Grass Roots Oyate
January 16, 2000
Until we Win
Current Pine Ridge Weather
GRASS ROOTS OGLALA LAKOTA
TO: Jay Taken Alive
FROM: Oliver Red Cloud
DATE: May 31, 2000
RE: Stand For Sovereignty Conference
I am writing on behalf of myself and on behalf of the Grass Roots Oyate of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. As you are aware, we took peaceful control of the Tribes administrative offices on January 16th in an effort to protect the integrity of the financial records therein from further tampering and/or destruction until an independent financial audit could be conducted.
We entered the building with our sacred cannupa and eagle staff and immediately erected an alter in the former "council chambers". Under the provisions of the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie, we declared our sovereign immunity in the building and demanded that the BIA superintendent fulfill his fiduciary responsibility to the members of the Tribe, not the Tribal Council.
After 135+ days of monitoring the building, we have not wavered from our original demands and our efforts are beginning to pay off. Initial audit findings are validating our allegations against a corrupt treasurer and a small handful of councilmen who have been skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars in tribal funds for several years.
The courage of my people to stand in unity and defy the oppressive IRA system has struck a chord throughout Indian country. We are gaining national and international support in our struggle from indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Many tribes have sent representatives to Pine Ridge to witness, first hand, how we have effectively maintained this building in a non-violent manner. Our actions have created a ripple effect that cannot and will not be quashed by the governments attempts to minimize our plight.
To that end, a delegation of treaty elders and interpreters are traveling to Washington, D.C. the third week of June to meet with President Clinton and Secretary Babbit to present a transitional government format that will be immediately implemented to better serve our people and our culture. Further, we will be demanding a forensic land audit of both tribal and BIA land offices to determine how much of our treaty land has been confiscated by the BIA and non-Indian ranchers. Purposely centered around the anniversary of the Battle at Little Big Horn, this historic meeting affects all Bands of the Great Sioux Nation and we respectfully request that your Reservation selects a treaty representative to travel with us to Washington, D.C.
Our stance reflects the will of indigenous people throughout Turtle Island. In an effort to bring our issues to the forefront, we are planning to host a conference of all treaty tribes to come together and sign a pact to demand that the U.S. recognize our treaties and effectively negotiate with us on nation-to-nation basis. The STAND FOR SOVEREIGNTY CONFERENCE is scheduled for July 14, 15, 16 at Pine Ridge Agency (see attached flyer).
A gathering of this magnitude is no small undertaking. We are in the process of establishing a restricted bank account specifically for this conference that will require numerous authorizing signatures to protect the account from being misused.
Any financial/technical assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
United, we have a voice! In peace and prayer.