The Oceti Sakowin Spiritual Camp on LaFramboise Island
in the Missouri River at Pierre, South Dakota. Zoltan Grossman, 06/99.
The Oceti Sakowin Spiritual Camp on LaFramboise Island in the Missouri River at Pierre, South Dakota. Photo by Zoltán Grossman, June 1999.

Indian Treaty Land
La Framboise Island in the Missouri River - South Dakota
Native American encampment protests planned turnover of nearly 200,000 acres to the state of South Dakota.

Websites for Laframbois Island Occupation


Attempt to stop land transfer fails

by DORINDA DANIEL, Capital Journal Staff
February 5, 2002

A federal district judge has turned down an attempt by the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe to halt the transfer of land along the Missouri River from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the state of South Dakota.

The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe had sought a preliminary injunction to stop the corps from transferring the land to the state.

The judge in Washington, D.C., last week denied that request for the preliminary injunction, according to Bob Mercer, the press secretary for Gov. Bill Janklow.

The tribe contended that cultural resources could not be adequately protected if the land was transferred from the federal government to state government.

The brief filed by the state said those allegations were wrong, Mercer said.

An environmental impact statement prepared by the corps found that the transfer of land would have no significant impact on cultural resources and, in some instances, they'd be better protected by the state, Mercer said.

The state has conservation officers, and Janklow has proposed adding funds in the state's budget for cultural surveys, Mercer said.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe had also challenged the transfer of the land. The same judge will be considering the Oglala Sioux Tribe's lawsuit, which is between the corps and tribe.

Contact staff writer Dorinda Daniel by phone at 224-7301 or via e-mail at

Oglala sue army corps over land issue

Posted: January 18, 2002 - 12:29PM EST
by: David Melmer / Indian Country Today

RAPID CITY, S.D. ? Sioux treaties through the 19th century will have a going over in federal court in Washington, D.C., in a new lawsuit in the Mitigation Act controversy. The suit filed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe asks that thousands of acres of land not be transferred to the state of South Dakota and two other Sioux tribes. The OST seeks to prevent any transfer of land along the Missouri River that the tribe claims is part of the 1868 treaty that established the Great Sioux Reservation. Any transfer of land would be illegal under that treaty, it says. The tribe also argues that by way of the treaty it owns all of the cultural items below and above the water level on both sides of the rivers. The 1868 treaty gave the Lakota people the land west of the Missouri River from the low water mark on the east shore of the Missouri River.

The Oglala Tribe claimed that an 1889 law creating six separate reservations in the western part of the state did not diminish the boundaries of the original 1868 treaty. The Oglala complaint asserts that the 1889 law that established the reservations did not contain the signatures of three-fourths of the males of the Sioux Nation as required. Many other signatures, those of mixed blood and white people, appeared on the documents illegally, the complaint states.

The Oglala also note that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 said that the U.S. government confiscated the western end of the Great Sioux Reservation in violation of Article 12 of the 1868 Treaty and the Fifth Amendment.

Therefore the tribe argues that it owns all of the cultural items along either side of the Missouri River and that the federal government and U.S. Corps of Engineers, defendants in the case, have not taken the proper measures to protect those items.

The lands in question are shore properties that lie above the established flood line of the lakes established by the hydroelectric power dams. The Corps has the responsibility to transfer surplus land back to the tribes.

In an attachment to the Water Resource Development Act of 2000, Congress ordered the Corps to transfer the land to the state and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. This Lower

Brule Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux and South Dakota Terrestrial Protection Act was pushed through Congress and signed by President Clinton without proper consultation with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the lawsuit claims.

The Oglala ask temporary and permanent injunction against transfer of the land to the state and the two mentioned tribes. This lawsuit goes further than one filed by the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe which only mentions the state. The Oglala lawsuit puts more emphasis on the treaties, said Mario Gonzales, Oglala tribal attorney.

The Crow Creek lawsuit succeeded in stopping the land transfer set for Jan. 1. The hand over was rescheduled for Feb. 8. A hearing will be held on Feb. 1 in federal court, said Peter Capposella, attorney for the Crow Creek tribe.

More than 120 recreational areas along the river are to be transferred to the state and both lawsuits claim the federal laws do not properly protect the cultural items on the sites.

The lands in question were held by the Oglala Sioux Tribe by aboriginal title, the complaint states. And the treaty of 1851 verifies that ownership with the Great Sioux Nation.

When the Pick-Sloan Act was passed in 1944 to establish the series of hydro-electric dams along the Missouri River, none of the Oglala Sioux Tribe�s fifth-amendment-protected property interest in the lands were ever acquired by the Corps for the main stem dams, the court documents state.

The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe�s lawsuit is joined or supported by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

Crow Creek Lawsuit Freezes Missouri River land transfer

Posted: December 29, 2001 - 7:00AM EST
by: David Melmer / Indian Country Today

RAPID CITY, S.D. � A federal judge in Washington, D. C. is blocking a controversial land transfer along the Missouri River that has pitted Sioux tribes against each other and raised bitter memories of the loss of ancestral land.

The arguments in this case may affect land transfers across the country. In winning a temporary stay, the Crow Creek Sioux argued that it is impossible to both transfer the land and implement the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The tribe is also asking for a permanent injunction to stop the land transfer.

"This is the beginning of the end for Indian people. Things told to us by our elders are coming true," said Roxanne Sazue, chairwoman of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. "We have to stand up now and file lawsuits. The Federal government has a plan for us, but we know what we want. It�s time to take action, not talk."

On the other hand, two Sioux tribes and the state of South Dakota stand to receive 150,000 acres from the federal government. A federal law would give the land now controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and a state Terrestrial Wildlife Habitat Restoration project.

The transfer was scheduled for Dec. 21 when U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman of the Washington, D.C., District imposed a stay. Judge Friedman accepted the Crow Creek Sioux argument that the Corps could not turn over land to the state and at the same time enforce federal historic preservation laws.

Sazue argued that the much revised transfer law was altered without tribal consultation. Also, many tribes claimed it violated their treaties. The land transfer has been in the works for nearly five years. The original bill was rewritten and then repealed after tribes involved were surprised with the changed language.

"The tactic used with the mitigation bill is to divide and conquer. The government called us the river tribes and ignored those treaty tribes not on the river. We are all in this together. If (Crow Creek) loses, we all lose," she told a meeting of the Black Hills Sioux Treaty Council.

"This is our land, our ancestors fought and died for it. It is scary at this time in our history; we are not afraid to go to court because all we get from the federal government and Congress is that they tell us what we need."

At the root of the opposition is the fact that the state will receive the bulk of the 150,000 acres of land. The Treaty Council claims that it is in violation of the nation�s constitution to transfer that land to the state. In another sticking point, cultural artifacts and objects are found in numerous places on either side of the river. The fear is that the state will not be held to a high enough standard to protect those cultural objects.

"You can take a boat down river to Chamberlain and see the bones of our ancestors coming out of the banks. They are trying to tell us something," Sazue said.

"But now everything is stopped."

The land transfer involves unused shoreline above a flood plain that was created in the 1950�s Pick-Sloan project that dammed the Missouri River for hydroelectric power with a series of earthen dams. The lakes created by the dams displaced entire towns and many tribal members lost their homes and allotted lands in the bargain.

The state has claimed from the beginning of the process five years ago that the transfer of land to the state will mean better management of the land. Sen. Tom Daschle, D � S.D. referred to the previous management by the Corps of Engineers as neglectful. Gov. Bill Janklow called the transfer as the best deal in 50 years for the state. Daschle and Janklow worked for three years to get the bill through Congress, only to see it repealed and rewritten.

Tribal members were paid a small amount for the land lost, but in the Pick Sloan Act a provision provided the land to be transferred back to the tribes if it was no longer useful.

The Cheyenne River Sioux and the Lower Brule Sioux approved the Daschle- Janklow bill but other Sioux Treaty Tribes opposed it. The bill passed as a rider to a water development appropriations in 1999 and was signed by then President Bill Clinton.

The official title of the legislation is the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and State of South Dakota Terrestrial Wildlife Habitat Restoration Law.

But changes in the bill upset at least one of the supporting tribes, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Tribal Chairman Gregg Bourland, who had been instrumental in providing input in the original bill, now opposed it.

The bill was later repealed. When it was passed again it provided for the land transfer to occur Dec. 21.

Sazue said that the Mitigation act, as it is referred to by its opponents, was another way to divide the tribes and the tribal leadership. "It�s like the trust reform business. Then next they will want to quantify the water. It�s an ideal way to conquer us through the land. We have to stop the lip service as tribal leaders and members and put a plan together. We are always reacting to something in Indian country," she said.

The tribe�s attorney Peter Capossela said in a letter to Sazue that the tribe�s position was to challenge both the land transfer and the lease of the land. It was impossible, the letter stated,

The Justice Department represented the Corps and stated that the tribe challenged the leases and not the land transfer. The government also stated that sufficient government to government consultations had been held. It mailed a letter that asked for one on the day of the hearing.

Sazue told the judge that the government should not have scheduled a consultation on the day of the hearing. Again, the judge agreed.

While the Corps and government sift through the implications of the ruling, there may be a hold on transfers across the country, government officials said. Crow Creek officials disagree. They claim this lawsuit involves a specific statute.

Additional briefs must be submitted to the judge by Feb. 8 for a continuance of the stay judgment. The legal maneuvering will ultimately lead to a trial that will determine if the land transfer Act is constitutionally vague and ambiguous, as the Crow Creek tribe claims.

The only tribe that has expressed public support for the Crow Creek lawsuit is Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Meanwhile the Oglala Sioux Tribe has filed a separate lawsuit to block the transfer to the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule tribes. Mario Gonzalez, Oglala Sioux tribal attorney, said the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in hopes of preventing the change in ownership of 91,178 acres of land within 64 riverside recreation areas.

"We seek to enjoin the land transfers not only to the state of South Dakota but also the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Sioux tribes," Gonzalez said.

John Yellow Bird Steele, president of the Oglala Tribe, said the tribe is waiting for an environmental-impact statement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Tribal officials apparently hope the report will bolster their lawsuit.

However, a corps official has said the environmental-impact statement will not stop the project, which was approved last January by Congress.

Gonzalez said the Oglala lawsuit alleges that the lands along the Missouri River contain more than 1,100 archaeological sites. The human remains and cultural items on those sites belong to the Oglala Tribe under NAGPRA, he said.

Under an 1868 treaty, the Oglala own all cultural sites on the western banks of the Missouri River, Gonzalez said. The repatriation law also gave the Oglala Sioux Tribe ownership of human remains and cultural items on the eastern banks of the river, he said.

The tribe argues in its lawsuit that boundaries of the Great Sioux Reservation, as set by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, begin on the eastern banks of the river and were not diminished by an 1889 law that created six smaller Sioux reservations in the state.

Gonzalez said the tribe is seeking an immediate court order to prevent the corps from transferring Missouri River lands to the state and Cheyenne River and Lower Brule tribes.

All this comes as Gale Norton, secretary of Interior, has announced a reorganization of the BIA to form a new trust management office. Tribal officials across the country argue that they were not properly consulted in the plan.

The Great Plains tribes, of which Crow Creek is a member, oppose the new reorganization. Assistant Secretary for Indian affairs Neal McCaleb will hold a "consultation meeting" in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Jan. 10. Tribal leaders plan to meet the day before to strategize and plan their opposition to the reorganization.

�2001 Indian Country Today

COMMENTS? Reprinted under the Fair Use

From: SD Peace and Justice

Encouraging news from Washington


Today, December 11, in Washington, DC, Federal District Court, Judge Paul Friedman heard oral arguments in Crow Creek Tribe's lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers. The tribe seeks to stop transfer to the State of South Dakota of Missouri River shore land which was reserved for the Great Sioux Nation under the Fort Laramie Treaty.

The transfer is mandated under what has been popularly referred to as "the Mitigation Act" (Title VI of the Water Resources Development Act of 1999, as amended in 2000). The tribe alleges that Title VI is unconstitutional, as well as confused and self-contradictory, and that it violates several other federal laws. The Corps of Engineers contends that the suit is without merit and should be dismissed.

It ain't over, not by any means. However, what happened today looks positive for the tribe. After hearing oral arguments from both sides, the judge stated:

  1. He's disinclined to agree with the government that the tribe's lawsuit can be dismissed.
  2. There may, indeed, be constitutional problems with Title VI.
  3. He wants more briefing on the subject, including material on the final environmental impact statement about the land transfer. [More briefs would mean an additional hearing in about 60-90 days. The problem is that the Corps and the State have planned to effect the transfer NEXT WEEK!]
  4. He asked the Corps and the Tribe to negotiate a postponement of the transfer to allow time for the additional briefing.
  5. He said that if there was not a negotiated postponement, he could declare one anyway, though he'd rather have it be a matter of mutual agreement.

There you have it, friends. With the outlook positive, Tribal Chairwoman Roxanne Sazue and tribal elders must be feeling very encouraged as they head in their van back to Fort Thompson.

Postponing the transfer is fine with the tribe, of course. If the government refuses to negotiate a postponement, the tribe's attorney, Peter Capossela, will file a motion this Friday for preliminary injunction against the transfer, asking for a hearing by December 21.

South Dakota Peace & Justice Center strongly affirms the stand of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in this legal action.


Land transfer draws protest

By Heidi Bell Gease and Bill Harlan, Journal Staff Writers
Rapid City Journal
Aug. 24, 2001 FRONT PAGE

RAPID CITY � About a hundred mostly American Indian protesters walked out of a public meeting here Thursday, angrily denouncing the federal government's plan to transfer land along the Missouri River to the state of South Dakota.

"This is a farce," Harvey White Woman of the Oglala Sioux Tribe said. "This meeting is not in the best interests of our people."

White Woman and many other protesters � some carrying signs, others carrying flags � left midway through a public hearing at Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was gathering public comments on the transfer of 91,178 acres of federal land along the banks of the Missouri River to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Gov. Bill Janklow worked together to craft legislation that in January will give the state control of most of the banks of the Missouri River, including more than 3,000 miles of shoreline on four huge reservoirs.

Janklow and Daschle argued that the state could manage the land better than the Corps of Engineers.

Many Indians say the transfer violates treaties.

The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 gave Sioux tribes all of western South Dakota.

Indian protesters said Congress illegally reneged on the treaty in 1889, and they called the transfer of river land another illegal land grab.

"The intent is still there, and that is to take treaty lands," said Jay Taken Alive, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council who spoke at a Thursday news conference. "This is a monumental ... event for us because it does involve water rights, and it involves treaty land."

He said voters on the Standing Rock reservation defeated the idea by a vote of 1,435-160 in 1999.

Taken Alive and other protesters attended a rally before the meeting at nearby Roosevelt Park.

Robert Quiver, a member of the Lakota Student Alliance who camped in protest on La Framboise Island at Pierre, urged tribal officials to boycott Thursday night's hearing. Instead, Quiver encouraged them to ask for immediate repeal of the law and to demand a full investigation by the Senate.

Protesters also marched to the meeting behind a color guard. Inside, they lined up around the outside of the meeting room, holding poster-board signs, which they gently rattled in support of speakers.

During the hearing, White Woman called for an investigation of Daschle. Many protesters singled out Daschle for criticism, including rancher Marvin Kammerer, a longtime social activist and supporter of Indian land claims.

Kammerer said he had supported Daschle for Senate. "Never again," Kammerer said.

The meeting in Rapid City was the eighth and final hearing to collect public comments on a "draft environmental-impact statement" on the land transfer.

The National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, requires environmental-impact statements on almost all federal projects, even though Corps officials say this one is mostly moot. Corps of Engineers Project Manager Mike George of Omaha, Neb., said Thursday the environmental-impact statement will not stop the project, which Congress already has approved.

"It can't force any action," George said, and he acknowledged that Indians were frustrated by that. There also were protests at meetings on the Standing Rock and Crow Creek reservations, George said, but Thursday's meeting was the angriest. "This is the most frustration I've seen expressed."

Oglala Sioux Tribe Vice President Theresa Two Bulls said her tribe was especially frustrated by the Corps' reneging on an earlier pledge to at least study treaty issues. "The Corps failed to do the analysis," Two Bulls said.

George agreed there was an earlier promise, but the draft environmental statement now says treaties "are not within the purview" of its analysis.

Most protesters said the Corps of Engineers should oppose the transfer in spite of Congress.

"It's, like, what part of 'no' don't you understand?" Roxanne Sazue, chairwoman of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, said at the rally. Later, she repeated her comments in the hearing. "We do not want the land transferred."

Indians also object on cultural grounds. When the Army Corps began building dams on the Missouri River more than 50 years ago, much of the reservation land along the river was flooded, forcing people to relocate.

Burial grounds were left behind, Sazue said, and human remains and funerary objects frequently are unearthed along the river banks. "There are federal laws to protect these sacred cultural resources," she said in a prepared statement. "The Corps of Engineers is preparing to transfer the land as quickly as possible and ignoring the need to continue to protect the remains of our ancestors."

The Crow Creek tribe has filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming that the transfer violates environmental and historic-preservation laws as well as the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.

Attorney Peter Capossela said the court has yet to hear the case. "It's real difficult to go into their (federal) courts and object to their actions," he said.

A handful of non-Indians joined the protests.

Brian Brademeyer of the Black Hills Group of the Sierra Club said his group had proposed three alternatives to the transfer � including a smaller transfer, a transfer within federal agencies and a transfer of western shoreline to the Sioux Nation Treaty Council.

The Corps of Engineers called those proposals "unreasonable" and did not analyze them.

The South Dakota Peace & Justice Center, a social-activist group based in Watertown, also opposes the transfer. Jeanne Koster, director of the center, said the transfer would limit tribal access to Missouri River water to the duration of the Mni Wiconi pipeline project. Koster said tribes should have access to water forever.

In fact, the draft environmental-impact statement itself also lists "significant adverse impacts" the land transfer could have for Indians. George said Indian people who use Corps of Engineers recreation areas for free, sometimes for religious ceremonies, will have to pay a state entrance fees after the transfer.

The meeting started out politely, but after two hours, protesters were shouting at George and an environmental consultant who helped him run the meeting.

Standing Buffalo, a young man from Pine Ridge, warned that the tribe would call for a "public citizen's arrest" of anyone who signed the transfer.

Kammerer and Brademeyer joined protesters who left the meeting.

Most protesters were from three tribes: the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe will get land under the transfer, but Thursday's hearing addressed only the land transfer to South Dakota.

For other Indians, a basic issue is at stake. "In our minds, in our hearts, the treaties are in full force," Taken Alive said.

Heidi Bell Gease 394-8419, or

For Immediate Release (Distribute Widely)
Aug. 23, 2001

Lakota Student Alliance Response to: Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Eis) of South Dakota Title Vi Land Transfer - US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) - Omaha District July 2001. Public Comment Held August 23, 2001 Rapid City SD.

The purpose and need for the Draft EIS is totally illogical, therefore unethical, due to the nature of the routing of one of America's most historic legislative/administrative thefts of Indian lands ever encountered. This travesty today is know as the Title VI Land Transfer in South Dakota.

The core of this theft stems from the illegitimate authorization of Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction in the 1940s (Pick-Sloan Missouri River Basin Act 1944). Lakota peoples were coerced into relocating to make way for Dam construction, effectively taking the jurisdiction and control of natural resources away from the Great Sioux Nation. The Army Corps and state of SD beleived the removal of Lakota from their burial sites and hunting/fishing territories was conducted in humane ways, thereby justifying their greed for the Power generated by the use of 4 major dams in South Dakota.

The USACE transfer of Treaty lands [not public lands] to a state where racial intolerance exists does not make for good constitutional policy. The State of SD, Senator Tom Daschle, and USACE's disregard of our opposition toward this land theft for the last several years is evidence of this prejudice and inequality. The US Civil Rights Commission report in April 2000 concluded that racial disparities exist in SD, further validates our allegation.

The Water Resources Development Act of 1999 (WRDA PL 106-53, Amend 106-541) was signed without the required consent of 3/4 of the adult male population, as stipulated in Article 12 of the Constitutionally supreme Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868).

Additionally, (according to USACE estimates), the looted title to the Missouri River will transfer about 91,178 acres of land. We will assume the Lakota Water Rights will be "waiting" to be transferred though the EIS ignores this important facet of the scheduled activity. If native Indigenous water rights are co-opted by this transfer, then over 31.4 million acre feet of water is estimated to be transferred also. The transfer scheduled to be completed "no later than" January 1, 2002.

With So much controversy surrounding the transfer, and with so much inconsistency on the entire "scoping" process, it would be unfair to conclude that a comprehensive EIS has been conducted. It would be unfair to the Great Sioux Nation to Comment as it would be viewed as complicity with the land transfer. And furthermore, to comment on these very numerous inconsistencies would only serve to undermine the legitimate supremacy of constitutional treaties.

A. Therefore, we urge all tribal officials and parties involved to boycott or retract any and all comments already submitted on the Scoping Process, including but not limited to the current Draft EIS.

B. Instead, we encourage all tribal leaders and officials to request the immediate Repeal of PL 106-53, amended PL 106-541 Title VI Land Transfer. Additionally, since the negative significant impacts of this land transfer will deal a severe blow toward the unity of the Great

Sioux Nation, we will encourage tribes to demand a full Senate Investigative hearing based upon the Executive Orders, Environmental Statutes, and Federal laws cited in p. 299 of the current EIS. (The USACE claims it is using the legislation to measure the impacts against the states proposed development of Treaty Lands.)

For More information
Lakota Student Alliance
(605) 867-1507

Political efforts to return Black Hills land to Sioux fail


"If history teaches us anything," Daschle said at the time, "it is that large-scale transactions of land to right historical injustice are a prescription for hatred and discord."

Daschle is now Senate majority leader. He says he continues to oppose any legislation returning the land to the Sioux. Copyright 2001 NOLA

Online Sources referenced:
[1] Indian protesters walk out of meeting on transfer of land to state
[2] Indians storm out of meeting on land transfer-The Associated Press-published: 8/25/01

[3] Land Transfer draws protest-Rapid City Journal Aug 24, 2001-By Heidi Bell Gease and Bill Harlan, Journal Staff Writers
[4] Opposing Peltier pardon last straw - Fedelia Cross - Rapid City Journal - Ltr to Editor - Mar 4, 2001.
The New American Indian Movement: the Occupation of LaFramboise Island by Worth Weller (from a book, Conflict in Chiapas, due out in the fall of 1999)
La Frambois Island: the next generation - Young activists continue the struggle story and photo by Jon Lurie
Midwest Treaty Network: (Zoltan Grossman, former Black Hills Alliance member) Oceti Sakowin Camp on La Framboise Island, S.D.
Christian Peacemaker Teams Involvement Lots of related Links at this site
ADDITIONAL LINKS: Army Corps of Engineers -
Senate Armed Services Committee
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -
Indians storm out of meeting on land transfer, published: 8/25/01
S.D.: Tribe comments on land transfer,
Power-hungry on the Missouri,
Mighty Mo recreation areas returned to S.D.,
He Sapa Sioux Nation Treaty Council Mtg
FYI: Letter to Daschle on Repeal of "Mitigation Act",
LA FRAMBOISE ISLAND:Action Alert TODAY: Lakota occupation of Missouri R. island
[VERY LONG] CPT meeting notes,
Contact Senator Wellstone: Mitagation Act goes against the Fort Laramie Treaty 1868 treaty.
Conflict Stems from Treaty Interpretations,
For background on the Lakota treaty rights struggle to protect the banks of the Missouri River, see

"American Indian protesters leave island camp"

Argus Leader
published: 4/27/00

PIERRE -- A group of American Indians protesting the transfer of control of land along the Missouri River has left LaFramboise Island and moved north to the Standing Rock Reservation.

The perpetual fire started on the island more than a year ago is out, and two tipis occupied by fire tenders are gone.

The tipis and the fire, called sacred by those who had occupied the island since March 22, 1999, were moved to a high bluff overlooking the Missouri near Wakpala.

A worker at the nearby Wakpala Head Start confirmed that the camp had been in place for about two weeks. Members of the camp declined to comment when reached by telephone Wednesday.

The move came as a surprise to residents of Pierre and Fort Pierre, towns on the east and west side of the river. Less than a month ago, dozens of people went to the camp for the anniversary of its establishment."

* complete story at above link.

Campers take sacred fire on the road

April 13, 2000
Patrick Baker

The fire is gone, but the protest lives on.

The sacred fire that was lit more than a year ago at the Indian protest encampment on La Framboise Island has temporarily left the site, campers said Wednesday.

The two large tepees that have served as a constant reminder of the camp's existence and as a symbol of Native American heritage are also gone but will be back, campers said.

According to camper LeGrand Wells, 24, the fire was transported to the Standing Rock reservation to be used to light a council fire. Less than a month ago, he said a goal had been established to use the sacred fire to light seven council fires across the state in a show of unity.

The fire on La Framboise Island, the First Fire of the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Councils Fire, was lit on March 22, 1999, when the camp was established in protest of the Missouri River Mitigation Act. The mitigation act, passed by Congress, will exchange land along the river from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' control to the state and two participating tribes.

Wells, who stayed throughout the winter to keep the fire burning, and Dan Merrival, one of the original camp protesters, said the missing fire and tepees are not indicators that protesters will break camp anytime soon. They said a group of "elders" recently expressed interest in seeing the camp stay on the island for at least another year.

Though the mitigation act is slowly moving forward, campers said Wednesday that the protest could continue until land they believe was unlawfully taken from Indian tribes in the state more than 100 years ago is returned.

New or repaired tepees are expected to return to the campsite on the island by this weekend along with the sacred fire. When the fire returns, two of the seven council fires representing the different tribes in the state will have been lit.

Since the time the sacred fire was first lit, campers have said that the protest was peaceful and local law enforcement representatives have agreed. However, Wednesday night Wells was involved in an incident at the nearby American Legion Cabin that was less than peaceful.

According to Pierre Police reports, officers were called to respond to a fight in the parking lot of the American Legion at about 8:45 p.m. A window was broken during the melee.

Wells was later located at Sadie's Pub where he was arrested on charges of intentional damage, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. At least two others were involved in the incident, a police spokesman said.

Contact staff writer Patrick Baker by phone at 224-7301 or via e-mail at

Sen. Tom Daschle is attacking problems with the Missouri River on two fronts.

Friday, March 24, 2000
Dana Hess

Late Thursday he introduced legislation to ensure the river�s future. He also recently met with a corps official to appeal for a quick solution to current problems.

Daschle, D-S.D., introduced legislation that would create the Missouri River Restoration Trust Fund.

At the same time he has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to alleviate some of the frustrations that landowners and city governments have been experiencing as they try to work with the corps on the mitigation project that will buy or flood proof homes in Fort Pierre and southeast Pierre.

The $200 million trust fund in Daschle�s legislation would be fully capitalized in 11 years. After that point it would generate $12 million per year to be used on river improvements.

�The Missouri River is central to the economic well-being of not only riverside communities, but our entire state,� Daschle said. �We have to reverse the detrimental change the river has undergone in the past 20 years, and we need to do all we can to improve opportunities for businesses, communities, boaters and tourism all along the river. The Missouri River Trust Fund would support those efforts and help protect this important resource.�

A 25-member board would oversee how the money in the trust fund would be spent. South Dakota�s governor would appoint 15 of the members with the other 10 made up of representatives from each of South Dakota�s nine Indian tribes and one from the Three Affiliated tribes of North Dakota.

According to information from Daschle�s office, the establishment of the trust fund would require development of a plan to reduce the amount of sediment flowing into the Missouri River, better protect historic sites, protect fish and wildlife and improve recreation on the river.

In a conference call with reporters this morning, Daschle explained that the funds would be appropriated at about $10 million per year for 10 years.

�This is a significant contribution made by our country,� Daschle said, �and I think it�s important that we recognize that the alternative will be even more expensive.�

Daschle said the money from the trust fund, $12 million per year, could �put a real dent� in the problems on the river.

�We�ve got to deal with siltation,� Daschle said. �We�ve got to deal with the extraordinary problems we�re now having all up and down the river with regard to the build-up of siltation.�

While progress has been made on the introduction of Daschle�s legislation, the Senate Minority Leader has expressed frustration with the progress being made on the mitigation project in Pierre and Fort Pierre.

�I�m disappointed that we haven�t seen faster action,� Daschle said.

Homeowners have been frustrated by the slow process and elected officials have been vexed by corps requirements that don�t seem to be in the best interests of their cities.

To speed along the corps, Daschle said he met with the new head of the district corps office in Omaha, Neb., Col. Mark Tillotson. His message to the colonel was that the corps had to do a better job of working with the people in Pierre and Fort Pierre.

�We had a very blunt conversation,� Daschle said. �I think, in the end, it was a good conversation. I think they understand where the delegation is and how strongly we feel about resolving these matters. They also understand the need for urgency, the need for action now.�

Pierre residents who want to learn more about the project can attend a public meeting sponsored by Pierre city government. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Monday at the Ramkota RiverCentre.

Indian Protest Camp Marks One Year

From: "hansenhouse"
AP 3/24/2000

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) _ American Indian protesters at LaFramboise Island say they will maintain their camp despite a failed attempt to stop the transfer of Missouri River land to the state and two tribes.

Those who started the camp last March 22 said century-old treaty rights barred the impending transfer of river shoreline. They kept a spiritual fire burning throughout the year as a symbol of their protest.

Congress passed a law which allowed the swap in 1998. In February, South Dakota legislators authorized the Game, Fish and Parks Department to manage the state's share of the newly acquired riverside recreation areas.

Crews of prison inmates are expected to move into some of those sites, perhaps yet this month, to begin cleaning and improving campgrounds and roads in anticipation of a summer season of heavy visitor traffic.

"It's the first really visible signs people will see that the transfer is moving ahead," says Game, Fish and Parks Secretary John Cooper.

LeGrand Wells, 23, who is among those who tended the fire through the winter, sees little chance that the deal will stop. Still, he says, he will continue his task.

The protest is less about the specifics of a single act of Congress than about the symbolism of the flame, said Wells.

"I can see that what this fire symbolizes is important," he said. "It's why people on all the different reservations in the state are making moves to have a bigger voice in their government, whether it's by taking over buildings, negotiating or praying.

"Here, for example. Maybe the land transfer didn't stop. Even so, people in South Dakota had to think about what the treaties said. Maybe we made one small step toward more understanding of what was and what is now."

When the federal government built dams on the river during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, the Army Corps of Engineers took private, state and tribal land along the river, some of which it didn't need for dams and reservoirs.

U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle and Gov. Bill Janklow started in 1995 on a deal that would turn the unused land back to the state and the four riverside tribes. Two tribes chose to be part of the deal. Two stayed out.

After Congress passed the law, a group of Indian protesters who said they hoped to get a reconsideration of that action, set up the LaFramboise Camp. They argued that the 1868 treaty remained in effect and the state had no right to any of the land.

Daschle and Janklow staff members who worked on the land deal said acts of Congress and decisions in federal courts in the past century have negated the effects of the old treaty. Congress re-affirmed its decision on the land transfer in the summer of 1999.

This year, the state Legislature approved, and Janklow signed a bill r allowing the state to accept the land, about 91,000 acres.

Full transfer of title is expected to take several years. In the meantime, the new law allows the state to lease and improve the land and recreation areas currently owned by the corps.

The state will first begin making improvements at 23 corps recreation sites on the east side of the river.

"If the weather cooperates, we may be getting started with improvements on those areas by the end of the month, certainly by early April," Cooper said Tuesday. "There are trees to be cut, cleaning, painting, plumbing and electrical work, things like that."

The corps will continue to own and manage the sites until a lease is completed in October, Cooper said.

He said the state intends to be se nsitive to the Indian issues as it moves into a position of control.

"All up and down the length of the river, we know there are burial sites, historic sites that need to be protected," Cooper said.

The corps currently is assessing such areas, so that any proposed development can occur only after cultural or historic sites have been identified and preserved, he said.

[Note: With 50% of the US in drought conditions and forecasted to be worsening this year, news reports on the Mitigation Act fail to mention this land deal also granted the State of SD water rights in the Black Hills. The Black Hills belong to the entire Nationof the Oceti Oyatawin not just the two who brokered this agreement, and therefore per the Treaty of 1868 is not legal...IMO]

Tribal officials sees problems with land swap
Argus Leader
published: 3/7/00

CHAMBERLAIN -- The transfer of 133,000 acres of federal land along the Missouri River to the state and two Indian tribes could turn into a financial boondoggle if changes aren't made, a tribal leader said Monday. But a state wildlife official said the land exchange will benefit both the tribes and the state over time.

Gregg Bourland, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands to be transferred to South Dakota and the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Sioux tribes hold the potential to become devastating financial burdens.

Archaeological sites, pollution problems and continuing erosion that sometimes damages private land are likely to cost the state and tribes millions of dollars in the future, Bourland said. He doubts that trust funds being established for the tribes and the state as part of the land transfer developed by U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Gov. Bill Janklow will be enough to cover the costs.

"Your great-great-grandchildren will encounter this. Who's going to pay the price?" he said during a speech to the South Dakota Chapter of The Wildlife Society. "The costs of preserving the cultural sites along the river alone will suck up the whole trust fund.

"It's going to be a big fight. And the amount of money to be spent will be phenomenal."

But John Cooper, secretary of the state Game, Fish and Parks Department, said trust funds established by Congress as part of the transfer will provide millions of dollars a year for management of the property. And an additional trust fund being proposed by Daschle would help handle silt and erosion and preserve sacred sites, Cooper said.

"We've talked to the corps of engineers, looked at their expenses, and we haven't seen them spending anywhere near the kind of money that Chairman Bourland is talking about," Cooper said after Bourland's speech. "And even after the transfer, the corps will still be responsible for any damage that results from the management of the reservoir system."

Bourland's comments, which clearly took Cooper and other state officials by surprise, are the latest hitch in a transfer process that has been anything but smooth. The Missouri River lands transfer was approved by Congress two years ago after more than three years of discussions, negotiations and public hearings. It transfers land taken by the federal government for the Missouri River dams to the two tribes and to the state.

As partial compensation for lands swallowed by the reservoirs, the act also sets up trust funds that eventually will total $108 million for the state, $42 million for Cheyenne River and about $15 million for Lower Brule. Interest from those funds will help the state and tribes manage recreation on the land and develop wildlife habitat.

The Crow Creek and Standing Rock tribes refused to take part in the transfer. Like Lower Brule, Cheyenne River signed on. But Bourland said the transfer will never make up for what the tribe lost to massive Lake Oahe, the largest of the state's four Missouri River reservoirs.

"We lost 104,000 acres of beautiful river bottom land, so they could build Lake Oahe," Bourland said. "Not to mention the wildlife resources lost, our people were forced up out of the river bottom onto the harsh plains."

Bourland worries that the underpayment will continue under the transfer. He said some of the lands have been polluted through erosion, siltation and runoff from agriculture practices in the watershed. He wants an environmental impact statement on cleanup costs before the land is transferred.

"We do not want to accept damaged goods. It's just that simple," he said.

Bourland also wants a series of public meetings to discuss those and other issues -- including the contention of some Indian tribes that they, rather than the state, should get surplus corps land on the west shore of the Missouri.

Cooper said at least two federal court decisions confirmed that the corps of engineers had properly taken tribal land for the reservoirs, and had compensated the tribes for it. Like the tribes, the state deserves some of the corps property as partial compensation for thousands of acres of flooded land, Cooper said.

"This is just another step in trying to do a better job of managing the resources of the Missouri River," he said.

Reach reporter Kevin Woster at 331-2319 or

Bill Janklow, Republican Governor of SD, and US Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle are probably watching the Pine Ridge conflict between "grassroots" people and the Oglala Sioux Tribe council.

Meanwhile they are serious about transferring federal lands into the hands of SD. A legal precedent. The transfer is to occur in 2000.

We ask to continue your letters to Daschle and his "financial donors" asking to urge a petition for a repeal of Title VI of 1999 Water Resource Development Act. Its not too late to promote or foster good relations between white South Dakota and Lakota people.

To find Daschles' "$$ Allies" search the Mother Jones top 400 for 1998 at: or search PAC and Individual Contributors to Daschle at:

Land Transfer Angers S.D. Indians
'Federal law can't abrogate treaties,' Sioux Nation says
Jan. 12,2000
By William Claiborne
Washington Post

PIERRE, S.D. -- It was a gloriously warm day when 300 people gathered at the state Capitol here on Native American Day this fall to celebrate the late Gov. George S. Mickelson's dream of reconciliation between Indians and whites, who in a sense have never really stopped fighting in South Dakota since Gen. George A. Custer made his last stand at Little Bighorn.

There was a children's choir, bagpipes, flutists and impassioned speeches condemning the kind of mistrust and racism long abhorred by Mickelson, who in 1990 angered many white people in the state by making Native American Day a legal holiday.

Conspicuously absent from the ceremony was its invited Grand Marshal, Gov. William J. Janklow, a Republican called "Wild Bill Janklow, the Indian Fighter" by many Indians. Janklow was in Sioux Falls, fulfilling what he said were prior commitments.

Also missing was a group of Indians who since March have occupied a small island in the middle of the Missouri River -- within sight of the Capitol -- to protest what they call a "land grab" of more than 200 miles of river shoreline, engineered by Janklow and Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle, D-S.D. The protesters say it violates the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie treaties.

Although the treaties gave the west bank of the river -- plus the western half of South Dakota and large parts of Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota -- to the Sioux Nation, subsequent congressional acts and U.S. Supreme Court rulings have effectively abrogated the pacts. In August, President Clinton signed a bill transferring the river property from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, which acquired it in the 1940s for federal flood control projects, to the state.

Indians across the state are furious at Daschle for first quietly inserting the land transfer into the voluminous 1998 omnibus spending bill and then, after the House voted to repeal the deal, submitting a renamed version as part of a water development bill that ultimately passed.

The Corps of Engineers had not been able to adequately maintain boat ramps and other recreational facilities along the west bank of the river, Janklow said. Transferring the land to the state, in addition to the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule tribes' agreement to the deal, will allow the state to develop more recreational facilities while protecting portions of the shoreline from erosion and development, he said.

"The river is our No.1 resource, and this is a way to protect it," Janklow said.

So as they have been for generations, the Sioux tribes and the state are once again in conflict over who controls the land they share, an ongoing dispute usually centered on the mineral-rich Black Hills, 200 miles west of here, which also were taken from the Indians.

But the tensions go far deeper than land disputes. They reflect a vast cultural divide and a gulf of suspicion and mistrust between Indians and whites in a state that historically was one of the bloodiest battlegrounds between the races during the great westward expansion.

The smoldering anger of the young "fire-keepers" who are tending a sacramental fire at the protest encampment on La Framboise Island here -- a fire they vow will not be extinguished until the Sioux get back the Missouri River shoreline -- seems at times to be directed less at the land transfer than at Janklow and the kind of anti-Indian sentiment they say he represents.

"I see him as the modern-day Custer, a racist through and through," said Richard Charigreaux, an Oglala Sioux from the Pine Ridge Reservation, as he sat with other fire-keepers in front of a tepee in which the spiritual fire burned. "In our religion, we were taught to pray for our enemies so they can see, but I don't think he'll ever see."

The camp protesters -- who vary daily from about a dozen to 200 -- recalled Janklow's role as a zealous prosecutor of members of the militant American Indian Movement during the bloody civil wars of the early 1970s on the Pine Ridge Reservation, including defendants in the 1974 Custer County Court House riots, in which Indians firebombed buildings after the arrest of an Indian woman whose son had been killed by a white man.

Janklow said he became a villain to militant Indians after he prosecuted prominent American Indian Movement leader Dennis Banks and others in the riot case. "I made the point that we had to stop this in South Dakota, and I did," he said.

"As much as these folks hate me, I never anticipated" the uproar over the land arrangement, Janklow said. "I thought this would be the hottest deal they could ever get."

Citing Supreme Court decisions holding that the power to make a treaty is the power to break a treaty, Janklow said, there's no question the Indians were treated badly when the Fort Laramie treaties were broken and the Sioux Nation's vast lands were reduced to a few scattered and desolate reservations.

"If I was an Indian, I could understand the shaft, because this land was stolen in spite of the treaty. But we didn't do it, the federal government did it, and now it's leaving us to try to deal with it," the governor added.

Charmaine White-Face, spokesman for the Black Hills Nation Treaty Council, said the Sioux will fight to repeal the transfer because "federal law can't abrogate treaties. ... We didn't make an agreement with Bill Janklow, we made an agreement with the U.S. government."

Copyright 1999
The Detroit News

Websites for Laframbois Island Occupation - Pierre SD
Please post widely, pilamayapelo.
Robert Quiver, Lakota Student Alliance
Oceti Sakowin Camp - Pierre SD

Cold doesn't keep campers from tending fire

Story by Patrick Baker
Pierre Capitol Journal
Jan. 5, 2000

With winter winds blowing off the Missouri River, the number of protesters camping on La Framboise Island has dropped significantly since summer. This group of three accounts for more than half of the current campers representing different Native American tribes in the state that are protesting, among other things, the Mitigation Act.

The half dozen campers on La Framboise Island may be part of a protest, butthey don't complain much about living outside in the dead of winter to keep a sacred fire burning.

The half dozen young people currently occupying the camp are more than fire tenders. They are representatives of a Native American protest that is focused on the Mitigation Act, passed federal legislation that will transfer about 160,000 acres of land along the Missouri River from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to South Dakota and two Indian tribes.

"We're doing it because our elders asked us to � out of respect for them," Rich Shangreaux, 21, said. "We're young and able-bodied."

Shangreaux has been with the camp since its inception last March. Since then, he said the numbers in the camp have fluctuated. There were about 15 to 20 campers per night during the summer months. Legrand Wells, 23, joined the camp four months ago and agreed to stay through the winter.

"I don't know much about these ways, about protesting and the treaties," Wells said, "but I know how to keep that fire going."

Protesters have said the Mitigation Act is a violation of the Fort Laramie treaties of 1851 and 1868. Integral to the protest is a fire that stays burning inside the main tepee in the camp.

"It's a symbol � of what our elders think is right, not politicians," Shangreaux said.

He estimated the camp goes through about one chord of wood each month which is used for the sacred fire as well as a campfire used for warmth and other camping necessities. The wood is gathered from dead fall on the island.

Though both campers said camping has been a colder experience in recent weeks, they pointed out that Indians lived a similar existence through much of their history.

"It's colder here because we get the wind off the water," Shangreaux said. But, he added, "It stays nice and warm in the tepee. That's how we survived all of those thousands of years."

Shangreaux said camping in the winter helps to build endurance and that he doubts anything natural, including a blizzard, will force them off the island. He joked that they are waiting for the first blizzard so they can go out and dance in it.

Most of the campers sleep in the main tepee. On nights when more people are visiting, they set up as many tents as are needed and break out the blankets. They said others will join the camp intermittently throughout the winter.

Everyone shares the load of camp duties. Wood must be gathered and cut with chain saws or axes. Tarps are used to cover the main wood pile.

Tarps have also been used to add windbreaking walls to the existing public shelter at the entrance to the island. Food is stored inside the shelter which also provides electricity for lights, refrigerators, communications devices and some cooking appliances.

Wells said, "Everybody kind of comes together and gets stuff done."

The corps also helps when it comes to pumping out the two outhouses used by the campers as well as people who use the island for recreation.

Water is gathered from town now that water lines to the island have been shut off for the winter. Shangreaux and Wells said some community members have also visited the camp and brought food, water and other supplies.

Lots of people drive by out of curiosity, they said. Some who have stopped have been supportive, but not all.

"People drive by and roll down the windows," Wells said. "Some say racist things, some wave. I think the majority like to see (the protest camp)."

One of the original seven people who established the protest camp, Shangreaux said the meaning of the protest cannot be affixed only to the Mitigation Act. He said the protest, in some ways, represents all South Dakota tribes for different reasons and is backed by different treaty councils.

"We reached a point where we've said 'enough is enough' and we used the Mitigation Act to stand on," Shangreaux said. "It's about letting people realize that we're human, too."

Contact staff writer Patrick Baker by phone at 224-7301 or via e-mail at

    Hi All,

    I am sending email (cc) for Faith Spotted Eagle, who is working frantically to buy precious time. The Corps of Engineers wants to promptly raise the water level of Ft. Randall dam. 25-30 graves were discovered very recently when the water was dropped and the Yankton tribes needs time to ceremonially retrieve and rebury those ancestral remains. Corps is worred about loss of electricity and other Y2K possibilities (terrorism). While the tribe makes its preparations, they need all the help they can get in stalling the Corps from submerging the ancestors again. Media contacts, public pressure, etc.

    Gratitude for all your fine work and available leadership and resources...
    Rosalie Little Thunder

Corps extends permission for protest camp
Thursday, December 23, 1999
Patrick Baker

The First Fire of the Oceti Sakowin still burns in a tepee at the Indian protest camp on La Framboise Island. The Omaha District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers has given permission for the fire to burn for at least another month.

Protesters have been camped on the island since last March in protest of the Mitigation Act which will transfer control of about 160,000 acres of land along the Missouri River from the corps to South Dakota and two Indian tribes. Protesters claim the transfer violates treaties made between the federal government and Indian tribes in the latter half of the 19th century.

The corps has issued letters of permission to camp in an area normally off limits to overnight recreation each month since the protest began. A spokesperson for the Omaha District said permission would likely continue to be granted to the protesters as long as they abide by the terms of the arrangement which include environmentally conscious practices.

The Mitigation Act - Land Grabbers Ride Again

    Times are hard for Indian people in this day and age, we're being robbed of the most important aspects of who we are as a people, our way of life and our land.

Pilferers come in many disguises, ranging from business suits and brief cases to bells, bones, dyed hair and moccasins, but their intent is the same - to steal away as much as possible from the Indian people under the guise of saviors pretending what they do is best for the Indian.

The Lakota people have battled to maintain what little we have left. Although our ancestors fought hard and died brave to keep our way of life alive, the government continued to create circumstances that meant death, one way or another. Our ancestors saw this and some leaders embraced the new world order quickly, while others fought until they could fight no more and with great sadness they reluctantly shook the hand that choked them. Either way, the leaders did what they did so their people could live. Murder and starvation were the government's tools of war against the Indian people. Indian men, women and children suffered the worst of any 'ethnic cleansing' the world has ever seen - less than fifty years after Wounded Knee, Jewish people were subjected to a doctrine of inhumanity similar to that we had endured for nearly five hundred years. We are both holocaust survivors. The US Government would have succeeded in wiping the Indians off the face of the earth, had they not realized that the world would have viewed them as bigots, lifting the veil they hide everything under - that cloth they call the flag of democracy.

In 1851, the government made a treaty and set aside land creating the Great Sioux Nation reservation. Its boundaries extended through most of Nebraska, nearly half of Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota, and almost all of South Dakota. This was the first and only agreement the government ever made that was equitable toward the Great Sioux Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Nation. But that soon changed as the lust for land and greed stepped in again. After losing the war that closed the Bozeman Trail, with its army defeated by the allied forces of the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho, the government realized what a great mistake they had made with that treaty and made another, the treaty of 1868. The US lost the war but won the peace, which depleted the Great Sioux Nation's land base by more than half.

But the really brazen show of greed came when gold was found in the Sacred Black Hills and choice land was seen to exist all along the Missouri River; this was when the government began its 'literary' campaign to take as much land away as 'legally' possible by creating one Act after another through Congress, which is still practiced today.

Take the 1889 Act that many say illegally cleared the slate concerning the 1851 and 1868 treaty lands. This Act diminished the Great Sioux Reservation and created today's Sioux reservations. According to Attorney Mario Gonzalez, the US Government did not obtain 3/4 of the adult male Indians' signatures required to make the 1889 Act legal and binding. But the 1889 Act is just another example of how the government minces its words to satisfy its needs. It shows how the government manipulates people to accept a condition without seeking recourse.

Every Act passed by Congress concerning the Great Sioux Nation has been challenged, but each time the challenge is made, another Act takes its place. Woe and behold the Mitigation Bill of the century that has held more titles than a used car dealership. After much diversion of ducking, weaving, slipping and bobbing for a place to come alive, the bill attached itself - like the leech it is - to a "for sure it's gonna pass" bill, attached as a rider to the Water Resources Development Act, or House Bill 2131.

Now it has a name it wants to live with; "The 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act." Why does it like this name? Because it's a name that covers up the truth. At least they could have been honest and named it "The Cheat the Indians Out of Their Land Again Act of 1999." Before riding in on the Water Act, it was known as "The Cheyenne River Sioux, Lower Brule Sioux and State of South Dakota Terrestrial Wildlife Habitat Restoration Act." And before that, it was known as "The Cheyenne River, Lower Brule Sioux and State of South Dakota Mitigation Act of 1997," which was originally written by Democratic Senator Tom Daschle, the wolf in sheep's clothing who fleeced his flock of Lakota/Dakota/Nakota voters, and Republican Governor Bill Janklow, a reincarnated Indian fighter without the flowing locks or fringed buckskin coat...."What Senator Daschle has accomplished is a miracle", Janklow cooed. "I'd have no integrity at all if I didn't say this was his handiwork."

High praise from a man who served as a member of the 'Rosebud Sioux tribe's legal services program' until he was disbarred by Judge Mario Gonzalez in 1974 for "assault with intent to commit rape, and carnal knowledge of a female under 16." Some seven years earlier, on January 14, 1967, a 15 year old school girl, Jancita Eagle Deer, had reported to her school principal that she had been raped and accused William Janklow. Following examinations and investigations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs filed a report recommending Janklow's prosecution. ......snipped


Architects of the Mitigation Bill

Serving as a member of the Sicangu Lakota 'Rosebud Sioux tribe's legal services program', Janklow practiced law on the Rosebud reservation until he was disbarred by Judge Mario Gonzalez in 1974 for "assault with intent to commit rape, and carnal knowledge of a female under 16." Some seven years earlier, on January 14, 1967, a 15 year old school girl, Jancita Eagle Deer, had reported to her school principal that she had been raped and accused her legal guardian, non-Indian lawyer William Janklow. Following examinations and investigations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs filed a report recommending Janklow's prosecution. Jancita's stepmother, Delphine Eagle Deer, was Leonard Crow Dog's sister, and Delphine vowed to prove that Janklow was guilty of raping her daughter. However, Delphine Eagle Deer was found beaten to death in a field before she had fulfilled her promise. When, as a 22 year old woman, Jancita repeated her accusations in tribal court, Janklow failed to answer his summons and federal and state authorities were less than cooperative.

Other allegations were made against Janklow during this period; some tribal members alleged to have seen him attempting to shoot dogs out of a car window while driving around the reservation at high speeds in his underwear! It could be said that his star was in the ascendancy with the state of South Dakota during the same period of time. Janklow became an Assistant Prosecutor in the State's Attorney General's office and was assigned to prosecuting cases arising from the Custer court house incident in 1973. Janklow prosecuted Sarah Bad Heart Bull, mother of Wesley Bad Heart Bull, following the disorder in Custer. Sarah Bad Heart Bull was denied access to a meeting being held by members of the American Indian Movement and representatives from the state's judiciary to discuss the sentence imposed upon her son's killer, Darold 'Mad Dog' Schmidt.

A non-Indian, Schmidt was charged with involuntary manslaughter for stabbing Wesley Bad Heart Bull in the heart area. At Sarah Bad Heart Bull's request, AIM were seeking a stronger sentence for her son's murder than second-degree manslaughter. Ultimately, Wesley Bad Heart Bull's killer received two months probation and, prosecuted by Janklow, Sarah Bad Heart Bull was sentenced to three to five years for assaulting a police officer during the unrest....snipped

Protest Camp, June - Oct. 1999
Press articles, Aug. - Oct. 1999
Background, Mar. - May 1999

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