to drive the trucks through the Reservation in order to avoid weigh station fees on the usual highways, without asking the Lakota people first. Fees could reach up to $50,000 for each truck, so this was something of a trick - trespass (at least an unethical workaround) to avoid trucking fees.

The Lakota people believe the pipeline will leak into the local water supply, which may or may not be the case; if so, it will make more people sick and waterless than are thus already on the Lakota lands. At the same time, a huge amount of oil is being or will be extracted and refined in North Dakota on another Reservation and other lands; the hold up is a lack of housing for hundreds more workers needed, which would be cheaper to construct than the Keystone Pipeline.

America has two blocked oil projects:

  1. North Dakota Bakken Oil Field and
  2. The Keystone Pipeline.

Native Americans own much of the land of both.

Flag of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Flag of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota | Source

Pine Ridge Reservation

A markerPine Ridge Reservation -
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, East Shannon, SD, USA
get directions

Happier Times For Lakota

Winning the 10,000m in the 1964 Olympics: Lakota and 1st Lt.  William “Billy” Mills, USMCR.
Winning the 10,000m in the 1964 Olympics: Lakota and 1st Lt. William “Billy” Mills, USMCR. | Source

© 2012 Patty Inglish


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    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Actually I don't blame the Native Americans from seeking their own Republic. The truth is, and I know I might get into a lot of trouble for this, is that the white Americans really treated them baldy when they came to America and then totally ignored them for hundreds of years. Then they tried to offer what may seem to these proud people, charity. I know these are self-sufficient people who probably aren't too concerned about electricity but they do deserve clean water because they are used to feeding off the land including clean running rivers. That is until their rivers where cut off due to greed and so called development.

      I honestly need to find my Indian roots because I feel sure it's Native

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is an interesting and fascinating hub! I had no idea the Lakota people were going through all this. Our country has never done right by the Native Americans. I'm glad some faction of America is bringing change to this country, as our politicians are not. I don't blame any American Indian tribe for not wanting the white man's help. All we did was massacre them and push them all onto the worst land areas in the U.S. I can't believe we have been so disrespectful to our Native Americans.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thank you! There is much going on with the Lakota people!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Wow! Excellent Hub...voted up and interesting!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      rtburroughs2 - I'm keeping my eye on this one.

      ForaBreenRobison - I hope your water stays as safe and clean as possible. North Dakota already has a pipeline from Canada to Chicago and I think we do not need the Keystone, because North Dakota is building additional refineries. Keystone seems to be more about big business and deals. I did not know about Quebec, but you information makes perfect sense. Iroquois Nations have largely left New York altogether for Ontario, just a few left here.

      Flickr - I don't know if the Lakota and the North Dakota peoples have enough resources to fight the Keystone project. I just wish that someone would build the housing in ND so more workers could be hired. ND has one of the lowest Unemployment rates in the US and still needs more workers.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      lucabrasi - Surely, many people say WHAT? or turn the other way at the Thanksgiving information (Pilgrims and a friendly feast were grossly exaggerated by a woman in charge of retail marketing for a large store in 1840 in the United States East and all the retailers jumped on board later - Lazarus, Macy's, the lot - I had relatives that saw it all), but I have seen it in museums and once in an online display and the Hubber called Chuck writes about it as well. He's been with HubPages a long time and has taught, as I have. There is corroboration.

      The Feds response is not much. The Lakota people are attempting to obtain their own clean water and electricity - Ohio is doing the same under Governor Kasich, although I did not like his administration at first. We are drilling our own oil; we even have a refinery right in Columbus and others along the Ohio River, with more being built. Wind farms in the western part of the state. New auto and other MFG. in the east and south.

    • lucabrasi profile image

      lucabrasi 5 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      This is fascinating. I am not in any way trying to be disrespectful, but have to ask the honest question: Is this really true and accurate? If so, I believe it may be the first(?)of many more attempts to break off. Another question: What is the federal govt's response?

    • profile image

      Flickr 5 years ago

      I kind of say all the power to them. I am also thinking, what about the best interests of the American Nation and its people? I am a firm believer in the Native American values and ethics but this is a society in which many people live in. I don't agree either with oil-cars-and modern day techno. Very interesting article, I learn something new every day, Thanks for sharing.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

      I am expecting this pipeline to ruin our water here in Chilliwack - we have the healthiest water in Canada and that's all going to change. I have never had any doubt that if anything would stop the pipeline - and I think this unlikely at this point - it would be Native Americans and Canadians and blockading. I hope this works. But we shall see.

      Originally, Canada wasn't going to agree to the pipeline, but I don't believe any politician.

      By the way, the only reason why Quebec is still a part of Canada is because there is a huge Native Canadian population living in Quebec and they block Quebec becoming a separate country every time it goes to election. It's already their land anyway. Why would they want Quebec to be an independent country? We shall see what happens.

      But I think there is a big feeling of apathy towards any politician, no matter what the party or the level of government. Hence voter turnouts are low. I think there was only 10% voters in my area. I have never voted FOR anyone. I vote against the others.

    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this, there was so much information that I did not know. I would definitely like to read a follow up.