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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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April 26, 2000:



In their continuing struggle for justice, the Grass Roots Oyate won a battle in the war against corruption today. An elder member of the Grass Roots Oyate, acting on his own behalf, filed a petition to the Tribal Court requesting that temporary tribal Attorney General Richard Erie reimburse the Oglala Sioux Tribe for funds he received for travel expenses. The plaintiff, Robert Ecoffey, Sr., alleged that Richard Erie, a non-tribal member, was double billing the Tribe for travel and mileage on his expense report and that he should be disbarred for his deceptive practices.

Erie, who arrived at the tribal court house in a white limousine with two elderly Lakota women, sauntered into the court room and maintained a flippant attitude throughout the proceedings. The women that accompanied Erie, staunch supporters of the allegedly corrupt tribal government, seemed to be attempting to bring credibility to Erie’s deteriorating reputation. However, OST Head Judge Patrick Lee, was not swayed by Erie’s usual melodramatics. One day after hearing the case, he ruled in favor of the plaintiff, citing that Erie, as a professional attorney, must conduct himself above that of an average citizen. He went on to say that Erie showed deceptive tactics by double-billing the Tribe and that it was grounds for disbarment under the Tribe’s judicial code. The ruling stated that Erie’s tribal license is to be immediately revoked and he is to be disbarred indefinitely, pending a final ruling by the Oglala Sioux Supreme Court.

Grass Roots Oyate spokespeople believe that the power of the sacred pipe, which has been the only instrument used in their peaceful occupation, has again brought out the truth. Since arriving on the reservation, Erie has used unprecedented measures to remove the Grass Roots Oyate from the Tribe’s administrative offices.

Traditional government, not "self-governance", best for Oglala Lakota…

Another interloper has been exposed on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A group called United Native Nations, headed up Rudy James and Antoinette Red Woman, non-tribal members, attempted to host referendum elections that would effectively abolish the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty that the Tribe signed with the U.S. James has lured a small group of unwitting tribal members with promises of immediate access to $100 million dollars if they sign his documents. The Grass Roots Oyate became very leery of James’ offer and, through an investigation have found that no such funds are available to the Tribe unless they relinquish their mineral rights or possibly accept settlement monies from the Black Hills Land Claim Judgment. Further, his claim that "self-governance" is the only solution for our Tribe, is callous and arrogant, say Grass Roots spokespeople. The Oglala Lakota, one of seven bands of the Great Sioux Nation does have an active treaty with the U.S. Therefore, the self-governance approach does not apply here. The Grass Roots Oyate, along with the newly appointed Traditional General Council are formulating a transitional government that will reestablish the original form of governance that effectively administered this Tribe for centuries. To that end, the Grass Roots Oyate passed a resolution to prohibit James and his organization from holding elections here.

Daschle waffles; Grass Roots Oyate request Republican support…

Millie Horn Cloud, keeper of the original sacred pipe used at the signing of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, took the Grass Roots’ case to Washington. In a 45-minute meeting with U.S. Senate Minority Leader, Tom Daschle (S.D.), Ms. Horn Cloud briefed Senator Daschle on the events that have surrounded the occupation in Pine Ridge. She requested that Daschle use whatever power and influence he has to initiate a Senate Select Committee investigation into the misappropriation of federally-allocated tribal funds and the Bureau of Indian Affairs involvement at the local, regional and national levels. Daschle, who introduced a bill to the Senate to take over 100,000 acres of treaty land from the Great Sioux Nation, has been harshly criticized by indigenous tribes. This action was a direct violation of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. The bill successfully passed through the Senate. If Daschle does not attempt to save face and assist the Oglala Lakota in their efforts to expose corruption and reformulate their government, the Grass Roots Oyate will seek assistance from Republicans, currently chomping at the preverbal bit to look favorable to Indian nations in this election year.

In the 102nd day of the peaceful occupation of the Red Cloud Building, the Grass Roots Oyate maintain an optimistic attitude and remain hopeful that justice will prevail. One of their nine demands, a five-year, full forensic audit of the Tribe’s financials, is well underway. The Grass Roots Oyate are confident that this audit will support their allegations against the Tribal Treasurer, Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs, the Tribe’s C.P.A., John Donham, and members of the Tribal Council for gross mismanagement and embezzlement of tribal funds.

Contacts: Floyd Hand or Dale Looks Twice @ (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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