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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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Phone (605) 867-5303 Fax (605) 867-2115


March 12, 2000

Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, S.D.:

Today in an illegal meeting of the Oglala Sioux Tribal (OST) Council, there was a resolution passed to remove the Grass Roots Oyate (people) from the Red Cloud Building, the tribes administrative offices. The Council sated that they would recruit outside law enforcement to physically remove the occupants. Additionally, they voted to suspend tribal president Harold Salway and strip him of all his duties. These actions come after Salway issued a "state of emergency" declaration on Friday. According to Lynn Cutler, U.S. Liaison to President Clinton, Mr. Clinton has acknowledged and does recognize Salway’s state of emergency. In a telephone conversation today, Ms. Cutler assured the Grass Roots Oyate that she will be meeting with Clinton Monday morning to apprise him of today’s actions

The Councils attorney Richard Erie, contacted the OST Public Safety Department advising him to pull in outside forces to remove the Grass Roots Oyate. Public Safety officials informed Erie that no outside forces are needed and that the Council would have to meet the Oyate’s demands before they will vacate the building. The Grass Roots Oyate are demanding that U.S. Attorney Ted McBride prosecute Erie for fraud and misappropriation of federal funds. In his resume to the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council, he stated that he was bar-certified in eight states. A background check of Erie has found that he is not bar-licensed to practice in federal and state courts anywhere in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Grass Roots Oyate contend that their peaceful occupation is creating a beautiful unity of the members of the Oglala Lakota tribe. Many people that criticized the occupiers in the early stages of their occupation are now standing with the Grass Roots Oyate. Crowds of supporters filed into the circular prayer room to offer their support and demand the immediate removal of Jacobs and suspension of the tribal council for gross misconduct and mismanagement of federal funds.

The Grass Roots Oyate are also filing criminal complaints against BIA Superintendent Robert Ecoffey and Area Director Cora Jones for malfeasance of duties. Based on the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie, the Grass Roots Oyate stated that Ecoffey and Jones have a trust responsibility to the members of the Tribe. They have shown bias towards the renegade tribal council and suspended tribal treasurer. They have repeatedly inferred with the Tribes right to self-governance. The Grass Roots Oyate have stated that the unwarranted interference of Jones and Ecoffey into this internal matter is making things much worse than they really are.

The BIA-appointed auditor informed the Grass Roots Oyate that he has completed an early draft of his findings and his meeting with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General’s office in Rapid City, S.D. Orabba & Associates was contracted to conduct a forensic audit of the Tribes 1999 general fund account. Well known in Indian Country for making officials accountable, Orabba assured the Oyate that if there is fraud or embezzlement of the general fund account, He will find it and turn over the information to the U.S. Attorney.

The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the Red Cloud Building on January 16, 2000. They represent the silent majority of the Tribe. They include grandmothers, men, children and women who are seeking a positive reformulation of the Tribe’s governance system to create a better future for the generation yet to be born. The Grass Roots Oyate stated that they have declared their sovereign immunity in the federal building under the guidelines of the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie.

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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