"melissa roberts" email@example.com
August 6, 2002
ALERT ON PINE RIDGE
site is already occupied by the Oyate.
URGENT APPEAL FROM PINE RIDGE RESERVATION!
I have just returned from Oglala Lakota Nation in the Badlands of South Dakota where a shocking drama has begun to unfold. While the White House is pushing hard to launch high-level nuclear waste disposal operations in Nevada, federal agents are running roughshod over human rights in Pine Ridge Reservation, S.D., astride deposits of zeolite. If legal efforts to block the invasions fail, AIM leaders and many members of the 25,000-strong tribe plan to use their bodies to stop the bulldozers as early as Aug. 12.
The Lakota people, also known as Sioux, are appealing to other Indian tribes, all Americans of conscience and the nations of the world to come to their aid. Right now they need:
By day, federal police treat the Oglala Lakota people so abusively that their reservation has become known as Mississippi of the North, reminiscent of 1960s civil rights struggles. Police insult Indians, write bogus tickets, tear down meeting signs, etc. By night, helicopters, their lights turned off, whirl into American Indian airspace and touch down amid sacred sites near the historic Stronghold. The feds take ancient fossils, use heavy earth-moving equipment close to sites of human remains, and set off small explosions. The excavations under cover of darkness appear to rely on high-tech night-vision equipment.
Pine Ridge Reservation is a potential source of zeolite, a mineral that government officials would like to see mined for use in plutonium waste repositories. Work has begun to improve the dirt road into the area, reportedly with 16-inch-deep pavement, which would support heavy trucks. Plans are said to be drawn to build a railroad line to reach the remote area. Indians are concerned that zeolite mining would release erionite, a known human carcinogen, into the environment.
Many sites of human remains exist in the area on and near the big Stronghold plateau, where survivors of the December 29, 1890 Wounded Knee massacre went. There, most of those who escaped the Wounded Knee atrocity were subsequently hunted down, murdered by white militia, and left in winter graves. More than a century later, just in recent months, long-term erosion, natural to the geology of the area, has begun to uncover many shallow graves. Coincidentally, in recent months, federal agents have been entering the area without permission and tampering with Indian property. Some of the Lakota people believe the surfacing of the old human remains is a sign that it is time to take a stand.
Current federal activities in the area violate the 1868 Treaty of Laramie, and a 1976 memorandum of understanding between the National Park Service and the Oglala Lakota Nation. Department of Interior officials have refused to consult with Lakota leaders regarding federal plans for the Indians land. The Tribal president has demanded that the National Park Service replace its area superintendent, whom the Indians have found so autocratic that they refuse to meet with her.
Lawyers for Oglala Lakota Nation, while asking the Department of Justice to persuade the Department of Interior to back off, got ready to go to federal court for an emergency injunction. If these efforts fail, the tribal leaders and many other Indians are expected to join hands in a great circle around sacred areas where the National Park Service plans to step up daytime excavation activity in the open on Aug. 12.
They are appealing for help to ensure that peace and justice will prevail.
Please respond. Please post and forward this appeal to all potential allies.
My office can help you find low-cost air fares to Rapid City, S.D., plan logistics for ground transportation or helicopter service if desired, and get in contact with Oglala Lakota leaders.
By Tony Bothwell, Chairperson
- Updates 2000 -
Below this introductory note of caution, entries are listed in chronological order from latest to earliest.The Oglala Lakota tribal government headquarters at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota has been taken over by tribal traditionalists with support from AIM activists. Alarmist reports that have circulated on e-mail about an armed standoff between the occupiers and the FBI are UNTRUE, as stated in the following dispatches from the scene in Native News Digest.
The occupation is mainly the result of longstanding traditionalist conflicts with the present Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) government. But the situation is more complex than the Pine Ridge standoffs of the 1970s-- which perhaps some outside observers do not understand. We should respect this as an internal struggle of reservation residents trying to make their government accountable to the people and their treaty rghts and traditional values. The occupiers have requested federal investigations (by HUD, FBI, DoJ) of alleged corruption and mismanagement by the tribal government, and are also demanding the return of national grasslands to the reservation, and forgiveness of debt to the FHA.
Zoltán Grossman, Midwest Treaty Network
The following is attached to all "Wild Horse" emails:
For further information, please contact Floyd Hand or Media Coordinator,
Dale Looks Twice at (605) 867-5303.
Phone (605) 867-5303 Fax (605) 867-2115|
March 16, 2000
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, S.D.:
In a meeting held last night discussion came about concerning donations to the Grass Roots Oyate. Concerns were brought up about the Grass Roots Oyate advertising the address for donations to be sent to on the Internet and in addressing these concerns it was decided:
Chief Oliver Red Cloud Chief
Harvey White Woman Spokesman
Floyd Hand Spokesman
Eileen Janus Public Relations
Dale Looks Twice Media Coordinator
Lyle Sutton Head of Security
We offer our apologies to all that have sent in donations to Security First Bank in Rushville, Nebraska. There has been a delay due to obtaining the 501c Tax documents. Unfortunately we didn t expect these difficulties when we announced the account.
For further information, please contact Floyd Hand or Media Coordinator, Dale Looks Twice at (605) 867-5303
As with all my emails concerning the Occupation Peoples please forward to any and all interested parties in its entirety
Wadv Wild Horse
February 20, 2000
The following was handed out at the Red Cloud Building.
Kici ota yuonihan
Today we sit on the brink of a new era, a new age for all mankind; a dawn of a new century and millenium. We look upon ourselves and think where do we fit into this world? Who are we as a people, nation and society? We look back at our history as a people and who we were as a society in previous times. We look back at all things that led us to the present state in which we are today. In our past we had leaders who exemplified greatness on every level; we had leaders who led without prejudice and led with integrity and honor. They held our basic beliefs that People; Community; family and yourself last, with the highest degree and with the greatest diligence. We look back at people such as Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, American Horse, and other leaders who led us in times of great hardship and detriment. They led us against a society that is plagued by corruptness and intolerance against other races, societies, and other cultures that are different then their own. We as a people, nation, have been cheated out of our own progress, development and advancements like other nations have had the chance to do on their own. We were forced into a world that has changed so drastically within a relative short time in the scheme of things.
If you really take a real good hard look and see what problems plague us now you would find, despair, rampant use of drugs, alcohol, unemployment, crime, suicide, teen pregnancy to name a few. For we as a people have had it bad for the last 150 years since the first Europeans stepped foot on our ground. We look back and think to how we could have avoided all things like this and took preventative measures to change the course of our own history and had a chance to develop into a society of our own design, we could have done many things to change our history. Time is an ever moving factor; it doesn't stop because of atrocities against us as a people for we all know this. The events of the past, the history of what happened to us will never be forgotten, but it is time to move forward now.
It is time we as a people take measures to prevent events that keep plaguing us as a nation and society.We all know that we hold the key to our own future and our children's children's future. We need to take matters into our own hands and make our future what we want it to be. We have a chance to make our society of our own design, and what we want it to be. For time is of the essence and the time for action is now. Time for talk is over ; we need to take measures now instead of putting them off until tomorrow or the day after that. For today is a great day to start! and make things better for us.
There are many problems that plague us today, as a society, the most prevalent are alcoholism, drugs, crime, corrupt governmental officials, corrupt people within our own ranks and unemployment. Other problems that face us today are an erosion of our own society, such as the loss of our language in our younger generation, bickering and fighting amongst ourselves. We try and keep things all level with us and amongst the ranks for fear that one person's success is our own demise to ourselves and what we have accomplished thus far as a person. Things of this nature have kept us from accomplishing goals and achievements from a collective mind set as one nation, one mind and one body of people. We have lost the core thing that defined us from all other societies and people, the very fact that our nation came before our own well being. That is what was the most important factor in our past is now the most irrelevant in today's society. It is one of the leading factors to put us into the state in which are in today. Below are problems that we face today:
Many of these problems are individual problems that each person, family or community has to face themselves for no one can make anyone do anything in which he/she doesn't want to do for one's self. These problems and the solutions that must be dealt with are mainly targeted at our leaders of today. What have these leaders in which we elected from a democratic forum in a general election done as of yet to attack these problems and find solutions to these problems that face us today? You look at the first problem at hand is alcoholism; this is the most prevalent factor that has led to our demise as we now stand. How do we attack this problem? That is a question that has plagued us for countless generations ever since this drug was introduced to us over 100 years ago. I have heard the argument, " if the Whiteman never brought this to us we wouldn't have this problem today" that is a great argument if we where back in the early 1900's. But it is the year 2000 and that argument is old and outdated. There are many solutions to this problem, but it won't come easy, and it will take time, as we all know. In a society that is plagued by generation upon generation of alcoholism many people lose hope. One has to be optimistic for there are many ways to solve this problem but the main area we must target is our younger generation through education and trying to maintain a cultural balance and find ways to make life better and more enjoyable without the effects of alcohol.
What is suggested is a newer, more updated treatment center, tougher laws, more alcohol education, and a return to our roots in the sweat lodges, and the pipe. One area we have not addressed as a solution is extra curricular activities for our youth, excluding our grade and high school athletics. Some of these solutions are being implemented today, it is a slow progress, but there is hope, yet more needs to be done. More needs to be done to reach those people who haven't been introduced to the ways that were given to us by the Tatanka Ska Wi long ago. More needs to be done from our leaders, and our tribal government to attack this problem we have here today. You look at statistical facts, we have a high rate of alcoholism last that was noticed as high as 80% of our adult population uses alcohol in one way or another. That coincides with our high unemployment rate and crime rate and other things that plague us today.
Drugs are another problem that face us today. Drugs are going to be very prevalent in a society with a high degree of alcoholism. Marijuana is our drug of choice here. There are children as young as 10 or 11 using this drug on a regular basis. what is wrong with this picture is that we are used to it and accept it as part of everyday life here on our reservation. There are people selling " weed" to younger people and without prejudice all these dealers want is the ever so mighty dollar. These people dont think about what they are doing to people because the truth is they really dont care. Yet many do it for reasons of survival because of our lack of economic development.
Unemployment and lack of economic development is one of the most important problems we must find answers to. People say all over the rez......" there isn't anything here" or " I want to get off the rez because of no jobs". Why must our people leave this reservation? This is our home, why don't we bring jobs here and create an economy?We can create jobs here and spur economic investment to support an economy on this reservation. With the lack of businesses, people have to travel far and wide to get everyday necessities and the business owners know this, that is why their prices are so inflated. In the last 1996 census, there was an estimation of 38,000 people living here on the Pine Ridge Reservation. .....and yet, there are only a few businesses here to support our people. All of the businesses on this rez were counted and came up with less than 100 for 38,000 people.
It is all very common knowledge amongst our own people that nothing is being done by our leaders to address these problems. That is why there is a genuine lack of interest in our leaders any more. There seems to be more concern about themselves and their families than the people they were elected by. People should take note of this statistical fact that, a lower unemployment rate coincides with a lower crime rate, lower alcoholism rate, a lower suicide rate, lower teen pregnancy rate and so forth.
To create money on the reservation also gives us a better chance of standing the test of time here in this free market global economy that we are in today. It is sad to say but this county that we are in, the main portion of the reservation Shannon County in the 1980 and 1990 U.S. Census is ranked #1 in impoverished counties in the U.S. and that is mind boggling. It is not understood why our leaders have not addressed this problem and attacked it savagely.
Welfare is just a spin-off of lack of employment; high rates of welfare are common in a community with high unemployment. It is common economics, people need to survive somehow and welfare is the best way to get money because there are no jobs. The high rate of welfare is rampant among our people.
Regarding leadership, Chuck Jacobs embezzling money and now is working again with money?? Even if Chuck is out of office, he shouldn't have been in there in the first place. Do we want to place our future in leaders who exemplify corruptness and cowardice? This has been a long and tiring chain of events from one administration to another. Americans to some degree control our future whether we want to acknowledge it or not. For some people, they think we are incapable of governing ourselves and that is a sad event when people think like that for it is not true.
We need strong leaders who can have a good judge of character, who think for the people first instead of themselves.Leaders who will be willing to put it all on the line as opposed to caring for themselves first. Our leaders should address and tell the people what they are doing instead of keeping them in the dark. We should set up a way so the people will be informed and keep them on the current day to day basis. Our leaders need to think of the general public and our nation first as opposed to a few select people. For the more you do for the general public, the more you do for yourselves.
Our erosion of culture is another focal point we need to take a stand on. We are losing our language and our heritage is being corrupted by our misuse of our pipes and our churches we pray in. We as a people have forgotten our teachings and have warped our sense of true humility and devotion to the greater good of the people. Our older people should take the time to teach the younger ones the language, the values and traditions that were passed down for eons. Our language is a very important thing for us. This is our link to our past, present and our future. This very concept needs to be focused upon and more and more energy and time devoted to it. Why not have an education stipulation that makes it impossible for our younger generation in school to graduate high school without being bilingual?We need to maintain a cultural balance; we need to hold onto things that are most dear to us. The Canupa is what our society is revolved around....it is the core thing that all of our lives should be on. That was given to us.....the Lakota Nation. I see and hear people selling off our religion for profit and that is wrong anyway you look at it.
We as a Nation need to take action now; time is of the essence.I challenge our leaders to do something good for the people. Create some jobs and do something worthwhile and also make something happen on this reservation. We all know about the delicate balance between sovereignty and Indian Issues and so forth. We have so many different powers to do so many things.
With a strong President this person could lead and show by example like the old ones did long ago..............people will see that and will follow. It is simple leadership, ability that will take us a long way, integrity and honor a leader will need to exemplify. We need to bridge the gap with the rest of the world and catch up without losing our identity and who we are as a people and nation. It is time for action, yet we have talked and talked for countless generations. There is a quote," Without struggle there is no progress" (Dr Martin Luther King Jr.) It will be hard, yet if we work together and clean our lives up and rid ourselves of these evils , there is nothing we cannot accomplish together. For we are all one people.
For remember, our children's children are depending our our actions that we take today. Remember the 7th Generation is here today, and what Black Elk said long ago. It's time!
February 16, 2000 From: "Wild Horse"
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
REGIONAL BIA DIRECTOR DENIES GRASS ROOTS' TREATY RIGHTS!In a telephone conversation today with Cora Jones, Regional Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Grass Roots Oyate demanded to know why her department has not responded to their repeated requests for assistance. She stated that she has full faith in Robert Ecoffey, BIA Superintendent for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She claimed that Ecoffey is in complete control of the situation at Pine Ridge Agency. When the Grass Roots Oyate asked how they could remove Ecoffey from his post, Jones stated that she would have to be convinced of misconduct before she would even consider his removal. The group reminded her of the fiduciary trust responsibility she has to the Oglala Lakota under the guidelines of the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie. She responded by stating that the only system she recognizes is the I.R.A. government (Indian Reorganization Act - 1934) and will deal only with the Tribal President and the Tribal Council.
The group informed Jones that Superintendent Ecoffey is using scare tactics to turn tribal members against each other. He has repeatedly stated that he may rescind the federal contracts if the people do not vacate the tribal offices. Jones stated that she has, in fact, placed the Oglala Sioux Tribe's Federal PL638 Programs on "high risk" status due to non-compliance. And further stated that our occupation of the building does not help the situation. The Grass Roots Oyate contend that the federal contracts are administered at the B.I.A. building and all monitoring of these contracts is being done at another office. The occupiers took exception to Jones' accusations and demanded a face-to-face meeting with her. She stated that she did not know when she would find time to come to Pine Ridge Agency.
Meanwhile, visitors from one of the seven Sioux Bands arrived at the Red Cloud Building today to "observe and learn" from the Grass Roots Oyate. There was an eerie similarity in their report of the corruption taking place on their reservation. They encouraged the Grass Roots Oyate to stay strong and stand on their demands. In the last four weeks, members from all seven Sioux Bands have come to Pine Ridge Agency to see firsthand how the Grass Roots Oyate are using peaceful means to reform their governmental system.
As copies of the Tribe's financial ledgers continue to circulate around the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, even teenage tribal members are expressing their disgust over the obvious corruption taking place within tribal government. High school students from the reservation are planning to visit the Red Cloud Building this week to "observe and learn", which is the traditional Lakota way.
Today marked the one-month anniversary of the Grass Roots Oyate's occupation of the Red Cloud Building. They took peaceful control of the building on January 16, 2000. They represent the "silent majority" of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which has approximately 40,000 enrolled tribal members, making it one of the largest in the United States. Additionally, the Oglala Sioux were one of the last tribes forced to sign a peace treaty with the United States Government. The 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie remains in full force to this day.
Historically, the Oglala Lakota have never lost in battle to the United States. They contend that they will remain in the building until their demands are met.
Wadv Wild Horse
RED CLOUD BUILDING, PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION, SOUTH DAKOTA:
As snow fell on Pine Ridge Agency, a small group marched in protest against the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate (people) who have occupied the tribal administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) for 27 straight days. The group, consisting of a few women and their children, oppose the Grass Roots Oyate's demands to remove the Tribe's Treasurer and the Tribal Council.
Elder members of the Grass Roots Oyate instructed the young Tokala (security) members to shovel the snow from the sidewalk in front of the building prior to the protesters arrival. The grandmothers had planned to invite them in for soup and bread, but the protesters never made it to the building. The elders stated that it is Lakota tradition to never deny anyone food or shelter and that we are all related. They cited that the power of the sacred pipe is what brought the protesters close to the building.
The Grass Roots Oyate are beginning to receive feedback on the OST financial ledgers that were circulated yesterday. Tribal members are frustrated by the nepotism that has plagued the tribal administration for years. The financial ledgers show large loan payments to councilmen's relatives; daily pay outs to the Tribe's Treasurer Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs; excessive travel authorization payments, etc. The group is demanding the permanent removal of Jacobs from all government positions.
As many native nations watch on, the Grass Roots Oyate are making strides to abolish the I.R.A. (Indian Reorganization Act - 1934) form of government that has oppressed the Oglala Lakota Nation for 66 years. Over the past few weeks, representatives from other tribes have visited the traditionalists at the Red Cloud Building to observe and report back to their reservations. For this reason, the Grass Roots Oyate claim there has been a media blackout. They know that the U.S. government fears an "Indian uprisal". The Grass Roots Oyate believe that many indigenous nations are ripe for change in their government structures.
At a recent United Southern & Eastern Tribes conference in Washington, D.C., Commissioner on Indian Affairs, Kevin Gover, spoke of the I.R.A. system, ".It was meant to fail - to see that the tribes disappear. It has been broken from Day One." The Grass Roots Oyate are committed to reestablishing a traditional government system that will better serve all the members of the Oglala Lakota Nation. A meeting with traditional headsmen and chiefs is scheduled for Sunday, February 13th at the Red Cloud Building. The purpose of the meeting is to gain input from traditionalists on the formulation of a new government.
The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the Red Cloud Building on January 16, 2000. For nearly four weeks, the tribal treasurer and the tribal council have taken desperate and sometimes illegal measures to remove the occupants.
For further information, please contact Floyd Hand, or Media Coordinator Dale Looks Twice at (605) 867-5303.
Wadv Wild Horse
February 11, 2000 From: "Wild Horse" firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
In their 26th day of occupying the tribal administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST), the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate (people) remain in high spirits thanks to thousands of telephone calls and letters of support from people all over the world.
Spokespeople for the group stated that they have received calls from many other indigenous nations inquiring as to how they can change their government systems. The Grass Roots Oyate are committed to transforming their government to benefit all the members of the Tribe. Since 1934, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has been oppressed by the Indian Reorganization Act (I.R.A.). This form of government, modeled after the U.S. government system, was illegally forced upon the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in an effort to bring them into the "mainstream". Many elders speak of the secretarial election that brought the I.R.A. system. They stated that the majority of the reservation did not even participate in the election, fearing that it would terminate their sovereignty and make them U.S. citizens. Others say they were misinformed about what the system was intended for and the length of its term.
With the new millenium, comes a renewed commitment to returning to a more traditional form of government. The current system clearly divides the people; making a small percentage of the population richer and the unemployed majority poorer. The traditional "Council of 21" system philosophy is to reaffirm and reestablish the alliance and allegiance to one another. The council is governed by an appointed headsman from each tiospaye (extended family). Decision-making shall be determined and conducted according to traditional Oglala Lakota customs and laws.
The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the Red Cloud Building on January 16th in an effort to protect the financial records inside until a five-year, full forensic audit of all funds can be conducted. The group contends that the OST Treasurer and members of the Tribal Council have mismanaged millions of dollars in federal funds allocated to the members of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They are demanding the immediate removal of the treasurer and council for their gross misconduct. The Grass Roots Oyate are committed to staying in the building until their demands are met.
The Grass Roots Oyate are hosting a meeting of traditional headsmen to initiate these changes on Sunday, February 13, 2000 at 12:00 p.m. at the Red Cloud Building in Pine Ridge Agency, S.D. The group welcomes all concerned parties to come and listen to the elders as they share their wisdom.
For further information, please contact Floyd Hand, or Media Coordinator Dale Looks Twice at (605) 867-5303.
As with all my emails concerning the Occupation Peoples please forward to any and all interested parties in its entirety
Wadv Wild Horse
February 6, 2000
RAPID CITY JOURNAL
By Steven Barrett
PINE RIDGE---------On its surface, the three-week occupation of the Oglala Sioux tribal headquarters building here is about money. The hundred or so American Indians who have kept round-the-clock vigil at the headquarters since Jan.16 say they are unhappy with the handling of the tribe's finances.
So far, they have succeeded in getting the tribal council to suspend Treasurer Wesley " Chuck" Jacobs, whom they accuse of mismanaging funds. They also have persuaded the council to order an audit of tribal financial records from the past five years.
But many of the protesters say the fiscal squabble is only the latest manifestation of a form of tribal governance that has not worked since it began more than six decades ago. And they say the current government is simply resisting change.
Tribal council members counter that they are not opposed to productive change. But they say the protest has taken an inappropriate form. Among the protesters' broader grievances is the tribal council system set up after the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. Under the system, council members are elected from the nine districts on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They serve two-year terms.
The brief term of service on the council is part of the problem, protester Webster Poor Bear argues.
"They are getting paid to limit their vision to two years," he said during a recent evening meeting of protesters in the council room at the headquarters. The rapid change of focus every time a new council comes in is contrary to both Lakota tradtion and common sense, Poor Bear says. No business could survive if it radically altered its goals and business practices every other year, he said.
There is little hope for change under the existing system, because council members have their minds made up about how things should be done, Poor Bear said. He suggested that the occupation has them nervous.
Floyd Hand suspects he knows why. He and others at the meeting - including some veterans of the 1973 uprising at nearby Wounded Knee - see this occupation as a defining moment. It is a fulfillment of the promise of Wounded Knee, Hand said, although the current battle is as much an internal debate on the direction the tribe will take as it is a reflection of Indian mistrust of Western institutions.
"When this thing was attempted in Wounded Knee 27 years ago, we weren't quite ready," he said. "It's been spiritually planned for 27 years... We have just begun to fight."
The 71 - day Wounded Knee standoff drew international attention to the reservation when members of the American Indian Movement seized control of the town to protest reservation conditions and the federally backed tribal government. When it was over, two protesters were dead and a federal mashal was paralyzed.
JoAnn Tall, a protester from Porcupine, said the desire to reconfigure tribal government has been growing for years.
Shannon County, which makes up most of the reservation, is believed to be the poorist county in the nation.
"This... government hasn't worked, and it isn't going to work," Tall said. She does not claim that the transition to a more traditional Lakota system will be easy or fast, however. "It's going to take some time," Tall said.
But that's the whole point, according to Gerald " Jump" Big Crow, a member of the tribal council.
He said he is not necessarily opposed to the protesters' ultimate goal of greater self-determination. But time-consuming constitutional procedures must not be trampled, said Big Crow, who has served nine terms on the council.
"Ithink we need some changes," he said. "But there's a process we've got to go through. No matter how much you hate this government, you've still got to go through this process."
At any rate, Big Crow argues, jobs and money... not philosophical differences - are driving at least some of the protesters. "A bunch of people started hollering and talking about taking over and restructuring tribal government," Big Crow said.
Many of the protesters are government workers appointed by tribal President Harold Dean Salway, he said, and might not be able to get jobs elsewhere on the reservation, where unemployment is rampant. Council members are frustrated because Salway has foiled efforts to remove him from office.
They accuse him of misappropriating $30,000 in relief funds for victims of June tornadoes on the reservation. Salway maintains his innocence. Twice during council meetings, members have made motions to suspend him, and twice he has adjourned the meeting before a vote could be taken.
"He knows the votes are there," Big Crow said. "He's been dodging the bullet."
Hand argues the protesters are not necessarily allied with Salway. If the audit approved by the council reveals financial misdeeds on Salway's part, he must be removed, Hand said.
Marvin Young Dog, an Indian from Apache Junction, Arix., has joined the protesters. He said the Pine Ridge activists may be the catalyst for nationwide change in tribal government.
Floyd Hand smiled during a meeting of protesters as he scanned the old
and young faces in the room. "This is not the tribal council," he said.
"This is the first traditional government council room."
Reprinted under the Fair Use http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html doctrine of international copyright law.
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
In an illegal OST Finance Committee meeting held today, the committee members voted 8 for, 1 against to reinstate Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs as Tribal Treasurer. On January 31st, the council suspended Jacobs without pay due to extreme pressure from the Grass Roots Oyate. Today's reinstatement confirms what the Grass Roots Oyate already knew; the Council will go to great lengths to protect one of their own.
Marvin Amiotte, OST Attorney, resigned from his position at the February 1st meeting of the OST Council session after the Grass Roots Oyate presented a resolution to terminate him for gross misconduct and unethical practices. In a statement today in the Rapid City Journal, Amiotte stated that he did not resign, he merely left the Tribal Council meeting. He claims that he is still the tribal attorney.
Meanwhile, a small staff of tribal employees were allowed to enter the Red Cloud Building today to process payments for critical services. The Grass Roots Oyate's purpose for the takeover is to create a better future for the children and grandchildren. Thus, they agreed that minimal financial services must continue to protect these children. Employees reported to work at approximately 8:00 a.m. and simply picked up necessary files and informed the grass roots group that they have made arrangements to work out of another building nearby.
Later in the day, the tribe's contracted C.P.A., John Donham, attempted to gain access to the computer system mainframe in the basement of the Red Cloud Building. Members of the Tokala Society (security) promptly escorted him out of the building. Donham has been implicated as a co-conspirator in the cover-up of misallocation of federal funds allocated to the Oglala Sioux Nation.
Spokespeople for the Grass Roots Oyate confirmed that they are in contact with special agents with the Department of Interior Inspector General's Office. The group is demanding that the Inspector General's Office step in and confiscate all documentation, computer equipment from the office of the tribal treasurer for in-depth investigation.
At the beginning of the occupation, Cora Jones, Area Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs stated that her office would pay for a full forensic audit of the Oglala Sioux Tribe's financial records. Today, the Grass Roots Oyate gave the BIA notice that they are demanding the BIA contract with the audit firm of Coopers & Lybrand to perform the five-year audit of all OST governmental fund types and the OST District Offices. They are further demanding that an audit in accordance with the National Indian Gaming Regulatory Act be performed on the Tribe's Prairie Winds Casino.
Today marks the 19th day of the peaceful takeover of the Tribe's administrative office. The Grass Roots Oyate represents elders, women, men, and children that believe they have exhausted all remedies to remove the corrupt tribal treasurer and members of the tribal council. Their nonviolent approach is working, as tribal council members are at odds in their attempts to remove the group "with deadly force if necessary". Oglala Sioux Tribe Public Safety has stated repeatedly that they have no intention of removing the group and their sacred cannupa (pipe) and eagle staffs from the building.
Preparations are being made for a historic meeting planned for Saturday, February 5th. Representatives of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Fires Council) will be travelling to Pine Ridge Agency to support the Grass Roots Oyate. The Oceti Sakowin is comprised of appointed treaty headsmen from the seven bands of the Great Sioux Nation. All are descendants of the original signers of the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie. Events are scheduled to begin at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Saturday at the Red Cloud Building.
Wadv Wild Horse
February 3, 2000 From: "Wild Horse" email@example.comRED CLOUD BUILDING, PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION, SOUTH DAKOTA:
Headsman Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand has made the following statement:
We need all the help and support from all the nations to overcome the IRA Government and to recoup our yearly financial loss to the BIA on the Howard Wheeler act of 1934. To recoup over 68 million dollars denied us in Aberdeen area office to baby-sit us under the Howard Wheeler act.
If we can achieve self-sufficiency and self-governance through our general council, which is our treaty, we can develop our own tollgate, bisecting the reservation and creating our own economic development to European corporations for import and export landing fees in the United States. Money to be used for our economic development that our artistic people can export our own arts and crafts. We will not be obligated to any state taxes for our tobacco sales. Through our free enterprise, transaction will be easier to all countries under our Sovereign Government. It will be a hard struggle for us to achieve this. But we know that with positive thinking and help from concerned people that we can achieve this freedom for our future generations, our grandchildren and the continuation of our people.
We the Lakota people have been incarcerated for 67 years under the BIA as a prisoner of war. 27 years ago we tried this at Wounded Knee in 1973 and we were not successful because the Bureau of Indian Affairs did the audit. Now 27 years later we are doing the same thing. This time with the help of Internet relatives reading my message to call the inspector general in Washington DC and to call the secretary of the interior Bruce Babbit to help us. Recently the president of the United States, Bill Clinton, stated the people of Pine Ridge needed help.
We feel the BIA and the tribal council will control the 80 million dollars earmarked for this reservation. Bob Ecoffey, the BIA representative for our People, is a member of the Lakota Nation and is in conflict of interest by BIA Guidelines. Control of the money we are to receive I fear with 67 years of power and control, we will remain destitute and the great Lakota Nation will suffer more if changes are not made. I feel, as a descendant of Red Cloud, we the Lakota People are the only nation that defeated the United States Government, at Little Big Horn, who have taken the American flag away. This is why I feel we still suffer at the hands of the United States Government since June 25, 1876. We can defeat things that are visible and physical please understand that what God has given us is our spirit to survive and the spirit can't be defeated. The Spirit is something that can't be seen.
Let us put our minds together as one heart, one mind and one spirit. As one great man once stated in 1963 ask not what your country could do for you but ask what you could do for your country.
God Bless mitakuye oyasin
Wadv Wild Horse
February 2, 2000 From: "Wild Horse" firstname.lastname@example.orgRed Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
BOMB THREAT ON RED CLOUD BUILDING!
At approximately 6:40 a.m. this morning, the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate (people) occupying the administrative office of the Oglala Sioux Tribe received a telephone call promising that a bomb would be planted in the building today. Although the people recognized this as an idle threat, the Tokala Society (security) took every precaution to protect the elders, children, men and women in the building. Oglala Sioux Tribe Public Safety were brought in to meet with the Tokalas on ways to deal with such threats. Ironically, the tribal police have sided with the group since they first occupied the building, citing that changes are long overdue within the tribal government. The Grass Roots Oyate have received numerous death threats since they took peaceful control of the Red Cloud Building on January 16th in Pine Ridge Agency, S.D.
Indigenous nations have offered support from all over the world and are closely monitoring the Grass Roots Oyate's battle against the "oppressive monster" - the I.R.A. government. Officials in Washington, D.C. have attempted to refer the group back to local/regional offices to deal with their problems. These officials are concerned that other tribes will take similar actions to eliminate the I.R.A. system on their reservations. Like many other reservations, Pine Ridge is under the watchful eye of the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior, formally known as the "War Department", still classifies Indian reservations as "prisoner-of-war camps". Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is listed as POW Camp #344. The Grass Roots Oyate have vowed to recreate their government to provide a brighter, more independent nation for their children and grandchildren.
The Indian Reorganization Act was implemented on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1934. For the past 65 years, the I.R.A. has slowly choked the will of the people by making them dependent on the government. In the past 18 days it is evident that the spirit in the Oglala Lakota is stronger than ever. The United States has never defeated the Oglala Lakota Sioux in battle and the Grass Roots Oyate vow that they never will.
The Grass Roots Oyate maintain that they will stay and protect the financial records from tampering/destruction until they can be removed by the Inspector General of the Interior Department for a full forensic audit. Further, the people are demanding the immediate, permanent removal of Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs as tribal treasurer and prevent him from ever holding any other position within Oglala Sioux Tribal government again.
The Grass Roots Oyate passed a resolution today to allow a skeletal team of tribal employees to return to work in the tribal building to provide minimal emergency financial services and payroll. They explained that, while they want the Treasurer and the Tribal Council to know what it is like to go without food or heating fuel, they do not want the rest of the nation to suffer. There are thirteen employees that are scheduled to report to work on February 3rd at 8:00 a.m.
On Saturday, February 5, 2000, the Seven Fires Council will arrive in Pine Ridge to support the Grass Roots Oyate in their efforts. The council is comprised of traditionalists from the seven bands of the Great Sioux Nation.Wadv Wild Horse
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