FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2000
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
GRASS ROOTS OYATE MOURN FOR LOSS OF TREATY ELDER.
There is a respectful silence in the Red Cloud Building today as the people received
word that Pete Fills The Pipe, Sr., 89, passed away in his sleep in the early hours of
February 6th.As with all my posts concerning the Occupation Peoples please
forward to any and all interested parties in its entirety
His father, the late Fills The Pipe (Christian name: William) an original treaty signer,
fought for the rights of his nation. His son followed in his footsteps to become a
respected elder that stood by the Grass Roots Oyate in their struggle to uphold the treaty
rights granted in the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie. He came to the tribal building every
day and always greeted everyone with a warm smile and a hearty handshake. He was
respectfully referred to as Leksi (uncle) by relatives and non-relatives alike. He lived
with the traditional way of thinking that says, "when one takes his journey to the
spirit world, the others must pick up the eagle staff and continue on." His wisdom
and daily encouragement will be greatly missed.
In other news, the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate passed a resolution today that will
stop all payments and salaries to the Oglala Sioux Tribe's (OST) Executive Board and
members of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council effective immediately. The group stated that
the OST Executive Board and the Tribal Council took a sworn oath to uphold the OST
Constitution. Article I, Section 7 states: "it shall be the duty of the tribal
council and each member thereof to promote the general welfare of the Sioux of this
reservation and to carry out the provisions and purposes of this constitution and
by-laws." Further, Article IV, Section 1 states: "the salaries and expense
payments of the councilmen and other officers of the Oglala Sioux Tribe may be paid out of
available funds of the tribe in accordance with ordinances duly enacted, provided that no
council shall enact any ordinance increasing the salaries or per diem expense payments of
councilmen during the existing term of office." The Grass Roots Oyate stated that the
members of the Tribal Council and Executive Board have grossly violated their oath of
office by holding illegal sessions; borrowing several thousand dollars at a time from
their illegal "monthly auto allowance"; submitting up to seven travel
authorization forms a day for non-existent trips; taking unauthorized actions against
tribal employees and members of the Tribe.
On February 5th, traditional treaty headsmen gathered from the Great Sioux Nation and
proclaimed that the new millenium marks a renewed commitment to maintaining traditional
values and a return to self-government. Several headsmen spoke to the Grass Roots Oyate
and encouraged them to stay strong and continue in the footsteps of their ancestors.
The Grass Roots Oyate are in the 21st day of their peaceful occupation of the tribal
administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. They have vowed to remain in the
building until their demands are met. Some of the nine demands include the immediate,
permanent removal of Tribal Treasurer Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs; suspension of the
entire Tribal Council pending impeachment by referendum vote; abolishment of the I.R.A.
(Indian Reorganization Act) form of government that has oppressed the Lakota people for 66
years. Members of the council and executive board are frustrated with the fact that the
people have not been physically removed from the building. OST Public Safety officials
informed them that no laws have been broken, the building belongs to the members of the
Tribe. The group remains inside under "traditional law", the sacred pipe.
The OST Council has scheduled an illegal special session for Tuesday, February 8th in
Kyle, S.D., without the approval of the OST President Harold Salway. Tribal district
members have vowed to have them arrested if they attempt to meet in any of the nine tribal
The Grass Roots Oyate have re-established the "full lockdown" effective
tomorrow, February 7th, with no employees allowed in the Red Cloud Building. They claim
that the agreement with tribal officials was to allow only a skeletal staff in the
building to perform manual financial services. Last week, employees removed computer disks
from the building and the Tribe's contracted C.P.A. John Donham was caught attempting to
gain access to the computer mainframe in the building's basement. The group's objective is
to protect the financial records in the building until a full forensic audit of all
governmental fund types can be performed.
For further information, please contact Floyd Hand or Media Coordinator, Dale Looks Twice
at (605) 867-5303.