Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Return to Pine Ridge-The White Plume Saga Continued

With all of our travels, I have not had a chance to finish the remarkable story of Alex and Debra White Plume who we were fortunate to visit at their home on the Pine Ridge Reservation. If you missed the first installment of this story, I suggest you visit these pages on our blog to catch up.

Bring Back the Way-Our Visit to the Pine Ridge Reservation

Our Visit with Alex White Plume

The Treaties and the First Crop of Hemp

The Bust

As the helicopters and Suburbans full of DEA Agents swept on to their property, Alex and other members of their family went out to meet them. Alex was determined that if they were going to steal his crop, they were going to have to arrest him in the process. He had contacted the U. S. Attorney for the area and invited him to witness the harvest so that everyone could see that this was industrial hemp and that no deadly marijuana was being grown here. Now this attorney was here to watch as the DEA destroyed the hard work of these people just days before they could reap what would have been their first commercially viable harvest.

Alex positioned himself in front of his crop until the DEA agents changed his mind by pointing their automatic weapons at his head. “Don’t make this hard Alex” the attorney implored him. Still determined to be arrested so that this action would end up in court and where he stood a damn good chance of blowing the DEA’s case for making illegal raids on a sovereign nation, Alex told the attorney he could either arrest him or Alex would “kick him in the shins” and began to dance around him taking little jabs at his legs. “Please don’t make this hard Alex” he implored and walked away as the DEA held Alex at bay with their rifles.

Soon the DEA had pulled down the crop and in the process of dragging it across the field, spread thousands of seeds and next years crop across the land. They then loaded up the White Plumes hopes and dreams and fled the reservation with their illegally confiscated goods.

This game of cat and mouse would go on for the next several years as the White Plumes continued to plant their crops and the DEA continued to steal them. The Feds finally came up with the idea of simply getting an injunction against them. This would allow them to put Alex in jail for violating the injunction without the benefit of a trial that the Feds knew they would lose. With this lose-lose proposition in front of them, the White Plumes finally relented, and stopped planting their crop. Some people think they have given up and wonder why they don’t take this case all the way to the Supreme Court. But that is easy to say when you don’t have to feed and cloth your family and even more importantly when your basic beliefs tell you that the Feds have no jurisdiction in this case and the Supreme Court is a white mans court and not applicable on Indian land.

The White Plumes struggle to grow hemp will continue and is being played out by farmers across the land. Nineteen states have now legalized the growing of industrial hemp, and wait only for the Federal Government to recognize the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Here are some excellent links to learn more:

PBS-Standing Silent Nation
Friends of the Lakota
Bring Back the Way

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