The story of secession by a major Indian group is being largely ignored, but the possibility is very real. The media will not cover this story because it is the last thing the Obama administration needs. . . or wants. The Lakota tribes have renounced treaties, and have announced their intention to withdraw from the United States, forming their own sovereign nation within five existing States.
The problem is, it is completely legal. Though under the purview of the federal government, all Native American tribes are sovereign by treaty, and independent from the United States of America.
The State Department has not responded to the Lakota's statement of "unilateral withdrawal" from the United States. The various countries the Lakotas sent copies of their declaratory letter too, however, seemed very interested. The Indian group plans to send copies of the declaration to the United Nations, as well, seeking to gain support from the international community.
Once the secession begins, the Lakota nation plans to file liens on property in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming that they believe were illegally homesteaded by Americans.
According to those involved, anyone could live in the Lakota Nation, tax free, as long as they renounced their U.S. citizenship. The nation would issue drivers licenses and passports, but each community would be independent. "It will be the epitome of individual liberty, with community control," said political activist Russell Means, a founder of the American Indian Movement.
To make his case, Means cited several articles of the U.S. Constitution, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and a recent nonbinding U.N. resolution on the rights of indigenous people.
He thinks there will be international pressure. "If the U.S. violates the law, the whole world will know it," Means said.
Lakota tribes have long claimed that the U.S. government stole land guaranteed by treaties - especially in western South Dakota. "The Missouri River is ours, and so are the Black Hills," Means said.
If this story grows, it could create havoc for the Obama campaign. The Lakota argument is essentially in line with the same one the Democrats use in regards to the Indians. To appeal to his base Obama will have to work with the Lakotas. However, this move by the Lakotas also contradicts Obama's attempt to tighten the federal government's grip over the union. How can Obama say, "Yes, sure, you are sovereign, but you're not," and not create a massive explosion of bad press? For Obama it is all about perception, and the story of the Indians that want to secede from the U.S. is one he will not know how to negotiate.