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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 1, 2000

RED CLOUD BUILDING, PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION, SOUTH DAKOTA:

OGLALA SIOUX TRIBAL ATTORNEY RESIGNS UNDER PRESSURE!

The second day of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council regular session began today with the grass roots people demanding accountability. Record numbers poured into the Billy Mills Hall in Pine Ridge Agency to see what the Council would do next. The first item on the agenda was brought by the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate. They presented a resolution to terminate Marvin Amiotte, attorney for the Tribe for several administrations. The Grass Roots Oyate accused Amiotte of gross misconduct and nepotism. He was reminded that the tribal attorney is appointed to serve the membership-at-large of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. On January 21st, he sent unauthorized notices to the utility companies demanding immediate disconnection of all services to the Red Cloud Building, thus jeopardizing the general welfare of the occupants. The Grass Roots Oyate were infuriated by the legal opinion that he rendered in yesterday's session that only suspended Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs as Tribal Treasurer. The Grass Roots Oyate have demanded the immediate, permanent removal of Jacobs for his dictator-like approach to the fiscal operation of the Tribe. Upon reading the resolution, Amiotte respectfully resigned from his position.

Under extreme pressure, the Tribal Council voted in favor of a full forensic audit for the past five years. Then, in a last ditch effort, Council Representative Paul Little presented a motion to impeach Tribal President Harold Salway. Chaos irrupted in the meeting and President Salway adjourned the meeting. No confirmation on when the sessions will resume.

On January 31st, the Grass Roots Oyate celebrated a small victory in their battle against the "oppressive monster" - the I.R.A. government (1934 Indian Reorganization Act). The Tribal Council voted 12 for - 4 against to suspend Treasurer Jacobs without pay for 20 days, pending a termination hearing. Jacobs has been the focal point of the grass roots people's uprising. For three consecutive administrations, he has been directly involved in the fiscal operations of the Tribe. Salway is the second tribal president that has lobbied for his removal. The Tribal Council has the sole authority to appoint the treasurer and the authority to remove him. However, the members of the Tribe have proven that, united, they have all the power.

Today marks the 17th day that the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate (people) have peacefully occupied the administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The group represents a cross-section of tribal members that include grandmothers, children, men and women that felt they have exhausted all remedies to end the corruption that plagues the tribe's government. The group took control of the building in an effort to 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; the immediate, permanent removal of Tribal Treasurer Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs. Further, the people are requesting that Jacobs never be allowed to hold any position within tribal government again.

One elder stated, "To take a person's will, you make him dependent on you. This government has done that. However, they have not taken our spirit. You cannot buy what you cannot see." The Grass Roots Oyate have vowed to remain in the building until their demands are met in full.

For further information, contact Floyd Hand or Media Coordinator Dale Looks Twice 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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