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Barak Obama was at a town hall meeting today in South Dakota today, talking about U.S. farm policy, hard economic times and buying American.  I hoped one of the questioners would be Alex Whiteplume, from the Pine Ridge Reservation – a land that’s hard to grow anything on and a people desperately needing viable industry close to home. 

Since 2000, Alex and his family have tried to grow Industrial Hemp on their land, first as a seed crop to build the stock of low-THC hemp seed, then as a fiber, oil and cellulose crop. Hemp is one of few crops that can do well in the harsh, arid land. Interestingly, the Lakota Sioux at Pine Ridge had contracts with the U.S. government during World War 2, to produce the strong, versatile fibers badly needed for parachute webbing, ropes, etc.

I hoped Alex could ask Barak if he would support a return to hemp farming in America, like his rival for president, Rep. Ron Paul (R) TX, who introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007. And I wished he could have time to tell his story – of betrayal by the U.S. government, which has come in repeatedly and destroyed the hemp crops, trampling on the sovereignty of the Lakota Sioux Nation. Here is a trailer of the film, “Standing Silent Nation“, which aired on the PBS, produced by Prairie Dust Films.Standing Silent Nation (Preview)

The hemp project at Pine Ridge was assisted by the Hemp Industries Association, the premier grassroots organization promoting industrial hemp to save the family farm and the Kentucky Hemp Grower’s Cooperative, who bought hemp bales from Canadian farmers and gifted it to the Native Americans at Pineridge. Soon, a house built of “Hempcrete” blocks, lightweight and resilient due to the long hemp fibers and hurds, and hemp insulation stood as proof that hemp could work at Pineridge. There were even prospects for sales of the Hempcrete blocks off of the Reservation. 

Cannabis TV has produced a  ten minute video giving the background to this story, including an interview with John Trudell, Native American musician, artist and activist. Long a supporter of Cannabis Hemp in its’ many manifestations, John Trudell clearly sees the benefits for the people of Pine Ridge and the motives of the government.Pine Ridge Hemp Project, with John Trudell

Well, you can’t keep a good people or a good plant down, even if they do stand silent. Alex Whitplume, his family and others have continued experimenting with industrial hemp at Pine Ridge, from making soaps and salves to homemade paper. And just yesterday, another You Tube producer posted a video series showing a building renovation with a  “Hempcrete” stucco, imported from England, where products like this have been in development for years.Hempcrete Construction – USA, SD

Here is a video featuring the patriotic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who co-sponsored the 2007 Industrial Hemp Farming Act, plus some of the products now made from hemp.Industrial Hemp Farming Act

As Hemp needs little fertilizer, herbicide or pesticide applications and needs far less water than corn, eco-friendly industries like Cellulosic Ethanol (see April.24th post) , biodiesel from hemp seed and products ranging from food to car parts become feasible, given the prolific production of this versatile plant. Rather than fighting the Sioux Nation  with my tax money, I would prefer that our government learn from Alex’s example and follow a path back to our past for sustainability in the future.

“Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” -President George Washington, 1794

 

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for your powerful and insightful post.
    Hemp could be a very productive crop for America. When are we going to wake up to its many benefits?


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Atlantic Free Press – Hard Truths for Hard Times – Home wrote an interesting post today on Industrial Hemp in America’s HeartlandHere’s a quick excerptBarak Obama was at a town hall meeting today in South Dakota today, talking about farm policy, hard economic times and buying American.  I […]

  2. By cellulose insulation on 25 May 2008 at 6:48 am

    […] one of the questioners would be Alex Whiteplume, from the Pine Ridge Reservation – a land that??s hhttps://cannabistv.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/industrial-hemp-in-south-dakota/Blocking the Sun: Solar in the City Gotham GazetteLooking out at New York Harbor from my window in […]

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