Grass Roots Oyate
January 16, 2000
Until we Win
Current Pine Ridge Weather
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2000
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
REGIONAL BIA DIRECTOR DENIES GRASS ROOTS' TREATY RIGHTS!
In a telephone conversation today with Cora Jones, Regional Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Grass Roots Oyate demanded to know why her department has not responded to their repeated requests for assistance. She stated that she has full faith in Robert Ecoffey, BIA Superintendent for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She claimed that Ecoffey is in complete control of the situation at Pine Ridge Agency. When the Grass Roots Oyate asked how they could remove Ecoffey from his post, Jones stated that she would have to be convinced of misconduct before she would even consider his removal. The group reminded her of the fiduciary trust responsibility she has to the Oglala Lakota under the guidelines of the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie. She responded by stating that the only system she recognizes is the I.R.A. government (Indian Reorganization Act - 1934) and will deal only with the Tribal President and the Tribal Council.
The group informed Jones that Superintendent Ecoffey is using scare tactics to turn tribal members against each other. He has repeatedly stated that he may rescind the federal contracts if the people do not vacate the tribal offices. Jones stated that she has, in fact, placed the Oglala Sioux Tribe's Federal PL638 Programs on "high risk" status due to non-compliance. And further stated that our occupation of the building does not help the situation. The Grass Roots Oyate contend that the federal contracts are administered at the B.I.A. building and all monitoring of these contracts is being done at another office. The occupiers took exception to Jones' accusations and demanded a face-to-face meeting with her. She stated that she did not know when she would find time to come to Pine Ridge Agency.
Meanwhile, visitors from one of the seven Sioux Bands arrived at the Red Cloud Building today to "observe and learn" from the Grass Roots Oyate. There was an eerie similarity in their report of the corruption taking place on their reservation. They encouraged the Grass Roots Oyate to stay strong and stand on their demands. In the last four weeks, members from all seven Sioux Bands have come to Pine Ridge Agency to see firsthand how the Grass Roots Oyate are using peaceful means to reform their governmental system.
As copies of the Tribe's financial ledgers continue to circulate around the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, even teenage tribal members are expressing their disgust over the obvious corruption taking place within tribal government. High school students from the reservation are planning to visit the Red Cloud Building this week to "observe and learn", which is the traditional Lakota way.
Today marked the one-month anniversary of the Grass Roots Oyate's occupation of the Red Cloud Building. They took peaceful control of the building on January 16, 2000. They represent the "silent majority" of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which has approximately 40,000 enrolled tribal members, making it one of the largest in the United States. Additionally, the Oglala Sioux were one of the last tribes forced to sign a peace treaty with the United States Government. The 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie remains in full force to this day.
Historically, the Oglala Lakota have never lost in battle to the United States. They contend that they will remain in the building until their demands are met.
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