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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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February 12, 2000



As snow fell on Pine Ridge Agency, a small group marched in protest against the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate (people) who have occupied the tribal administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) for 27 straight days. The group, consisting of a few women and their children, oppose the Grass Roots Oyate's demands to remove the Tribe's Treasurer and the Tribal Council.

Elder members of the Grass Roots Oyate instructed the young Tokala (security) members to shovel the snow from the sidewalk in front of the building prior to the protesters arrival. The grandmothers had planned to invite them in for soup and bread, but the protesters never made it to the building. The elders stated that it is Lakota tradition to never deny anyone food or shelter and that we are all related. They cited that the power of the sacred pipe is what brought the protesters close to the building.

The Grass Roots Oyate are beginning to receive feedback on the OST financial ledgers that were circulated yesterday. Tribal members are frustrated by the nepotism that has plagued the tribal administration for years. The financial ledgers show large loan payments to councilmen's relatives; daily payouts to the Tribe's Treasurer Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs; excessive travel authorization payments, etc. The group is demanding the permanent removal of Jacobs from all government positions.

As many native nations watch on, the Grass Roots Oyate are making strides to abolish the I.R.A. (Indian Reorganization Act - 1934) form of government that has oppressed the Oglala Lakota Nation for 66 years. Over the past few weeks, representatives from other tribes have visited the traditionalists at the Red Cloud Building to observe and report back to their reservations. For this reason, the Grass Roots Oyate claim there has been a media blackout. They know that the U.S. government fears an "Indian uprisal". The Grass Roots Oyate believe that many indigenous nations are ripe for change in their government structures.

At a recent United Southern & Eastern Tribes conference in Washington, D.C., Commissioner on Indian Affairs, Kevin Gover, spoke of the I.R.A. system, "…It was meant to fail - to see that the tribes disappear. It has been broken from Day One…" The Grass Roots Oyate are committed to reestablishing a traditional government system that will better serve all the members of the Oglala Lakota Nation. A meeting with traditional headsmen and chiefs is scheduled for Sunday, February 13th at the Red Cloud Building. The purpose of the meeting is to gain input from traditionalists on the formulation of a new government.

The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the Red Cloud Building on January 16, 2000. For nearly four weeks, the tribal treasurer and the tribal council have taken desperate and sometimes illegal measures to remove the occupants.

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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