Dr. Richard L. Zephier speaking at UNPFII

At UN, Oglala Lakota Says US Defies International Law to Steal Land, Water and Billions in Resources


During Agenda Item 3 – Principles of Good Governance Consistent with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Articles 3, 6 and 46, of the 13th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Dr. Richard L. Zephier, spoke on behalf of Bryan V. Brewer, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, occupied Lakota Territory. Below is his full presentation of the Intervention of the Oglala Lakota Nation.

Madame Chairperson,

The Oglala Lakota Nation welcomes the opportunity to discuss “Principles of good governance consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: especially Articles 3, 6 and 46.” Under this item, in order to discuss practices of good governance, it is also helpful to discuss practices of bad governance – examples of what states should refrain from doing.

I speak today as the representative of the elected government in our colonially-occupied homeland. Although we are the elected government, we reject the label that is often attached to us by the government of the United States, as the “legitimate” Lakota government. We recognize and respect that we had and exercised political independence and self-determination long before there was a United States or a Canada or a Brazil or a Mexico. Our traditional form of governance was deliberately attacked and impaired through the operation of colonial domination.

Today, despite the fact that we are the entity that attempts to provide the daily necessities of life for our people – to maintain roads and schools and health facilities, we recognize, respect, and extend our hand to all Lakotas – traditional councils, grassroots organizations, and all Lakotas who strive to be free, self-sustaining, and independent people. As Lakotas, we stand on common ground, in defense of our right to self-determination, our right to have our treaties honored and respected as binding international instruments, and for the return of our homelands – especially our most sacred area – the He Sapa (Black Hills). We stand together in the defense of our homeland by predatory corporations and governments, and against destructive and illegal projects, such as the Keystone XL pipeline.


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scd's picture
Submitted by scd on
Very well said. Let us see where this goes now. Joe Biden...looks like you put your foot in your mouth again. "...'no nation – no nation – has the right to simply grab land from another nation. No nation has that right.” I agree and this includes the U.S. I can see the U.S. lawyers scrambling like roaches trying to figure out how to finagle their way out of this one as they count their change to scrape together enough money to pay someone off. A Lakota win is a win for all Tribal People in North America. That's what they (the whites) are afraid of. Looking forward to the UN response. Steve Fire Heart

curtj's picture
Submitted by curtj on
Our leaders refuse to tell America and the rest of the European colonial powers that their policies of colonialism are nothing more than that of theft and murder. We spend trillions to invade of mount coups to replace governments with hand picked dictators and puppet regimes, bribed to allow foreign conglomerates to go in and steal or coerce that particular countries resources. The BP's, Shell's, Exxon's, and Halliburtons rake in the profits off stolen resources after and during the military industrial complex's profits off the sale of their wares of destruction and death, off which bribe money is taken from and given to the dictators and puppet regimes who keep their people in line with terror, kidnappings, rape and murder, and finally trickling down into our bribed politicians pockets and freezers. They get the profits and Americans get the trillion dollar bills and resulting terrorist attacks. I remember our own President Obama silently signing an obscure apology in the middle of the night, to the First Peoples of North America, that was piggy backed onto an appropriations bill. His signing statement that the Natives were sovereign as long as it didn't interfere with the government's policies and actions. No Native leaders present to accept his silent apology. The reason America refuses to join the International Criminal Court is because America refuses to stop the policies of colonialism. The reason Afghanistan and America cannot come to a security agreement is because America refuses to allow soldiers to become liable for murder if they murder innocents. How's that for democracy from our pay to play government, where legislation and deregulations depend on how much bribe money can be given to our politicians? And to think America replaced the CIA supported Saddam Hussein and puppet regime in Afghanistan with more pay to play puppet regimes who have to be bribed into activity.