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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Press Release-Lewis and Clark re-enactors put on notice

Today, tribal members from the Lakota, Dakota, Ponca, Kiowa and Dine’ Nations came to the Missouri River at Chamberlain, South Dakota to give the opportunity to the Lewis & Clark Expedition to turn back and cancel their re-enactment journey that began 200 years of genocide, land theft and resource exploitation from the Plains tribes.

Under highly visible protection from local and federal police, the Lewis & Clark re-enactors repeatedly stated “they cannot change history and turn back time”, as they stood in their period costumes along the banks of the Missouri River. Representatives of the American Friends Services Committee, the Mennonite Church and the United Nations Council on Genocide in anticipation of the heavy surveillance, by law enforcement, joined the tribal resistors .

The Lewis & Clark re-enactors offered a tomahawk pipe to the group of resistors who refused to smoke it. Strong words were made by tribal leaders Alex White Plume, Floyd Hand, Carter Camp, Alfred Bone Shirt, Russell Means and Vic Camp who advised the Lewis & Clark re-enactors that they were perpetuating the lies of American history.

The spokespersons for the Lewis & Clark Commemoration continually undercut the demands of the resistors to cease their re-enactment voyage up the river. A few months after the original “Voyage of Discovery”, Clark wrote of the Teton Sioux, “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”

The re-enactment spokespersons alleged that they had no authority to stop the expedition as the ultimate decision lies with a board of directors. Initially, they requested three days to respond to the tribal resistance group’s demands. In a subsequent discussion, they agreed to provide and answer to the group’s warrior society on Sunday, September 19, 2004.

However, Clark, a direct lineal descendent of the original William Clark stated that it would be unlikely to cancel the expedition because of the resources invested to carry out the re-enactment and the future events planned along the river route to commemorate the original event.

The resistors contend that the original Lewis & Clark Expedition was the dawn of genocide for the Plains Indian Tribes. The tribal resistors have committed themselves to stopping the re-enactor’s expedition before they leave Lakota Country.

For further information contact Alex White Plume, 605-455-1142; Floyd Hand, 605-867-5762; Alfred Bone Shirt, 605-747-4443 or Vic Camp at 605-455-1122

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