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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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February 8, 2000

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


Once again, the F.B.I. paid a visit to the tribal administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST). Under executive order from the OST Executive Committee, the agents returned to confiscate financial records for fiscal year 1999. The Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate (people) were pleased that the records were removed. The Executive Committee is a five-member group comprised of the tribal president, the vice-president, the treasurer, the secretary, and the fifth member of the Tribe. They met with regional F.B.I. agents, National Indian Gaming Commission auditors, special BIA-appointed auditing firm Orrobba & Associates, and members of the Grass Roots Oyate to discuss plans to remove some financial records. The FBI had seized some records on January 18th under request from the Executive Committee. The Grass Roots Oyate have demanded for weeks that President Salway exercise his executive power to demand an impartial audit of all governmental fund types.

Orrobba & Associates reassured the Grass Roots Oyate that a clean, impartial audit is their top priority. They will start with the fiscal 1999 general fund account and "go from there". The auditors stated this audit might very well lead to a criminal investigation; it is only a matter of time now. The audit will be conducted at the Federal Building in Rapid City, S.D.

National Indian Gaming Commission auditors encouraged any individuals with documentation that proves misconduct at the Tribe's Prairie Winds Casino, to come forward now. If there is legitimate evidence, they will conduct an on-site audit at the casino immediately. They further stated that it is not necessary to provide information through the BIA; they can file their complaints with the Gaming Commissioner's office in Pine Ridge Agency, S.D.

Meanwhile, BIA Superintendent Ecoffey continues to use scare tactics on tribal employees. He has repeatedly stated that all federal "638" programs are preparing to rescind their contracts if the Grass Roots Oyate do not vacate the tribal building immediately. The group spoke with officials in Washington, D.C. and was reassured that the contracts were not in immediate jeopardy. The group contends that Ecoffey has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. He continues to tell the group that he has no power and cannot help them. Meanwhile, today, he allegedly attended the illegal meeting of the Tribal Council and advised them to "act quickly and find solutions to the present situation." Ecoffey encouraged President Salway to attend the meeting and address the Council. Salway refused, noting that it was an illegal session and he would have no part in it.

The Grass Roots Oyate, in their 24th day of occupation, are committed to following through on their demands. Today, they reassured Ecoffey and Salway that they will not vacate the tribal building until the Tribal Treasurer, Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs is permanently removed from all tribal government appointments/positions. Furthermore, they said that the Tribal Council no longer has supreme power over the members of the Tribe. The traditional people, oppressed for 66 years by the I.R.A. (Indian Reorganization Act) form of government, have taken a stand and are actively preparing for the abolishment of this government. The momentum building as a result of the occupation elates elders from all over the reservation. In a regular evening meeting at the Red Cloud Building, many spoke of the old days, when the "Council of 21" (appointed headsmen, chiefs) governed the Oglala Lakota Nation. It will provide free enterprise, allowing this sovereign nation to do business with other nations. The tiospayes (extended families) were strong, no one went hungry. They advised that if we return to a monthly per capita income system for tribal members, the people would have control of monies that rightfully belong to them.

The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the Red Cloud Building in Pine Ridge Agency, S.D. on January 16, 2000. The occupants are comprised of elders, women, children and men that believe they have exhausted all remedies to overturn the corrupt government that has ruled this reservation for years. Exercising their authority under the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie, the group is protecting financial records and all files/computer equipment in the Treasurer's office until they are confiscated. Among the nine demands, the group is requesting a full land audit on the Tribe's primary bank, The First National Bank of Gordon, N.E.; and full land audit of tribal lands under trust by the B.I.A.

For further information, please contact Floyd Hand or Media Coordinator, Dale Looks Twice at (605) 867-5303.

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


Wild Horse


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