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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 15, 2000: Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:

OST PUBLIC SAFETY MANAGEMENT SEEK HELP FROM GRASS ROOTS OYATE!

As The Tribe Turns…in the continuing soap opera called Oglala Sioux Tribal government, officials from the Tribe's Public Safety Department continue to seek support from the Grass Roots Oyate (people). For several months, officials within the department have been fighting for administrative control. Leaders from both sides have sought support from the Grass Roots Oyate. Chief Oliver Red Cloud, acting on behalf of the group, issued a position statement to the Public Safety Department informing them that the Grass Roots Oyate will not take sides in their dispute. Further, he stated that the Public Safety officials should not threaten physical removal of the Grass Roots Oyate from the Red Cloud Building. In a Tribal Supreme Court hearing on Saturday, February 12th, the court ruled to reinstate Everett Little White Man, former Director of Public Safety. The outgoing Director, William Brewer has appealed the Supreme Court's ruling.

The Grass Roots Oyate issued notice today to the Bureau of Indian Affairs Superintendent Robert Ecoffey for technical and financial assistance in their efforts to reformulate the tribal government. They stated that under the current Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the Superintendent has a fiduciary responsibility to assist the Tribe if they so desire to change their government. Ecoffey could not be reached for comment. His assistant stated that he is out of town until next week. The Grass Roots Oyate confirmed that Ecoffey and the OST President Harold Salway traveled to the BIA Regional Offices in Aberdeen, S.D. to discuss the situation at Pine Ridge Agency. Chief Oliver Red Cloud questioned the hidden agendas of the Superintendent and the Tribal President.

The Grass Roots Oyate were the topic of tonight's nationally syndicated radio talk show, The Chuck Morris Show. The Boston, Mass. based show featured a spokesperson for the Grass Roots Oyate who participated in a question/answer format for two hours. Calls of support came in from all over the country.

The aftermath of the removal of Councilman Michael Her Many Horses last night is spreading like a prairie fire. Other districts on the reservations have scheduled meetings to address their elected council members.

Tribal council members have been conspicuously quiet since copies of the OST financial ledger reports were circulated proving gross mismanagement of federal funds allocated to the members of the Tribe.

The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful occupation of the tribal administrative building on January 16th. The group represents the "silent majority" of the Oglala Sioux Tribe; the elders who have no indoor plumbing; the members who have asked for assistance for propane fuel or funeral assistance for a family member; the members who must travel out-of-state for organ transplants or radiation treatments. Meanwhile, the Tribal Treasurer and his Tribal Council continue to profit from the "poorest county in the United States".

Tomorrow, February 16th, marks the 30th day of the nonviolent sit-in at the Red Cloud Building. A special wopila (thank you) ceremony will be conducted at 1:00 p.m. to give thanks for our continued safety in the building and to thank all of the people around the world that have called and offered prayers of encouragement to the Grass Roots Oyate.

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

Wadv
Wild Horse

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