Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tribes must be more aggressive to stop tar sands pipeline

I am curious to know why our Tribal Governments are not doing more to stop TransCanada from building the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline through our treaty lands. There are many Tribes living on or near the corridor where the proposed pipeline will run. It seems to me the Canadian Tribes are more vocal than we are. Why is that?

 

Will our tribal politicians wait until the land is totally devastated before they decide to take real action? Maybe our Tribal Governments don’t realize how important it is to stop this project. There have been resolutions approved by some Tribal Governments which contain language opposing oil pipeline construction. Still, approving legislation at the Tribal Government level is not enough. Our elected leaders must take a more aggressive role in stopping this proposed pipeline.

 

Think about it. If President Obama signs the Presidential Permit approving TransCanada’s application to build their death project, there will most likely be a man camp established in the Colome, SD area with at least 600 roughnecks from all over the country staying there. They will be making good money to build the monster pipeline. We have tribal members living in this area. The Milks Camp, Bull Creek and Ideal Communities are near the small town of Colome, SD.

 

Furthermore, Colome, SD is a mere 66 miles from Rosebud, SD; 63 miles from Lower Brule, SD; 67 miles from Fort Thompson, SD and 76 miles from Lake Andes, SD. This is much too close to our Indian Reservations, in my opinion. Those of us who choose to live here already know our Indian Reservations are extreme poverty areas. We have vulnerable women and children. What do you think is going to happen when we have an influx of wealthy strangers who lack integrity?

 

If you research the areas where man camps are established you will find they have a whole lot of horrid side effects – prostitution, drug activity, disappearances and even unsolved murders of women. Would you want your mother, aunt, sister, daughter, granddaughter or other women relatives spending time with men who are staying in these camps? Our tribal leaders need to come together NOW and make a stand against KXL.

 

I want to see the North/South Dakota Tribes organize as one voice to take a real stand against this project to guarantee it doesn’t happen. The people we vote into our Tribal Governments are put there to speak for us. Still, many times I hear the grassroots activists speak with much stronger voices when it comes to controversial projects, such as KXL.

 

Will the elected leaders who comprise our Tribal Governments in North/South Dakota sit back and allow President Obama to approve the permit? Our Tribal Governments, many of which were organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, are the only entity legally recognized by the federal government in terms of consultation. Thus, it’s crucial for ALL the North/South Dakota Tribes to come together to demand genuine government-to-government consultation.

 

I also believe this consultation must happen on our land. I’m not satisfied with the elected officials in Washington, DC dictating what government-to-government consultation should look like. You cannot convince me that a letter, an email or a phone call is “consultation.” Yet, I believe many elected leaders become complacent and accept these impersonal forms of communication as legitimate government-to-government “consultation.”

 

There was a time when representatives of the federal government traveled to Indian Country to engage in genuine consultation with recognized tribal leaders. I always wonder what was going through everyone’s minds when I look at those pictures from the 19th century depicting our Itancan and the representatives of the federal government sitting in a tipi negotiating treaties.

 

“The Ihanktonwan Treaty delegates have expressed plans to meet with the Milks Camp and Bull Creek communities [on the Rosebud Reservation] to assist and encourage the communities to learn how the KXL pipeline affects them. Invitations are being made to have Rosebud tribal council and treaty council to attend this meeting in mid-May,” said Faith Spotted Eagle, who testified in State Department hearings on the pipeline. “Tribes on the corridor must unite on a common consultation position. Divided positions can weaken the Native cause. It is time for unprecedented unity TO PROTECT THE SACRED!”

 

Furthermore, there are many laws which can be referenced by Tribal Governments in making a stand to ensure KXL is never built. The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act are just a handful of the existing laws which could be interpreted by the highly paid tribal attorneys to help the Tribal Governments make a united stand against KXL. 

 

Consequently, some of the language in the NHPA makes obvious reference to consultation. For instance, language on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation website states: “The regulations also place major emphasis on consultation with Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations, in keeping with the 1992 amendments to NHPA. Consultation with an Indian tribe must respect tribal sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Even if an Indian tribe has not been certified by NPS to have a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer [THPO] who can act for the SHPO on its lands, it must be consulted about undertakings on or affecting its lands on the same basis and in addition to the SHPO.”

 

I do not believe government-to-government consultation should be limited to THPO. Rather, this consultation should include the entire Tribal Council; after all, they ARE the governing body. Did you see where the Yaqui have invited President Obama to engage in a government-to-government consultation? Why can’t the Lakota-Dakota-Nakota tribes do this?

 

Furthermore, our treaty lands are sacred. Our ancestors walked every inch of our homelands. Thus, in my mind, the land which encompasses the original boundaries of the 1851 and 1868 Treaties has religious and cultural significance attached to it. NHPA’s website also states: “Federal agencies must also consult with Indian tribes that attach religious and cultural significance to historic properties, regardless of their location.”

 

Our ancestors were visionaries. They had faith in us – their descendants. They saw a future event where the Seventh Generation would rise up to change the world and perhaps even save mankind. I believe this is the time for our elected leaders to come together and demand a real government-to-government consultation held here in our treaty lands. Our descendants are depending on our elected Tribal Governments of today to ensure the treaty lands will still be livable when they are born.

 

 

 

Rosebud gearing up for summer election

ROSEBUD, SD – The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has announced plans to elect a new Tribal Secretary and a Tribal Treasurer. A Primary Election will be held on Thursday, July 25, 2013 in the twenty communities. The top two vote getters for each position will advance to the General Election on Thursday, August 22, 2013.

 

Prior to 2009, these two officer positions were filled by tribal council appointments. An amendment to the Tribal Constitution now requires both the Tribal Secretary and Tribal Treasurer to be elected at-large by tribal voters. Linda Marshall (Tribal Secretary) and Wayne Boyd (Tribal Treasurer) were the first tribal members elected to these positions in 2009. Both were subsequently re-elected in 2011.

 

However, incumbents Marshall and Boyd are not eligible for re-election this year due to term limits as outlined in Article III of the Tribal Constitution, which states in part: “The offices of the President, Vice President, Council Representatives, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be subject to limits of two consecutive terms.” Both officers are nearing the end of their second consecutive term in office.

 

Qualified tribal members can file nominating affidavits beginning on May 1 through May 30, 2013. Forms may be obtained from the Tribal Secretary’s office. Prospective candidates are required to pay a $300 filing fee to the Tribal Treasurer’s office prior to filing an affidavit.

 

Enrolled tribal members who wish to have their name placed on the ballot must have established residency on the reservation for at least one year prior to the date of the Primary Election and be of at least one quarter of Rosebud Sioux blood as listed on their abstract. Each candidate must also pass a background check before their name will be placed on the ballot. Prospective candidates must also have reached their 25th/30th birthday on or before the Primary Election Day.

 

The RST Election Board is responsible for certifying candidates. Members include Ed Clairmont, Berdine Yellow Eagle, James Neiss and Meredith Kills In Water. There is one vacancy on the Election Board. For more information on this election process please call the RST Election office at 605-856-2373.

Message from Arvol Looking Horse

Mitakuye Oyasin!

My Grandmother shared with me a powerful time when the people came together for prayers during the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s. She accepted a C’anupa to bring out the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle to end the drought and bring healing to Mother Earth. Even the non-native farmers heard of this prayer time and offered a cow to feed for the ceremony. The prayer was answered!

Recently I accepted tobacco from a Grandmother – Anpao Wic’ah’pi Was’te Winyan of the Ihanktowan Oyate. She had a dream of bringing People together at the bundle to pray for a healing of the biggest cancer that is spreading upon Mother Earth; caused from the Tar Sand efforts with XL pipeline that is threatening to come through our territory and our Sacred Sites.

Our Nation who is known as the Pte Oyate (The Buffalo People) will be praying with Sacred Bundle on May 18, 2013. Please bring food for feast and tobacco offerings.

I am asking “All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer’ to help us during this time of this gathering by praying with us on this day where ever you are upon Mother Earth.

We need to stop the desecration that is hurting Mother Earth and the communities. These recent spills of oil are affecting the blood of Mother Earth; Mni wic’oni (water of life).

Chief Bernard Ominiayak of the Lubicon Lake First Nation of Canada is also asking for prayers and to let the World know of his People’s stand against the Development that is happening against his People. They sit on 70% of oil; those that are after this oil are threatening their lives. His concern at this moment is of non-members, without their consent, signing away their rights and negotiating with Corporations that will forever affect their way of life – to live off the land – handing them a death sentence. At this moment there are too many of their people dying from cancer. When they hunt, they are finding maggot-infested moose. When they fish they are finding two headed fish. The people are dying from trying to survive in a traditional way in their territory. The UN has submitted a statement in support of Lubicon Lake Nation’s stand to live in Sovereignty and live in their tradition.

We have many concerns at this time. Along with the First Nations whose territory is within the Tar Sands desecration; with their lives being threatened and also the high death rates of cancer, along with the sickness of the land and animals.

Many other Nations are committed to praying with us on the day of our ceremony. For those that cannot attend, Chief Wic’ah’pi To Wambdi is helping with his sister’s dream representing the Ihanktonwan Oyate, by asking those that cannot attend to send him tobacco ties and flags so he can carry them for the People to the Bundle.

I have also been contacted by People who will have another gathering outside the UN at Isaiah’s Wall in NYC; they are committing to support and pray with us on May 17th at noon.

In a Sacred Hoop of Life, where there is no ending and no beginning!

Hec’el oinipikte (that we shall live)

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the
Sacred White Buffalo Pipe

For More Information: visit www.lubiconlakenation.ca

Address of Chief Wic’ah’ipi To Wambdi, 30702 Eggers Road, Wagner, South Dakota 57380

Will your great-great grandchildren die of thirst?

President Barack Obama must soon make a life or death decision. He holds the future of our planet in his hands as he contemplates approving or disapproving the application for a Presidential Permit for TransCanada to build their Keystone tar sands oil pipeline through our treaty lands.

 

Last week over 200 people signed up to speak at the State Department’s hearing held in Grand Island, Nebraska. I listened to members of the Cowboy-Indian-Alliance speak against the construction of TransCanada’s pipeline. At risk is the Ogallala Aquifer. This vast, vital water source serves humans, animals and crops in at least eight states.

 

Over the past three years I have written several pieces on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and the danger it poses to Earth’s survival. Still, there are mindless politicians on every level of government who could care less about life-threatening oil pipeline ruptures. In fact, all they care about is being re-elected to office. Politicians who accept campaign funds from oil companies sell their souls for free money. Many politicians are akin to lifeless robots. They obviously do not possess the critical thinking skills required to plan for the survival of the coming Seven Generations.

 

There have been countless oil spills on both land and in the waters resulting in irreversible contamination. Many humans, animals, plant and birds have suffered from these man-made disasters. If the current rush to mine all the oil and minerals from the Earth continues, our children will have a very difficult time surviving.

 

The Oglala Lakota Nation and the Black Hills Treaty Council have both gone on record opposing tar sands mining operations in Canada and the building of the proposed Keystone oil pipeline. Both the tribe and treaty council are also in support of the Mother Earth Accord which was adopted by numerous tribes, including the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and presented to President Barack Obama.

 

Furthermore, most Indian Reservations are lacking in homeland security. How would you react if someone invaded your home and threatened your family? I would not be very kind to anyone who made the personal choice to invade my home. The construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is a homeland security issue affecting all of us. Putting a large pipeline to carry undisclosed dangerous chemicals over our primary water source is probably the most lethal terrorist threat we’ve ever faced.

 

When this pipeline ruptures, as it surely will, where will our water come from? Where will we find water to drink, use in our gardens or give to our pets/livestock if the aquifer we depend is contaminated with tar sands oil?

 

The federal government created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after the 9/11 attacks to make the United States of America a safer place to live. The Homeland Security Act was signed into law on November 25, 2002. The mission of DHS is basically “to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards.” When you browse their webpage you will see several areas DHS focuses on, including counterterrorism, border security, preparedness, response, recovery, immigration and cybersecurity.

 

I have attended many tribal council meetings and the only areas I have ever heard them discuss are preparedness and response. What about counterterrorism, border security, recovery, immigration and cybersecurity? What about the security of our water? Our tribal governments could create our own DHS “to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards.”  

 

When we make a statement opposing tar sands mining and oil pipeline construction it means we do not support anything associated with these operations. I believe our tribal governments need to fast track some laws about overweight vehicles traveling the roads running through our lands. How much revenue could South Dakota tribes take in if there was a weigh station at every reservation entrance point?

 

There are so many trucks on the road now and who knows what they are carrying. The covered loads appear highly suspicious. Look at highway 83 which runs through the Rosebud Rez. Overloaded semi-trucks traveling 70-80 mph are extremely hazardous. They are a threat to our homeland security. Many tribal members have died on highway 83 after crashing with a semi-truck.

 

Our homeland will never be secure as long as these trucks are allowed free passage through our lands. Who will clean up the mess if there is ever a hazard waste spill from a semi-truck next to Sicangu Village or in downtown Mission? How many Lakota children will be affected if this ever happens?

 

If our tribal governments and elected officials are really serious about their written, approved statements against tar sands oil mining and the construction of new oil pipelines, they must be ready to assert their authority as a sovereign nation to back up the grassroots people/organizations and the homelands they represent. Tribal governments can only make their own legislation stronger by giving the state of South Dakota notice that the transport of oil mining or pipeline construction equipment is banned on any roads running through our reservations. Our tribal governments must work “to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards.” It is their job.

 

It is our responsibility to advocate for Mother Earth’s survival and to protect our sacred water for the coming generations. Be one of the million and show your love for your descendants by making a comment against the Keystone XL pipeline by Earth Day which is April 22, 2013.

 

You can enter your remarks here and your comment could read: “Please do not jeopardize our Ogallala Aquifer by building this death project. Our descendants deserve better. You do not have a right to take away their chances for a good life full of uncontaminated drinking water by risking an oil spill or leak from the Keystone pipeline running into the Ogallala Aquifer. Please do not approve the Presidential Permit.”

Do not let your great-great grandchildren die of thirst.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

 

Report from our board chair: Keystone XL pipeline hearing in Grand Island, NE

Dakota Rural Action

From Paul Seamans, DRA Board Chair and landowner crossed by the Keystone XL pipeline:

I just wanted to give you a little run down of my trip. I got there around 4:00 pm, got a room and got my bearings. The roads were mostly good all the way (it was 300 miles to Grand Island). I then went back north about 60 miles to a farm east of Fullerton where there was a pre-testimony rally and BBQ. I think this was mainly social where everyone visited and probably got a little psyched up. Near the end of the meeting everyone was asked to go outside on a grassy area, form about 3 concentric circles, hold hands, and a diverse group of about 8 people said prayers. There were 200-250 people at the BBQ.

[The next morning] I got to the fairground area about 9:00 a.m. and went to an indoor area…

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Priests and Brothers of St. Francis Mission sexually abused Sicangu Lakota children/women

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It is no coincidence that alcohol and sexual assault are being focused on during the same month. Many children are living with these two issues on a daily basis on our Indian Reservations.

There are many people locked away in prisons and jails because of a crime they committed while under the influence of alcohol. A majority of sexual assaults occur because someone drank too much vodka/whiskey/beer/etc. Alcohol is never a legitimate excuse for criminal or inappropriate behavior. After all, the decision to drink alcoholic beverages is a personal choice. No one forces you to ingest gallons of that deadly drink.

Even though I hear lots of clamor about how it’s totally legal to use, alcohol remains an addictive depressant drug. Addicts are constantly looking for ways to be under its influence. Heavy drinkers are committing a slow suicide.

Have you questioned why alcohol is called spirits? I never thought about why booze is called spirits until I stopped drinking. Now I wonder about the hard core alcoholics who die while under the influence of alcohol. Does their spirit carry the drinking addiction into the spirit world? When you die drunk, are you eternally drunk in the spirit world? This is something I have often wondered about.

The nature of addiction is very powerful. You become heavily attached (more like chained) to the substances you are addicted to. If you have not dealt with your addictions in this life, what makes you think they will all just fade away with death? Alcohol has a spirit – that’s why it is called spirits, in my opinion.

Many people give permission to the spirit (perhaps we should call it a demon) of alcohol to possess them on a regular basis. We have all seen the people acting pure stupid or obnoxious or violent while they are drunk. People commit horrendous crimes while they are under the influence of alcohol. I really believe the alcohol takes over your spirit at some point during the time you are overdosing on the drink. Could this be what is called an alcoholic blackout?

When I was overdosing on alcohol on a regular basis I experienced countless blackouts. It was scary to wake up and not remember what I did the night before. I felt bad when my friends would tell me things I did which I could not even recall.

Did the alcohol spirit chase my own spirit out of my body during those times? Maybe, but it was still my own personal choice to drink enough booze to put myself into a stupor where I could not remember what I did. So even if some alcohol spirit/demon came in and took over my body, actions and memory — it was still my choice to summon that entity by drinking all those bottles of liquid drugs; right? I have no excuse. I have no one to blame but myself.

Anyway, this column will most likely touch a few nerves if you are someone who likes to ingest alcohol on a regular basis. I suppose I will again be called names or be accused of being judgmental by those who drink heavily. Still, I have to write about alcohol because it affects nearly everyone living on my Rez.

Alcohol and sexual assault walk side-by-side here on the Rosebud Reservation. How many of our people who are convicted of sex crimes were drunk when they committed a sexual assault? Did a demonic spirit come out of that bottle of vodka to take over the drinker’s body to induce an alcohol blackout where a sexual assault took place?

Even if this is what happens, it is not the demonic spirit who will have to sit in a jail cell to serve time for a sexual assault which the perpetrator has no memory of. It is the human being, man or woman, who will have to live with that crime. It’s best to not even start drinking at all.

What about our Lakota children who are sexually assaulted by adults? Even if the adult is not under the influence of alcohol when they sexually abuse or assault a child, the child’s life is altered forever. It’s much worse when the adult is a person who holds a position of trust within their community.

Last week I visited the South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) website and read an article written by Charles Michael Ray. The article has links to copies of letters written by Jesuit priests who served St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

The writings are “A set of letters recently filed in a court case against the Catholic Church [which] detail allegations of sexual abuse against Native American children at the Saint Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The plaintiffs in the case consider these documents a kind of smoking gun. They say the letters that are written by clergy at the mission prove that church officials knew of continual sexual abuse at the boarding school. The letters also show the alleged abusers were not removed or reported to proper authorities.”

The letters, written by priests many of us trusted, are glaring proof of the sexual abuse suffered by our people. Read them and draw your own conclusions. These graphic letters, outlining alcohol and sexual abuse, are signed by Fathers Jones, Eglsaer, Fagan and Neenan. A 1994 letter signed by the late Father Fagan is a confession of his transgressions regarding alcohol use and sexual activity.

What a bunch of hypocrites! The Lakota people who comprise the Catholic population of the Rosebud Reservation were deceived for decades! St. Francis Mission should offer mental health counselors at no cost for the Lakota people who were sexually abused by the Jesuits/Brothers.

How many lives were ruined because of the actions of these men? How many Lakota people died drinking because they were sexually abused as children by perverts serving the Catholic Church?

Nestlé chairman says water is not a human right

Nestle is totally out of touch with reality. We need water to live. Isn’t it a basic human right to be able to live? Water is life and without it we will all perish. I am never buying another Nestle product again.

Keithpp's Blog

In a candid interview for the documentary We Feed the World, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck makes the astonishing claim that water isn’t a human right. He attacks the idea that nature is good, and says it is a great achievement that humans are now able to resist nature’s dominance. He attacks organic agriculture and says genetic modification is better.

Nestlé is the world’s biggest bottler of water. Brabeck claims – correctly – that water is the most important raw material in the world. However he then goes on to say that privatisation is the best way to ensure fair distribution. He claims that the idea that water is a human right comes from “extremist” NGOs. Water is a foodstuff like any other, and should have a market value.

He believes that the ultimate social responsibility of any Chairman is to make as much profit as possible, so that people…

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