On Dec. 20, a delegation from the Lakota Sioux tribe declared sovereign-nation status. Led by American Indian activist Russell Means, the group traveled to Washington, D.C., to hand-deliver an announcement of withdrawal from all previously signed treaties with the United States government. But the move has been questioned by critics who say that not everyone in the tribe stands behind the declaration.
What’s this got to do with local news? The media work for this historic declaration was conducted locally, even though Lakota territory is in South Dakota. The communications liaison listed on the press release is local activist Naomi Archer, who leads a Fairview-based indigenous-rights group called the Four Directions Solidarity Network. Archer was unavailable for comment.
One of the Lakota delegates, Chanupa Gluha Mani, appeared at the West Asheville library several days after the declaration was made. An in-depth account of the event was posted on the Xpress forums page, and captured on video by Zen Sutherland, a frequent contributor. The accompanying photo was also taken by Sutherland.
Since the press release went out, media outlets across the world have reported on the news. Yet in the wake of those reports, controversy has ensued, as several members of the tribe have stated publicly that they are not in support of the move to withdraw from the U.S.
— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor