May 5 is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Awareness Day. Racing Magpie, in downtown Rapid City, has space dedicated to MMIW. The room is a sad, powerful place. I was moved when visiting the room filled with Red Dresses to remember MMIW. I explained to my Takoja the lives of the women I knew and how they died.

Candace Rough Surface was murdered in 1980.

Candace Rough Surface is one of the names written on a small piece of paper and pinned to a red dress in the room at Racing Magpie. She was raped and killed in 1980 by two wasicu teenagers. The shooter, Nicholas Scherr, was sentenced to 100 years in prison. He was granted parole and released from prison last summer. He reportedly lives in Sioux Falls.

Jancita Eagle Deer #MMIW

The death of Jancita Eagle Deer in 1975 is another example of a Lakota woman who died under mysterious circumstances. She was hit by a car in Nebraska, 200 miles away from her home on the Rosebud Reservation. No one was ever arrested in connection with in her death.

Delphine Crow Dog is another Lakota woman who died mysteriously in 1972. Her body was found southwest of the St. Francis Community on the Rosebud Reservation. Again, no suspects were ever arrested in her death.

Mona Two Eagle
Mona Two Eagle MMIW

Mona Two Eagle is another Lakota woman whose body was found on the Rosebud. The feds claimed they didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute the man many of us suspect as her murderer. He still walks free.

Lakota – as well as other Indigenous women, men and children – have been murdered and gone missing for decades, if not centuries. For example, a 4-month-old Lakota baby girl, taken from the arms of her murdered mother at Wounded Knee in 1890, is today known by the world as Zintkala Nuni (Lost Bird). Despite being left on the killing fields at Wounded Knee for four days in freezing temperatures following the massacre; she was the miracle baby who made a full recovery under the care of her Lakota relatives.

Lost Bird
Zintkala Nuni was kidnapped by General Colby, who kept her as a trophy and sexually abused her.

As a child, Lost Bird was kidnapped by the wasicu General Leonard Colby. Zintkala Nuni was a missing Indigenous girl who was given the wasicu name Margaret Elizabeth Colby. The General was suspected of sexually abusing her when she was a teen and fathering her stillborn child.

She later participated in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show with other Lakota relatives. The life and death of Lost Bird is tragic. She died in 1920 on Valentine’s day. In 1991, Lost Bird’s remains were reinterred, near her mother buried in the Wounded Knee mass grave, during a ceremony led by Chief Arvol Looking Horse.

Unfortunately, we will see increased MMIW cases with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. When construction begins, thousands of workers will flock to our area. Temporary camps will be established near the pipeline route and will pose a true threat with a high potential to devastate the lives of our people.

So, even though many people view MMIW as a contemporary issue, it’s really nothing new to us. We always remember our missing and/or murdered women, men, teenagers and children. Living in this colonized world as an Indigenous person is extremely dangerous; our people disappear without a trace more often than we want to admit.

Larissa Lone Hill
Larissa Lone Hill
Alex Vasquez
Alex Vasquez

On Pine Ridge, relatives are still looking for Larissa Lone Hill, a Lakota woman who disappeared in October 2016. Also missing is Alex Vasquez, who disappeared in October 2015.

Our prayers are with the Sicangu tribal citizen found in the St. Francis Community over the weekend. There is so much tragedy in our communities; our people have no protection. I urge you all to please be aware of your surroundings and stay safe.


Cante Hunkesni Win (Lakota) is an award-winning Journalist.

Rosebud bans alcohol, considers checkpoints on border

ROSEBUD RESERVATION – Last week, the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council banned alcohol on the reservation due to the state of emergency declared because of the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Rosebud Casino and Fuel Plaza were the only licensed alcohol outlets before the COVID-19 pandemic. When both businesses closed in late March, there were no longer any licensed outlets selling alcohol. When the decision was made to re-open the Fuel Plaza during week days, the tribal council took the action to ban alcohol. While the Rosebud Casino remains closed, the Fuel Plaza reopened last week. Hours are 8am-7pm, Monday through Friday. A limit of 10 customers will be allowed in the store at one time. No children are allowed in the Fuel Plaza.

President Rodney Bordeaux also announced that the tribal headquarters will remain closed to the public through May 29, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic situation will be reassessed at that time. Essential programs are still providing limited services to tribal citizens.

“It makes me proud as an elected leader to see essential employees show up on a daily basis to serve the tribe,” stated Bordeaux. Call 605-747-2381 to learn more about what services are being provided.

The tribe is also considering developing border checkpoints within a week or two to monitor traffic coming and leaving the reservation. Tribal officials are currently working with state and county governments to set this up. Checkpoints will be funded with money designed for the tribe under COVID-19 relief. President Bordeaux reported funding was also received by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

The RST Task Force has been meeting every week to formulate a response plan should there be an outbreak on the Rosebud reservation. Several sites were considered to house an overflow hospital, should there be a need for one. The Sinte Gleska University Multipurpose Center is the top choice for an overflow facility. The two other sites available are the Diabetes Prevention Program building and the Adult Correctional Facility. It would be a medical decision to expand the Rosebud Hospital to one or all of these sites if needed.

The Task Force is also working with local vendors to provide cloth face masks to adult tribal citizens on the Rosebud.

President Bordeaux recently reported there will be no evictions from SWA housing through the COVID-19 pandemic. He asked SWA tenants to please understand this is not an excuse for you to not meet rental obligations. In addition,

He also mentioned meetings with local utility companies to discuss shut-offs. “Both agencies have assured me they will do anything they can to assist customers during this time,” Bordeaux said.

The Rosebud I.H.S. hospital remains closed to the public. However, the hospital does have a machine to do quick tests for COVID-19 onsite. Results come back within 15 minutes. The hospital still has to follow the CDC guidelines set down for COVID-19 testing. Call in to determine if you need further assessment based on your symptoms.

In addition, all vehicles will be stopped upon entering the Rosebud hospital compound for a basic screening by staff. Tribal citizens requiring basic medical attention or prescription refills should call in advance. Phone lines are 605-747-0532 or 605-747-0533. The Emergency department remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for those with medical emergencies. Please enter through the emergency department door. There is no dental clinic being provided while the hospital is closed, but emergencies will be seen. Women’s clinic is still available in the mobile unit parked in front of the facility. Medication refills will be delivered directly to your vehicle after you provide your information to the employee at the front entrance.

Also, there are no public wakes/funeral being held. “It is not my intent to disrespect anyone during their time of mourning,” stated President Bordeaux. “We also need to provide for the safety of the living during the pandemic.”

Holmes Funeral Home of Valentine, Nebraska provides 90 percent of reservation burials. The tribe does not want to endanger Funeral Director Karlanne Holmes or her staff by having public wakes and funerals. Until further notice by Ms. Holmes, the following protocol will be followed.

Conferences with families to make burial plans will be made by phone/text/email. Arrangements will be made for clothing, blankets, photos, etc. to be dropped off at the funeral home.

No public wakes. An option would be to have a small, private, immediate family only viewing followed by graveside service and burial. Viewings of 10 or fewer family members can be done at the funeral home, followed by a caravan to the cemetery. Viewings with more than 10 people must be conducted at the gravesite. The family may also choose to livestream the service for other relatives and friends. A public memorial service and feed should be held at a later date after the threat has passed and it has been deemed safe. If a family insists on having a wake service, they will assume all responsibility to include transport from the funeral home to wake and burial.

“We as Lakota need to rise up and support each other in our own ways,” stated President Bordeaux. “It will be some time before things get back to normal.”

President Bordeaux and Rosebud Hospital staff provide a weekly update on YouTube. Past updates are archived on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s official channel. Tribal information on the COVID-19 pandemic are posted on the RST website.


Are Lakota Children Still Sacred?


April is designated as National Child Abuse Awareness Month. This week (April 19-25) is being observed as the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Our reservations are homes to countless victims of all ages. Sadly, not enough is being done to help keep victims safe. The corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic has exacerbated many dangerous environments in homes on both Rosebud and Pine Ridge.

Last week a concerned tribal citizen posted on social media about an alleged incident of child abuse she witnessed in Mission, SD. The alleged child abuse involved a little boy being knocked down on his face in view of everyone in front of Rosebud Exchange.

Apparently, a local police officer (who does not have jurisdiction over tribal citizens) was informed about the alleged abuse as the man and child were still walking along highway 18 in Mission. The police officer responded with “I’ll call someone.” The next part of the post on social media talks about a Rosebud tribal police unit pulling up and talking to the alleged child abuser. The police unit then appeared “to give him a ride home.” The tribal citizen has posted subsequent updates sharing concern about the safety of this child.

How are concerned tribal citizens expected to report crimes they witness when the police just pull up in their cars and give alleged child abusers a ride home? There’s no justice for victims on Rosebud; not for a child assaulted by an adult in broad daylight in front of witnesses. Our people continue to lose faith in law enforcement when they learn of these incidents where the alleged abuser faced zero consequence for his actions.

According to the Children’s Bureau of the US Department of Health & Human Services, “Each state has its own definitions of child abuse and neglect that are based on standards set by federal law. Federal legislation provides a foundation for states by identifying a set of acts or behaviors that define child abuse and neglect. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), (P.L. 100–294), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111–320), retained the existing definition of child abuse and neglect as, at a minimum: Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act, which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

A 2018 report on the DHHS Children’s Bureau website states that “American Indian or Alaska Native children have the highest rate of victimization at 15.2 per 1,000 children in the population of the same race or ethnicity.”

Not only was this little boy physically abused, he was traumatized in front of witnesses. The trauma this little boy experiences is also reality for hundreds of Lakota children living on our reservations. We talk all the time about how sacred our children are, yet family members, law enforcement and social workers appear to do nothing to help. That is, the abuser was not arrested, instead he was given a ride home. No attempt was made to remove the child from the abusive adult.

It is up to all of us to report child abuse. The health of our unborn Lakota generations depends on every adult reporting these atrocities our children are suffering every single day.

Sadly, most of us know children suffering physical, mental, emotional or sexual abuse. Abusive adults should be put in prison for the terrible crimes they commit against children. Consequently, as this boy grows older, he will abuse smaller children by inflicting on them the same abuse that he now suffers.

He will keep inter-generational trauma alive.



Vi Waln (Lakota) is an award-winning Journalist. She can be reached through email viwaln@gmail.com


Alcohol, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse


April is designated as the awareness month for alcohol, sexual assault and child abuse. Our world has changed dramatically due to the (COVID-19) pandemic in ways we did not expect. Some people lost our jobs and have had to seek unemployment or other assistance to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, alcohol abuse, child abuse and sexual assault incidents have likely increased in many homes due to shelter in place and/or curfew orders.

For instance, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of our children looked forward to attending school every day during the week. Some of our children looked to their school day as a refuge from the abuse they are regularly subjected too at home. School was a place where adults were not drinking alcohol. Our students also looked forward to daily hot meals during the week while they attended school. Many of our Lakota child victims looked to school as a reprieve from the sexual assaults they are subjected to in their homes.

But the students will not return to school this spring. Classes, prom, graduation, sports events and other spring school activities have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, many of us sincerely appreciate the sack meals that continue to be prepared and distributed during the week by the local school districts. Our children all have something to eat thanks to school staff, as well as the many volunteers, who work hard to distribute the sack meals.

However, the children who live under the constant threat of a drunk relative abusing, or even sexually assaulting them, are in even more danger because they are home all the time. The COVID-19 pandemic has not halted any abuse.

Yet, I do want to mention that the Rosebud Sioux Tribe paused alcohol sales at the Rosebud Casino and Plaza when both operations were shut down. Our reservation is now dry of legal alcohol sales. I don’t ever remember our reservation being dry. There was always an outlet on my reservation which either served drinks or provided off sale beer and wine products.

I realize our reservation will never be completely dry as long as we allow the illegal alcohol bootleggers to continue to push their poison in our communities. The bootleggers make alcohol available to everyone in our communities and usually won’t card people wanting to buy a jug or a can. Bootleggers also contribute to alcohol poisoning among our people. Bootleggers sell their drinks to child abusers and rapists.

We do live in an economically oppressed area but that doesn’t mean we should take advantage of people’s addictions to alcohol to make a living. So, if you or your relatives are selling beer or other alcoholic beverages illegally you are a huge contributor to alcoholism, child abuse and sexual assault.

We could be using this time at home for self-improvement. Those of you who still drink yourselves into oblivion could be looking within to figure out why you are addicted to alcohol. Look at all the health issues you have because of your drinking. It’s time to change.

I’m not sure how to stop child abuse and sexual assault. There are many victims, adult and children alike, on Rosebud who fear their predator and will not tell a police officer about the abuse they are suffering. Many relatives look the other way when they could be reporting child abuse or sexual assault. Those of you who know about child abuse or sexual assault incidents and refuse to speak up are just as guilty as the perpetrator.

As long as we allow alcohol abuse, child abuse and sexual assault to continue in our communities we are at fault. Call 911 to report crimes.

Vi Waln (Lakota) is an award-winning Journalist. She can be reached through email viwaln@gmail.com



We are all entitled to our privacy


Todd County reported their first positive case of corona virus (COVID-19) last week. According to local health officials, the adult who tested positive – along with their entire family – is quarantined and isolated at home. There are no updates on their health condition. Co-workers who came into contact with the infected adult are reported to also be in self-quarantine.

In addition, news outlets reported the escape of eight inmates from the South Dakota Women’s minimum-security unit at the state prison in Pierre, South Dakota. Six of the escapees were reported as Native American. All but two of the escapees were later captured. The prison website now lists two of the eight women, both Native American, still on escape status. The ladies walked away from the minimum-security unit after learning another inmate in the unit tested positive for COVID-19.

When these two news reports hit social media, it was almost like a prairie fire was burning out of control on a windy day. Several Lakota people penned Facebook posts stating they hoped the women who walked away from the prison wouldn’t flee to Rosebud. In addition, the story of the positive COVID-19 case on the Rosebud threw social media users into a frenzy. One Facebook user posted the person’s name, which set off all sorts of speculation from unscrupulous social media users.

When the person’s identity was revealed, it was shared by many Facebook users along with private details about their family and work. Those posts made me wonder where those people got their information. Consequently, some people who posted personal details about the adult who tested positive for COVID-19 are well-known gossip mongers. Their behavior is consistently disrespectful.

Facebook on the rez is a hotbed for gossip and unfounded rumors. People who are afflicted with the disease of the mind – which is a virus all its own – were quick to jump on reports and spin tales that were out of control. There are also flyers and shared posts floating around Facebook that are unfounded. Facebook users could learn to fact check information about martial law and the National Guard before sharing, as most are not true.

Some Facebook users praised the rumor mill as a way to find out “news” regarding the ill adult. Other social media users believe gossip and untruths are an acceptable way to find out “news.” Consequently, the Facebook frenzy I witnessed was conduct unbecoming to Lakota people. I read skewed Facebook posts about the positive case of COVID-19 in Todd County from people living several states away. We are all entitled to our privacy.


On Rosebud, we have all been encouraged to stay home to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 among our people. President Rodney Bordeaux also announced a curfew for the Rosebud Reservation which went into effect over the weekend. Businesses were asked to close their doors at 8pm daily in order for local residents to have time to drive home after replenishing household supplies and groceries.

Some of us have been at home for two or three weeks. We don’t want to get sick so we are staying put. Gossip will not protect you from getting COVID-19. The rumor mill is not a cure. In order to protect yourself and family you must stay home. Yet, some of you are acting like there isn’t really a highly contagious, deadly virus being passed from human-to-human. None of us are immune folks.

Wopila to our essential personnel who are still going to work and serving the people – emergency medical service staff, hospital staff, dialysis staff and especially our law enforcement staff. They’re risking their lives serving the people.

Please stop spreading fear. We could all burn cedar and pray.

Vi Waln (Lakota) is an award-winning Journalist. She can be reached through email viwaln@gmail.com





Order of the President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Rosebud Sioux Tribal Flag0002

Order of the President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe

REVISED 3/27/2020


Pursuant to Article 1, Clause 1 of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe By-Laws and pursuant to Rosebud Sioux Tribe Council Resolution 2020-75, which was passed on March 25, 2020, I am hereby issuing the following Order effective at 12:01 A.M. (After midnight Friday night) on March 28, 2020:

  1. A reservation-wide curfew of 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. shall be in effect covering all persons found upon the reservation. Exceptions to this are as follows:


  1. Going to/from the hospital or a doctor’s/dentist appointment or providing transportation for someone who is. This includes dialysis services as well.
  2. Persons who are taking care of elderly relatives.
  3. Medical professionals and essential staff going to/from work.
  4. Persons identified as essential employees of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe going to/coming from their place of employment.
  5. Clergy and medicine men who are engaged in pastoral care and related services.


  1. Business Hours. Businesses who operate gas stations, convenience stores, retail stores or restaurants shall close at 8 p.m. and may not reopen before 6:30 a.m. the next day.  This will enable employees working at these places and their customers to honor the curfew.


  1. Shelter in Place—(STAY HOME). With exceptions as outlined below, all individuals currently living within the exterior boundaries of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe are directed to stay at home or at their place of residence to the greatest extent possible, except as provided below.

Non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals outside of a home or place of residence are prohibited, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained.

All persons may leave their homes or place of residence only for Essential Activities or to operate Essential Businesses and Operations, all as defined below.

Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternative location.

Non-essential business and operations to cease. All businesses and operations within the exterior boundaries of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, except Essential Businesses and Operations as defined below, are required to cease all activities within the reservation except Minimum Basic Operations, as defined below. Businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).

To the greatest extent feasible, Essential Businesses and Operations shall comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Order, including by maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and members of the public at all times, including, but not limited to, when any customers are standing in line. Essential Businesses and Operation should also employ, where feasible, telework or other remote working opportunities to limit disease spread.

Leaving your home for essential activities is permitted. For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their home or residence only to perform any of the following Essential Activities and must ensure a distance of six feet from others not in their household:

  1. For health and safety. To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as, by way of example only and without limitation, seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional.
  2. For necessary supplies and services. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
  3. For outdoor activity. To engage in outdoor activity, provided that individuals comply with social distancing, as defined below, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, provided they remain open to recreation. Our residents are discouraged from outdoor recreation activities that pose enhanced risks of injury or could otherwise stress the ability of local first responders to address the COVID-19 emergency.
  4. For certain types of work. To perform work providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Order, including Minimum Basic Operations.
  5. To take care of others. To care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, and to transport family members, friends, or pets as allowed by this Order.


  1. Health Care and Public Health Operations. For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services through Health Care and Public Health Operations.

Health Care and Public Health Operations includes, but is not limited to: hospitals; clinics; dental offices; pharmacies; public health entities, including those that compile, model, analyze and communicate public health information; pharmaceutical, pharmacy, medical device and equipment, and biotechnology companies (including operations, research and development, manufacture, and supply chain); organizations collecting blood, platelets, plasma, and other necessary materials; licensed medical eye care centers, including those that sell glasses and contact lenses; home Health centers; reproductive health care, care services providers; medicine men, mental health and substance use providers; other Health Care facilities and suppliers and providers of any related and/or ancillary Health Care services; and entities that transport and dispose of medical materials and remains.

Specifically included in Health Care and Public Health Operations are manufacturers, technicians, logistics, and warehouse operators as well as distributors of medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical gases, pharmaceuticals, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies, and tissue and paper towel products.

Health Care and Public Health Operations also includes veterinary care and all Health Care services provided to animals.

Health Care and Public Health Operations shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of Health Care, broadly defined. Health Care and Public Health Operations does not include fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and similar facilities. 


  1. Human Services Operations. For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any Human Services Operations, regardless of funding source, that is providing services to the public, institutional, or community-based settings providing human services to the public.

This includes, but is not limited to: long-term care facilities; residential settings and shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness; transitional facilities; home-based settings to provide services to individuals with physical, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities, seniors, adults, and children; tribal programs and offices that provide and help to determine eligibility for basic needs including food, cash assistance, medical coverage, child care, vocational services, rehabilitation services; developmental centers; adoption agencies; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals, individuals with physical, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities, or otherwise needy individuals.

Human Services Operations shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of human services, broadly defined.

  1. Essential Infrastructure. For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain and repair Essential Infrastructure.

Essential Infrastructure includes, but is not limited to: food production, distribution, storage, and sale; construction (including, but not limited to, construction required in response to this public health emergency, hospital construction, construction of long-term care facilities, public works construction, and housing construction); building management and maintenance; airport operations; aircraft fueling services; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical (including power generation, distribution, and production of raw materials); distribution centers; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; cybersecurity operations; flood control; operation of dams, locks, ditches, canals, diversions, and levies; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).

Essential Infrastructure shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to essential infrastructure, broadly defined.

  1. Governmental Functions. All first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, court personnel, law enforcement and corrections personnel, legal services personnel such as judges, prosecutors, public defenders, probation, hazardous materials responders, child protection and child welfare personnel, fire protection personnel, wildland fire fighters, housing and shelter personnel, military, government employees involved in training the above functions, and other essential government employees are categorically exempt from this Order. Elected officials who are performing essential government functions are specifically exempt. Local governments are permitted to designate which functions and employees are essential and exempt for the purposes of this Order, apart from those positions and functions named above.
  2. Businesses covered by this Order. For the purposes of this Order, covered businesses include any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function it performs, or its corporate or entity structure.
  3. Essential Businesses and Operations. For the purposes of this Order, Essential Businesses and Operations means Health Care and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure, as well as the following:
  4. Stores that sell groceries and medicine. Grocery stores, pharmacies, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of groceries, canned food, dry goods, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries, medicine, including medication not requiring a medical prescription, and also that sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and Essential Businesses and Operations;
  5. Food and beverage production and agriculture. Food and beverage manufacturing, production, processing, and cultivation, including farming, livestock, fishing, baking, and other production agriculture, including cultivation, marketing, production, and wholesale or retail distribution of animals and goods for consumption; and businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for animals, including veterinary and animal health services, animal shelters, rescues, shelters, kennels, and adoption facilities; businesses that provide equipment, transportation, seed, feed, fertilizer, or other products or services critical to food and livestock production;
  6. Organizations that provide charitable and social services. Businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations, including food banks, when providing food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for our people, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities;
  7. Media. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  8. Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation. Gas stations and auto supply, auto repair, and related facilities and bicycle shops and related facilities;
  9. Financial and real estate services and institutions. Banks, consumer lenders, including but not limited, to pawnbrokers, accountants, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, realtors or others providing real estate services, title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products;
  10. Hardware and supply stores. Hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, and heating material;
  11. Critical trades. Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations;
  12. Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services. Post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, goods or services to end users or through commercial channels;
  13. Educational institutions. Educational institutions—including public and private pre-K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating remote learning, performing critical research, or performing other essential functions consistent with prior Orders on school closures and the continued provision of certain services, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible.
  14. Laundry services. Laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers;
  15. Restaurants for consumption off-premises. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for consumption off-premises, through such means as in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, curbside pick-up, and carry-out. Schools and other entities that typically provide food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pickup and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site due to the virus’s propensity to physically impact surfaces and personal property.
  16. Supplies to work from home. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home;
  17. Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Businesses and Operations with the support or materials necessary to operate, including computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass; electrical, plumbing and heating material; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; optics and photography equipment; diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps and detergent; and firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security;
  18. Transportation. Airplanes, taxis, vehicle rental services, paratransit, and other private, public, and commercial transportation and logistics providers necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
  19. Home-based care and services. Home-based care for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness, including caregivers such as nannies who may travel to the child’s home to provide care, and other in-home services including meal delivery;
  20. Residential facilities and shelters. Residential facilities, White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society, Her House, Spotted Tail Crisis Center, and other shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness;
  21. Professional services. Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, information technology services, real estate services (including appraisal and title services);
  22. Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries. Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, Health Care, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, forest products, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations.
  23. Hotels and motels. Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services.
  24. Funeral services. Funeral, mortuary, cremation, burial, cemetery, and related services. No more than ten persons in a facility observing the six-foot rule.

10.Severability.  If any provision of this Order or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, this invalidity does not affect any other provision or application of this Order, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application. To achieve this purpose, the provisions of this Order are declared to be severable.

This Order promotes a compelling government interest and is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

11.Unaccompanied Minors prohibited.  There will no unaccompanied minors in public.  They must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  1. Businesses are closed to non-residents. For the purposes of this Order, people living in Cherry County (NE), Gregory County, Lyman County, Mellette County, Todd County, and Tripp County are considered residents. Persons unable to prove that they reside in any of the counties listed may be refused service.


Individuals found to have violated this order will be assessed a civil fine of $250 per incident.

Businesses found to have violated this order will be assessed a civil fine of $500 per incident and face possible suspension or revocation of their business license.






You Are Lakota, Don’t Be Afraid


As I write this, there are no positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on either the Rosebud or Pine Ridge reservations. I check the State Health Department web site for daily updates. Health officials post new information as it comes in.

Even though there are no positive cases on either of our reservations that we know of, I also know there are many of you who are feeling fear, anxiety or both. Instead of feeling panic or fear, I want to encourage all of you to make sure your family is prepared to stay at home for an extended period of time, if need be. We know there are a lot of Lakota families who have no resources to prepare for any type of emergency. I do know our tribal officials are doing everything they can to stay on top of this pandemic. I see no reason to panic, especially if you are already healthy.

We’ve all seen the information being shared on television and many of you regularly listen to the radio. I don’t see a need for panic, fear or worry. Yet, some of you are accustomed to worrying about every little thing in your lives. There are others who are constantly afraid; these are our people who are now feeling the need to panic. However, fear, worry and panic won’t make it go away. Again, I suggest using your time to prepare as much as you can in order for your family to be safe until this pandemic is over.

President Rodney Bordeaux of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe called a meeting of Wicasa Wakan (medicine men) last week to ask for their help and guidance with the coronavirus (COVID-19). The meeting was attended by several local medicine men and the general public. The open discussion helped to calm the fears of many Lakota people who may be at risk for possible infection.

Our medicine people are interpreters. That is, they each have a Hocoka (altar) in which to conduct ceremony to help our people with guidance and healing. As Lakota people, we are very fortunate to still be connected to our spirituality. Our ancestors prayed with the Cannunpa (sacred pipe) for all of us alive today, as well as the unborn generations coming. The ceremonies Lakota people attend regularly are all connected to the gift of the Cannunpa.

Medicine men Leksi Leonard Crow Dog and Leksi Richard Moves Camp offered words of advice to everyone in attendance. Other Lakota people who pray every day also talked about our spirituality. The Lakota people who pray with the Cannunpa regularly, talked about how we’ve survived many illnesses and other incidents which could have killed us. Now is the time when we have to turn to the way of life our ancestors fought and died for.

Lakota people who attend Inipi and participate in hanbleceya, as well as the sun dance, understand the power of prayer. We must all make our prayer and have faith in it. Prayer is for naught if you do not have faith in what you are doing. This is the time when all Lakota people could be making their way back to the Hocoka on our reservations. Don’t be afraid. We are all Lakota. Our DNA contains the memory of praying in ancient ceremony running through our blood.

We are a fortunate people to still have our way of life. I encourage you to take this time we’ve been given to help our children understand what being Lakota really means. Pray for good health for everyone. Tunkasila hears the prayers of all Lakota people. We must all show the courage of our Lakota ancestors during this time of uncertainty. Mitakuye Oyasin.

Vi Waln (Lakota) is an award-winning Journalist. She can be reached through email viwaln@gmail.com

Senate Bill 66: Thrown under the bus

When one listens to the audio recording of the Education Committee hearing held in Pierre recently, we hear Rep. Lana Greenfield saying “…we’ll start with Senate Bill 66, please, this is an act to provide for creation and the funding of the Oceti [washi]…whatever it’s called…community-based schools….” https://sdpb.sd.gov/SDPBPodcast/2020/hed31.mp3?fbclid=IwAR2uMRYaoPVcr6ayCHMPQaDhw6HZeEjoaS8XGAK9AE7rtj1vNoRvbx0Hfn8#t=142

Rep. Greenfield unwittingly voiced how many people actually view the bills which grassroots groups have a hand in creating. That is, when non-Lakota people don’t bother to say “Oceti Sakowin” in the proper manner and brush this powerful phrase off by referring to it as “whatever it’s called” – it’s an excellent example of how State Legislators actually view the issues our people choose to support as unimportant.

The facts surrounding Senate Bill 66 are: (1) bill received a unanimous vote of support (7-0) in the Tribal Affairs Committee, (2) bill received a unanimous vote of support (7-0) in the Senate Education Committee, (3) bill received a unanimous vote of support (35-0) on the Senate Floor.

In addition, high profile supporters of Senate Bill 66 are the South Dakota Department of Education, all nine Tribal Education Departments, all nine tribes in South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem and numerous parents/grandparents. Also, according to Nakina Mills, an Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) Council representative, OST Resolution 2019-245 supporting Senate Bill 66 was approved by the tribal council.

Samantha Molter, a proponent of Senate Bill 66, raised a pair of crucial issues in her testimony. The issues raised were (1) Which of the underperforming schools in my district should I send my child? (2) No student should be limited because of an inferior education.

Every school year families at Rosebud struggle with the same questions Molter posed. That is, we must choose which underperforming school to enroll our students at to continue pursuing an inferior education.

Todd County School District has operated for decades. St. Francis Indian School transitioned from a Catholic school to a tribal school. The failure of local public and tribal schools has also been apparent for decades, as our dropout rates are off the charts. There are many Lakota students who didn’t or couldn’t finish their high school program.

I heard people testify in the SB66 hearing that community-based schools created under the State Department of Education would duplicate services. However, the duplication of needed services is a misconception. The fact is a large segment of our Lakota students are not being offered the opportunity to succeed in our public and tribal school systems. The 50 percent dropout rate of our tribal students all across this state attests to this fact.

When our dropout rate hovers around 50 percent, there have to be drastic measures to ensure our students are equipped with an adequate education to succeed in life. I commend the hard work done on Senate Bill 66 by the South Dakota Education Equity Coalition members. This group wants our tribal students – who are falling through the cracks of our inferior education system on the Rosebud Reservation – to have a better chance at a successful adult life. Yet, at the end of the hearing on Senate Bill 66, a way to provide a meaningful Lakota cultural education – as well as a viable alternative to our inferior school systems – was thrown under the bus over funding.

Kudos to the Oglala Lakota County School District for the new Career Tech High School, I hope this new school will provide alternative educational opportunities for Oglala Lakota students to succeed at the career of their choice.

However, it’s extremely unfortunate that several OLCSD employees felt the need to speak against the establishment of community-based schools. At Rosebud, we are now left with underperforming schools and an inferior education for many Sicangu Lakota students.

Vi Waln (Lakota) is an award-winning Journalist. She can be reached through email viwaln@gmail.com 


Tribal Council Disregards Ordinance 2007-09

Young people are constantly told to pursue college degrees so they can work to improve tribal programs and services. Yet, our educated tribal citizens are consistently disregarded by those elected to our tribal council.

Consequently, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Ordinance 2007-09 was implemented as the Personnel Manuel to guarantee employment preference to qualified tribal citizens. Article III, Employment Conditions and Provisions, Section C. reads:

“As a condition of consideration for and employment in a Tribal position, a non-member shall enter into a written agreement (form available from the Human Resources Director) with the Tribe by which the non-member agrees to resign from his/her position upon notice by the Human Resources Director (1) that an RST tribal member who meets equivalent or above the qualifications for the job in question seeks to be retained for such job, and (2) the Director, with the approval of the Tribal President or his/her designee, the Tribe has determined to place the tribal member in the job. With all due consideration to non-member tribal employees, the Human Resources Director shall give such non-member employee at least one (1) month’s written notice of enforcement of the resignation agreement. Such action shall not be deemed as unsatisfactory performance on the part of the employee, unless such is the case. If a nonmember employee loses his/her position, they may be transferred to another open position if he/she meets the qualifications for the position and there is no qualified tribal member who applies for such position.”

non member

Last week, the tribal council disregarded law established by Ordinance 2007-09 with the following action: “Motion by Richard Smoke Whipple that we deny Ione Quigley’s challenge and Ben Rhodd stay in as the THPO Director. Seconded by Lenard Wright, question by Russell Eagle Bear. The vote: eight (8) in favor, zero (0) opposed and four (4) not voting. MOTION CARRIED.”

After this action was approved, President Bordeaux stated for the record that “Ione Quigley is a tribal member, met the qualifications [for the Director position at the Tribal Historical Preservation Office] and this is the law.” President Bordeaux reviewed the education and experience of both Rhodd and Quigley. Rhodd is not Sicangu Lakota.

Furthermore, the council tried to cover their blatant violation of tribal law by approving the following action: “Motion by Rita Means to find the resources to fund a position for Ione Quigley at THPO, Land Office or somewhere. Seconded by Lila Kills In Sight, question by Richard Whipple. The vote: eleven (11) in favor, zero opposed and two (2) not voting.”

Other council representatives in attendance at the February 25 meeting were: C. Steve Brave, Clifford Lafferty, Robert Rattling Leaf, Wilda Wooden Knife, Eileen Shot With Two Arrows, Martha Blue Thunder, James Leader Charge and Dwight Spotted Tail.

RSTC Motion Excerpt 02-25-2020

RSTC Sign in 02-25-2020

Instances like these are very discouraging for all of us. Rosebud’s educated citizens obviously don’t have much to look forward too in terms of tribal employment. Tribal council representatives aren’t above the law. Tribal law is written for educated Sicangu people to have first preference at employment.

Rosebud’s Primary Election is scheduled for July 23, 2020. Ten council seats are up for election. I encourage all tribal citizens to register to vote and then support new candidates who will follow the law. Now is the time to recruit tribal candidates from Grass Mountain, Ideal, Spring Creek, Soldier Creek, Two Strike, Butte Creek, Parmelee, Black Pipe, Milks Camp and Okreek to run for office.

We will not more forward until new people committed to upholding Rosebud’s tribal laws are elected to office. Please support candidates who can read, understand and enforce tribal laws. Representatives without integrity will continue to trample over the policies and laws we all must follow.

Vi Waln is Lakota and an award-winning journalist. She can be reached at viwaln@gmail.com.


Adults are the worst bullies


Bullying is still a problem in our schools. There are many intelligent students who refuse to attend school because they suffer verbal, mental, emotional and physical abuse while in class. The schools operating on my reservation will likely never improve. The majority of board members, administration, faculty and staff don’t seem to care about the real problems our young people face while attending school.

Recently, a young relative was bullied by two adult women. I have reached the age where I can be considered an elder in my tribe. The two adult women who bullied the young relative are both older than me. I once believed they were good people but their actions in the past month or so have proved otherwise. Consequently, I think I am fortunate that these two old women exposed their true nature for me to see. Their behavior is toxic and I work hard to stay away from their kind. Due to their age, I doubt they will ever change their behavior. I am extremely appalled at their actions.

Also, reservation gossip is a thriving activity that needs to be outlawed. Some organizations actually have written policy against gossip in the workplace but employees often won’t follow policy. Consequently, these two old ladies got together and talked horrid gossip about the young relative. The two adult women actually work in schools on the Rosebud reservation; they should be ashamed to gossip about any student.

These two adult women referred to the student in a very disparaging manner. We all grew up in our respective communities and watched one another. These two adult women shouldn’t be calling young relatives derogatory names, since they both have extremely colorful pasts of their own. In fact, the names they called the young relative are likely names they were both called when they were out and about laying down their colorful pasts.

Consequently, I’ve known these two old women most of my life. We all know that heavy alcohol abuse and promiscuous behavior are actions most reservation people never forget about anyone’s past. Each one of us has a past and it’s usually the first thing that’s brought up in gossip sessions. When I was a teenager, I remember my older relatives making remarks about these same two adult women and how they used to behave. We can all change our behavior but our past is still always there for someone to talk smack about.

Gossip and bullying are traits of sick people who are afflicted with the disease of the mind. When I encounter someone who acts like they are affected by a diseased mind, I wonder if they are suffering from mental illness. These two adult women behaved in a way which people with diseased minds tend to act. Emotional intelligence is the opposite of the disease of the mind; I remember one of my relatives telling me it took her four hot sweats before she could sincerely pray for someone who had hurt her family. Those who’ve healed their diseased minds will pray for people who’ve hurt them.

Both adult women should know better to than to talk about a young person in the way they do because suicide is always on some of our teenager’s minds. It doesn’t take many words to push a teenager over the edge. School employees/board members who regularly gossip about students or other staff should be barred from working in educational institutions. If this is the type of education the adults are providing to students, then the schools on Rosebud should be closed.

Remember to be careful what you say because the person you gossip about will likely hear it back. Words can’t be taken back.

Vi Waln (Lakota) is an award-winning Journalist. She can be reached through email viwaln@gmail.com