Grass Roots Oyate
January 16, 2000
Until we Win
Current Pine Ridge Weather
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2000
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
OST PRESIDENT PROMISES TO DEAL WITH "RENEGADE" COUNCIL!
The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council issued a memorandum to the Tribe's President and Vice President declaring a continuance of the January Regular Session of the OST Council meeting. The regular session was adjourned last Tuesday when chaos erupted after one of the councilmen motioned for the Tribal President's impeachment. This meeting marks the second time that the Council has attempted to impeach the president.
President Harold Salway informed Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate representatives that he will no longer tolerate the illegal actions of the "renegade council". If they attempt to conduct an unauthorized session tomorrow, he promises to exercise his executive powers to suspend them. The Grass Roots Oyate have been encouraging Salway to do the right thing for months.
The Grass Roots Oyate (people) represent a cross-section of tribal members from all over the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation that are taking a stand against the oppressive I.R.A. (Indian Reorganization Act - 1934) form of government. They contend that they have no personal vendettas against the corrupt tribal officials. For 22 days, under intense criticism from the Tribal Treasurer and Tribal Council, the group has shown that they have no intention of relinquishing the building back to the corrupt officials. The traditionalists say they are fighting for those that are too afraid to stand and fight for themselves. In recent months, several tribal employees have been fired for "disloyalty", while dozens more have been threatened if they attempt to support the Grass Roots Oyate.
The group states that the corruption is widespread; from district offices to the regional offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Last week, one councilman's spouse was arrested and charged for D.U.I. and possession of marijuana. She was released and the tribal court judge dismissed the possession charge after claiming it was nothing more than "industrial hemp". The Grass Roots Oyate were not surprised by this action. They said it is typical of the way the officials and their immediate families "work" the system.
This evening, a prayer service was conducted in the Red Cloud Building to honor the late Pete Fills The Pipe, Sr., a respected elder that supported the grass roots efforts. He passed away on Sunday, February 6th. Elders spoke to Mr. Fills The Pipe's family and offered words of encouragement to remember his diligent work to protect the treaty rights of the Oglala Lakota Nation. A one-night wake is scheduled for Thursday, February 10th at Red Shirt School Gymnasium, followed by funeral services on Friday, February 11th.
The Grass Roots Oyate have requested a meeting with President Salway and BIA Superintendent Robert Ecoffey for February 8th to get a status update on their demand for a full forensic audit for the past five years. The group has demanded that a "big six" accounting firm conduct the audit to ensure impartiality.
The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the tribal administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on January 16, 2000. The group, including elders and children alike, are monitoring the building in an effort to safeguard all financial records inside until the audit can be conducted. The Grass Roots Oyate are charging the Tribal Treasurer Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs and members of the Tribal Council with gross misconduct and mismanagement of federal funds allocated to the members of the Tribe.
For further information, please contact Floyd Hand or Media Coordinator, Dale Looks Twice at (605) 867-5303.
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