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Stronghold, South Dakota
United Nations Representative Tony Black Feather, Lakota, said if the world wants to understand the invasion and occupation of Iraq, ask an Indian.
“Our territory was liberated by the Americans when gold was discovered in the Black Hills,” Black Feather said of the gold rush 153 years ago.
The same United States government invading the Middle East assaulted the sovereignty and self-determination of Indian Nations, Black Feather said.
“The world must stand together against tyranny.”
Iraq is the latest chapter in the American colonial process, profiteering from words like “democracy” and “human rights.”
American interests profit from the land, resources, gold and oil during the conquests, he said.
Black Feather spoke April 12 on Stronghold Table as he gathered with the Tokala, traditional warrior society of Crazy Horse.
Tokala are fortifying and expanding Lakota resistance camps to protect the gravesites of the Ghost Dancers massacred here in the 1890s.
The National Park Service plans a fossil excavation here, on Oglala Sioux land in the Badlands, even though Lakota warned the Park Service to halt the dig in this sacred Lakota cemetery.
“This is our land! We can not lose!” George Tall, Tokala, told the gathering on Stronghold Table at the site of the massacre.
“The spirits called us back again,” said Jim Toby Big Boy, as Lakota gathered, ready to protect the fragile Badlands.
Black Feather said the Lakota Nation has experienced the weight of American imperialism and prays for a true and sacred peace based on justice.
“The Lakota Nation stands with all those states in the United Nations calling for an end to American aggression,” he said.
Black Feather said the war in Iraq was for oil and recalled a visit to Iraq in the 1990s. At that time, an Iraqi woman told him, “They want our oil and they will kill us to get it.”
“Divide, starve and conquer,” was the tactic used against American Indians and it is now being used against the Middle East, he said.
“We are hopeful that our world of nations will stand together against the abuser, the schoolyard bully and the violator of international law.”
Black Feather said the United States and Britain lost the war politically and morally.
“The right to self-determination applies to all people.”
Black Feather repeated his words to the United Nations, first said in Geneva in 1998.
“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.”
Black Feather is spokesman for the Tetuwan Oyate, Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council, at the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations.
The Treaty Council was founded in 1894, four years after the slaughter of women and children at the massacre of Wounded Knee.
The Treaty Council was established to enforce the provisions of treaties, which the United States has abrogated, attempting to force Sioux into servitude, he said.
Lakota struggling here on Stronghold Table, at times without food and water, are prepared to defend their spiritual trust.
Tall told the gathering on Stronghold Table it is time for sovereign home rule here, reflecting the true wishes of the Lakota people. He said Lakota are prepared for a true democracy, first born on this continent by the Iroquois.
BRENDA NORRELL can be reached at: