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We Are A Nation

Above photo: Charmaine White Face. T. Rütti.

When I was a child, my grandmother, Maggie, always called the United States (US), the ‘enemy.’ She was the one who taught me who I was as Oglala Tituwan Oceti Sakowin (AKA Sioux), and also about the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. At first I didn’t understand why she called the US the ‘enemy’. All three of her children, including my father, had been in the military service during World War II, and her husband, my grandpa, had served during World War I. But as I got older and heard the stories about the boarding schools, about the Wounded Knee Massacre, and experienced racism myself on the first day of first grade, I finally started learning what exactly she meant.

“We are a nation,” she would say, “with a Treaty with the United States which is another nation.” As I got older and learned more and more things, she would say, “That Tribal Council is illegal. We never voted for them. They were created by the enemy.” As an adult, I realized she was talking about the Tribal Council form of government, the IRA (Indian Reorganization Act, or Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934) government, that was created by the “enemy”, the United States. The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council was created by the United States, not by our people.

Today, 2023, at the International level, we are known as an occupied nation; occupied by the United States. Anyone who knows what happened during World War II in Europe and other parts of the world, understands what it means to be an “occupied nation.” Nazi Germany is most well known for occupying France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Poland, to name a few during World War II.

We, as a separate nation, are not part of the United States. Putting a spin on the truth, the United States tries to make the rest of the world think we are a part of the US. The United States calls us a domestic, dependent nation. We are a separate nation from the United States. We are prisoners of war of the United States. Making us into American citizens did not change who we are. That was only another Act of War.

When Nazi Germany occupied those other nations in Europe, they also imposed their own form of government, similar to what the United States has done to us with their IRA governments. Adolph Hitler stated in his writings that the idea for the concentration camps for the Jews and other unwanted peoples came from the reservation system that the United States used against the American Indians.

The boarding schools, both church and government run, further used ‘forced assimilation’ or ‘brainwashing’ with torture and beatings on our parents and grandparents when they were only children to try to change us from being American Indian into being ‘white people.’ A buffalo can never be made into a cow, or an eagle into a sparrow. So today, many of our young people are lost not knowing if they belong in a Black ghetto, or a white cowboy rodeo, using both drugs and alcohol to block out reality. They are totally unaware of our thousands-of-years old spirituality and values, of our status as a nation. Hopefully that will change.

We are a nation with an International (between nations) treaty with the “enemy”, the United States. I still use that word “enemy” as the United States has committed many acts of war on us to totally destroy us. The first act of war, besides breaking treaties with all our relative nations on the East and West Coasts, was to destroy our economy and relatives, the Buffalo. Within a period of twenty (20) years the United States in the late 1800s slaughtered more than 60 million Buffalo. It is amazing there are even any left. No thought was given to the Buffalo’s tremendous impact on the North American biosphere, our relatives, the natural environment. But thought was given to the fact that their removal would also mean the genocide of our Sioux Nation and all the other nations of American Indians who relied on the Buffalo for their very lives. More of our people starved to death then were killed by bullets or swords. This is an Act of War, an Act of Genocide.

When people are starving, they are also more susceptible to diseases. When the white, European, colonial-settlers started to illegally enter our Treaty territory, they also brought with them innumerable diseases for which we had no immunity. Without the Buffalo, and the Buffalo robes, in the cold winters in the Northern Great Plains, American Indian people were also freezing to death. From the kindness in their hearts, the colonial-settlers gave blankets to the freezing American Indians, blankets that contained diseases such as small pox, measles, whooping cough, thereby assuring more deaths among our people. This is called “bio-terrorism” and is another Act of War.

We were a nation for thousands of years before the European settlers even knew the world was round. We were a nation for thousands of years living in North America without destroying the water, air, or land. We understood the Spirit that we call Grandmother and Mother Earth. We understood the spirits that inhabit all things: animals, plants, rocks, birds, even the insects. However, the white, European settlers were able to get such a colonial (alien) stronghold in North America because their methods, values, and actions could not be imagined by American Indian people. The methods, values, and actions of the white, European colonial-settlers were the things of unfathomable nightmares.

We are an ancient nation called the Oceti Sakowin (which means Seven Council Fires) because we are seen (7) sub-nations joined together. The definition of a nation according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is a group of people with a common nationality, culture, or territory. We have a common nationality as evidenced by our unique DNA. We have a common culture and language with a difference in the dialects by only three letters: the N, D, and L. However our territory is currently illegally occupied by the enemy, the United States. We are thousands of years older than any other nation in the world. Those that know our ancient history, know this to be true. We do not tell this to the dominant society anymore as they chose not to believe us and killed our people in the past for trying to teach them.

We, as a nation, have a legal, international Treaty with the United States. The 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty was found to have International status at the United Nations by Special Rapporteur Miguel Alfonso Martinez in his 1999 “Study on treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and indigenous populations.” On page 43 he writes:

(Paragraph) “270. This leads to the issue of whether or not treaties and other legal instruments concluded by the European settlers and their successors with indigenous nations currently continue to be instruments with international status in the light of international law.

271. The Special Rapporteur is of the opinion that those instruments indeed maintain their original status and continue fully in effect, and consequently are sources of rights and obligations for all the original parties to them (or their successors), who shall implement their provisions in good faith.”

(For the full Study go to the UN website, see United Nations Economic and Social Council E/CN.4/Sub.2/1999/20 22 June 1999 page 43)

If you want to learn more information about what has happened at the International level for the past forty (40) years, go to www.siouxntiontreatycouncil.org. Our elders who never forgot who we are have continued to fight for our liberation at the International level realizing that we need the help of other members of the family of nations. Unfortunately, the US has had great influence on the United Nations until now. With the US continuing the persecution of the Palestinians through the use of Israel, for the past 75 years, the family of nations now has a clear picture of what the US has done, and continues to do to our nation. We should never forget that we come from an ancient, honorable, and very spiritual nation, the Oceti Sakowin.

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