THE DAWN OF GENOCIDE from the Oread Daily

American Indians protesting an ongoing reenactment of the Lewis and Clark expedition say they will continue their protest and they deny allegations that they have used any threats of violence or physical intimidation. Protestors say the expedition is nothing to celebrate. "It did nothing good for us. They are saying how great it is and we know that is not true," Alex White Plume, a Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation said. Last weekend's protest was at Fort Pierre, South Dakota. The mouth of the Bad River at Fort Pierre is where the voyagers first met the Lakota in 1804. The new "expedition" was met there by several dozen American Indians mostly from the Pine Ridge Reservation. The peaceful protest was met by a heavy police presence.

The previous weekend near Chamberlain, South Dakota Lakota, Ponca and Kiowa Indians told the re-enactors to turn back downriver.

The Lewis and Clark re-enactors offered a tomahawk pipe to the group of resisters who refused to smoke it. Strong statements were made by tribal leaders Alex White Plume, Floyd Hand, Carter Camp, Alfred Bone Shirt, Russell Means and Vic Camp who advised the Lewis and Clark re-enactors that they were perpetuating the lies of American history. "What they wrote down was a blueprint for the genocide of my people. You are re-enacting something ugly, evil and hateful," Carter Camp, Ponca, told the Discovery Expedition camped on the Missouri River.

An Indian delegation of elders, supported by young warriors, gave the expedition three days to go home and a stern warning. If they did not turn around, they would call on all Indians who are not assimilated, colonized and conquered to join them and stop the expedition. "You are re-enacting the coming of death to our people," Camp told the expedition, while seated in a circle with Indian elders and Lewis.

Camp warned the expedition to halt or they would be stopped. He said the expedition has been told lies and are spreading lies. "Lewis and Clark are a part of the American lie. They had no honor. They came with the American lie. They murdered six million people."

Camp said Lewis and Clark said they came in peace. He said Lewis and Clark knew what happened to Indians in the eastern part of the country and they knew that the missionaries followed the soldiers. And it was the missionaries who left his people as remnants, homeless in the streets.

Responding to comments by re-enactors who defended the expedition as a means of education, Camp asked, "Would it be all right if these guys were dressed in sheets like the Ku Klux Klan?"

A few months after the original "Voyage of Discovery", Clark wrote of the Lakota, "These are the vilest miscreants of the savage race, and must ever remain the pirates of the Missouri, until such measures are pursued, by our government, as will make them feel a dependence on its will for their supply of merchandise."

Ahmbaska, among the Native youths, spoke of the tribes who had become extinct, their languages and cultures lost forever, and the women and babies murdered by the U.S. military. "They stomped their heads to save bullets." Speaking directly to the re-enactors, he said, "This is not a show, this is our hearts." His people, the Missouri, were exiled to Oklahoma. "My people have never seen this Missouri River which was named after us." Now, he said, on Rosebud, people are dying from the whopping cough. Lewis and Clark were the beginning of the end in the West. "They came and they took and they conquered. That is what you are re-enacting," he said.

Deb White Plume of Pine Ridge gave the expedition a symbolic blanket of small pox.

Jon Ruybalid, a member of the expedition who doubles as its legal counsel, said the group gave serious consideration to the Indians' request. However, they continued on despite that request.

While the Expedition contends that it has support from tribal leadership along the route, the resistors believe that, just as the original crew had done, this organization merely dangled some shiny coins before the elected leaders to get them on board for this money-making adventure. The "resisters" say the genocide of the native nations continues and they call upon all Indians to oppose this re-enactment of the "Dawn of Genocide of Lewis and Clark."

Renegade, UN Observer and International Report, Dakota/Lakota/Nakota
Human Rights Advocacy, Native American Times, KOTA (South Dakota), Columbia Daily Tribune

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Oktober 2004

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