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The Lakota

White Plume Family

Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way)
The White Plume family's site highlights their activism work and lists ways that people can contact and help them.

Inter-Tribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte
This Lakota website supports protection of the sacred Mato Paha — Bear Butte Mountain — in South Dakota, an effort the White Plume family champions.

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Debra White Plume serves as a delegate to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The forum's website includes a Declaration of Rights as well as records of proceedings regarding indigenous-population issues around the world.

Oglala Sioux Tribe
The Oglala Sioux Tribe's website includes information about their government, history, schools and land, as well as news. Alex White Plume was a member of the Tribal Council from 1982-1984 and from 1990-1992.

Natives Unite: Hemp at Pine Ridge
This part of the Natives Unite website focuses on the White Plume legal case and includes a downloadable copy of the final judgment explaining the court's position.



Organizations

The Bureau of Indian Affairs
There are 561 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for administering services and managing land held in trust by the U.S. government for American Indian tribes. Due to litigation, most of the website's resources are currently offline.

The Native American Rights Fund
This nonprofit law firm is dedicated to defending Native American rights. The website includes the National Indian Law Library, an extensive collection of legal documents, including documents related to events featured in the film.

Indian Land Tenure Foundation
The website of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation includes historical and current information about tribal land rights and sovereignty issues.

 

History

New Perspectives on The West: Events
The website for Ken Burns' documentary about the American West includes a detailed timeline highlights major events in American history, including the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty, in which the United States government agrees to divide several tracts of land between the Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, Arikara, Assiniboin, Mandan, Gros Ventre and other tribes pledging that the tribes will retain possession of their land forever.

Circle of Stories
Four Native Americans share stories about their culture in this beautiful site. Rosella Archdale, a Lakota medicine lodge woman, tells the story of the cooking spirit. Learn about Lakota culture and cuisine in this engaging site.

 

Articles

Washington Post: On Pine Ridge, a String of Broken Promises
Written during the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, this article describes the harsh conditions and economic impoverishment among the Lakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Promised federal help fails to materialize again and again, infant mortality is twice the rate of the rest of the country, life expectancy is the nation's lowest and progress on the reservation, as the article points out, is "best measured in inches." (October 21, 2004)



Hemp

USA Today: Two farmers suing DEA over right to grow hemp
Two North Dakota farmers who want to grow hemp are filing a federal lawsuit today to challenge the Drug Enforcement Administration's ban on the plant that is the same species that produces marijuana. (June 17, 2007)

Vote Hemp
This nonprofit organization advocates changing the U.S. law to allow for the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp. The website includes basic information about hemp, as well as a timeline of the White Plume case and links to corresponding legal documents and news coverage.

The Hemp Industries Association
This nonprofit trade association represents hemp companies, researchers and supporters. Resources on the site include a country-by-country summary of hemp policies around the world and information on pending legislation, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007 (H.R. 1009).

Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Agency
The website of the Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Agency includes the text of the Controlled Substance Act. Search for "hemp" to find relevant news reports and policy statements relevant to the White Plume case.

USA Today: 'Industrial' hemp support takes root
Led by David Monson, a conservative Republican legislator and farmer, North Dakota's legislature has passed laws to make hemp farming legal — if the U.S. government ever allows it. This article summarizes the growing popularity for hemp products, and the fight to legalize hemp growing in the U.S. (November 22, 2005)

Hemp for Victory
Watch the film produced by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1942 that outlines its plans to distribute 400,000 pounds of cannabis seeds to American farmers with the goal of producing 350,000 acres of hemp by 1943 — all for the war effort.



Take Action

1. Convene a public debate or town meeting on the Industrial Hemp Farming Act and the current bill in Congress, H.R. 3037. (Find out the current status of H.R. 3037.) Encourage participants to share their views with their members of Congress.

2. To explain her relationship to the land, Debra White Plume quotes Crazy Horse, "We don't own the earth, we borrow her from our children." Craft sample public environmental policies based on that idea. Choose at least one of the policies as a focus and work toward its implementation.

For examples of policy areas, visit the websites of the following environmental organizations.

Environmental Defense provides an excellent overview of various environmental issues, including global warming, agriculture, clean air and more.

Earth Justice approaches environmental policy primarily through litigation. The organization uses federal and state environmental law to protect the environment by taking government agencies to court for failing to enforce our nation's environmental laws, and corporations for breaking them. Earth Justice also has a policy unit that defends and strengthens environmental laws.

The National Religious Partnership for the Environment is a coalition of faith groups across a broad spectrum. The issues area of their website offers the Jewish, Evangelical, Catholic and Protestant perspectives on a diverse range of environmental topics such as food and agriculture, urban life, water and energy.

3. Find out what your school district teaches about Native Americans. Work with local tribes and/or Native American organizations to ensure that the curriculum is complete and accurate.

4. Explore human rights issues related to American Indians. Include in your research the impact of the papal bull document of 1492 (which states that any non-Christians can be declared animals and therefore can not own land) and the decade-long effort to pass a United Nations declaration of indigenous people's rights.

Read the text of the "Inter Catera" papal bull document from NativeWeb, a website and resource for indigenious people around the world, and learn more about efforts to revoke the papal bull on a page from the Indigenous Law Institute.

Learn more about the passage of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2006, after the legislation had been debated for 11 years.

Join the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), a nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Native Americans nationwide.

5. Use the film as a catalyst for public discussions about what people can learn about community activism from the White Plumes. Invite local activists to share their own experiences. Find out more about how to hold a screening of "Standing Silent Nation."

6. For more actions you can take after watching the film, visit the filmmakers' website.



Also on PBS and NPR

PBS.org Websites

Indian Country Diaries
This two-part series explores the challenges facing Native Americans in urban and rural settings in the 21st century. The website summarizes some of the main topics, such as identity and assimilation, tribal sovereignty, revitalizing native cultures, health and economic development. An interactive map offers a look at how contact with Europeans was harmful to the native population of North America — from the early settlers through to present day. (November 2006)

Frontline: Busted: America's War on Marijuana
Frontline goes behind the scenes of America's marijuana industry, examining the production and sale of the nation's most widely used illegal drug, as well as efforts to eradicate it. (April 28, 1998)

The West
Ken Burns's seminal eight-part historical documentary series on the American West. Using memoirs, rare archival footage and scores of interviews, Burns explores Native American tribes, Spanish explorers, American pioneers, homesteaders and U.S. expansion westward. (September 1996)

NPR Stories

All Things Considered: States Push to Legalize Hemp Cultivation
The crop known as "industrial hemp" may look like marijuana, but it has little in common with its illegal cousin. The plant, a non-narcotic version of cannabis, is valued for its fiber and oil. But there has been a virtual ban on farming industrial hemp in America for nearly 50 years, even though it is grown in other industrialized countries. Now a number of states, including North Dakota, are fighting to make hemp farming legal again. (May 24, 2007)

The Tavis Smiley Show: The State of Indigenous People, Part I: American Indians
In part one of a two-part series on the political and economic status of indigenous people in the United States, producer Phillip Martin focuses on Native Americans. Many in the American Indian community believe they can influence political outcomes through sheer numbers — and with profits from casino gambling. But they also acknowledge the limits of Native American clout, as reflected in their relatively small population numbers and the general economic conditions on most reservations. (November 27, 2003)

Weekend Edition: Marijuana Myths and Realities
NPR's Liane Hansen talks with Dr. Mitch Earleywine about his book Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. (November 10, 2002)

All Things Considered: Hemp on Indian Lands
From South Dakota, Charles Michael Ray reports on the seizure of 4,000 industrial-grade hemp plants from land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Federal agents took the plants last month even though hemp was legalized by the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council as a cash crop. The council claims it's their sovereign right to grow hemp on tribal lands. Federal officials disagree. (September 26, 2000)

Morning Edition: Reintroducing Hemp
NPR's David Welna reports on efforts to reintroduce hemp as a legal farm crop in the United States. The Drug Enforcement Agency still considers hemp to be marijuana. Technically, both hemp and marijuana plants are classified as Cannibis sativa. But hemp, which has many uses, mainly as a fiber, has almost none of the pyschoactive ingredient found in marijuana. Its cultivation in the United States goes back to colonial times. (December 14, 1999)

All Things Considered: American Indian Movement
Thirty years ago today, a group of American Indian activists took over the island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay. Calling themselves the "Indians of All Nations," the group demanded full title to the island and an Indian university. Although the takeover ended peacefully, it inspired a growing American Indian Movement, or AIM as it came to be called, to bigger, more militant takeovers. South Dakota Public Radio's Brian Bull looks at AIM's vision of itself, then and now. (November 20, 1999)

All Things Considered: Hemp Ban
Kentucky tobacco farmers are leading a push to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in the U.S. The farmers are looking for a crop that's close to tobacco in profitability. But the federal government is opposed, because it claims that would be the first step toward legalizing marijuana. (October 23, 1998)

Morning Edition: Kentucky's New Cash Crop?
A brewing company in Kentucky has found another use for hemp, incorporating it in its brewing process to create a new light-tasting beer. They say it's a natural substitute or addition to its botanical cousin ... hops. It's part of an effort by Kentucky businesses and farmers to find innovative uses for industrial hemp as an alternative cash crop to tobacco which has an uncertain future. (March 2, 1998)

All Things Considered: Wounded Knee This Week
Charles Michael Ray of South Dakota Public Radio reports on today's observance of the 25th anniversary of the siege at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. In 1973, the American Indian Movement forcibly took over Wounded Knee to protest the treatment of Native Americans by corrupt tribal leaders and the U.S. government. Twenty-five years later, the movement and the tribal leaders at the Pine Ridge Reservation are no longer enemies. But both sides still talk about the need for unity among Native Americans. (February 27, 1998)

All Things Considered: Native American Sovereignty
NPR's Barbara Bradley reports on two measures buried in a Senate appropriations bill involving Native American sovereignty. The measures would force tribes to give up much of their power in order to continue to receive federal money. (September 2, 1997)





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