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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 4, 2000

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

BIA APPOINTED AUDITOR DENIED BY GRASS ROOTS PEOPLE!

In what appears to be a flimsy attempt at appeasing the occupants of the Red Cloud Building in Pine Ridge Agency, BIA Regional Director Cora Jones appointed the auditing firm of Jamie Orrabe to conduct a financial review for fiscal period January-December 1999.

The Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate (people) sent notice to BIA Superintendent Robert Ecoffey notifying him that they do not approve of Orrabe's firm to conduct the audit. Importantly, the BIA has asked Tribal President Harold Salway for minimal documentation, which indicates that only a one-year review is scheduled. The group is demanding that the BIA retain one of the "big 6" accounting firms to bring a team in that can conduct an audit of this magnitude in a timely fashion. The group further demanded that the BIA not retain Arthur Anderson & Co., due to their partnership with the Bureau on the mismanagement of IIM accounts.

The Grass Roots Oyate appeared before the Oglala Sioux Tribal (OST) Council on January 31st and February 1st to address their demands. The Tribal Council voted unanimously to conduct a full forensic audit of all governmental fund types dating back five years. Additionally, the Council moved to suspend Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs, Tribal Treasurer, for gross misconduct and mismanagement of tribal funds. Since the meeting was abruptly adjourned on February 1st, the Council has rescinded their actions, stating that the meeting was not legal.

The Grass Roots Oyate are making preparations for a historic meeting scheduled 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. Some of the other Sioux Bands are interested in following the Oglala Lakota in their battle against the "oppressive giant" - the I.R.A. (Indian Reorganization Act) government. The IRA government was established in 1934 and was supposed to be a temporary "babysitter" of the Indians' money. Sixty-six years later, it is still the recognized governing body of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Many elders on the reservation refuse to vote in IRA elections because they believe that voting will automatically relinquish their treaty rights. The United States Government has never defeated the Oglala Lakota Nation in battle. The up and coming generations of the Oglala Lakota believe that they never will.

The Grass Roots Oyate are in their 20th day of occupation in the Red Cloud Building. They have vowed to remain in the building until their demands are met. Some of the nine demands include a full tribal land audit on the First National Bank of Gordon, Neb.; full tribal trust land audit by the BIA; U.S. recognition of the Oglala Lakota Nation as a sovereign entity, with no state jurisdiction.

Activities for the meeting of the Oceti Sakowin are scheduled to begin at approximately 10:00 a.m. on February 5, 2000 at the Red Cloud Building in Pine Ridge Agency.

For further information, please 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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