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Pine Ridge

Occupation Peoples

Grass Roots Oyate

January 16, 2000

Until we Win

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GRASS ROOTS OGLALA LAKOTA OYATE

Red Cloud Building, P.O. Box 51, Pine Ridge, S.D. 57770

Phone (605) 867-5303 Fax (605) 867-2115

http://members.tripod.com/GrassRootsOyate

 

via facsimile

May 24, 2000

Mr. Kevin Gover
Assistant Secretary
U.S. Department of Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Mr. Gover:

We have been informed that a draft version of the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s 1999 Indirect Cost Fund audit has been completed and was forwarded to Cora Jones at the BIA Area Offices in Aberdeen nearly two weeks ago.

Although the BIA is viewed as the "client" in this situation, this audit process would not have occurred if it weren’t for the courageous efforts of the Grass Roots Oyate. As members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, it is our right to review any and all financial reports that involve tribal funds. We have spoken with Ms. Jones via telephone and she refuses to release a copy of this report because it is in draft form. We reminded her that the ’99 General Fund audit was also a draft version, but nevertheless, was made public information.

Additionally, Superintendent Robert Ecoffey was called to speak before the Oglala Traditional General Council (an interim advisory board) to provide an update on the five-year, full forensic audit process. Needless to say, we were dumbfounded by Agent Ecoffey’s attempt to persuade our elders to settle for the 1999 audit and to allow John Donham, CPA to finish the 1998 audit. We reminded Agent Ecoffey that, first, Mr. Donham is under investigation by several federal agencies; second, that the IRA Tribal Council voted unanimously to authorize a five-year financial audit in a regular session meeting on February 1, 2000; and third, you had committed to a five-year audit investigation on national public radio.

When we came into the Red Cloud Building in January 16th, we gave a list of concise demands. Our primary goals being the immediate termination of Tribal Treasurer, Wesley C. Jacobs, A five-year, full forensic financial audit, and an audit of the Tribe’s and the BIA’s land offices. After 129 days in occupation, we have not wavered from our orginal demands.

Ms. Jones and Agent Ecoffey became very defensive when we questioned their motives to hinder the audit investigation. Last week, we uncovered Agent Ecoffey’s participation in illegal land transactions with tribal officials. We feel we have no choice but to rquest that they be temporarily reassigned and alternate personnel be brought in to aid in relieving the crisis at Pine Ridge Agency.

We respectfully request that you direct Ms. Jones to forward a copy of the ’99 Indirect Cost Fund audit to us at the address listed above.

There are no personal vendettas involved in this movement. But we cannot allow the corruption to continue with the right hand never knowing what the left hand it doing. I am confident that your legal training taught you to preserve and promote justice. That is our intent as well.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely

 

Floyd L. Hand, Jr.
Spokesman
Grass Roots Oyate

Cc: Dean Cycon, Esq.
Bruce Babbit-Secretary-U.S. Dept. of Interior
Senator Tom Daschle, SD
Senator Tim Johnson, SD

 

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