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2nd Annual Lakota Hemp Days

Posted on July 19, 2004

Date: August 25th — 29th 2004 (Wednesday Evening through Sunday Afternoon)
Location: Kiza Park — 3 Miles N of Manderson, SD — on the Pine Ridge Reservation

You’re Invited

Alex White Plume, his family, Hemphasis Magazine, the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Council, and those involved with the Lakota Hemp Project invite you to attend the 2nd Annual Lakota Hemp Days on the Pine Ridge Reservation this August 25th through 29th. Last year (2003) in late August, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the world’s largest hemp trade organization, held their annual convention at Kiza Park, near Alex White Plume’s hemp fields. The event was a big success; there were dozens of hemp experts, manufactures, writers, activists, storeowners, native Lakota folks, Canadian hemp farmers, and South Dakotans who attended the event. We want to build on last year’s momentum and make this gathering an annual event.

Wild Hemp Harvest

This year we invite you to partake in a wild hemp harvest. It is legal to harvest hemp, according the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, after the leaves have fallen off. There are tons of wild (feral) hemp now growing on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Let’s take the opportunity to harvest some of this legal hemp and use it to make paper. Alex and his family have all the machinery available to do this. We’ll use a tractor and sickle bar mower to cut the hemp stalks down. Then the stalks will be gathered, and the buds (seeds) will be put into five gallon buckets. Then we’ll lay down tarps and the buds will be threshed to glean the seeds.

After the harvested hemp is naturally retted and dried (10 — 14 days), we’ll make it into the paper upon which Alex’s legal team will file their legal briefs. Thus, we’ll further illustrate the importance of the Lakota Hemp Project. The hemp stalks have to be retted and dried before we can turn it into paper using the White Plume’s pulping machine, but Alex will demonstrate how the pulping machine works, and attendees will get a chance to use the hemp break (patented by Thomas Jefferson) to separate the fiber from the hurds, and to use the hemp comb, which further refines the fiber. Don’t miss a chance to work with native American hemp!

Monumental Event

This is a monumental event because it will be the first time in decades that hemp will be harvested legally in the United States, and made into an end product right on site. These activities will serve as an outline on how to legally harvest wild hemp without getting in trouble, taking advantage of the tons of wild hemp that grow naturally throughout the United States. We hope this will serve as the impetus that will propel others to follow in our footsteps and harvest wild hemp, helping start a natural hemp industry (although on a small scale) here in America. No one has done anything like this. This is the location of the only American farmer to have cultivated and sold a hemp crop in over a half century. We need to continue to support these brave native farmers by pushing forward and adding support to this already ground-breaking effort. Come be a part of this monumental experience! This area promises to be a hemp research area for years to come. Come be a part of the beginning!

Join the Hempening Crowd

Many hemp people from around the country have expressed their intent to attend this year’s event. This is the beginning of the Midwest’s annual meeting of hemp minds. Come down and have a great time, meet with other hempers, relax, and be a part of a marvelous political and agricultural event. If we get to know each other and unite then we cannot be stopped. Please RSVP using the contact info at the bottom of this sheet. This year’s festivities will be free, but a $50 donation is suggested.

Bring a Tent, Water, and Food

Please be prepared to camp for four days. Make sure you bring plenty of water and food for the entire event. Hemp-fed buffalo and other hemp foods will be available at a reasonable price. No alcohol is allowed on the reservation — please respect this law. There is a convenience store located in nearby Manderson and a grocery store 30 minutes away in Pine Ridge, if supplies run low.

Continued Effort

We realize that all the White Plume and Lakota challenges cannot be resolved over one weekend. It will take a continued effort to make it hempen for the poverty stricken native population on the reservation, which is the poorest county in the United States, with over 80% unemployment. Hemp farming could hemp give these people jobs, money, and hope.

Day in Court

Alex will finally have his day in court this August/September, so any help or support that you can offer will be greatly appreciated. This battle in court needs to be won, not only for justice, but so that hemp can have its rebirth here in America.

Pine Ridge Health and Hemp Store

Alex and his family want to take a run down store in Manderson, three miles South of Kiza Park and Alex’s land, next to Pinky’s, a convenience store, and turn it into a health and hemp store. Nothing like this currently exists on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Diabetes runs about 25% on Pine Ridge and there is no place to find healthy food. This needs to change. Many people visit Alex’s property each year to lend their support in this monumental struggle, so there is good reason to believe that a hemp store would do very well in the area. If you cannot attend Hemp Days, or you manufacture hemp products yourself, please consider making a donation of hemp goods, or money, to help get this store off the ground.

The Alex White Plume Saga

In 1998, the Lakota Sioux Tribal Government of the Pine Ridge Reservation, the poorest county in the U.S.A., passed Ordinance 98-27, which legalized industrial hemp farming to help alleviate economic suffering and to combat diabetes, which runs around 25% on the reservation, due to the influx of processed government food. Marijuana laws were unchanged. Hemp can grow on Pine Ridge’s badland desert climate, where almost nothing else can, because the hemp crop uses only moderate amounts of water, requires no crop chemicals to flourish, and can provide all the nutritional, and economic gains the area so desperately needs.

The Lakota Sioux, according to the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868, can grow whatever they see fit for food and fiber (or so they thought). The nomadic Lakota of the 19th century understood they were to raise food and clothing from the soil as a substitute for buffalo, which had provided them sustenance since antiquity. Industrial hemp was a staple crop in the region throughout the 19th century and was well adapted to the climate of South Dakota. The Lakota had the right to cultivate hemp in 1868 and were encouraged to do so. Wild (feral) hemp thrives naturally throughout SD today — remnants from historical hemp cultivation on the plains.

Alex White Plume, a Lakota Sioux living on Pine Ridge Reservation, has grown industrial hemp on his land for four years now. In 2000, the DEA, with helicopters and machine guns, confiscated the sovergn crop, costing taxpayers $200,000. In 2001, the DEA came only with side arms and weed eaters, and again illegally destroyed the crops. In 2002 Alex and his family again planted fields of industrial hemp, but were unable to sell their crops to the Madison Hemp and Flax Company, since U.S. Attorney Vargo and U.S. District Judge Battey issued an injunction against Alex and his hemp crop. If Alex so much as touches his hemp, he will be held in contempt of court, and jailed without a trial. Alex’s court date has been continually pushed back, barring him and his family from justice. Alex and his family did not plant a crop in 2003 or 2004, but previous years’ seed has risen once again into the Earth’s most useful and abundant crop, hemp.

Alex and his family are only trying to help their economic situation and help to provide nutrition for his family and friends (enough nutrition for one day could be supplied by simply shaking seeds into your hands from Alex’s crop). Alex is not just the only American to cultivate and sell a hemp crop within the borders of the U. S. since 1968, but he is also the superintendent of the Manderson school, and a symbol of hope on his reservation. He has adopted the old ways of the Lakota and organized his family around traditional matriarchal lines, which has helped to end spousal abuse and alcohol abuse among the White Plume clan.

Alex White Plume’s hemp crop was to be used in a local, community-based hemp housing demonstration project, a working model of agriculture-based, environmentally sustainable economic redevelopment. Since Pine Ridge is the poorest county in the U.S., it is critical to establish such models there. The DEA’s continued harassment of the Lakota People concerning these activities undermines their important efforts to make a better life with limited resources.

Copyright © 2004, Hemphasis Magazine. All rights reserved.

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