By : Russell Means
In answer to today’s United States Government and its Colonial Corporation, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Govenment’s press conference:
“We the Lakotah People, do not want our massacred dead bodies of Men, Women and Children at the mass grave at Wounded Knee used for publicity by the United States Government nor their colonial corporation, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Government.”
On May 1, 2010, two young men, the Camp brothers counted coup on the first 7th Cavalry helicopter and Debbie White Plume, an elder and grandmother who charged the second helicopter preventing it from landing. By running under the blades and touching them without harming the enemy and getting away is how the Lakotah counted coup on this eventful day.
May 2, 2010 at 9:35am
To the Original Peoples of the Fourth World and all International Press Services:
At high noon today US Army helicopters of the US Seventh Cavalry air division attempted to land their Blackhawk aircraft upon Lakota Sacred Burial grounds in South Dakota. The presence of military aircraft from this unit is a sad and insulting reminder of the slaughter of more than 300 American Aboriginals on December 29, 1890 when soldiers of the US 7th Cavalry gunned down more than 300 Aboriginal Minneconjou Lakota refugee children, women, infants and the elderly at what is now called Wounded Knee in South Dakota Indian Country. The military then left the bodies of their victims to decay unburied in the driving snow.
According to reports from Indigenous Rights Movement Radio host Wanblee this afternoon, Lakota resident Theresa TwoBulls was given less than 24 hrs notice that three US Army 7th Cavalry helicopters would make a landing on the sacred burial grounds at Wounded Knee. As of this writing, the US military was confronted by angry but peaceful and steadfast community resistance as the Aboriginal people of the area have so far, according to reports from Lakota people on the ground, managed to prevent the aircraft from touching Indigenous ground.
For all American Aboriginals of the Americas, this is a sacred area. This is the place where the promise of a people died while fleeing from a genocidal US military unit hell-bent on liquidating the continent of its Indigenous population. There has never been any official apology offered for this massacre and the military awards bestowed upon the genocidal aggressors involved in this conflict still stand, as does a physical monument in honour of the US Army killed during Custer’s “last stand” against a defiant and united Indigenous resistance to their own demise.
The history of the US Army 7th Cavalry is important to understanding the level of violence used against Indigenous peoples. It is important to remember that after the US Seventh Cavalry officially ended the “Indian Wars” at home, they were then dispatched to do battle against Indigenous Filipinos struggling to maintain their hard-won national independence from the colonialist Spanish. In other words, the US War Department sent this very same unit to do overseas what was done here to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. In this historical light, it is only logical for Indigenous peoples to assume that the Obama administration is attempting to make a political point out of this spectacle. Only, what sort of message are you sending by insulting and humiliating a people already suffering from five centuries of continuous pro-Europocentric, anti-Indigenous genocide?
This domestic military action is a deliberate insult and an obvious message of ongoing colonialism, state-sponsored racism and apathetic Indigenous genocide to all Indigenous peoples across the Fourth World; to the whole of the Lakota/Dakota Nation; and to the Indigenous residents of Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee. The symbolism of dispatching the Seventh Cavalry to Wounded Knee in an attempt to land weapons of mass destruction on Aboriginal sacred ground tells us how little this government, and this particular administration, respects the people of Indian Country and our significant historical perspective as survivors of the racist Euro-settler xenophobic purges waged against the Indian in the Americas.
To make matters worse, this action comes on the heels of newly-passed legislation in Arizona state that requires law officers to racially-profile anyone they believe “looks”, “sounds” or “dresses” like an illegal immigrant, a thinly veiled “race law” that directly effects both our Indigenous sisters and brothers native to Occupied Mexico as well as the Native American population of Arizona in the United States. Given that most Indigenous peoples of the Americas share the same general physiotype and more often than not, similar Spanish last names, the passage of this guideline will without a doubt lead to widespread abuses against that state’s brown-skinned population. The legal door now opened, Texas and other states led by neo-confederate constituencies are moving to pass their own anti-immigrant/anti-Indigenous directives that will broadly effect anyone and everyone who could be perceived by the colonial European majority as a “foreign invader”.
The Obama administration has shown America and the world that they are no different than any other previous US government in their view that the American Indian on both sides of the US border is nothing more than a prop or a tool to be displayed only when it is useful to promote the “contemporary” 21st century neo-colonialist capitalist agenda. The Obama administration, an office headed by a man of African descent, has shamed itself and all those who have supported his candidacy in arrogantly dismissing the memory of our people interred at Wounded Knee by rubbing the military might of the historically anti-Indigenous 7th Cavalry in our faces by forcibly entering Indian Country in an attempt to land their machines of war on top of the bodies of our ancestral dead.
Clearly, the culture war against the American Indian is not over. Welcome to the new American century.
Pass this on We must get the word out…..Let everyone know..Contact the your local media….Tell them the the Local Media in (Rapid City, SD) haven’t even mentioned this in the news…So typical for rapid city SD media…and if they did post it, it would not be the truth..I tried to contact the Rapid City Urinal….LOL. They wont return my calls or post any of the comments I have made in defense of our people.
James ( Magaska) Swan AIM Black Hills South Dakota
iReport —CNN news 5/3/2010
Today at just past Noon Central Time; Three US Army Helicopters attepted to land on Lakota Sacred Burial grounds at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
The Helicopters were from the Seventh Cavalry which were Historically remnants of General G.A. Custer whose troops were defeated at Little Big Horn in one of the Many battles the United States as they waged a war of attrition and Genocide on Native Americans after the Civil War.
On Dec 28, 1890 remnants of the Seventh Cavalry Mowed down more than 300 Babies, Children, Women, Old People and Men; at what is now called Wounded Knee, South Dakota and left their Victims bodies unburied and Frozen.
Theresa TwoBulls was given less than 24 hrs Notice that Three US Army 7th Cav helicopters would Land on the Burial Grounds at Wounded Knee today.
They were met with Peaceful but Firm resistance, as Lakota (Sioux) Women and Children stood Immobile on that Sacred Ground, preventing the Gross, Unspeakable Insult of 7th Cav. choppers to Land on the same ground where more than 300 Murder Victims lay Buried.
A Lakota Mother said..”I cannot believe they are doing this, have they ( 7th Cav) NO Respect for Our Dead ” ?
Evidently the 3 Helicopters & Brass in Charge did not know their history..and what a Unspeakable Insult it was to the Residents of Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee and the Lakota People; to have the ACTUAL Seventh Cavalry Choppers attempt to land on this Sacred Ground.
This was Broadcast Live on Blogtalkradio, Indigenous People Rights today.
More to follow as reports come in.
Russell Means speaks to the Navajo & Hopi about their recent decision to bar environmentalists from protesting a coal fired power plant on their reservation.
This is a short history of colonization of the Lakotah to explain why our people do not make efforts at self-sufficiency.
1. The United States outlawed our religion, our spirituality. Outlawed it. Out people were sent to prison if they caught practicing our ways.
2. They rounded up our children, all of our children, for over 80 years and forced them into government and religious boarding schools. These utilized corporal punishment and mental and physical torture. They worked to erradicate our language and our songs. To forcefully teach us that our parents and grandparents were nothing more than stupid, savage pagans. That education goes on today.
3. The Constitution of the United States of America does not apply to any American Indian living on an federally recognized American Indian Reservation in the united states. Therefore we haven’t any Constitutional protections against anyone or anything. We are not permitted on the reservation to econmically develop. Hence, our over 80% unemployment. We cannot test our water officially for uranium poisoning or arsenic poisoning or any other type of minerals or heavy metals. We can test for E Coli & harmful bacteria. We are ‘allowed’ 4 tests for those items.
4. We suffer under the agriculture’s department’s starchy food program which is dispersed to us on a monthly basis. The alledged 10s of 100s of millions of dollars spent on the Lakotah is actually not spent on us. We are allowed to touch it, as it flies through the reservation to the white man that surrounds us. We are permitted to own gas stations and convenience stores, where most people shop. We have one grocery store on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which is directly across the street from where the Bureau of Indian Affairs and nearby where Indian Health Service Hosptial employees work.
5. We have one Catholic High School, one Bureau of Indian Affairs High School, and two Tribally Controlled/BIA/No Child Left Behind High Schools. over 95% of the High School students have expressed the desire and the intention to leave the reservation as soon as possible. We have the Oglala Lakotah College, whose curriculum is designed to encourage graduates to leave the reservation. After over 80 years of these policies they have successfully destroyed our families, and our communities. Our entire culture is on the brink of extinction. The vast majority who remain on the reservation have crushingly low self esteem and no will to better themselves. The Christian Churches are vultures feeding off the carcases of our poverty. And they are very rich.
This list is a microcosm of the colonial and genocidal tactics fostered and developed by the government of the United States of America. For the above reasons and more is why we are asking for investment into our children, and investment in our self-determination. We welcome all opportunities for individuals to assist and lend their efforts to counter these effects and improve the conditions our people are struggling against.
Russell Means speaks on the nation-wide broadcast of Native American Calling. Among the topics discussed are the denial of Leonard Peltier’s appeal and its implications, as well as the ‘Freedom to Travel’ that is guaranteed within the areas covered by the 1851 & 1868 Fort Laramie treaties.
July 7, 2009
On April 2, 2009, after hearing evidence for a month, a Denver jury unanimously found that Ward Churchill had been fired from the University of Colorado *not* because of research misconduct but in retaliation for speech protected by the First Amendment.
After more than four years of political attacks on Ward Churchill, a clear statement had been made: the University of Colorado had violated the U.S. Constitution when it fired Churchill, a tenured full professor of American Indian Studies.
The normal remedy in such cases? Reinstatement.
Today, July 7, 2009, Judge Larry Naves of the Denver District Court threw out the jury’s verdict, adopting the University’s argument that the Regents have “quasi-judicial” immunity from such lawsuits. In essence, this means that the Regents and University administrators are free to continue to violating the Constitution.
In a 42-page opinion lifted wholesale from the University’s pleadings, Judge Naves went on to explain why Ward Churchill should not be given front pay, back pay, or be reinstated.
All of these are irrelevant, of course, if the jury’s verdict is not upheld. But the fact that the judge went to such pains to adopt the University’s arguments – which often directly contravened the factual record in this case – speaks volumes.
This ruling simply confirms what we have observed so often. When given access to the facts, regular people on the street can make clear, reasoned decisions that uphold constitutional values. It is rare, however, to find persons in positions of power who will not bow to political pressure.
Attorney David Lane will, of course, appeal this decision. Ward Churchill’s reaction? “I can’t think of any way to improve upon Steve Earle’s line from *The Hard Way*: ‘There are some who break and bend. I’m the other kind.’”
July 7, 2009
If you’re an American Indian in the United States of America, whether you are a Lakotah or a Navajo, a tenured professor or a Nobel Peace Prize winner, or an elected president of another country, you will not receive justice in any form from the white people of America.
They attacked Vine Deloria, Jr. (on the day of his funeral), Rigoberta Menchu and Evo Morales. An Indian on a reservation can’t get justice. And a tenured professor can get unconstitutionally thrown out, vindicated by a jury of his peers in a court of law, and it doesn’t matter.
Everyone I’ve named cannot fight back. Evo Morales has to worry about being the president of a country; Rigoberta Menchu has to continue working for her people. Vine Deloria is dead. Indian people on reservations have no power of any kind.
Only Ward has the ability to fight back and win, and it’s still not good enough. They still quash him.
The American Indian has been living at Guantánamo Bay since the founding of the United States of America.
In this installment of Weekend Update, Russell Means talks of the continual perpetuation of false myths concerning Indians. From the static stereotypes put forth by Hollywood movies, to the ignored histories of abundance and disease-free living never mentioned by supposedly balanced documentaries or historians, Russell Means works to tell the untold stories. He speaks as well to Cortez’s darkness, and to the misrepresentation and outright, on-going oblivion of the American populace to the Indian people in this 14 minute video.
Russell Means and James Martinez speak of the T.R.E.A.T.Y. School, We Shall Remain and news regarding the Republic of Lakotah. They speak as well of the coming dollar collapse, the rising tide of debts and the t-bill robbery of American Land in this hour long program.
(click triangle below to play program)
The following is a critique which first appeared on Oyate.org, discussing the myths and truths of the first Thanksgiving, prominently ignored in We Shall Remain:
Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving”
by Judy Dow (Abenaki) and Beverly Slapin
What is it about the story of “The First Thanksgiving” that makes it essential to be taught in virtually every grade from preschool through high school? What is it about the story that is so seductive? Why has it become an annual elementary school tradition to hold Thanksgiving pageants, with young children dressing up in paper-bag costumes and feather-duster headdresses and marching around the schoolyard? Why is it seen as necessary for fake “pilgrims” and fake “Indians” (portrayed by real children, many of whom are Indian) to sit down every year to a fake feast, acting out fake scenarios and reciting fake dialogue about friendship? And why do teachers all over the country continue (for the most part, unknowingly) to perpetuate this myth year after year after year?
Is it because as Americans we have a deep need to believe that the soil we live on and the country on which it is based was founded on integrity and cooperation? This belief would help contradict any feelings of guilt that could haunt us when we look at our role in more recent history in dealing with other indigenous peoples in other countries. If we dare to give up the “myth” we may have to take responsibility for our actions both concerning indigenous peoples of this land as well as those brought to this land in violation of everything that makes us human. The realization of these truths untold might crumble the foundation of what many believe is a true democracy. As good people, can we be strong enough to learn the truths of our collective past? Can we learn from our mistakes? This would be our hope.
We offer these myths and facts to assist students, parents and teachers in thinking critically about this holiday, and deconstructing what we have been taught about the history of this continent and the world. (Note: We have based our “fact” sections in large part on the research, both published and unpublished, that Abenaki scholar Margaret M. Bruchac developed in collaboration with the Wampanoag Indian Program at Plimoth Plantation. We thank Marge for her generosity. We thank Doris Seale and Lakota Harden for their support.)
Myth #1: “The First Thanksgiving” occurred in 1621.
Fact: No one knows when the “first” thanksgiving occurred. People have been giving thanks for as long as people have existed. Indigenous nations all over the world have celebrations of the harvest that come from very old traditions; for Native peoples, thanksgiving comes not once a year, but every day, for all the gifts of life. To refer to the harvest feast of 1621 as “The First Thanksgiving” disappears Indian peoples in the eyes of non-Native children.
Myth #2: The people who came across the ocean on the Mayflower were called Pilgrims.
Fact: The Plimoth settlers did not refer to themselves as “Pilgrims.” Pilgrims are people who travel for religious reasons, such as Muslims who make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Most of those who arrived here from England were religious dissidents who had broken away from the Church of England. They called themselves “Saints”; others called them “Separatists.” Some of the settlers were “Puritans,” dissidents but not separatists who wanted to “purify” the Church. It wasn’t until around the time of the American Revolution that the name “Pilgrims” came to be associated with the Plimoth settlers, and the “Pilgrims” became the symbol of American morality and Christian faith, fortitude, and family. (1)
Myth #3: The colonists came seeking freedom of religion in a new land.
Fact: The colonists were not just innocent refugees from religious persecution. By 1620, hundreds of Native people had already been to England and back, most as captives; so the Plimoth colonists knew full well that the land they were settling on was inhabited. Nevertheless, their belief system taught them that any land that was “unimproved” was “wild” and theirs for the taking; that the people who lived there were roving heathens with no right to the land. Both the Separatists and Puritans were rigid fundamentalists who came here fully intending to take the land away from its Native inhabitants and establish a new nation, their “Holy Kingdom.” The Plimoth colonists were never concerned with “freedom of religion” for anyone but themselves. (2)
Myth #4: When the “Pilgrims” landed, they first stepped foot on “Plymouth Rock.”
Fact: When the colonists landed, they sought out a sandy inlet in which to beach the little shallop that carried them from the Mayflower to the mainland. This shallop would have been smashed to smithereens had they docked at a rock, especially a Rock. Although the Plimoth settlers built their homes just up the hill from the Rock, William Bradford in Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, does not even mention the Rock; writing only that they “unshipped our shallop and drew her on land.” (3) The actual “rock” is a slab of Dedham granodiorite placed there by a receding glacier some 20,000 years ago. It was first referred to in a town surveying record in 1715, almost 100 years after the landing. Since then, the Rock has been moved, cracked in two, pasted together, carved up, chipped apart by tourists, cracked again, and now rests as a memorial to something that never happened. (4)
It’s quite possible that the myth about the “Pilgrims” landing on a “Rock” originated as a reference to the New Testament of the Christian bible, in which Jesus says to Peter, “And I say also unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) The appeal to these scriptures gives credence to the sanctity of colonization and the divine destiny of the dominant culture. Although the colonists were not dominant then, they behaved as though they were.
Myth #5: The Pilgrims found corn.
Fact: Just a few days after landing, a party of about 16 settlers led by Captain Myles Standish followed a Nauset trail and came upon an iron kettle and a cache of Indian corn buried in the sand. They made off with the corn and returned a few days later with reinforcements. This larger group “found” a larger store of corn, about ten bushels, and took it. They also “found” several graves, and, according to Mourt’s Relation, “brought sundry of the prettiest things away” from a child’s grave and then covered up the corpse. They also “found” two Indian dwellings and “some of the best things we took away with us.” (5) There is no record that restitution was ever made for the stolen corn, and the Wampanoag did not soon forget the colonists’ ransacking of Indian graves. (6)
Myth #6: Samoset appeared out of nowhere, and along with Squanto became friends with the Pilgrims. Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive and joined them at “The First Thanksgiving.”
Fact: Samoset, an eastern Abenaki chief, was the first to contact the Plimoth colonists. He was investigating the settlement to gather information and report to Massasoit, the head sachem in the Wampanoag territory. In his hand, Samoset carried two arrows: one blunt and one pointed. The question to the settlers was: are you friend or foe? Samoset brought Tisquantum (Squanto), one of the few survivors of the original Wampanoag village of Pawtuxet, to meet the English and keep an eye on them. Tisquantum had been taken captive by English captains several years earlier, and both he and Samoset spoke English. Tisquantum agreed to live among the colonists and serve as a translator. Massasoit also sent Hobbamock and his family to live near the colony to keep an eye on the settlement and also to watch Tisquantum, whom Massasoit did not trust. The Wampanoag oral tradition says that Massasoit ordered Tisquantum killed after he tried to stir up the English against the Wampanoag. Massasoit himself lost face after his years of dealing with the English only led to warfare and land grabs. Tisquantum is viewed by Wampanoag people as a traitor, for his scheming against other Native people for his own gain. Massasoit is viewed as a wise and generous leader whose affection for the English may have led him to be too tolerant of their ways. (7)
Myth #7: The Pilgrims invited the Indians to celebrate the First Thanksgiving.
Fact: According to oral accounts from the Wampanoag people, when the Native people nearby first heard the gunshots of the hunting colonists, they thought that the colonists were preparing for war and that Massasoit needed to be informed. When Massasoit showed up with 90 men and no women or children, it can be assumed that he was being cautious. When he saw there was a party going on, his men then went out and brought back five deer and lots of turkeys. (8)
In addition, both the Wampanoag and the English settlers were long familiar with harvest celebrations. Long before the Europeans set foot on these shores, Native peoples gave thanks every day for all the gifts of life, and held thanksgiving celebrations and giveaways at certain times of the year. The Europeans also had days of thanksgiving, marked by religious services. So the coming together of two peoples to share food and company was not entirely a foreign thing for either. But the visit that by all accounts lasted three days was most likely one of a series of political meetings to discuss and secure a military alliance. Neither side totally trusted the other: The Europeans considered the Wampanoag soulless heathens and instruments of the devil, and the Wampanoag had seen the Europeans steal their seed corn and rob their graves. In any event, neither the Wampanoag nor the Europeans referred to this feast/meeting as “Thanksgiving.” (9)
Myth #8: The Pilgrims provided the food for their Indian friends.
Fact: It is known that when Massasoit showed up with 90 men and saw there was a party going on, they then went out and brought back five deer and lots of turkeys. Though the details of this event have become clouded in secular mythology, judging by the inability of the settlers to provide for themselves at this time and Edward Winslow’s letter of 1622 (10), it is most likely that Massasoit and his people provided most of the food for this “historic” meal. (11)
Myth #9: The Pilgrims and Indians feasted on turkey, potatoes, berries, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and popcorn.
Fact: Both written and oral evidence show that what was actually consumed at the harvest festival in 1621 included venison (since Massasoit and his people brought five deer), wild fowl, and quite possibly nasaump—dried corn pounded and boiled into a thick porridge, and pompion—cooked, mashed pumpkin. Among the other food that would have been available, fresh fruits such as plums, grapes, berries and melons would have been out of season. It would have been too cold to dig for clams or fish for eels or small fish. There were no boats to fish for lobsters in rough water that was about 60 fathoms deep. There was not enough of the barley crop to make a batch of beer, nor was there a wheat crop. Potatoes and sweet potatoes didn’t get from the south up to New England until the 18th century, nor did sweet corn. Cranberries would have been too tart to eat without sugar to sweeten them, and that’s probably why they wouldn’t have had pumpkin pie, either. Since the corn of the time could not be successfully popped, there was no popcorn. (12)
Myth #10: The Pilgrims and Indians became great friends.
Fact: A mere generation later, the balance of power had shifted so enormously and the theft of land by the European settlers had become so egregious that the Wampanoag were forced into battle. In 1637, English soldiers massacred some 700 Pequot men, women and children at Mystic Fort, burning many of them alive in their homes and shooting those who fled. The colony of Connecticut and Massachusetts Bay Colony observed a day of thanksgiving commemorating the massacre. By 1675, there were some 50,000 colonists in the place they had named “New England.” That year, Metacom, a son of Massasoit, one of the first whose generosity had saved the lives of the starving settlers, led a rebellion against them. By the end of the conflict known as “King Philip’s War,” most of the Indian peoples of the Northeast region had been either completely wiped out, sold into slavery, or had fled for safety into Canada. Shortly after Metacom’s death, Plimoth Colony declared a day of thanksgiving for the English victory over the Indians. (13)
Myth #11: Thanksgiving is a happy time.
Fact: For many Indian people, “Thanksgiving” is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation. As currently celebrated in this country, “Thanksgiving” is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship.