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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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February 10, 2000

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


For weeks now, critics have urged the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate to prove their allegations against the Oglala Sioux Tribal (OST) Treasurer and members of the Tribal Council. Today, the Grass Roots Oyate released copies of financial ledgers that prove gross mismanagement of federal funds allocated to the members of the Tribe. Grass Roots' spokespeople stated that a copy was given to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Rapid City, S.D.

Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs, has denounced the group's efforts to permanently remove him from tribal government. To date, he maintains his innocence and claims that he takes direction from the OST Finance Committee. He has publicly threatened that "if I go down, they all go down", referring to members of the Tribal Council and Finance Committee. The Finance Committee is comprised of thirteen members, who not surprisingly, are all Tribal Council members. One member is quoted as saying, "I took a position on the committee to protect our monies." But the evidence paints a different picture. The ledger reports, which are detailed in content, show individual pay outs for such things as: hundreds of dollars in advanced mileage; several months of monthly auto allowances in one large payment; payments to numerous family members.

While the Grass Roots Oyate are claiming a small victory, it is a bittersweet one. The ledger reports show that the tribal members with the most basic needs are given twenty or thirty dollars. They include cancer patients/organ transplant candidates in need of emergency medical assistance for long-term treatments in Denver or Minneapolis. Spokespeople for the group contend that the current form of government is designed to benefit the elected officials, not the grass roots people.

The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the tribe's administrative offices in Pine Ridge Agency on January 16, 2000. Their non-violent approach to changing their government has left tribal officials and Bureau of Indian Affairs officials at a loss for how to remove the occupants. The group contends that they have sovereign immunity under the guidelines of the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie. They have vowed to remain in the Red Cloud Building until their demands are met. Demands include the abolishment of the I.R.A. (Indian Reorganization Act - 1934) form of government. The I.R.A. was, by some estimates, illegally forced upon the First Americans, as a way to assimilate them into "mainstream America". At a recent meeting with tribal leaders, Commissioner on Indian Affairs, Kevin Gover stated that the I.R.A. government was designed to fail.

The Grass Roots Oyate are committed to making significant changes in their government. They are calling for a return to the "Council of 21" system that governed the Oglala Lakota Nation for centuries. Treaty elders, who have stayed in the building since the first day, say this ancient system is still in place and will greatly benefit all tribal members. The elders are preparing an information packet to distribute throughout the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

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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