My first thought upon reading that many members of the Lakota want to secede from the union was “fuck that.” I’m about as unsympathetic to the idea of a right to self-determination as it’s possible to be. The Palestinians have a damn good case for a separate state. The Tibetans have some case. In general, I think you have the right to secede to avoid genocide, tyranny, or terrible mistreatment–history doesn’t matter, unless it involves the claims of living people (this could use a bit of refinement–Israel, for instance, couldn’t cover its ass by just waiting until all Palestinians alive in 1946/1967 had died). Most separatist groups don’t come close to meeting those standards. I’m hardly confident that the American Revolution did. My reason for holding those standards is that neither governments nor ethnicities are relevantly like persons. The question is not who has done what, but what the situation is now, and how separatism will affect it.
Then I found out that life-expectancy among Lakota men is 44 years–lower than any nation on Earth not plagued by AIDS. So I’m officially agnostic about what to think of this. I don’t yet feel competent to judge why that’s the case (what the sustaining causes are). On the one hand, it is an absolute disgrace that in the richest nation on Earth, a group of people could live in such poverty. On the other, it’s unclear how separating those people from the Union would serve to address their situation.