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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 24, 2000

Red Cloud Tribal Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:

Today, as everyday, the "occupants" of the Red Cloud Tribal Building began the new day with prayer under the sacred pipe.

This is the 9th day that the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate did exercise their sovereign immunity rights under the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty by taking control of the Red Cloud Tribal Building. The sole purpose is to protect financial records from the corrupt Oglala Sioux Tribal Treasurer Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs and members of the OST Tribal Council. Tribal Council mismanagement and mishandling of federally allocated funds have oppressed the grass roots people for years on this reservation.

According to the Oglala Sioux Tribal Constitution, the Tribal Council has the authority to remove the Treasurer pending a termination hearing. Since the first day of the peaceful monitoring of the tribal building, the demands have been consistent and straightforward. The first demand that is non-negotiable is the removal of Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs, Tribal Treasurer. To date, Jacobs has not honored his word to resign and the Tribal Council has not exercised their power to remove him. Consequently, there was a total "lock-down" on the Red Cloud Tribal Building today. Many employees did not return in to work because they support the grass roots efforts, still others are in fear due to threats received by corrupt politicians.

In a meeting today with the Robert Ecoffey, Bureau of Indian Affairs Agent and a mediator from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Grass Roots Oyate reiterated its position that mediation will not begin until the permanent removal of Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs. Mr. Ecoffey stated that, contrary to false rumors, there will be an independent A-133 audit of the Tribe's financial records at the expense of the BIA. The BIA has repeatedly downplayed its trust responsibility to the Tribe in the financial management of the BIA grants and contracts.

As of today, the OST Council remains in contempt of the tribal judge's order to appoint an assistant treasurer to carry out minimal day-to-day financial services for the Tribe. The Grass Roots Oyate maintains that the Tribal Council has had numerous opportunities to have vital services restored once the Tribal Treasurer is permanently removed from office. The "lock-down" will remain in force and mediation cannot commence until this demand is met.

The Grass Roots Oyate wishes to extend their gratitude to many supporters from around the world who have offered support and assistance in many forms.

For further information, please contact Floyd Hand, or Dale Looks Twice, Media Relations Coordinator at (605) 867-5303.

 

As with all posts concerning the Pine Ridge Occupation please forward to any and all interested parties

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