Just received a press release from Russell Means, declaring a state of emergency on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It seems the Governor of South Dakota, Michael Rounds, recently did the same for South Dakota as a whole, but, of course, any resulting aid won’t be allocated to Indian Reservations.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Russell Means: International Disaster Declaration
INTERNATIONAL DISASTER DECLARATION
Contact: David Adams, Director of Communications, Republic of Lakotah
STATE OF EMERGENCY: Oglala Sioux
Governor Michael Rounds of South Dakota has declared the State a disaster area. However Indian Reservations are NOT included in the declaration. I, Russell Means, due to the total absence of Tribal Government and its leadership, and as candidate for Tribal President and Chief Facilitator of the Republic of Lakotah, am declaring an INTERNATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY. The reason for this declaration is two-fold:
1) The current life-threatening severe weather conditions and
2) The ongoing genocidal policies of the United States Government that still remain unaddressed:
* Unknown thousands are still stranded by high snow drifts for 3rd straight day.
* Unknown number of people without heat and/or electricity.
* Impassable road conditions preventing emergency services and propane deliveries.
* Confirmed fatality due to inability to get to dialysis treatment. Status of other dialysispatients is unknown.
* Second fatality bled to death due to no emergency services.
* Tribal President Steele and Vice President Brewer?s whereabouts unknown as reported by Officers of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (B.I.A.).
* Officers rescue mother with new born and 2-year old child from heatless home.
* Tribal Police dispatch unable to determine road conditions.
* Wide-spread telephone service interruptions.
* Hardest hit is the eastern portion of the Reservation, which includes Pass Creek, Eagle Nest and Medicine Root Districts. Also Red Shirt Table, Cuny Table, Slim Buttes, Oglala and Porcupine communities.
* Unconfirmed reports of National Guard due to arrive today Genocidal Results of the Failed American Indian Policies of the United States Government:
* Lakotah men have a life expectancy of less than 44 years, lowest of any country in the World (excluding AIDS) including Haiti.
* Lakotah death rate is the highest in the United States.
* The Lakotah infant mortality rate is 300% more than the U.S. Average.
* One out of every four Lakotah children born are fostered or adopted out to non-Indian homes.
* Diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, etc. are present. Cancer is now at epidemic proportions!
* Teenage suicide rate is 150% higher than the U.S national average for this group.
* Median income is approximately $2,600 to $3,500 per year.
* 97% of our Lakotah people live below the poverty line.
* Many families cannot afford heating oil, wood or propane and many residents use ovens to heat their homes.
* Unemployment rates on our reservations are 80% or higher.
* Government funding for job creation is lost through cronyism and corruption.
* Elderly die each winter from hypothermia (freezing).
* 1/3 of the homes lack basic clean water and sewage while 40% lack electricity.
* 60% of Reservation families have no telephone.* 60% of housing is infected with potentially fatal black molds.
* There is an estimated average of 17 people living in each family home (may only have two to three rooms). Some homes, built for 6 to 8 people, have up to 30 people living in them.
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL:
* More than half the Reservation?s adults battle addiction and disease.
* Alcoholism affects 9 in 10 families.
* Two known meth-amphetamine labs allowed to continue operation. Why?
* The Tuberculosis rate on Lakotah reservations is approx. 800% higher than the U.S national average.
* Cervical cancer is 500% higher than the U.S national average.
* The rate of diabetes is 800% higher than the U.S national average.
* Federal Commodity Food Program provides high sugar foods that kill Native people through diabetes and heart disease.
* Indian children incarceration rate 40% higher than whites.
* In South Dakota, 21 percent of state prisoners are American Indians, yet they only make up 2% of the population.
* Indians have the second largest state prison incarceration rate in the nation.
* Most Indians live on federal reservations. Less than 2% of Indians live where the state has jurisdiction!
* Only 14% of the Lakotah population can speak the Lakotah language.
* The language is not being shared inter-generationally. Today, the average age of a fluent Lakotah speaker is 65 years.
* Our Lakotah language is an Endangered Language, on the verge of extinction.
* Our Lakotah language is not allowed to be taught in the U.S. Government schools.
As an aside, I just got to Michael A. Elliott’s Custerology, which has been on my reading list for some time, and it opens with a kind of sly dig at Russell Means. Or, perhaps not a dig, but what reads like a serious misinterpretation of Mr. Means’ positions, at least as I understand them. This is neither here nor there, but that seems to be a trend among the few non-Indian academics who deal with Indian issues. Almost as if they target Mr. Means as a way to position their own legitimacy. The last example I can think of comes in Rebecca Blevins Faery’s Cartographies of Desire. It’s actually a pretty useful book, but I remember this bizarre broadside on Russell Means in the middle, where she makes some kind of claim that Mr. Means is more colonized than Pocahontas. It was hard not to take it as her off-key attempt to establish her own street cred.
Anyway, you can, and should, arrange to donate money for propane, firewood and/or new winter clothes and food at the Republic of Lakotah website.