America Is a World Problem
As President Bush pressed for war in Iraq, Lakota elder Tony Black Feather pressed for disarmament and peace, saying the American flag is a symbol of a racist and oppressive nation in violation of natural and spiritual laws.
"Someday somebody will have to account for these violations of the Natural Law and violations against Creation that the piece of cloth has been responsible for," Black Feather said in his statement to the United Nations, distributed on Stronghold Table.
"The United States needs to come clean to cleanse its conscience in the eyes of the world. Only then will we have justice and balance in this world."
Black Feather said people often ask him about the red, white and blue of the American flag.
"I tell them that the aboriginal Lakota people of this country look at this flag as a piece of red, white and blue cloth that stands for the foreign racist system that has oppressed Indigenous peoples for centuries.
"For traditional Lakota people, that piece of red, white and blue cloth stands for a system and a country that does not honor its own word," Black Feather said in his statement to the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations in July.
"If it stood for honor and truth, it would remember our treaties and give them the appropriate place under international law. But it doesn't. It dishonors its own word and violates its treaties, that piece of red, white and blue cloth."
On the Stronghold, Black Feather's U.N. statement was distributed as he challenged the National Park Service in the Badlands. Ignoring demands from the tribe, the Park Service plans to excavate fossils in the burial grounds of the Ghost Dancers massacred here after they survived the massacre of Wounded Knee.
"America is a world problem," Black Feather told National Park Service officials leading a tour in the Badlands of the proposed excavation site on Oglala Sioux tribal land.
Lakota gathered here say the bones of the Ghost Dancers, who danced here to bring back the buffalo and the old ways, are revealing themselves at this time for a reason.
With a message for humanity and calling for disarmament around the world, Black Feather chastised the Park Service for entering sacred grounds in the Badlands with armed park rangers.
Black Feather's comments to the United Nations on deception and the flag reflected the comments of Lakota here.
Black Feather said of the American flag, "This colorful cloth represents imperialism with the professed Christian duty to destroy many races of peoples throughout the world, to illegally confiscate their possessions, property and even their lives when U,S. interests need to be served.
"It is their intention to establish one world government, based solely on the American system of corporate greed.
"The cloth represents a political language that is designated to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.
"As Lakota people, we engage in different actions to remember the Natural Law and to assert our rights."
''Black Feather said the takeover of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council offices and the current resistance on Stronghold Table asserts the rights of the Lakota people.
"As the aboriginal people of this land, we must understand and assert that it is under our care. The continents of the world belong to its aboriginal peoples."
Black Feather's U.N. statement was distributed to NPS at Stronghold Table, South Dakota (NNC)
© News From Indian Country late October 2002