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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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February 6, 2000
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:


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.

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 districts.

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.

As with all my posts concerning the Occupation Peoples please forward to any and all interested parties in its entirety


Wild Horse


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