Camp protests planned turnover of nearly 200,000 acres to the state
A group of Lakotas build an encampment on LaFramboise Island in protest
Freeman Courier-Freeman SD
by Amy Bennett
Sometimes it has taken violence to bring attention to American Indian causes. But a group of people camping on LaFramboise Island in Pierre are trying a peaceful approach to get what they want - land they believe is rightfully theirs.
The peaceful approach may be what is taking the protest so long to gain attention. Four members of the Freeman community hope to spread the word about the conflict over control of riverbank land and the peaceful protest being waged to get it back.
On Wednesday, March 21, Anette Eisenbeis, Jeanette Epp, Bob Hartzler and Barb Schrag, all of the Freeman area, made the cold and rainy 200-mile journey to Pierre to offer their support in the peaceful protest and educate themselves.
A group of seven men, members of the Lakota Student Alliance of Kyle on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, started a sacred fire March 22 on LaFramboise Island. They were protesting a 1998 federal law that turns much of the Missouri's riverbank in South Dakota to the state and two American Indian tribes: the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (which includes Dewey and Ziebach counties) and the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (which includes parts of Lyman and Stanley counties).
The Sioux want the return of land that is rightfully theirs as promised by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The Mitigation Act gives some of that land to the state - which goes against the 1868 treaty. (See related story.) While only a few of the original seven protesters remain, they have been joined by other American Indians from the other Lakota tribes in South Dakota and members of Christian Peacemakers Teams. Tipis and tents have been pitched on the island, forming an encampment. The number of campers fluctuates from day to day. About 15 campers were on the island April 21. And more than one month later, the sacred fire still burns.
It is because of their peaceful approach and the involvement of Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Peacemaker Teams that the group from Freeman traveled to LaFramboise Island.
More than 200 people strong, - mostly from the Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Cheyenne River and Lake Traverse reservations - they traveled to Pierre March 22. Supporters from the South Dakota Center for Peace and Justice and MCC, which served as a presence and provided assistance with transportation, food for the protesters and media contacts, also attended. The group led a peaceful demonstration at the state capitol and federal buildings in Pierre.
But for some Lakotas, that demonstration wasn't enough. A group of seven men wanted to continue their protest. So they picked LaFramboise Island, a small piece of land that juts out into the Missouri River with access from a Pierre city park on the eastern shore. More than five tipis have been erected and face east, as well as a sweat lodge and several other tents. Food is made in a picnic shelter on the island and tarps hang to block the wind. A banner carried in the original March 22 demonstration is suspended on two wooden poles at the entrance to the camp. It reads: Treaty Rights Are Human Rights.
"When we came to the island, we had to give up a lot - school, jobs, relationships," said Robert Quiver, Jr. "But I believe if nothing is done, the state will take the land and build commercial waterfronts for boats and jet skis and the spirits of our ancestors might be threatened."
Quiver, one of the original seven protesters, is a college student from the Pine Ridge Reservation and a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe. He said the men opened their hearts and felt they could not leave the island until issues regarding the land transfer were dealt with.
"It's something positive," Quiver said. "Look at us - we have 65 to 70 percent unemployment, high rates of diabetes, alcohol, suicide, vandalism, violence."
"This is what we have to do," Quiver said. "There's no way to explain it ... we were led when we opened our hearts."
Not everyone on the island is Sioux. The unofficial camp cook, Nelson Barbosa, is originally from Puerto Rico but made the United States his permanent home in 1979. He spends his days cooking over a grill for the campers. He fries potatoes and reheats fry bread prepared by women in Pierre but won't make the bread because it's too messy.
Barbosa's wife is from the Standing Rock reservation, where they make their home, and that is why they are on the island. "I'm doing this for my children and their children," he said.
A member of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of the Northern District, Epp went to LaFramboise Island to learn more about the peaceful protest. Over a piece of fry bread, she talked about the camp with Barbosa. Another American Indian from the Cheyenne River Reservation told Epp about the violence on her reservation because the people are divided on the land transfer. Cheyenne River is one of two tribes that has accepted the land transfer. Epp arranged for a member of the Christian Peacemakers Teams to come to Freeman for a quarterly meeting of peace and social concerns committee. Hartzler, pastor for the MCC Northern District Conference, traveled to Pierre to educate his constituents as well.
A typical day on the island is includes spending time chopping wood or cleaning up the camp, Quiver said. Trips are made into Pierre for showers, laundry and to check e-mail.
At first communication was difficult, Quiver and members of CPT said, because no one had cell phones. Now nearly everyone on the Island is connected somehow to the outside world. During a prayer around the sacred fire, Quiver's cell phone rang.
Sometimes the work is spent educating the people who drive to the encampment and want to know what's going on. Education was the purpose of the trip from Freeman. Quiver and CPT members explained their positions and why the camp on LaFramboise Island existed.
The group shared a meal under the picnic shelter and huddled around a fire that was heating coffee to keep warm. Traditional Indian fry bread and potato soup were served with food from Freeman: homemade bread, whole potatoes and sausage. Barbosa told the Freeman group to come back and visit again - and to bring more sausage; he said he would have plenty of fry bread.
Everyone on the camp seems to have a role. Some people work security, unarmed, in shifts to guard the entrance to the camp at night; they sleep in tents during the day. Quiver is the spokesman of the group, serving as the main contact for visitors and media.
Campers often gather around the sacred fire to pray. The group from Freeman was invited to share in prayer before heading back.
A celebration was held April 20 in honor of Quiver and the other men who first stayed on the island - Clint Yellow Bird, Tom Cheyenne, Richard Shangreaux, Danny Merrival, Charles Yellow Bird and Loren Black Elk. More than 200 people were on the island for the event.
One of the best things about the protest is the drawing of the tribes together, Quiver said. "We've got Indians from Eagle Butte and Pine Ridge who had never met before and now are working together," he said.
Sue and Harley Eagle are program coordinators for the MCC Oglala Lakota Nation Unit in Porcupine on the Pine Ridge Reservation. They joined the original protest March 22.
"We know the group here knows this is a spiritual journey," Sue Eagle said. "Something will work out somehow."
The Eagles, who are natives of Canada and expecting their first child this summer, were first asked to be involved with the original protest. Since then, they have often made the hour and a half trip from their home in Porcupine to Pierre to offer support.
"Everybody (the Sioux) has a right to the land, even if they don't live along the river," Sue said.
The Eagles enlisted help from Schrag, who is a constituency contact for them through MCC. Schrag said the trip to Pierre was typical of her duties as the Northern Tier regional associate for MCC Central States.
"My job is to get the word out to the constituents," Schrag said. "I'm depending on the group to help me get the information out."
She said the trip was typical of something MCC would be involved in because of the peaceful approach. She asked the group from Freeman to go because of their connections with MCC and the different factions they reach to tell about what they learned.
Three members of Christian Peacemaker Teams have also moved onto the island, including JoAnn "Jake" Kaufman, who has ties to the Freeman community.
CPT is an initiative among cooperating Mennonite and Brethren churches and Friends meetings. Their beliefs emphasize negotiation, protection of human rights, public witness and nonviolent direct actions. There are 12 full-time corps members who are available to staff CPT's violence reduction projects and scores of reserve corps members who are available to join CPT projects for two weeks to two months each year.
"Our job is to monitor human rights, deter violence and educate churches," said Kathleen Kern.
Full-time CPT members Kern and Kaufman joined the stay on the island a few weeks ago and reserve Lisa Martens followed shortly after.
CPT offers an organized, nonviolent alternative to war and other forms of conflict. The group has focus areas in Hebron, West Bank; Chiapas, Mexico and urban North America.
And now LaFramboise Island in Pierre.
CPT was asked to come to the island by the Eagles and the South Dakota Center for Peace and Justice. The Eagles were concerned about the pressure the group on the island might feel to be violent or the racism they might face. CPT was called in to be advocates and keep a visible sign that the protest was still going.
"We requested a presence from the outside to be witnesses on the island and interact with the government," Sue Eagle said.
The protesters say they are glad for the presence and support they have received from MCC and CPT. Both Quiver and members of CPT have been doing research and meeting with media and government officials to try to resolve the conflict.
"Calling on elected officials to honor treaties is important," Kaufman said. According to the sixth article of the Constitution, Kaufman said, there is no time limit on treaties. The 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty promises land to the Great Sioux Nation, she said.
"Instead, the governor (Bill Janklow) and senator (Tom Daschle) have collaborated to return the land to the state," she said. "It's not legal. "It has to stop somewhere. There has to be a way to live together or make justice where pain has been," Kaufman said. "This is just a small way we can begin to do this."
Kaufman, who is a niece to Eisenbeis and daughter of S. Roy and Loretta Kaufman, is scheduled to speak at Salem Zion Mennonite (North) Church Sunday, May 2, at 7 p.m. about her work with CPT and the camp on LaFramboise Island.
LaFramboise Island is a popular spot for tourists and Pierre residents. It offers a view of the Missouri River, fishing from docks and a picnic area. But no camping is allowed.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorized the camp members' stay until April 22. But Quiver and other American Indians say they need authorization from no one to camp on land that is rightfully theirs.
"The governor believes they have a right to be out there," said Bob Mercer, Gov. Bill Janklow's press secretary, of the camp. "It's a peaceful protest. They're expressing their opinions."
Quiver and the other campers are happy to talk with anyone who comes to the encampment seeking information. He said many people have been stopping by out of curiosity.
Protesters held a treaty spiritual walk April 23 to continue to show their solidarity. They are calling for help and asking people who support their cause and its peaceful approach to write to Daschle, Janklow and other politicians who serve on the committee on natural resources or committee on Indian affairs. They hope to bring more attention to their cause, Quiver said.
"Now we're understanding how important getting our land back is. I think our objectives will constantly change as we go down the road. Maybe we'll want world peace before we leave, we don't know. ... "It's an ancient, ancient way of life," Quiver said.
And the Sioux and others who have made their stand with Quiver are prepared to stick it out on LaFramboise Island as long as it takes to make sure that way of life is preserved.
This article is from the reporter with the Mennonite group.
State, Sioux disagree on Lone Wolf, Laramie treaties
Freeman Courier-Freeman SD
by Amy Bennett
One of the issues being protested is the Mitigation Act. The act involves taking nearly 200,000 acres of land along the Missouri riverbanks from the Army Corps of Engineers and transferring it to the state of South Dakota and two tribes.
The Sioux want the return of land that is rightfully theirs as promised by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The Mitagation Act gives some of that land to the state - which goes against the 1868 treaty.
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Gov. William Janklow (R-SD) crafted the Mitigation Act. It was passed in October 1998 as part of the 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The Mitagation Act came out of an inquiry made by Daschle into riverbank jurisdiction in the mid-'90s, said Bob Mercer, Janklow's press secretary.
At first, Daschle backed away from the issue because of its controversy, Mercer said. But then, Mercer said Daschle and Janklow wondered what it would take to have the riverbanks that are controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers back in the control of the state and the tribes.
Negotiations began and all the river tribes were invited to participate, Mercer said. Both the Crow Creek and Standing Rock reservations declined to be a part of the transfer.
The act was defeated when introduced to the House of Representatives as a bill. But when included in the Appropriations Bill, it passed Oct. 21, 1998. Mercer said the bill had problems passing in the House because the Army Corps is powerful politically. When an opportunity presented itself to reintroduce the bill as part of the Appropriatons Bill, Daschle took it, Mercer said.
Both the Lower Brule and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes were offered Missouri riverbank land along their reservation boundaries, which are presently controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. The two tribes were also offered $57 million to share. In return for the land transfer, South Dakota would gain nearly 200,000 acres of land to use for hydro-electric power, wildlife and recreational development, control of the land on both sides of the Missouri River the entire length of the state, including jurisdiction over American Indian fishing rights.
Some members of the tribes claim the legislation was added as a budget rider without a hearing and against the wishes of the five S.D. Sioux tribes who opposed the land transfer because it violates the Treaty of 1868. And according to the campers on LaFramboise Island, the land transfer is not valid unless three-fourths of the males of all of the Sioux tribes in the Great Sioux Nation agree to any changes in the treaty.
Before the act was passed, only the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Sioux tribes agreed. The others - the Oglala, Standing Rock, Rosebud, Yankton, Crow Creek, Sisseton and Flandreau Sioux tribes - continue to oppose the act. The Cheyenne River, Lower Brule, Standing Rock and Crow Creek reservations all have land along the riverbanks although, according to an 1868 treaty, all of the Sioux tribes have water and mineral rights to the land in question.
A history lesson
South Dakota is home of the Great Sioux Nation, which consists of Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes. By the early 19th century, the Great Sioux Nation dominated the northern Plains, which included most of the Dakotas, northern Nebraska, eastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana. With the U.S. government's purchase of land in 1803 - the Louisiana Purchase - westward expansion began.
The Great Sioux Reservation system was established in 1868 at Fort Laramie. The reservation encompassed much of present-day South Dakota west of the Missouri River, including the Black Hills. This treaty essentially prohibited non-American Indians from entering reservation territories and diminished the amount of land available to a culture that was once nomadic. If any land were to be transferred, three-quarters of the males of the entire Great Sioux Nation would have to agree on the transfer.
In 1889, the Great Sioux Reservation was split into six smaller reservations. Heads of households and single people older than 18 years were given parcels of land according to the General Allotment Act of 1887, or Dawes Act. The Dawes Act opened up West River for settling and allowed individual Indians to settle their own land or sell it, as some did.
While the 1868 treaty recognized the Great Sioux as a sovereign nation, the Lone Wolf case of 1903 says otherwise. In the Lone Wolf case, the Supreme Court decided that Indian tribes were "wards of the nation" and "communities dependent upon the United States." The court said after 100 years of treaty-making, no Indian nation or tribe should be recognized as an independent nation, tribe or power that the government could contract by treaty; therefore, any treaty lawfully made and ratified with any nation or tribe prior to 1871 was considered invalidated. Lone Wolf also said that if Congress takes any land from tribes, the tribes must be fairly compensated.
The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 is what the stand at LaFramboise is about. The Sioux say the treaty gave them all the land west of the east bank of the Missouri River.
"To be more specific, it said they would not encroach upon our land and mentioned specifically the east bank of the Missouri River," Robert Quiver said. Quiver, an Oglala Sioux from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, was one of the original protesters on the island.
But the state says the Lone Wolf decision has set a precedent and only an act of Congress or the Supreme Court can recognize the Fort Laramie Treaty. "Even if the state wanted to recognize the treaty of 1868, it can't," Mercer said.
Mercer said Daschle's bill marks the first time that tribes would be able to regain land and jurisdiction along the riverbanks. The land along the banks of the Missouri River is often called "take land" because it was taken by the Army Corps of Engineers when the dams on the river were built. Both the tribes and individual landowners who had land along the riverbank received compensation for the land, as required by Lone Wolf.
"The tribes signed settlements; they (the ACE) may not have been as fair with the settlements as they could have been," Mercer said. And the Mitigation Act came out of an inquiry as to how the tribes along the river could get back jurisdiction of their land.
Some Sioux met with Janklow after the initial March 22 demonstration. Janklow's told them was the Treaty of 1868 is no longer valid because he did not sign the treaty and none of the people present signed the treaty. "He has to deal with things the way they are today," Mercer said. And the governor thinks transferring the land to the state and the tribes would be a way for both entities to move forward - together.
With South Dakota, instead of the Army Corps of Engineers, in control of the riverbanks, Janklow envisions a river more accessible to the average South Dakotan. Mercer said Janklow thinks the state can better manage recreation and better protect cultural resources along the Missouri River. The corps doesn't spend a lot of time on recreational development, Mercer said, and the state would make development of recreation a priority - although Janklow doesn't want 10,000 condos along the riverbanks, either, Mercer said.
The protesters are calling for an environmental impact statement; Mercer said if it's necessary by federal standards, it will be done. It would be more than one year before any changes along the river would take place, he said. The state is hoping to get boat ramps in the water in the next 18 months, depending on surveying. It could be five to six years before a marina could be built.
The state intends to fund a cultural resource commission to protect indigenous gravesites along the riverbanks. Mercer said the way the commission is envisioned now is that tribes will have representation. Three affiliated tribes from Fort Berthold in North Dakota will also be involved because the majority of the burial sites along the river are of their ancestors.
"There's no fight here between the state and the tribal governments," Mercer said. "We're trying to move forward together."Reprinted under the fair use http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html doctrine of international copyright law.
March 24, 1999
Porcupine, SD - Seven young Oglala warriors are manning a tipi camp on La Framboise Island in the Missouri River to protest a planned turnover of nearly 200,000 acres of Indian Treaty land to the state of South Dakota. The "First Fire of the Oceti Sakowin" spiritual camp was established after a March 22 demonstration that brought over 200 protesters to South Dakota's capitol city of Pierre on a chilly, windy day to protest the controversial "Mitigation Act" that was passed in October 1998 despite strong tribal opposition, and without tribal consultation.
The young men staying on La Framboise say that the camp affirms the Treaty rights of the Sioux Nation to the land along the Missouri River. Like the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, and the Oglala, Standing Rock, Rosebud, Crow Creek and Yankton Sioux Tribes, they base the Sioux Nation's claim to the land on the 1851 and 1868 Treaties and on aboriginal rights. Tribes, Treaty Councils, and non-Indian supporters including the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center are calling for congressional oversight hearings to reconsider the Act, and for a full-blown EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) before the US Army Corps of Engineers moves to transfer any land.
Demonstrators at the March 22 event in Pierre marched between the Capitol and Federal buildings, to draw attention to the joint partnership between SD's Republican Governor William Janklow and Senate Minority Leader, Tom Daschle (D, SD), who crafted the controversial Mitigation Act (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and state of South Dakota Terrestrial Wildlife Restoration Act) in secrecy. The legislation was drafted and passed without consultation with opposed tribes, although President Clinton's 1994 executive order expressly calls for such consultation.
After the demonstration, Chief Oliver Red Cloud, Chairman of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, and Vincent Black Feather, a spiritual leader of the Oglala Band, conducted spiritual ceremonies at the "First Fire of the Oceti Sakowin" camp. A sacred fire was lit and the camp stands as a public reminder that the aboriginal and Treaty rights of the Sioux Nation are not extinguished.
For further information contact:
Pierre SD Protest Continues
24 March 1999
From: "Robert Quiver" firstname.lastname@example.org
This is Robert Q. Five members of the LSA have initiated a resistance camp in the SD Capitol. We are now in our second day of occupying federal lands scheduled to be transferred to the state of SD in July 1999. We have delcared it a spiritual camp for the purpose maintaining peaceful and non violent assembly on the federal lands.
Also, about the protest, we had a good gathering of over 100 or so. We gathered at the Capitol Steps, then marched to the Federal Bldg and then back to the Cap steps. The Lakota Student Alliance provided the security for the marchers.
After the march, we left for the park across the street from the Ramkota Inn. There we ate and drove to the Laframboise Island down the street. After we had a water and fire ceremony, the crowd disbursed. But 5 members of the LSA stayed behind with the Tipi. The tipi is located on Army Corps of Engineers lands and one of the many sites to be transferred to the State of SD. So we decided that more than just a protest effort, we needed to put our bodies in struggle to maintian a Spiritual vigil...therefore, spontaneously, we decided to occupy the Federal lands. We are now on our second day at La Frambois Island.
The LSA has not issued a press release yet as we have been up all night securing the area from pestering people who had started to harrass our spiritual encampment. But we should have one out immediately. Thanks. We need supplies and assistance immediately. Can you help? If so, please email immediately. Thanks and say a prayer for our safety.
Pierre SD Protest Continues
99-03-25 20:52:34 EST
From: email@example.com (Robert Quiver)
The Lakota Student Alliance is awaiting the Direction of the Great Sioux Nation Treaty Council and Oglala Sioux Tribal Council on what to do next. Both are in support and at this very moment are meeting to prepare documents of support. Then by tomorrow I will be able to answer you. hang tough. Realistically, the spirits issued the call in a ceremony at Porcupine. The prophecy from that ceremony if we follow the instructions from the spirits, is that the 7 council fires gather at the River in a Circle.Robert Q., LSA Coordntr
Date: 99-03-28 09:26:32 EST
Howdy, Just sent the press release For Your Information...
Yes there is a demonstration, I have seen the camp (I was in Pierre earlier this week). Robert Quiver is one of the folks camped there. 50 more were expected this weekend with several from SD Peace and Justice Center headed there this weekend.
So far as I know they are planning to stay indefentaly, that's what the organizers whom I interviewed for a story said anyway. And so far as I know the camp hasn't been exicted or taken down yet, I have heard reports of hazing and racial slurs and shouts being pointed at the demonstrators from some of the local pierre residents.
As of yet the camp is on federal land because the land transfer bill has not taken effect yet... So jurisdiction issues over who would force the protesters off may be hazy??
If you have any more questions feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer...
I know for sure though, this is no hoax.. the SD peace and justice center held a rally/protest against the land transfer act last monday in Pierre 5 tribal governments have passed resolutions against the transfer.. this action has sprung up through that resistence, by the Lakota Student allience.
March 30, 1999
Top Regional Corps of Engineers Officer Meets with Sioux
Nation members in tipi camp on La Framboise Island
Porcupine, SD - In an historic meeting reminiscent of those that occurred between high ranking US Army officers and the Sioux over a century ago, Colonel Robert Volz met with members of several bands of the Sioux Nation inside a tipi on La Framboise Island on the Missouri River just south of Pierre, SD on March 27.
Colonel Volz, dressed in combat fatigues and accompanied by the Corps' tribal liaison David Vader, joined the circle around the sacred fire in the center of the tipi and fielded a series of questions about how the Corps plans to implement the "Mitigation Act" that calls for the transfer of around 200,000 acres of land along the Missouri River to the state of South Dakota.
Volz assured camp members and their supporters that the Corps was committed to conducting a fair and comprehensive EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) prior to any transfer of land to the state of South Dakota, and that he wanted to meet with tribal leaders and Treaty Councils soon to discuss the EIS process.
Governor William Janklow (R,SD) and Senator Tom Daschle (D,SD), who worked together to author the controversial legislation, are pushing for quick transfer of land to the state. But an EIS would take a minimum of 9 months, Volz said. Questioned about that estimate, Volz agreed that the EIS process could take a period of years.
The First Fire of the Oceti Sakowin camp was established on on La Framboise Island just south of Pierre, SD on March 22 in protest of any transfer of land to South Dakota, land that camp residents and their supporters, including 5 tribes in South Dakota maintain that they have prior rights to under the 1851 and 1868 Treaties.
Colonel Volz said La Framboise Island is exclusively under federal jurisdiction. He presented camp members with a letter authorizing the camp to stay there for fourteen days after his visit, and indicated that extensions of that period would be authorized. Rick Two Dogs, a Lakota spiritual leader, reminded Volz that the camp was there under the authority of the Treaty, and that was all the authority that was needed.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Quiver)
Here's what's happened so far since Mar 22. First, I apologize for not writing back any sooner. Finally accessed a computer. Here is the latest: Sat 3-28-99.... Clyde Bellecourt Arrives in Protest camp at request of Lakota student alliance. Sicangu Treaty Council member Fallis, Standing Rock Presidents office member Iron Eyes, Oglala Spiritual Leader Rick Two Dogs, Crow Creek Spiritual leader Zephier, Oglala Tribal Councilman Paul Little, and Lakota Student Alliance meet with Col. Volz in Tipi at Protest Camp.
US Army Corps Colonel Volz assures us that we will not be harmed. A 14 day permit was discussed, we told the Col we will stay here indefinitely despite their "permission". A Comprehensive Enviro Impact Statment was discussed. Volz told us he thinks this could be accomplished in 9 months.
Rick Two Dogs told him there probably are more than 500 species of plants that need to be identified and preserved. Volz leaves with more promises.
Sun 3-29-99....A Lakota Woman arrives in the night with an invitation from the Indian Youth 2000 conference held in Pierre SD. they sent her to ask us to attend the conference.
Mon 3-30..... Some of our camp protesters attend a conference at Indian Youth 2000 conference. Conf organizers show an overhead projector of a handwritten letter from Gov Bill Janklow to the youth with his refusal to financially support the conf. The over 500 youth decide they want a protest at the capitol. The conf organzers try to discourage the youth decision.
Tues 3-31.....Youth 2000 conf organizers still try to discourage the youth decision, but fail. A peaceful walk to the gov office from the Ramkota Inn by the youth ends on the capitol steps. Feds all over the place. Later some of the youth arrive in buses to the resistance camp. Students from the conf sing honor songs for the warriors occupying the camp.
For more Info:
Oceti Sakowin update
Governer William Janklow
Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD)
Paul Wellstone (D-MN)
Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
Senator Tim Johnson (R-SD)
The land in question belongs to the Lakota/Dakota nations, according to the Treaty of 1868, a treaty reaffirmed by U.S. courts in the early 1980s.
The nations had fought the land transfer legislation, called the Mitigation Act, in the U.S. Congress for two years. In October 1998, the House voted down the bill which mandated the transfer of land and funds to the state of South Dakota. However, Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) introduced the Mitigation Act as a rider onto a huge budget appropriations bill (weighing 40 pounds) the night before it was passed later in October.
The legality of the bill, now called Title VI of the 1998 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1999, is questionable, since as passed it never had hearings in the Senate or House. Lakota/Dakota leaders were not consulted, and the requirement that three-quarters of the men of the Sioux Nation sign the transfer was not met.
On March 22, Lakota/Dakota people and supporters held a demonstration against the bill. Several men decided to remain on the island in a spiritual camp-in, called the Seven Council Fires, to remind the world that the land is theirs according to treaties signed over a century ago, and that "Treaty Rights are Human Rights."
The Army Corps of Engineers, which administers the land in question, has "granted" the camp-in protestors 14 days to be on La Framboise Island. The protestors did not ask the Corps' permission since the 200-acre island is a part of the land mentioned in the 1868 treaty. The "permission" lasts until Friday, April 9 (since extended for a further 14 days), and the campers are uncertain of what will happen then.
An FBI agent checking in on the camp told CPTer Rick Polhamus that, "This is federal land. We're just here to look after the rights of the people who are here."
Written by CPT Peacemaker Corps member Joanne Kaufman and Reservists
Rick Polhamos and Kathy Kern.
Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative among Mennonite and
Church of the Brethren congregations and Friends Meetings that supports
violence reduction efforts around the world.
CPT P. O. Box 6508 Chicago, IL 60680
tel:312-455-1199 FAX 312-666-2677
To join CPTNET, our e-mail network, fill out the form found on our WEB page at http://www.prairienet.org/cpt/
Here is the word "GO". We are expecting some shake up from the Army Corps on the Week of April 10-17. The deadline for our peaceful encampment is April 10 according to them. We will find out this weekend if they decide in favor of the camp.
The Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council is in full support of the camp. Oliver Red Cloud spoke at an April 3 meeting at the Ramkota Inn Pierre, SD. He told us that our warriors decide if we should break camp. We decided we were staying. Hope to see you all soon.
We need to mobilize now! Pass this on. We are getting pressured to leave by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Col. volz wrote in a letter to the Oglala Sioux Tribal council that our camp is allowed to camp there until the 10th of April. We did not ask nor sign any permission to camp there. This is ridiculous. But we still want to remain sober and drug free at this camp we also need to keep our prayers strong.
Please forward to anyone wishing to mobilize there.
Please direct all questions, concerns, and donation lists to DevHawkWi@aol.com.
Since Robert is primarily at the camp, I have much better email access than he does right now. ALL information sent will be forwarded to Robert Quiver of the LSA.
Also, contact phone numbers and email addresses are listed below for more information.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse!
The HAWK's Cry Newsletter
The Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires) encampment learned last night that the transfer of 200,000 acres of treaty land to South Dakota is being expedited this week by the representatives of the SD State and Federal governments. People living on the land in question along the Missouri River have been approached by the SD State Fish, Game and Parks Dept. and the Army Corps of Engineers and asked to sell their land over the last couple days.
Leaders of the encampment fear that the reason given for the buyout-- flood control -- is a pretext for expediting the land transfer. They speculate that SD Senator Tom Daschle, the South Dakota State government, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of the Interior and the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Sioux tribes are working in collusion to transfer the land before the Greater Sioux Nation can challenge the transfer in court.
Under the terms of the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty, the 200,000 acres cannot be ceded without signatures of three quarters of all adult males of the seven signatory tribes. The leadership of the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule tribes have agreed to the transfer of the land in exchange for favors benefitting only their tribes from the federal government. A significant percentage of both tribes have opposed the decision made by the leaders and both tribes have representatives participating in the Oceti Sakowin encampment.
Representatives of the Oceti Sakowin have asked CPT's constituents to write letters or send faxes to the following addresses, demanding that congressional oversight hearings be held, as required by law, on Title VI of the 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act--also called the Mitigation Act. Ask the representatives to stop any transfer of Treaty land to the state of South Dakota until such hearings are held.
Members of Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) currently camped on La Framboise Island with the Oceti Sakowin will meet with representatives of the state and federal governments located in Pierre, capital of South Dakota, in the coming week.
[copy and paste addresses below into your mail program and send the following letter with your own signature..it's fast and easy and permission is granted by the author, David Rider, to utilize as written, or add your own words.]
I urge you to stop the transfer of 200,000 acres of treaty land to the State of South Dakota. I suspect that the reason given for the buyout -- flood control -- is only a pretext for expediting the land transfer. It appears to the public that South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, the South Dakota State government, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of the Interior and the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Sioux tribes are working in collusion to transfer the land before the Greater Sioux Nation can challenge the transfer in court.
Under the terms of the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty, the 200,000 acres cannot be ceded without signatures of three quarters of all adult males of the seven signatory tribes. The leadership of the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule tribes have agreed to the transfer of the land in exchange for favors benefitting only their tribes from the federal government. A significant percentage of both tribes have opposed the decision made by the leaders and both tribes have representatives participating in the Oceti Sakowin encampment in protest of this land transfer.
I urge you to put an end to land theft within our own borders.
If you cannot e-mail, please send letters to:
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell,Chairman
The Honorable Tom Daschle (D-SD)
Honorable Daniel Inouye, Vice-Chair (D-HI)|
U.S. Senate Commmittee on Indian Affairs
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: 202-224-3934 Fax: 202-224-6747
Honorable George Miller (D-CA)
Honorable Don Young, Chairman (R-AK)
Pierre SD - In the midst of drum beats and sacred songs, approximately 200 people stood around a large campfire and watched as the seven Lakota men occupying a Spiritual Camp on LaFramboise Island in the Missouri River were inducted into an ancient warrior society. The sacred ceremony was held on Apr 20, following a day-long meeting of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council.
In their fourth week of tending the First fire of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council fires of the Lakota Nation), the men were named members of the "Most dependable Warriors Society" (called Fool Soldiers by the 1st white men) because of their dedication the the Great Sioux Nation as exhibited by their presence on the Island. They are building awareness of the transfer of almost 200,000 acres of land along the Missouri River to the state of SD, The Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Sioux Tribes. They are also educating the public to the violation this land transfer is to the Ft Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868 which were made between the US and the Great Sioux Nation. (GSN)
Although the Cheyenne River (CRST) and Lower Brule Sioux Tribes (LBST) are also part of the GSN, their govt's which agreed to the transfer were created in 1934 by the US under the Wheeler-Howard Act, aka the Indian Reorganization Act. Many members of those two reservations have protested their govts participation in the passage of this piece of federal legislation. A dozen horseback riders from Cheyenne Riv in support of the Spiritual Camp, and two adult volunteers who work w/ youth were also recognized and will receive eagle feathers.
The ceremony was conducted by Harry Charger of the Sans Arc band which is located on the Cheyenne River Reservation, while most of the seven inductees are Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation. Members of the Great Sioux Nation contend the land area including the Missouri River was held in common by all of the Sioux bands (tribes).
The US House of Representatives in Jul 98 recognized the complications inherent in the bill w/ the treaties, and refused to pass the CRST, LBST, and State of SD Terrestrial Wildlife Habitat Restoration Act, aka the Mitigation Act. But under the steerage of Minority Leader Sen Tom Daschle, D-SD, the piece of legislation was attached as Title VI of the 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act last fall. With the enormity of the fed. budget, most Congressmen failed to cross-reference any treaty obligations at that late date following months of the Presidential impeachment hearings.
Peter Capossela, an attny working w/ many of the Sioux tribes, explained a discrepancy in Title VI which was overlooked in its passage. The transfer of the land is authorized under Sec 605(a). However, Sec 605(h) allows for the protection of Native American gravesites uinder the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. According to Capossela, the NAGPRA applies only to federal and tribal land but not state land.
This leads to the question of how Native American graves in this specific land area along the Missoui River will be protected. A Kansas archaeologist unearthed a human skull and some other bones just days prior to the mtg, according to an article in the Pierre newspaper, the Capital Journal, on Apr 19, 1999. The BHSNTC contends that the find clearly shows a need for a consistent application of the NAGPRA along the Missouri River. That need would be thwarted by tyhe transfer of the land to the state.
The 7 warriors were further buoyed by the passage of a resolution by the BHSNTC designating Laframbois Island a sacred site and Tribal Cultural property. Such a designation is allowed under the National Park Service's regulations for sites eligible under the National Register of Historic Places because of the "cultural practices or beliefs of a living community that are rooted in that community's history." Tim Mentz, Historic Preservation officer for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, stated that more than 700 sites can be found in the land area to be transferred.
The US Army Corps of Engineers which manages the land in question asked for the removal of the camp by Apr 20. The designation by the BHSNTC protects the camp and the men from any removal until the issue is resolved.
Representatives of the BHSNTC will be attending a forum sponsored by Congressman Patrick Kennedy, D_RI, on tribal rights and Sovereignty in Washinton DC on May 12, 1999. They hope to bring the issue of the violation of the treaties with the passage of the federal budget will to the attention of federal lawmakers.
Another gathering is planned on Laframbois Island for Apr 29, the 131st anniversary of the signing of the Ft Laramie Treaty of 1868.
The U.S. Senate added $800,000 to an Emergency Appropriations bill passed last Friday to speed up a controvercial land transfer in South Dakota. The funding was contained in an emergency spending bill that was passed to fund the NATO military strikes in Yugoslavia.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Department of Water and Natural Resources has been working on the land transfer issues for the Corps of Engineer's lands along the Missouri River since 1986. According to the Department Administrator Shirley Marvin, the Corps of Engineers owns land above the Missouri River reservoirs, both on and outside of the existing Indian Reservations. "The Corps lands on the Reservations were taken from Standing Rock and the other Tribes. The land along the river outside of the Reservations was Sioux Nation land under the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty," Marvin explained.
Under a 1998 budget rider, however, the off-Reservations Corps lands are to be transferred to the state of South Dakota. Two Indian Tribes, the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Sioux, also shall receive the Corps lands within their reservations, and the state and Tribes shall receive federal Wildlife Trust Funds.
"Most Sioux Tribes and the Great Sioux Nations Treaty Council oppose this legislation," Marvin stated. The Standing Rock Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Rosebud Sioux and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes have passed Resolutions opposing the land transfer to South Dakota.
South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, the Senate Democratic leader, succeeded in getting emergency funding to speed up the land transfer over the objections of these Tribes. The Tribes are working with the Corps of Engineers to investigate ways to protect the Native American cultural resources on the land to be transferred to the state.
In testimony to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on April 26, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Charles Murphy stated that "Native American human remains, funerary objects and cultural resouces associated with the Standing Rock and the Great Sioux Nation are embedded in the banks...above the Missouri river reservoirs." Murphy decried the transfer of the land to the state on these grounds. "This legislation seriously threatens the rights of Standing Rock and the Great Sioux Nation," Murphy told the Senate Committee.
Meanwhile up to 15 Lakotas from Pine Ridge Indian reservation are encamped at LaFramboise Island in Pierre, SD. The campers contend that the land transfer to South Dakota violates the Treaty, and that they shall refuse to leave the camp until Congress reconsiders the land transfer provision.
That is why the inclusion of funding in the Emergency Spending Bill is disappointing to Standing Rock and the other Tribes, according to Marvin. "They are in such a hurry to transfer the land that they added money to the Spending Bill for the crisis in Yugoslavia. In the same Bill they fund efforts to stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, they violate the rights of the Sioux Nation."
Standing rock has been working with the Oglala, Rosebud, and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes in seeking an Oversight Hearing on the land transfer's impact on Sioux Nation Treaty rights, and the protection of Native American cultural sites along the Missouri River. No hearing has been scheduled as of yet, but the efforts of the Tribes are continuing.
For More Information Contact
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Dept. of Water & Natural Resources
Shirley Marvin, Administrator (888) 783-7134