Grass Roots Oyate
January 16, 2000
Until we Win
Current Pine Ridge Weather
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2000
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
At approximately 12:30 a.m., shots were fired in the vicinity of the Red Cloud Building, tribal administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. A Tokala (protector) was shot in the leg after leaving the perimeter without permission. The Tokala will be dealt with by the Tokala Society after he returns. He was transferred to an area hospital and is listed in good condition.
Tensions have continued to mount, as the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate are into the tenth day of lockdown in the Red Cloud Building. The Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate have continuously maintained a peaceful nonviolent position based on their sovereign immunity rights under the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868.
Concerned members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe took peaceful, non-violent control of the tribal office on January 16, 2000. Their sole purpose is to protect and maintain all of the financial records inside pending a full forensic audit of indirect and general fund accounts of the Tribe. Additionally, the members are also demanding the immediate, permanent removal of Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs, Tribal Treasurer for gross misconduct and mismanagement of federal funds allocated to the members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The Tribal Council has also been implicated of improprieties and the Grass Roots Oyate have requested their suspension pending a referendum vote to remove them.
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is a severely economically depressed area. Unemployment is continuously at 85% even though the rest of the nation is experiencing prosperity at an all time high.
The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council continues to ignore the issues put forth by the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate. Instead, the Tribal Council and Tribal President have shifted the focus to interruptions in routine functions such as payroll processing and more serious needs such as burial services, educational payments and social services.
The position of the Grass Roots Oyate is that we're all suffering a little now for what we believe will be a better future to benefit the majority of the oyate of the reservation.
On January 25th, the group hand-delivered a resolution to the Pine Ridge Agency BIA Superintendent, Robert Ecoffey. The resolution demanded that the Superintendent assume temporary control of the Tribe's minimal financial services such as medical emergencies, funeral assistance, etc. It is the trust responsibility of the BIA Superintendent to step in and take control in a state of emergency. Mr. Ecoffey has repeatedly downplayed his authoritative role with the Tribe. He was immediately informed of the shots being fired outside at approximately 12:30 a.m. As of 6:00 a.m., Mr. Ecoffey has not come to the tribal building or made any attempt to confirm the safety of the occupants.
Members of the Tribal Council being implicated for criminal corruption have publicly stated that they want the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate removed from the building, with "deadly force if necessary". Whether or not this incident was directly related to our peaceful occupation, a young Tokala was wounded and every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of the children, women, and elderly inside the building.
A call went out via the Internet for supporters to come and assist the Grass Roots Oyate. They have received messages of support and many prayers from around the world for a peaceful resolution of our issues.
As of 6:10 a.m., MST, neither the Tribal President nor the BIA Superintendent has contacted the Grass Roots Oyate to confirm the safety of the tribal members at the building.
For further information, please contact Floyd Hand or Dale Looks Twice, Media Relations Coordinator at (605) 867-5303.
As with all my posts concerning the Occupation Peoples please forward to any and all interested parties in its entirety