Declaration of Sovereignty by Oceti Sakowin – January 25, 2005 THE SUPREME ORGANIZATION OF THE UNRESTRICTED INDIANS OF THE GREAT SIOUX NATION NACA’ ITAHCAN OMNICIYE DECLARATION OF SOVEREIGNTY The Supreme Organization of the Unrestricted Indians of the Great Sioux Nation made up of the Chiefs Society-Traditional Spiritual Council of the Oceti Sakowin “Seven Council Fires” has since time immemorial stood as the Sovereign Eternal Governing Body of the Lakota Sioux Nation, knowing that our Lakota Sioux peoples represent this sovereignty inherently given to the Lakota Sioux Nation by the Creator and that we, not representatives of a foreign government, but a nation of the Paha Sapa “Black Hills”, speak for our peoples. This nation has always been a sovereign nation prior to the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty and the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, between our nation, our Oceti Sakowin “Seven Council Fires”, and the United States. Customs, traditions and the Natural Laws of this nation, although unwritten, have sustained our nation and have been the perpetual controlling provisions of our nations “law”. This nation has for eternity retained and lived by the truth of the Great Spirit, and the truth of the Natural Law. Our grandfathers have lived by the C’anunpa (Sacred Pipe), this being our covenant with the Great Spirit. This nation has upheld our portion and endeavor to continue this way of life today. Our promise of peace to all living beings through the sacred C’anunpa was given before the eyes of Tunkasila (Grandfather “God”), with the Great Spirit as witness. Therefore under these ways of peace, truth, and sacredness we do hereby declare our inherent right to sovereignty. Today, the 25th day of January, 2005, this nations’ Chiefs Society – Traditional, Spiritual Council, do hereby assert in the writing of the current day that we are now in charge of our own government, affairs, destiny and future as we have been since time immemorial and as we were when our ancestors signed the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie with the United States Government. C-E-R-T-F-I-C-A-T-I-O-N THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED, We the Lakota Dakota Nakota Nation and its peoples and descendants of those of our nation involved in the signing of the April 29, 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty do hereby, by affixing our signatures, give this as our written and official notice of our sovereignty to any and all individuals, entities, organizations and governments. (original document and signatures are on file in the LDN offices)
Declaration of Sovereignty Interpretation of Jurisdictional Grounds (written and endorsed by Chiefs in 1992) We the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapahoe on behalf of the signatories of the 1851 TREATY OF FT. LARAMIE, 1868, charge the United States with the infringement of our territorial sovereignty. This violation has been recorded in history as the 1871 Appropriations Act (Rider). Our Lakota Declaration of Sovereignty hereby terminates colonial occupation and interests within the territory defined as “Permanent Indian Territory” in the previously mentioned treaties. The above referenced treaties were not grants of rights to the Indians, but a grant of rights from them. There was an exclusive right to jurisdiction and sovereignty reserved within them. Since time immemorial the Lakota enjoyed and practiced our convention of unwritten sovereignty over this territory. Our sovereignty has been in conflict with the claim of the United Sates, for their laws are written in the form of a Constitution and is based on an assumption of superiority of written words. However, Lakota laws are original, customary, traditional, oral and inherent and predate in policy and practice the United States Constitution. Lakota hunting, fishing, trading, land and water, mineral and sovereignty rights have not been yielded to the United States during peacetime, at war, nor through the conveyance of a treaty. Our claim to jurisdiction over our lands and peoples is therefore inherent and it is proper and legal for the natives of this territory to determine the destiny of our territory, not the territory to determine from afar the destiny of the people. We the Lakota now call to account and challenge all Supreme Court rulings and legislation introduced by acts of Congress as inapplicable to the natives of the respected territory. Hence, their claim to jurisdiction based on the “Discovery Title” (Johnson vs. McIntosh, 1823) does not prove relevant nor effectual. Conspicuous in the United States’ breach of contract and its multiple and ongoing violations of the Treaties of 1851-1868 in the case of the Lakota (which puts the Lakota uniquely on a different footing than other native claims) is that (1) No formal conquest occurred, (2) no declaration of war had been declared, and (3) no Cession occurred. Moreover, as of November 4, 1998 the United States decided to become civilized and signed the Genocide TREATY. If the Genocide Treaty had been in effect from before 1851 down to this day, history clearly shows in their ongoing treatment of the Lakota Nation and peoples, that the United States could without question be cited with ongoing multiple violations along with resultant multiple criminal charges. In a review of our understanding o f the U.S. Constitution and its requirements for civilized activity, it seems the desire of the American administration was to create INCHOATE title. It was the intent of the United States to perfect title over time. However, we, the indigenous people holding original title remain in peaceful occupancy. The Lakota not only hold original title but peaceful coexistence and thus our claim to sovereignty is and remains a continuous display of our intent of peaceful and lawful authority over our lands. This of course is contrary to the United States claim in their “Discovery Title” (the principle of which is “that discovery gave absolute title to the government [King] by whose subjects or by whose authority it was made…which might be consummated by possession”). Therefore the United States in dealing with the Lakota has based their claim on our lands in relation to acts or circumstances leading to the acquisition of sovereignty. They have not, however, established the fact that sovereignty was so acquired and effectively displayed at any time. We the Lakota Dakota Nakota Nation concur with the precedent set in the UNITED STATES vs. NETHERLANDS; WHERE IN THE United States lost its claim to INCHAOTE title, (ALMAS Island Arbitration, 1928). Impropriety such as the 1980 Supreme Court ruling upholding United States policy for providing compensation without return of lands or the inherent sovereignty or jurisdiction rights is mere desire and political ambition and cannot extinguish the principle of the continuous and peaceful display of the functions of the natives of 1851 treaty occupation within the territory and is a constituted element of territorial sovereignty which is recognized as a principle of International Law. The creation of American sovereignty was done on a theoretical plane and the confederation the colonists formed was not a sovereign government. The issue of sovereignty and its concept was not resolved by the Declaration of Independence and continues to be a theoretical question. In the contest between the States and Congress, the ideological momentum of the Revolution lay with the States, but in the contest between the people and the State Governments it decidedly lay with the people. The Continental Congress realized that the Articles of the Confederacy did not constitute a government and the Articles held no sovereignty. “Benjamin Rush Federal Debate 1787” quote: “The people of America have mistaken the meaning of sovereignty.” Noah Webster Federal Convention Debate – quote: “A fundament al maxim of American Politics is that sovereign power resides in the people. Written constitutions and bills of rights can never be effective guarantees of freedom. Liberty is never secured by such paper declarations, nor lost for want of them. The truth is that government takes its form and structure from the genius and habits of the people, and if in a paper form, in spite of all the formal sanctions of the supreme authority of the state, a form that is not accommodated to it will assume a new form. To credit a perfect wisdom and probity in the framers of the U.S. Constitution is both arrogant and impudent. The very attempt to make PERPETUAL constitutions is the assumption of a right to control the opinions of FUTURE GENERATIONS and to LEGISLATE for those over whom we have as little authority as we have over a nation in Asia.” To remedy the defects of the Articles of the Confederacy the convention was called to frame the Federal Constitution. This said to point to the fact that, under this Constitution the United States became a government, and as a matter of history it is true that some new states are formed out of the sovereignty of the old, whereas others are created out of opposition to the former territorial sovereign. It is not reasonable to suppose that a distinction between ORIGINAL and derivative titles are relevant to the proper interpretation of the change in territorial so sovereign that takes place when a new state is created, as in the case with the United States. The confusion is with the quasi- sovereignty status derived from foreign countries versus the ORIGINAL SOVEREIGNTY OF THE LAKOTA, DAKOTA, NAKOTA, CHEYENNE and, ARAPAHOE. In historical truth is that the United States has never been able to authenticate just or creditable legal power over the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe. Today we have 200 years of decisions by the United States Supreme Court and legislation by Congress and the President, all lacking reasonable, just or Constitutional authority over us. The United States has also abrogated the liberty and the property of the said natives under the color of the Constitution. This abrogation was no part of the original understanding and the Constitution does not confer it. Acts of Congress, and Presidential approval or recommendations and Supreme Court Rulings do not make them Constitutional. The United States has exercised powers over the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe and their lands without right, legal or just authority in taxes, civil jurisdiction, criminal jurisdiction, zoning, hunting, fishing, water and mineral rights, religion and general police powers. Congress mandated these activities without the consent and approval of the original inhabitants. This now exposed illegal activity is a Constitutional assault on the integrity of indigenous self determination. This un-constitutional taking of powers not granted to the United Sates government and the unjust claim for jurisdiction is without constitutional footing. This desire and claim for jurisdiction has created a cause for this declaration on behalf of the 1851-1868 signatories to draw attention to the fact that the United States unsanctioned seizing of jurisdiction falls under the color of their very own Constitution, which fact we hope will be tested by the a higher court, a higher standard of justice that what the U.S. has typically displayed, hence, by International law. Although the Untied States has granted sovereignty to itself, it has fallen short of the Constitutional test to conquer, to defeat in war, to honor in peace, to enter into treaties for cession of lands now occupied by natives of the territories in contention by primarily Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapahoe. The history proven desire and original transaction by the United States is infected with FRAUD. The United States cannot grant to themselves sovereignty to territory which they legally do not possess that is still inhabited and in use by the aboriginal title holders. To this day, the real party (s) of natives have not with their agents, obliged the acts for transfer of any rights to the United States. A treaty in which fraud is involved is not valid. The recognition of Lakota sovereignty is still intact within both the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and the ancient life ways and culture of Lakota people. Any attempt to supplant the legitimate sovereignty of the Lakota by the absorption of territory without the course of negotiations must be considered as an unlawful premature annexation. Therefore, we are charging the United States for treaty fraud in the alleged appropriation of the 1851 Treaty boundary. Prepared by International Chief – Richard Deo Grass, 1992 and unanimously approved and signed by Oceti Sakowin (including signatures of Reginald Bird Horse and Joseph A. Walker of the Governing Body). Original documents on file in LDN office.
Sovereignty Never Recognized by U.S. The following document shows from early on, and specifically since the Supreme Court ruling in 1823, that the government put in place by the founding “fathers” of the United States never acknowledged nor took into account the sovereignty of the indigenous nations who inhabited the lands “discovered” – nor did they ever intend nor provide for anything for indigenous peoples but exile and/or extermination (Genocide). It has taken centuries for the reality of this cold, calculated, cruel, unjust and hard fact to be fully grasped by well intended, justice seeking hearts of good and “God fearing” people everywhere who wanted to believe U.S. intentions were otherwise, and could not fully grasp nor accept these disappointing facts. “Once you are identified and labeled, others out of convenience more often than malice, adopt and mind-set, or “fix.”…the academic world, business, and government [tend to distrust the generalist]. To be interested in many things and to seek to deploy skills in more than a single area runs counter to the cultural pressure to compartmentalize both ideas and people.” pg 125 Body Weather by Bruce Palmer No doubt this is also why, the following document still “struggled” at its conclusion to find some humane common ground, to form some workable foundation towards establishing justice, for reconciliation and a noble attempt to find an amiable and reasonable working solution (to no avail). This is obviously why all legal attempts within the framework established since the 1823 “Discovery Doctrine” has also fallen on “deaf ears” within U.S. borders. Thus, Chief Richard Grass statement regarding the reason for the formation of this web site are all the more poignant: “The Lakota” have no intention of depriving anyone of their equity or just title. In simpler terms, the Lakota have a proprietary right as principal, and the U.S. as agent has made huge profits and incurred great losses using the lands, resources, and peoples of the Lakota region. The losses are now so great that the principal must institute special measures to correct the problem because the principal is the one upon whom such a duty is incumbent. Thus the Lakota Chiefs have several projects in mind … that should also benefit the world at large, one being, the creation of this website… ” Chief Richard Grass
Two Tracks to Sovereignty – How the “Discovery” title was “established” Following is a transcript (portions of the document are scanned for best display on this web page) from a paper left to us by Chief Richard Grass DONATION . Although unsigned, it is reasonably certain that it was composed in part by him around 1998 (as the wording and writing style are identical to his) and the transcript in our possession is marked “original”). It includes a notation that it was typed in the office of James P. Bailey, PhD, Kuiu Kwaan Attorney General, which seems entirely plausible since Chief Richard Grass DONATION worked closely with indigenous peoples and organizations from Hawaii, Alaska, various countries in Africa and others around the world during that time in an effort to mutually explore all legal and just ways to educate the world about the issues, the truth about what happened to the millions of peoples who once lived on these lands, in order to begin to right the many wrongs of words and wars against all Indigenous peoples and natural life forms on Mother Earth. Albert Einstein once remarked that “When you get a very simple answer to a very simple question, that is God talking” The following document remains on file in the Lakota Dakota Nakota Nation office archives and is entitled:
Two Tracks to Sovereignty [how the “Discovery” title was “established”] 1. [the first and most enduring truth of Sovereignty] Sovereignty comes from the Creator (God). The Creator created our Ancestors with the absolute title to and Sovereignty over [ourselves] and the land to which the Great Spirit made us Stewards. From time immemorial our ancestors constructed our native culture to fulfill our destiny in harmony with Mother Earth. Our traditional and oral history teach us that our ancestors established Councils to guide us. The Traditional Councils with our ancestors consent exercised sovereignty over our land and our people from time immemorial. [While a few of these Traditional Councils still remain in place on these lands in various forms throughout various still existing Indigenous nations (those who are not as yet completely wiped out by the Genocide that followed beginning “officially” in 1492 A.D.), following is another example, precedent and attempt to re-establish and recognize legal Sovereignty showing deference to the need of many words, reasonings, laws and impositions of the dominate culture] In 1492 A.D., Columbus landed in the Americas while searching for a passage to India. Beginning in 1619 England landed in North America. The King of England made grant of title to land in North America to establish colonies on our land. The 13 English colonies declared independence from England in 1776 and gained this through a revolution. In 1787 the colonies adopted a Constitution and became States. States created Congress-Executive and Courts.
By the doctrine of “Discovery Title” the Indian Nations of North America and their Traditional Councils were stripped of their human rights and the power to convey title to land to anyone without the consent of the United States. Henceforth the Nations enjoy “Aboriginal Title,” and the location, extent, use and occupancy of their land, and the human rights of their members become subject to the laws of the Congress and the Courts of the United States subject only to the Constitution of the United States.
Since 1998 when the above scanned document was written, the dominant culture of the United States continually ignored and failed to recognize or honor the God given sovereignty of the surviving descendants of the tribes and cultures who have managed to still live in spite of the ongoing Genocide and holocaust of our natural nations while our lands are stripped of all life and diversity in the name of “profit” (of which most is consumed by corporations put in the place of power over all peoples). Those few of us left who still hold to the courtesy, dignity and decency of governance as described below, within the understanding and ideal of “relationship” and “Kinship” resonant at a different energy vibration than others who over much time have proven more skillful at debate, spectacle and gaining media attention. Thus we understand that perhaps our work, prayers and efforts has gone largely unnoticed by the general public. However, this disciplining and civilizing force continues to motivate us to explore and pursue all reasonable, life honoring, and peaceable ways to yet find our way to once again fulfill our God given roles as thoughtful, life nurturing caretakers of our sacred Mother Earth, and by taking personal respectful response-ability in our life ways, making conscious choices of how we spend our time, energies and “resources” that we may find workable ways re-establishing this good relationship again, and thus find our way “home” to bless ALL our relations in Balance, Harmony, Abundance, Peace. Mitakuye Oyasin