April 16, 2003

Statement of the Tetuwan Oyate, Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council, Against the U


KEYWORDS: war in Iraq Lakota people Lakota Nation violation of
international treaties Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council mass murder Saddam Hussein freeing the Iraqi
people hidden
agenda in the Middle East

AUTHOR: Tetuwan Oyate,
Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council

In the fall of 1875, the United States government issued an ultimatum to a
nation of people that stood in the way of their advancement across the North
American continent. The Lakota people were given a few weeks to leave their
own country and return to a reservation established by the Americans “or be
considered ‘hostiles’ subject to forced removal.” The Lakota refusal to heed
the ultimatum resulted in a war that included the charge of the 7th Cavalry
under the command of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and his ultimate defeat
on June 25, 1876.

On March 18, 2003 George W. Bush issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Iraqi
President Sadaam Hussein and his sons to go into exile or face “military
conflict.” Shortly after the world listened to the American president’s
demands, the assault and invasion by American troops began. Again, the 7th
cavalry is advancing on a city of people living on their own terms in their
own territory.

If America, or the world for that matter, wants to understand the American
mind-set behind the war in Iraq, it’s simple. Ask an Indian.


Latest chapter in the American colonial process

The current
invasion and planned occupation of Iraq is the latest chapter in the American
colonial process.

It is a process that hides behind the forced imposition of
“democracy” and “human rights” as Americans interpret these terms. Usually
that interpretation involves benefits for American interests whether those
interests are land, resources, gold or oil.

In our nation, the Lakota Nation, it started about 153 years ago. Our
territory was to be “liberated” by the Americans when gold was discovered in
the Black Hills. The occupation of our land by foreign forces began shortly
after the American discovery of these resources and, in violation of
international treaties and conventions, has continued ever since. Our battle
to eject the “infidels” has also continued.

The Tetuwan Oyate, Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council, was founded in 1894,
four years after the 7th Cavalry took its revenge for the loss at the Battle
of the Little Big Horn when a peaceful camp of mostly sickly elders, women
and children were massacred in the snows at Wounded Knee in present day South

The Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council was established to enforce the
provisions of our peace treaties lawfully made with the United States that
guaranteed our sovereignty over our land, resources and culture. For over a
century the United States has used every weapon in its massive arsenal to
ensure that the rights of the Lakota Nation are abrogated and that our people
are held in servitude.

Battle from the Supreme Court of the United States to the institutions of the United Nations

Our elders and leaders have taken our battle from the
Supreme Court of the United States to the institutions of the United Nations
in order to preserve our right to our territory, our sovereignty as a nation
and our self-determination over our own future.

The Lakota Nation defends
the sovereignty of all peoples, not necessarily the sovereign.

Today, watching the media reports on American television, we see the same
history unfolding that our people have and continue to experience. As
American troops open fire on vehicles filled with families escaping the
horrors of the invasion of their territory, our genetic memories recall the
massacres in our own country.

Statement of the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council and the United Nations delegate of the
traditional Lakota Nation

Tony Black Feather, the Spokesman for the
Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council and the United Nations delegate of the
traditional Lakota Nation in our international efforts, stated:

“This is the same history. We are watching history repeat itself again and
again. This is not a war. It is a mass murder for oil and resources – the
same thing they did to us – the same people are in Iraq that killed my Lakota
people and stole our Lakota land. We are not involved in this so-called war
because we are a nation that has treaties which separate us from the United

We have always been a nation. We are saddened that the United
States is using the wealth that they stole from our territories to make war
on innocent people. We cannot condone the use of what are our resources
under international treaties to support the [United States] invasion of Iraq.

We sympathize with the people of Iraq. The United States is trying to put the
Iraqi people under the same reservation and trust system that they have used
against our people.”

BBC Report of Indian theory

Support of Mr. Black Feather’s assertion was provided in a BBC report on
April 3, 2003, when the British Foreign Minister for the Middle East, Mike
O’Brien, stated that the American post-war plans include the appointment of
23 American “ministers” who will be established in Baghdad.

“ministers” sound very similar to the Indian “agents” installed on
reservations throughout the United States whose job is to represent the
interests of the American government. Although Mr. O’Brien stated
emphatically that the United States has no plans to “colonize” Iraq, the
facts seem to dispute the denials.

In its colonization of Indian territory in North America, in violation of the
United States constitution in which “all treaties made, or which shall be made
â?¦ shall be the supreme law of the land” , the American government has gone to
great lengths to give the appearance that our territory was never colonized
in violation of these treaties.

Indeed the myth has evolved into a romantic
history in which the land never really belonged to anyone but the Americans.
Plenary power, sovereignty, nation-to-nation, citizenship and Indian
reorganization are all terms familiar to individuals aware of America’s
manipulation of the language of colonization.

Propaganda efforts have begun

Clearly, the same propaganda efforts have begun with respect to Iraq. At
the beginning of the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld enumerated several objectives:
the first was to topple Saddam Hussein and the second to locate and destroy
Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

President Bush, his team, and
the Pentagon media sources now more frequently speak of “freeing the Iraqi
people.” This has replaced disarming Iraq as the main focus.

Some analysts
see the re-ordering of priorities and shriller language as a response to the
realities on the ground in Iraq. Saddam has not used non-conventional weapons
and U.S. and British troops have so far not found any to justify a war which
much of the international community opposes.

Many analysts, both in the
United States and abroad, however, see the shifts either as a consequence of
Bush’s failure to making a convincing case for war or as evidence of a hidden
agenda in the Middle East.

For the leadership of the Lakota Nation, the
American agenda is not so hidden, and many experts agree.

Real target of the war

“The real target of the war is to make US supremacy prevail on a strategic
oil-rich region, and to protect Israel’s regional superiority and its
monopoly over weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East,” alleged
British Middle East expert and journalist Patrick Seale.

“I think the basic
reasoning behind the policy, as far as most people around the world are
concerned, is for oil and control of the Gulf region,” said Li Jianying, vice
president of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs.

the rhetoric of the American, British and Spanish leaders, few outside of the
United States seem fooled by the American motives in this invasion.

Opposition to the war is growing

Official movement within the United Nations in opposition to the war is also
growing. On April 1, 2003 Secretary-General Kofi Annan said there is “lots
of unhappiness” at the United Nations about the war in Iraq and that Arab
nations want the United Nations to do more to bring about a cease-fire.

22-member Arab Group met with Annan and announced that it would push for
adoption of a resolution in the General Assembly to show the strength of
world opposition to the U.S. military campaign.

The Organization of the
Islamic Conference Group, with 57 member nations, also supported taking the
issue to the General Assembly.

Based on our own history, the Lakota Nation
supports these efforts in opposition to the American invasion and
colonization, especially with respect to actions applying international law
to an international situation. For our people, this is how a civilized,
peaceful world is achieved.

During our long experience with American occupation, the Lakota Nation has
seen the United States utilize its vast economic and military power to
suppress opposition to its own agenda.

In the same way, the United States
has stubbornly ignored the overwhelming opposition to this war by the rest of
the world.

In a communication, obtained by Greenpeace, the United States
urged countries to vote against or abstain from supporting a General Assembly
meeting to discuss the war, adding it would be considered “unhelpful and
directed against the United States.” The United States further threatened
that invoking the Uniting for Peace resolution will be “harmful to the UN.”

US gives thinly veiled threat

“This communication is nothing short of a thinly veiled threat. This is the
last chance for the overwhelming majority of UN member states who are opposed
to this war to stand up for the charter of the UN and the rule of law,” said
Greenpeace campaigner Mike Townsley.

“It’s vital that UN member states reject
US pressure to undermine their rights, and support the Arab League’s
resolution to call for an end to the ongoing invasion of Iraq which is
costing more lives day by the day,” he added.

Within the United Nations system the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council of the
Lakota Nation has been fighting alongside other Indigenous peoples for the
passage of the Declaration on the Rights of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

However, some powerful states, including the US, are opposed to many of its
provisions on group rights, self-determination and the management of
resources provided in the Declaration.

It would appear that aspects relating
to these same issues can be found in the current invasion of Iraq by the
American regime. Undermining fundamental international law and human rights
seems to be the current strategy of the United States government.

At the
latest meeting on the Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights at the United
Nations in December 2002, the US was more vocal than ever, having had a State
Department directive to basically prevent Indigenous peoples from anything
other than US defined internal self-determination (which would give
legitimacy to plenary power, abrogation of treaties, no control over
resources, etc.) and other basic human rights.

A fierce struggle of words

“It was a fierce struggle with words between representatives of Indigenous
peoples allied with some of the governments against a few of the very large
states: the USA, Canada, and Australia, to name a few.

The very fact that
it is a struggle over human rights is appalling. Yet when the idea of
recognizing the inalienable human rights of Indigenous peoples comes to the
forefront, some of the largest and most powerful governments in the world
begin to experience anxiety. Why?

Because their domestic activities begin
to see the light of day, and the world family starts to learn of abuses that
go against the ideals and images those governments wish to portray.

It is similar to when the abusive activities of a dysfunctional family start to be
exposed for all the world to see. The abusers experience much anxiety and
will try everything to maintain the status quo.”

On the next to the last day of the Draft Declaration meeting, the United
States seemed to give the same thinly veiled threat that the Greenpeace
communique exposed, stating that unless the Declaration was passed with the
U.S. changes and the way they wanted it, they would consider it null and void
in two years.

Again, the same tactics that are being used against the
Lakota Nation and other Indigenous peoples by the United States are now being
used by the United States against Iraq.

Venue for peaceful dialogue

The world family of nations must act
now and together in order to strengthen the institution of the United Nations
as a viable venue for peaceful dialogue.

Peace and justice are what the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council works for.
In a prophetic statement before the United Nations 54th Session of the
Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in March of 1998, Tony Black Feather
spoke of the need for the United Nations to oppose the violation of the
sovereignty of any nation by another:

“The threat to human rights, self-determination and sovereignty over our
unique cultures cannot be tolerated at any level. No nation-state, despite
its superior economic or military power, can be permitted to control the
lives of the world’s people.

We believe the efforts by nation states like
Iraq [this was said during the embargo that was going on in 1998 after the
first Gulf War] to defend the sovereignty of their territory is a fundamental
principle of international relations. Historically, tactics of divide,
starve and conquer have been used against our people so we understand the use
of embargoes and pressure from within and without.

While we cannot condone
the oppression of ethnic groups within modern nations, we staunchly defend
Iraq’s right to protect its sovereignty.”

The Lakota Nation condems the invsion of Iraq

The Lakota Nation stands with UN member states that have called on the United
Nations to reject moves by the United States to block a resolution in the UN
General Assembly condemning the invasion of Iraq, calling for a ceasefire and
a withdrawal of US and British armed forces.

Human rights, sovereignty and
self-determination are fundamental principles of both Lakota Natural Law and
the United Nations Charter. Unilateral invasion and colonization is a
violation of international human rights law and cannot be condoned or

By going to the General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, war
opponents have a much better chance of winning approval for a resolution if
they can draft a text with broad appeal based on these principles.

Self-determination is now a human right in international law

“It is
certain that self-determination is now a human right in international law.”

“Human rights can only exist truly and fully when self-determination also
exists. Such is the fundamental importance of self-determination as a human
right and as a prerequisite for the enjoyment of all the other rights and

Implementation and universal respect for these principles are the real
battles and victory can be had if the world stands united against tyranny.

The Lakota Nation and Indigenous peoples everywhere are aware of the
devastation caused by colonization and the lack of respect for the right to
sovereignty and self-determination.

Examples of Lakota history have much to teach the world

The example of Lakota history has much
to teach a world in which one nation’s intentions are to impose American
values and interests upon the world’s cultures and races until all that is
left are American values and interests.

The Teton Sioux Nation agrees with
British Middle East expert and journalist Patrick Seale who said, “whatever
the military outcome of the battle of Baghdad, the Americans and the British
have lost the war politically and morally.”

In the next 100 years

In another 100 years, if the United States can survive, will it still be
hiding its history of colonization and domination?

When will Americans
realize that the people who died on September 11th died for nothing if
America refuses to examine its own role in the tragedy?

When will Americans
learn that their way is not the only way, and that peoples have cultures and
histories that they are willing to fight to protect and preserve?

The Teton
Sioux Nation Treaty Council acknowledges that many American individuals are
asking these questions and ally with us and we are grateful that diverse
peoples can come together to stop American government and corporate interests
in their unrelenting pursuit for domination.

The UN Charter and many of its conventions and standards are established in
recognition of what Lakota people call Natural Law. That is why we have gone
to the United Nations.

We are hopeful that our world of nations will stand
together against the abuser, the schoolyard bully, and the violator of
international law. The Right to Self Determination in the preamble of the UN
Charter applies to all peoples. Diversity is the cornerstone of Natural Law.

It does not say that might makes right.

Lakota Nation prayers

The people of the Lakota Nation pray for the peoples and nations (Indigenous
and non-Indigenous) that have experienced and are experiencing the weight of
American imperialism.

We pray for true, sacred peace which includes true
justice and stand with those states within the United Nations calling for an
end to current American aggression.


Tetuwan Oyate

Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council

Tony Black Feather, Spokesman

Ph. 308-862-2607

Kent Lebsock, Legal & Corresponding Secretary

Ph. 505-341-4230


Vist the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council website.

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