"New Dress" redux

>> Thursday, December 20, 2007

One of my usual sources of news when I go online is Boing Boing, which isn't always reliable but is almost always interesting. So if I see a news item that seems particularly significant, such as "Lakota Natives Withdraw Treaties with U.S.", in which it's claimed that the Lakota are unilaterally terminating their treaties and will be issuing passports and driver's licenses, of course I'm going to try to confirm whether or not this has really happened.

Meet the wall.

A search of Google News comes up with several news sites carrying the same story, but nothing national or obviously reliable. Wonkette has a tongue-in cheek post. The Rapid City Journal has a 404 dead link. The Cleveland Leader has a piece, as do a few international papers and crankish sources--but they all seem to be sourced from the same press release, which I can't confirm the authenticity of.

So are they, or aren't they? Did huge chunks of South Dakota and three other western states just become a fully autonomous foreign power? Is this just a publicity stunt to draw attention to the ongoing class-action suit against the BIA for stealing mismanaging $176,000,000,000 (yes, that's nine zeros) worth of Native American assets? Is it simply a hoax?

The obvious next step was to try going directly to Reuters. Not that Reuters is actually that reliable: being an international news clearing house, Reuters has been known to recycle obvious or notorious urban legends when they resurface as "genuine" incidents in rural India or provincial China. But they might reasonably be expected to have someone on this--to confirm or debunk. Reporters go out and talk to people when something like this happens, right? And then the story gets picked up from a Reuters affiliate and sent to the world-at-large.

I saw an article about Jamie-Lynn Spears' fetus, and President Bush is talking about the election and the candidates for President are talking about immigration (they're against it, except when they're for it, I think). A website that publishes rumors about Apple computers is shutting down. The Federal government is very, very concerned that Barry Bonds' batting record may be the result of better living through chemistry and wants to talk to his doctor--and to think the CIA videotapes debacle was eroding my faith in government, at least the integrity of professional baseball may yet be restored! The writer's strike is affecting the People's Choice awards.

So, what's the story? I don't know. It's quite possible you may hear it here first, which would be utterly pathetic. If you have any information, feel free to comment.

Update--12/20/2007, 10:15: MWT has helpfully done some digging, and hit a similar wall to what I hit. He did however, find at least one website that suggests this is a publicity stunt by activist Russell Means (if so, it's not working very well). See the links in his comments for more info.


MWT Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 9:22:00 PM EST  

Well, it's not a primary source, but a friend did some digging and found

The gist is that Russell Means is an activist, not any official leader among the Lakota people. So it's probably a publicity stunt.

We'll keep digging around for more though.

MWT Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 9:55:00 PM EST  

Hmmm. I seem to be hitting the same wall. I'm not finding any independent corroboration - only the same basic material posted on forums and websites geared to Indian interests, at least one of which looks like they see it as a stunt. I tried a search on Evo Morales, the Bolivian they supposedly talked to, but there was nothing about him meeting with the Lakota.

Think I'll settle back at this point and watch what happens with the story on Wikinews. The reporters there are pretty decent, so if anything new surfaces it'll show up there.

Eric Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 10:09:00 PM EST  

Thanks! The Three Wise Men posting strongly suggests it's a publicity stunt, assuming the quotes provided are in context.

Even if it is just a stunt, it's a bit appalling that it's less newsworthy than Jamie Lynn Spears' spawn. I suspect most Americans are oblivious to what's been going on with the Cobell case--a lawsuit that has been ongoing for a decade, in which the government has stipulated to its own incompetence and in which two Secretaries Of The Interior have been held in contempt of court. (I didn't even first here about Cobell from mainstream media--it was covered in an ABA Journal article six or seven years ago, when I still was a member and had a subscription.

Even an article saying "Russell Means Pulls Barmy Publicity Stunt" would be more appropriate than the non-coverage that's presently occurring.

Thank you again for the updates!

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