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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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February 11, 2000

Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:


In their 26th day of occupying the tribal administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST), the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate (people) remain in high spirits thanks to thousands of telephone calls and letters of support from people all over the world.

Spokespeople for the group stated that they have received calls from many other indigenous nations inquiring as to how they can change their government systems. The Grass Roots Oyate are committed to transforming their government to benefit all the members of the Tribe. Since 1934, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has been oppressed by the Indian Reorganization Act (I.R.A.). This form of government, modeled after the U.S. government system, was illegally forced upon the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in an effort to bring them into the "mainstream". Many elders speak of the secretarial election that brought the I.R.A. system. They stated that the majority of the reservation did not even participate in the election, fearing that it would terminate their sovereignty and make them U.S. citizens. Others say they were misinformed about what the system was intended for and the length of its term.

With the new millenium, comes a renewed commitment to returning to a more traditional form of government. The current system clearly divides the people; making a small percentage of the population richer and the unemployed majority poorer. The traditional "Council of 21" system philosophy is to reaffirm and reestablish the alliance and allegiance to one another. The council is governed by an appointed headsman from each tiospaye (extended family). Decision-making shall be determined and conducted according to traditional Oglala Lakota customs and laws.

The Grass Roots Oyate took peaceful control of the Red Cloud Building on January 16th in an effort to protect the financial records inside until a five-year, full forensic audit of all funds can be conducted. The group contends that the OST Treasurer and members of the Tribal Council have mismanaged millions of dollars in federal funds allocated to the members of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They are demanding the immediate removal of the treasurer and council for their gross misconduct. The Grass Roots Oyate are committed to staying in the building until their demands are met.

The Grass Roots Oyate are hosting a meeting of traditional headsmen to initiate these changes on Sunday, February 13, 2000 at 12:00 p.m. at the Red Cloud Building in Pine Ridge Agency, S.D. The group welcomes all concerned parties to come and listen to the elders as they share their wisdom.

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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