We are all entitled to our privacy

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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.

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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

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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.

THIS ORDER SHALL AUTOMATICALLY EXPIRE WHEN THE STATE OF EMERGENCY HAS BEEN RESCINDED UNLESS SOONER RESCINDED BY THE PRESIDENT OR THE ROSEBUD SIOUX TRIBAL COUNCIL.

 

 

RODNEY M. BORDEAUX, PRESIDENT

 

You Are Lakota, Don’t Be Afraid

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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 

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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.”

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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

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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

Decolonizing American Holidays

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February is a month with a free Monday. It’s free because people employed in full-time jobs are usually given the day off with holiday pay. We all love those paid days off. I wonder if those paid days off, like the Monday we just had for President’s Day, help our minds remain colonized.

Some of us have no clue why the post office, hospital, tribal offices, etc. are closed every third Monday in February. Some people who work full-time look forward to a paid day off as one of the fringe benefits of non-essential employees. Businesses, however, jump at the chance to sell us their products with their President’s Day sales, which actually run a whole week.

President’s Day is a federal holiday created to honor George Washington, whose birthday was this month. Later, Abraham Lincoln was added since he was also born in February. Even though it is a recognized holiday, some organizations don’t honor it as such and are open during regular business hours.

On a tribal level, there isn’t much fanfare about President’s Day in Indian Country. Some tribal colleges have classes as usual on President’s Day. Many federal and state government employees have a paid day off. Most of us will agree that the sitting President of the United States (POTUS) doesn’t give Lakota people much to celebrate about. There isn’t a lot for us to commemorate, unless we are one of the fortunate people with a full-time job who is getting paid to enjoy a day off from work.

In addition, the tribal government structure many of us know wasn’t created to align with traditional Lakota form of governance. The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 forced a largely foreign way of governance down many Indigenous tribes’ throats. Still, it’s the governance structure we currently operate from. It’s up to our people to find creative ways to promote genuine, contemporary Lakota leadership.

Indian Country uses lots of American holidays as a time to celebrate culture. Today, many wacipis or other cultural celebrations are scheduled to coincide with the holidays we all see marked on the Gregorian calendar. New Year’s Day, Valentine’s day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, etc. are times when our people celebrate culture by participating in a wacipi or round dance.

Just like the dominant society taking what once was a time for ceremony – such as Winter Solstice and converting it into something Christian, like Christmas – our people can now choose to celebrate the dominant society’s observances with cultural gatherings. It’s another way to decolonize the wasicu holidays. Our children don’t have to see us blindly following holidays listed on the calendars we have in our homes. We can shift our focus from what everyone else in the country is doing to observe a certain “Day” by celebrating Lakota culture.

Traditional Lakota society never recognized any presidents or holidays in our government structure. The leaders were chosen for their ability to maintain camp order. There was shared leadership in our Tiospaye and it was respected by all. There was no such thing as popular vote in the Oceti Sakowin.

This President’s Day, many Lakota people choose to remember their own tribal leaders. These leaders include not only our tribal government elected officials, but also our traditional leaders who are fluent Lakota speakers working to keep our language and ways of life alive. We still have living Itancan in our communities and this is also a time to remember everything they’ve done for our families. We also have very special Lakota Itancan providing spiritual support in the form of Inipi and Lowanpi. There are many ways we can choose to celebrate our Lakota family, tribe, culture and ceremony.

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

 

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Change is in Your Hands

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was only 39 years old when he was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. If Dr. King were still alive, he would have celebrated his 91st birthday on January 15. Some of us have living parents or grandparents who are still living a full life, even though they have reached 90+ years of age. So, when I think of my elder Lakota relatives, I realize it wasn’t really that long ago when Dr. King was working for all of us to have the same opportunities as white people.

Dr. King was a clergyman and a civil rights advocate. He was hated vehemently by the wasicu who didn’t want people of color to have the same rights as white people. However, he didn’t let the hate from others stop his mission. He continued to forgive and pray for the best outcome for all people of color.

Dr. King was outspoken. Thanks to the internet, we are fortunate to be able to listen to the numerous public speeches he offered addressing the right of people of color to have the same opportunities as white people. Dr. King was disliked by many people all over the world who did not want to see any people of color advance. Nevertheless, every January we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as a federal holiday.

As a Lakota woman, I continue to experience racism due to the color of my skin. I’ve experienced racism from my own people because my government-imposed pedigree, also known as my Certificate of Indian Blood or tribal ID card, lists me as less than a full-blood. I also experience racism from people who are not tribal citizens. I don’t let it stop me. I don’t make eye contact with people when I am away from home unless they are people of color.

Before the civil rights movement, our people were viewed as second-class citizens. Our great-grandparents were targeted for blatant racial discrimination in many places of business across the country. Even though discrimination based on race is now against the law, we continue to experience prejudice as Indigenous people.

It doesn’t help that the 45th President of the United States (POTUS) encourages discrimination among his supporters. His attitude has emboldened many closet racists to come out publicly with how they really view Indigenous people. A lot of these now open racists are on school boards, county commissions or have served on either the state or national level legislatures.

People who hate anyone darker than themselves glare at me when I go shopping in Rapid City, Sioux Falls or Pierre, South Dakota. They commit on social media feeds, spewing their disgust for people of color any chance they get.

Dr. King wanted a better life for people of color and he stood up to advocate for it. So, even though we have a racist, homophobic POTUS – we still have the right to vote in local, state and national elections. We have the power to change the faces who represent us at all political levels.

But it’s up to you to help with this change. You can do this by registering to vote in your tribal, county, state and national elections. You can also bring more public funding to your area by making sure every member of your household is listed on the 2020 Census form. These may be small acts but they are a big way to prompt change.

Many of the opportunities now available to us as Indigenous people are a result of Dr. King’s work. Relatives, we cannot let racism win. Teach your children to be accepting of all people, no matter their color or disposition.

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

 

Rosebud Amends Criminal Code to comply with VAWA, TLOA

ROSEBUD RESERVATION – The Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council approved legislation last week to amend their law and order code to comply with federal criminal laws.

In 2018, the tribal council approved Resolution 2018-95 to protect the women, men and children of the tribe against violence. The Resolution also adopted the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-4, Sec. 904, 905) to prosecute non-Indians under its inherent right to punish those who violate tribal laws within its territory.

Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) the tribe has the federal legal authority to exercise jurisdiction over non-Indians who reside, work, or who are a spouse, intimate or dating partner of an Indian residing with the Tribe’s territorial jurisdiction, and have subjected a victim to domestic violence, dating violence or criminal violation of a protection order.

Ordinance 2020-03 was adopted last week to clarify the area of jurisdiction the Rosebud Sioux Tribe has over crimes committed against tribal citizens. This legislation, adopted through Resolution 2020-03, reads in part: “The Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s criminal jurisdiction shall extend to the territory within the original confines of the Rosebud Reservation boundaries as established by the act of March 2, 1889, and to such other lands as may hereafter be added thereto under any laws of the United States, except as otherwise provided by law…The criminal jurisdiction of the Tribe shall extend to all Indians and all other persons whom the exercise of criminal jurisdiction by the Tribe is authorized or permitted by federal law.

“The Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s criminal jurisdiction shall extend to non-Indians who by federal law are subject to the Tribe’s special jurisdiction who commit violent crimes specifically domestic violence and dating violence against Indians within the Tribe’s jurisdiction. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s special criminal jurisdiction shall extend to criminal protection order violations under 5-44-7 [of the RST Law & Order Code]. The conditions for a non-Indian who violates the Tribes’ domestic violence and dating violence [laws] are: (1) reside within the territorial jurisdiction of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe; or (2) Is employed within the territorial jurisdiction of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe; or (3) Is a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner of: a. a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe; or b. An Indian who resides within the territorial jurisdiction of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.”

In addition, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is committed to exercising special domestic and dating violence jurisdiction over non-Indians who abuse Indian people within its territorial boundaries and will enforce its inherent authority over protection order violations by adopting Title 5, Chapter 44, Domestic and Dating Violence code and repealing Title 5, Chapter 38 in its entirety, to protect the women and children. This legislation was adopted as Ordinance 2020-01.

The tribal council also adopted changes to the RST Law & Order Code by adding Title 5, Chapter 2, Section 5 (5-2-5) which identifies Class F crimes as felonies. A Class F crime carries a maximum term of confinement as three (3) years, a fine of $15,000 or both. In addition, a person who is found guilty of multiple Class F offenses under this Section can be sentenced to nine (9) years in the tribal jail, a fine of $15,000 or both, as well as court costs. This legislation was adopted as Ordinance 2020-02.

The tribal council conducted their first reading on the amendments to the Law & Order Code last week. All required readings at the tribal council level must be completed before these amendments are valid. Also, the RST Adult Correction Facility must obtain certification to house inmates who are sentenced for conviction of Class F felony crimes. Tribal officials are currently working to get that certification in place.

The Tribal Council also approved Resolution 2020-04 which states that all references to “children” in the RST Law & Order Code, Section 1. Code Interpretation, be changed to “wakanyeja.”

For more information, please call the Tribal Secretary’s Office at 605-747-2381.

 

REDCO Presents $388K Dividend Payment to Rosebud Sioux Tribe

REDCO Presents $388K Payment to Rosebud Sioux Tribe
REDCO presented a $388K divident payment to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe recently. Pictured are (L-R) Lisa White Pipe, Stephan DeNoyer III, Wayne Boyd, Rodney M. Bordeaux and Wizipan Little Elk. Vi Waln photo.

 

ROSEBUD RESERVATION – The Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) presented the Rosebud Sioux Tribe with a $388,306 dividend payment at a special tribal council meeting held recently.

“REDCO has grown from 1 employee to 57 employees in 7 years,” stated Wizipan Little Elk, REDCO CEO. “We want to find ways to help our people improve their quality of life.”

REDCO’s top accomplishments during the past year include bringing in revenue totaling $16,042,066. This amount resulted in a profit of $1,944,031 and provided the $388,306 dividend payment to the tribe. REDCO has had several accomplishments during the past year.

For example, REDCO has completed (1) 2018-2022 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), (2) 2019 State of the Workforce Report, (3) 10+ government contracts and (4) construction of Indian Health Service staff apartments. REDCO has also implemented a Design-build to construction group, which will allow employees to oversee the entire construction project from initial design to final construction. Also, REDCO has implemented a healing informed workforce development strategy to help employees do the best job they can.

REDCO has several businesses, or subsidiaries, which they oversee. These include Rosebud Office Solutions (ROS), Rosebud Construction Inc. (RCI), Sicangu Propane, Arrow Financial Services (AFS), Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative, Sicangu Community Development Corporation and Tatanka Funds Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Our ancestors worked hard to feed their families and knew certain strategies worked better than others. For instance, corn, beans and squash were planted in a mound for better growing results. These three staple vegetables were known as the Three Sisters. REDCO also believes in a Nation Building Approach using the Three Sisters technique because, as Lakota people, we believe we are all related and it is our duty to grow a better world for future generations.

REDCO, Sicangu CDC and Tatanka Funds are the Three Sisters of the corporation. REDCO will be charged with developing amazing leaders who will run great organizations to grow local economic development. Sicangu CDC will work to develop our overall community to empower all our people. Tatanka Funds CDFI will work on individual asset building through personal finance, business entrepreneurship and homeownership.

“It’s not important to tell you what I can do,” Little Elk told the tribal council. “What’s most important is for me to tell you what I can’t do. This is the reason why we build a team to carry out our plans.”

The 7Gen plan will work toward our people being healthy, helpful and safe. When we calculate 25 years for 1 generation, the plan must encompass the next 175 years. The 7Gen plan will develop strategies to work for improvement in 7 areas. These include Rosebud’s current (1) housing shortage, (2) low educational attainment, (3) poverty, (4) poor healthcare, (5) lack of jobs, (6) climate change and (7) food desert.

REDCO’s FY20 financial goals include increasing the corporation’s overall revenue to $21 million, which will increase profits to $2.7 million. Also, developments currently in motion for FY20 include (1) develop RST new tax strategy, (2) develop RST Hemp Code, (3) Amend Uniform Commercial Code, (4) Create the 7Gen Plan, (5) Support the Three Sister development: REDCO–Sicangu CDC–Tatanka Funds CDFI, (6) Start-up Rosebud Facilities Management and move into government contracting and (7) assess REDCO’s business cycle and scale-up plan to REDCO 3.0.

A six-member board is appointed by the tribal council to oversee REDCO. Board members are Wayne Boyd (Chairperson), Rodney M. Bordeaux (Vice-chairperson), Nora Antoine (at-large member), OJ Semans (at-large member) and Lisa White Pipe (RST Budget & Finance Committee Chair). The sixth board seat was held by the late Vernon Ike Schmidt and the tribal council is expected to appoint a replacement soon.

REDCO is preparing to roll-out an upgraded website in the coming weeks. You can visit them online at www.sicangucorp.com. Call 605-856-8400 for more information.

 

 

Vi Waln (Sicangu Lakota) can be reached through email at viwaln@gmail.com