Monthly Archives: September 2014

I am not a “Warrior Princess”.

indigenous visions

By Sarah Eagle Heart

Cante Waste ya Nape Ciyu zape ye (I greet you from my heart). This morning my Oglala Lakota grandmother called me upset because a group of people in Martin, South Dakota (a town bordered by Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Rosebud Indian Reservation) intend to bring back the “Warrior Homecoming Ceremony” at Bennett County High School. To hear this news is deeply unsettling, as I believed we had come far in cultural understanding, only to see we are back where we began. But then again tribal nations, along with many secular and non-profit organizations, are still protesting the NFL team Redskins. So this leaves me joining with other voices in explaining why.

This so-called “Warrior Homecoming Ceremony” was 57 years old when my twin sister Emma Eagle Heart-White and I began a protest in 1994 (at that time, we used the paternal side of family’s name of…

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Is it Ignorance or Arrogance?

Richard Rahn refused to obtain a Tribal Business Licence on the Rosebud Indian Reservation

Richard Rahn refused to obtain a Tribal Business License on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Photo by Vi Waln.

When tribal members travel off our Rez, it’s generally understood that we will be subject to the laws of the tribe, county, state or country which we are traveling through or visiting. Right?

The original boundaries of the Rosebud Reservation, which was illegally established in 1889 through a partition of the Great Sioux Reservation by the federal government, include the counties of Todd, Mellette, Tripp, Gregory and Lyman. Consequently, many Sicangu people were duped into selling their land allotments for next to nothing after the reservation was partitioned.

Still, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe recognizes the five county area as being within the exterior boundaries of the reservation as tracts of trust/tribal land are located within those counties. Consequently, non-Indian business owners quickly forgot the fact that the land their establishment was built on in Todd, Mellette, Tripp, Gregory or Lyman County originally belonged to a Sicangu Lakota. They will also refuse to acknowledge that the acquisition of the land they “own” wasn’t always a fair deal.

Today, the Rosebud Reservation is legally recognized as comprising all of Todd County. So, Todd County is the Rez, even though some of the land here is “owned” by wasicu. Thus, when you are doing business within the boundaries of Todd County you are subject the laws of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe whether or not you are a tribal member.

I attended the Cherry Todd Electric Cooperative Annual meeting in Mission last week. I do realize many of our non-Indian neighbors are ignorant when it comes to the way the Tribe conducts business. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt but I was rudely reminded of the ignorance and arrogance which the wasicu are capable of; the behavior I witnessed at the meeting was truly appalling. All those arrogant and ignorant wasicus need lots of prayers!

An issue which carried over from the 2013 meeting was the fact that an attorney retained by Cherry Todd didn’t have a tribal business license, which resulted in the tabling of a motion last year. The motion was apparently to remain tabled until the attorney obtained a license. Yet, the attorney was ignorant enough to believe he did not need a tribal business license to provide services within the legal boundaries of the Rosebud Reservation. Maybe he skipped class when his law school offered the lesson on the importance of complying with the laws of the local jurisdiction when doing business.

This attorney is not covered by Cherry Todd’s tribal business license because he is not an employee of the cooperative. Attorneys are paid a retainer to provide services. This attorney would only be considered an employee if he was at the cooperative office every day and paid a salary instead of a retainer.

People doing business within the boundaries of the Rosebud Reservation are required to obtain a tribal business license. It’s that simple, yet ignorance or maybe just plain arrogance got in the way of this lawyer doing things according to tribal law.

Vodka is Killing Our People

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When it comes to drug abuse there are people who will tell you that addicts will go to any length to get their drug of choice. And even though it is sold legally by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe on the Rosebud Reservation, alcohol is still classified as a drug. Alcohol acts as a depressant on the drinker’s central nervous system.

There was a time when my Tribe didn’t sell alcohol. There was even a resolution passed by the tribal council which stated the Tribe would make every effort to have an alcohol and drug free reservation by the year 2000. I don’t think that resolution was ever rescinded so basically it is still in effect. Today, the sale of alcohol continues to be a very lucrative economic development venture of my Tribe.

Even though my Tribe enjoys cash profits from their off-sale alcohol stores, the money will never offset the number of lives alcohol has affected. Last week Parmelee residents walked to remember residents who have died from alcohol abuse. Elders, adults and children walked the streets to make a statement that they were tired of people dying needlessly.

We all have free will. Alcohol is still a legal drug and my words probably won’t change the minds of those who are addicted or bootlegging. Still, some of the people who have died from drinking in Parmelee left behind small children. Who is caring for children who have lost a parent to alcohol?

The walk in Parmelee was also held to bring attention to the fact that there are numerous bootleggers in the community. One time I asked my Facebook friends to inbox me names of people who were bootlegging vodka in Parmelee. I was provided with at least thirty names. I turned all those names over to the Rosebud Police Department but I am not sure what action was taken.

I know some of you believe an addict will find and use their drug of choice no matter what. But the sale of vodka in Parmelee has to stop. The vodka sold by many bootleggers in Parmelee is often mixed with other products to make it go further. Some bootleggers will mix alcohol based hand sanitizer into the vodka they buy. Then the mixture is put into smaller containers to be sold to the people who want to drink.

This is wrong. When I think about the number of people who have died in Parmelee because of their drinking, I wonder how many of them bought vodka from bootleggers. I bet all of them did. I’d like to see voluntary manslaughter cases built against the bootleggers in Parmelee. After all, they are the dealing the poisonous mixture which is killing people.

Bootleggers! If you push your deadly vodka mixture in Parmelee, you definitely have blood on your hands because you knowingly sold a poisonous drink to a person suffering from an addiction. The last bottle of vodka you sold them, which you mixed with whatever, cost them their life.