Grass Roots Oyate
January 16, 2000
Until we Win
Current Pine Ridge Weather
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2000
Red Cloud Building, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota:
Today marks the 13th day that the Grass Roots Oglala Lakota Oyate have occupied the Red Cloud Building, the administrative offices of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
A special ceremony was conducted for the members of the tokala society that have protected the building since the takeover. This ceremony was to purify their hearts and minds and honor their bravery. Ceremonies have been the focal point of this takeover since the first day. The Grass Roots Oyate entered the Red Cloud Building in a peaceful way with the sacred pipe and eagle staffs. Traditional drum groups are invited into the building regularly to sing and uplift the spirits of the occupants.
The building has been on lock-down since Monday, January 17th, with no elected officials or employees allowed to enter the building. The Grass Roots Oyate took control of the building to protest against the oppressive IRA government and its "dictatorship".
Oglala Sioux Tribal President Harold Salway and Bureau of Indian Affairs Superintendent Robert Ecoffey have pointed the finger of responsibility at one another over these issues for the past thirteen days. Both are claiming that they have no authority over the Tribal Treasurer or the Tribal Council. The Grass Roots Oyate have repeatedly requested that BIA Superintendent Ecoffey step in and suspend all actions of the Treasurer and Council due to the severity of this situation.
On January 26th, the Grass Roots Oyate declared a "State of Emergency" to the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Interior. Under the laws governed in the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty, the U.S. government must intervene and protect the Tribe if its' members declare an emergency. The Grass Roots Oyate have, in effect, stopped tribal government in an effort to bring awareness to the 65 years of oppression brought on by the introduction of the Indian Reorganization Act (I.R.A.) of 1934.
The Grass Roots Oyate have vowed to retain control of the Red Cloud Building until the Tribal Treasurer, Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs is permanently removed from office. Additionally, the group is demanding a full forensic audit of all governmental fund types of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The purpose of taking control of the building is protect the financial records from tampering and/or destruction until they can be handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a grand jury investigation. Jacobs and members of the Tribal Council have been implicated for long-term misconduct and mismanagement of federal funds allocated to the members of the Tribe.
The Grass Roots Oyate represent grandmothers, fathers, mothers, and children. They are the true "silent majority" of the tribe. They have repeatedly followed due process to remove corrupt officials and are repeatedly denied. The people felt that they had exhausted all other remedies before taking control of the building.
The Grass Roots Oyate are calling upon on all Headsmen, Chiefs, Tokalas, and elderly men to participate in a meeting on Sunday, January 30th at 2:00 p.m., to honor our Tokalas in a special ceremony. A meeting will follow to prepare a position statement for the upcoming Tribal Council Meeting scheduled to begin January 31st at Billy Mills Hall, Pine Ridge Agency, S.D.
For further information, please contact Floyd Hand or Media Coordinator, Dale Looks Twice at (605) 867-5303.
As with all my posts concerning the Occupation Peoples please forward to any and all interested parties in its entirety