KHGCA Executive Director Joe Hickey
Copyright © 2000 Hickey/KHGCA
Lexington, Kentucky ~ Last August 24, 2000 in the centuries-old tradition of trampling on Native American rights, armed DEA agents invaded sovereign Lakota land and confiscated two hemp crops growing on the poverty-stricken Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The hemp was to be a vital source for construction materials to be used by the Slim Butte Land Association housing project, a community-based economic development initiative.
The DEA's seizure of the property was in accordance with federal policy, based on the premise that hemp and marijuana are the same. Despite the DEA's destruction of this crop, the Lakota Housing Project will soon be back on schedule.
Oglala Sioux Tribal (OST) members and representatives of the land use cooperative have accepted the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative's offer to help replace a portion of the hemp destroyed in the DEA's war on drugs. Tom Cook, the project's coordinator says, " We will soon be going to Kentucky in an effort to demonstrate how absurd and destructive this so-called 'drug war' has become. Essentially, we are picking-up exactly the same material destroyed by the DEA - that's absurd. We aren't going to let their foolishness stop our progress."
The Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative's president, Andrew Graves, agrees the state and federal governments are overstepping the bounds of reason by equating hemp with marijuana. "Even though Kentucky's Supreme Court ruled hemp 'is' marijuana, we continue to import hemp here from Canada. Isn't it ironic the hemp we imported is now going to replace the hemp destroyed by the same federal government which allows its importation?" asked Graves.
Former OST President Joe American Horse asked, "Why did the DEA have to destroy our legitimate commercial crop? Why didn't they go a few hours eastward where thousands of acres of hemp are growing? Why pick on Indians? We are trying to make a living. We are not promoting drugs."
Alex White Plume, whose crop was destroyed, believes the DEA's actions helped, not hurt their efforts to develop a sustainable building program on the reservation. "The very fact that people are coming forward to help us has been overwhelming and gives us hope for the future," he said.
Former Gov. Louie B. Nunn will present Joe American Horse with the Kentucky/Canadian hemp in a ceremony on November 28, 2000 highlighting the need for some common sense regulations of industrial hemp in the United States. Gov. Nunn said, "I intend on traveling with the Indian delegation back to the Pine Ridge Reservation in an effort to help educate the public along the way about the potential benefits of this historical crop and to demonstrate that we all need to work together to help develop an agricultural and economic future that will better serve all people." (END)
Time and location of the presentation will be announced Sunday, November 26, 2000.
JOE AMERICAN HORSE
State Department of Consultations
9/28/96 Ft. Laramie, Wyoming
STATEMENT OF JOE AMERICAN HORSE
TO: Gere Smith
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520m
My name is Joe American Horse, grandson of American Horse who signed the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868. I am a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, and I live in the poorest county in America.
I have served the Oglala people as Tribal President for two terms, vice president for two terms, associate judge, and BIA social worker. I was chairman of the United Sioux Tribes for a term, and president of the Tribal Chairman's Association for one term. I am a Marine Corps veteran, and currently work as coordinator for a Pine Ridge land-use cooperative.
Thank you all for being here, and I welcome the efforts of the Clinton administration to consult with sovereign Indian nations in helping shape the government's response to the U.N. Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I also applaud the efforts of native people who have worked for years laying the groundwork for our proceedings and represented our interests to the U.N.
What I would like to talk with you about today is a way in which our people can use their land for their own benefit. My grandfather understood the value of land and was one of four Oglala military commanders who fought to protect it. He signed the Peace Treaty of 1868 with the understanding and assurance that the land would remain undisturbed for the Lakota People. American Horse signed the Treaty and worked thereafter to insure a permanent peace. On June18, 1889, he addressed the question of our national boundaries to the Congressional Land Committee. And I quote him:
"I was there and I heard with my own ears and I think I understand what the treaty was. I understood at the time of the Treaty of 1868 the line was to follow the waters of the Platte River, and it was to follow up and take in half of the waters as it goes to Independence Rock. It will follow the ridge from there until it strikes what is called White Buttes. It would then follow the Big Horn River and cross the Yellowstone River, and it would follow on up till it strikes the Missouri River at the mouth of the Yellowstone River, and it would follow up from thence down the Missouri River, and take in its waters until it gets to the mouth of the Platte River, and it would follow up and up the Platte from thence to the beginning."
"And the Treaty that we signed gave us plainly to understand that within the boundaries I speak of we were to roam inside of, and all the animals that roamed inside of that would be our meat, and we would raise our children inside of that." End of quote.
You can see that my grandfather had a clear understanding of the boundaries of his land as outlined in the treaty. This land has never been relinquished by the Lakota people, and was reduced to its current size by a succession of dishonorable congressional actions.
Since 1868, as the people lost their lands, we began a socio-economic collapse that continues to this day. Circumstances of history have brought us to a welfare state that perpetuates dependency and despair. Our problems today, as in the past, still revolve around the issue of land.
The present system of reservation land leasing holds no promise of improving our situation, and any proposals for change must include means by which Lakota people can make productive use of their land. This is what we are currently trying to do.
One community on Pine Ridge Reservation, whom I represent, is organizing a land-use cooperative to develop their land toward attaining economic self sufficiency. Among their various objectives is a program of industrial hemp agriculture. Non-narcotic Industrial Hemp is being produced throughout the world for raw materials in the production of food, paper, textiles, and many other basic needs. These products are currently being produced from trees and fossil fuels. The United States is the largest importer of foreign hemp products, projected at a 100 million dollars in 1997.
"The U.S. is now the only nation on the planet where industrial hemp is not permitted to be grown."
Letter from former senator Lloyd Casey
I served in the Colorado State Senate in 1993, '94, '95, & '96. In 1995 I sponsored the first bill since 1942 to allow U.S. farmers to plant industrial hemp. There is a plant with the botanical name of cannabis. It is much better known as hemp. It is a plant with a history as far back as humans have a recorded history. In colonial times it was second only to tobacco as a commercial crop. In those days of sailing ships hemp fibers made the sails and all the rigging and lines. When the United States came into existence both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson encouraged the planting of hemp as an essential crop in building up the commerce of this new nation. When a machine was invented in 1935 which would do for processing hemp as the cotton gin had done for processing cotton, the speculation was that hemp would become a billion dollar crop. Hemp fibre would be price competitive with cotton. It was already well known that it was superior to cotton in strength and superior to cotton as to being weed and pest resistant. It was also well known that one acre of hemp produced as much fibre for making paper as four acres of trees. Hemp is an annual crop. Trees are a ten year crop. Hemp would become the fibre of choice for paper as it had been from 1500 to 1850.
Three things got in the way of hemp becoming the billion dollar crop.
(1) The Dupont Corp had invented a way to make fibre from oil - rayon, nylon, etc.,
(2) William Randolph Hearst was heavily invested in forests, making paper, for newspapers and
(3) a federal agency which had tried to enforce alcohol prohibition was looking for a new prohibition to enforce.
Some varieties of hemp had been used and abused for centuries in religious ritual or as a recreational stimulant. Hearst ordered some of his journalists to begin a campaign to paint hemp as a threat to society. They adopted a word from the Carribean islands which, if translated, means Mary Jane. The word had four spellings. The journalists settled for marijuana. It was not until the 1950's that chemists determined that hemp contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Some hemp plants contained less than one percent of THC; some as much as twenty percent. The plants used for fibre contained less than one percent but in 1937 no one was aware of this. The Dupont folks, the Hearst folks (Reefer Madness) and the prohibition agency folks got together and got a bill passed called the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. It wasn't meant to do away with the industrial hemp industry, but the law of unintended consequences took over and the industrial hemp industry died.
In January, 1942 when the Philippine fibres were in the control of the Japanese, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture had a movie produced entitled "Hemp For Victory". We had a war to win. The prohibition agency had nothing negative to say about the decision such as it would send a bad message to the children in 1942. The fact is that during the years 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945 and 1946 there were absolutely no incidents of any kind that the thousands of acres grown had resulted in high THC hemps also being grown in the fields.
Since 1995 eighteen states have had bills sponsored to allow industrial hemp to be grown. In every instance the DEA has testified against the bills and leaned on county sheriffs, city police chiefs, state highway patrols and state bureaus of investigation to oppose the bills. The U.S. is now the only nation on the planet where industrial hemp is not permitted to be grown.
Hemp is not a drug. The DEA is entirely out of order in testifying against such bills. It is time for congress to have a public inquiry about the way the DEA operates as Congress did last year in the public inquiry of the IRS. Re-printed from HIA Hemp News, 1998
HEMP SEED PROJECT
Uncle Sam has asked Kentucky to produce in 1943 the hemp seed for the nation. Some of the seed will be used in 1944 to grow another seed crop, but most of it will be used to grow hemp for fiber. Growing hemp gives the 4-H club members a real opportunity to serve their country in wartime. It requires a small amount of fertile land and little or no special machinery; labor requirements do not interfere with schoolwork. Grow at least half an acre of hemp: one to two acres would be better. Land that will produce 50 or more bushels of corn per acre will make 12 to 15 bushels of hemp seed per acre. Club members know how to tackle a new task; try this one.
University of Kentucky
College of Agriculture and Home Economics
Thomas Cooper, Dean and Director, 1943
A clear-cut alternative
WHY GROW HEMP?
PROFITABLE - Because it is such a hardy and versatile crop, hemp farmers in the US can reap large profit, as do farmers in hemp-exporting countries in Europe, Asia and Canada. A recent study by the University of Kentucky estimates that profits from hemp cultivation could be up to $600 per acre, higher than returns on soybean, corn and wheat.
SUSTAINABLE - Hemp can be grown without pesticides and is a natural herbicide against weeds. Pesticides cause 12,000 deaths a year.
IMPROVES SOIL - Because of its deep root structure, hemp nourishes and replenishes soil and is a valuable rotation crop. Topsoil depletion poses an increasingly serious threat to the global food supply.
WITH YOUR SUPPORT, HEMP FIELDS WILL ONCE AGAIN FLOURISH IN THE UNITED STATES!
AGRICULTURAL HEMP ASSOCIATION VOTER (AHA Voter) Building a Movement for Agricultural Hemp Cultivation. PO Box 8671 Denver CO 80201, Phone: 303-298-9414
For more information contact:
Joe Hickey, KHGCA Executive Director