Grass Roots Oyate
January 16, 2000
Until we Win
Current Pine Ridge Weather
For Immediate Release
February 17, 2000
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
TRIBAL COUNCIL REP'S DEFEND THEIR EXCESSIVE SPENDING!
In the never-ending saga of the Oglala Sioux Tribal (OST) Government corruption scandal, the members of the Tribal Council began defending their excessive spending of tribal monies in District Council meetings this week. As copies of the Tribe's financial ledgers continue to circulate around the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, tribal members cannot express their frustration and feelings of betrayal from tribal council representatives.
In a meeting last night, an Oglala District Councilman stated that he "supports the people in the Red Cloud Building." In regards to the $500.00/month auto maintenance allowance he receives, he stated that he " took it each month because I have a bad car."
In a radio address today, a spokeswoman for the Grass Roots Oyate (people) questioned the Tribal Council's conscience, or lack of it. She asked, "how can they take so much money, while children on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation go without basic necessities - food, clothing, shelter." She further advised that "they could have given out those monthly allowances to the people so that everyone could have at least a $500.00 car to get around in."
The Grass Roots Oyate stated that the longer they occupy the Tribe's administrative offices, the more violations are made by the Tribal Treasurer and Tribal Council. In 1985, the OST Council passed Resolution #85-32 that states: " Be It Further Resolved, that the OST Council does hereby reaffirm the earlier position of the OST Council and does hereby prohibit OST Programs and other governmental entities from paying travel and stipend costs and/or honorarium for members of the OST Council and Executive Committee." This resolution was passed to prohibit "double recovery costs", commonly known as "double-dipping", a practice that has plagued the OST I.R.A. (Indian Reorganization Act - 1934) government for years.
The Grass Roots Oyate are demanding a face-to-face meeting with BIA Regional Director, Cora Jones. The written request, with supporting documents was sent via overnight mail to her office in Aberdeen. In the past four weeks, Ms. Jones has taken a passive stance on the situation at Pine Ridge Agency. She informed the group that she does not recognize the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie, and that she will continue to recognize the Tribe's elected officials. She has put her "full faith" in the Pine Ridge Agency BIA Superintendent, Robert Ecoffey. Ecoffey has continually stated that he has very little power over the illegal actions of the tribal government and has been using scare tactics to remove the Grass Roots Oyate from the Tribe's administrative offices, which they have occupied for 31 days.
The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the Red Cloud Building on January 16, 2000 for the sole purpose of protecting the financial records inside from further tampering/destruction. They have declared their sovereign immunity under the guidelines of the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie, which the U.S. Supreme Court has stated, is still in full force. To date, the OST Council has suspended and then reinstated the Tribal Treasurer Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs; and the Executive Committee has ordered an audit of the 1999 financial records. Among the nine demands, the group is demanding the permanent removal of Jacobs from all tribal government positions; a five-year, full forensic audit of all governmental fund types; and the suspension of the entire tribal council pending a referendum vote of the tribal members for their permanent removal and the formation of a more traditional governmental system.
The Oglala Lakota Nation has always been a leader amongst indigenous nations. Other Tribes from across the U.S. and Canada are carefully monitoring the Grass Roots Oyate's nonviolent approach at changing their government. They are receiving calls of support from other indigenous nations and several bands of the Great Sioux Nation have visited the Red Cloud Building to observe and report back to their reservations.
For further information, please contact Floyd Hand, or Media Coordinator, Dale Looks Twice at (605) 867-5303.
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