Native American activist Russell Means, known for long-time activism and for the recent controversial declaration of Lakota independence, is looking forward to August 25. But he won’t be in Denver to attend the first day of the Democratic National Convention or protest Columbus Day holiday, which was first celebrated in the Mile High City in 1907.
Instead, “America’s angriest Indian” will be in his native land with a group of supporters protesting what they consider violation of a federal treaty.
In the words of Republic of Lakotah website:
In the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Russell Means, the Chief Facilitator of the Republic of Lakotah, is organizing a group of Lakotah Indians to enter Sheridan Lake Recreation Area near Rapid City, South Dakota, refuse to pay the admission fee, and fish without paying the license fee. Means claims that Lakotah retained the right to fish and pass in the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty territory and that those rights continue today and backed by Article VI of the Constitution of the united states of America.
The event, which is being billed as the Lakotah Freedom Fishing Day, is about much more than the admission fee or the fishing license fee; it is about getting the South Dakota and United States governments to follow their own laws. Means said, “After having been an occupied nation for over 150 years, we have asked the United States government to leave our country. Meanwhile, until the United States Government leaves Lakotah territory we will take every opportunity to insist it follow its own laws and that its states do the same.”
Lakotah have given notice to Larry Long, the Attorney General of South Dakota, of its plans for this event. Means said he has not heard from Long yet and does not know if the state plans on allowing the Indians to fish and pass or if the park rangers will issue citations or arrest any of the Lakotah fishermen. Means plans to call in federal marshalls to enforce the treaty rights. Means said, “According to the Civil Right Act, federal marshalls should arrest any state official who tries to stop Lakotah from entering the park and fishing. However, if the United States ignores its own laws to deny Lakotah rights, it will certainly not be the first time.”
This historic event is planned for Monday, August 25th, at 1:00 p.m.