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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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April 3, 2000



In a meeting with Grass Roots Oyate spokesmen, U.S. Attorney Ted McBride stated that he is friends with Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs and frequents the Pine Ridge Reservation to go "horseback riding" with Jacobs. The Grass Roots Oyate allege that Jacobs, the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s treasurer, is the ring leader of a group of tribal officials that have skimmed millions of dollars off of the Tribe. In light of Mr. McBride’s statements, the Grass Roots Oyate are forwarding affidavits to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno along with a request to bring in an alternate U.S. Attorney to take over the investigation into the Tribe’s financial improprieties. They contend that they will not receive a fair and impartial investigation with McBride at the helm.

As Spring prairie fires run wild across the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Treasurer and Finance Committee are running wild with the Tribe’s checkbook. The now infamous "renegade officials" are blatantly ignoring their constituents and the constitution they swore to uphold. Tribal Treasurer, Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs continues to issue to checks for himself and members of the Tribal Council, leaving the majority of the tribal members (including elders) to fend for themselves.

Publicly, the Tribal Council and the Bureau of Indian Affairs blames the Grass Roots Oyate’s occupation of the Tribe’s administrative offices for their inability to effectively serve the members of the Tribe. However, the Grass Roots Oyate contend that the Tribe and the BIA have grossly mismanaged tribal and federal programs and that most of the reservation never received assistance anyway. U.S. Assistant Secretary Kevin Gover is threatening economic sanctions against the Pine Ridge Reservation if the Grass Roots Oyate do not vacate the tribal building and resolve their issues.

The Grass Roots Oyate contend that they have exhausted all legal remedies through the tribal judicial system to end the corruption that is taking place on the reservation. They feel that the steel ring of corruption encompasses high-ranking officials within the BIA, the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Head Judge, the First National Bank of Gordon president (the Tribe’s primary bank), and the South Dakota U.S. Attorney.

Robert Ecoffey, BIA Superintendent at Pine Ridge, has stated that the BIA will be assuming temporary control of the Tribe’s finances this week. Ecoffey stated that he will make this announcement at a meeting of the "renegade" Tribal Council tomorrow, April 4th, in Wanblee, S.D. The Grass Roots Oyate does not recognize this meeting to be legal because it was scheduled without the authorization of the tribal president.

The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the Tribe’s administrative offices on January 16th in an effort to protect the integrity of the Tribe’s financial records pending a full forensic audit. Further, the Oyate are demanding the immediate, permanent removal of Jacobs from all tribal positions. To their credit, a forensic audit of the Tribe’s 1999 General Fund is complete and an audit of the ’99 Indirect Cost Fund is underway. The Grass Roots Oyate and their critics have at least one thing in common; government reform is needed. One elder spokeswoman for the Grass Roots Oyate summed up the current situation by stating that, "We are all Lakota. Many of our ancestors fought and died for their land and their freedom. We must think of them at this time. What would they do? How did they deal with members that desecrated the sacred cannupa (pipe) and jeopardized the welfare of their camp? We must pray hard for those that speak out against us. They are pitiful, and some day, when these Councilmen are out of office, they must walk amongst their people again."

After 78 days, the Grass Roots Oyate remain strong and defiant. They thank all those indigenous nations that have visited the Red Cloud Building and those that have called to support their efforts for truth and accountability.

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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