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Rosebud Sioux Tribal Election Board hears testimony in challenge hearings

ROSEBUD, SD – The Rosebud Sioux Tribal Election Board is expected to issue a written ruling possibly as early as Wednesday but no later than Friday of this week after listening to testimony in three separate hearings held on Tuesday, August 14, 2012. The public hearings were held to deal with three challenges to candidates who are running for public office. The tribe will hold a General Election on Thursday, August 23, 2012.


Lenard “Shadow” Wright, an unsuccessful candidate for the office of tribal president, filed separate challenges against Scott Herman, William Kindle and Rodney Bordeaux on July 30, 2012. Wright challenged the eligibility of all three candidates, citing Article III – Governing Body – Section 2 of the RST Constitution and By-laws which contains the following language: “The offices of the President, Vice President, Council Representatives, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be subject to limits of two consecutive terms.”


Rodney Bordeaux was elected to serve his first term as Tribal President in 2005. He was re-elected to additional term in 2007 and again re-elected in 2009.


William Kindle was elected to the office of Vice-president in 2007 and then re-elected in 2009.


Scott Herman was elected to serve as the Tribal Council Representative for Antelope Community in 2005. He was re-elected in 2007 and again in 2009.


The Rosebud Sioux Tribe hosted a Constitutional Convention in 2004 and several amendments were recommended by a Task Force to be placed on a ballot for a Secretarial Election. The Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted the Secretarial Election and the amendments which were approved by tribal voters were incorporated into the RST Constitution and By-Laws, effective September 20, 2007.


All three candidates referred to a 2011 ruling issued by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Supreme Court which basically stated that the term limits placed upon candidates for office would commence with the RST 2009 election, instead of the 2007 election. Wright, however, asserted that the Constitution was effective as of September 20, 2007 and asked the Election Board to determine that Bordeaux, Kindle and Herman are not eligible to be placed on the ballot for next week’s General Election.


Election Board members include Sam High Crane, Patti Romero, Rhonda Mackenzie, Cecelia Fast Horse and Ronald Valandra.



Gossip is born from distorted thoughts

It is sad when Lakota people talk trash about each other. It’s even more disheartening to know that many people actually believe all the bad things they are told about another person. I have learned not to believe everything I hear because most of the time it just isn’t true. I rarely repeat things which I cannot confirm.


There are many who devote tons of negative energy into cruel verbal speculation about the personal, private lives of others. Our ancestors would be embarrassed of the way many Lakota people talk garbage about each other. They would also be ashamed of the fact that many people actually believe everything they are told about others. The energy we use to verbally put down other people would be better applied to making positive changes in our own lives, in my opinion.


For the lack of a better term, we all have our haters. They are usually the people who are dedicated to focusing on the misfortunes of those individuals they do not like. Vicious gossip is something that many people engage in every single day on our Rez as well as many other areas. I believe it is safe to say that we all have talked bad about someone else at one time or another.


Still, some people evolve into kind human beings and recognize gossip for the destructive force it really is. Others will spend their entire lives tearing down their relatives and people around them. Gossip is purposely telling lies about someone else. Do you sit down to visit with someone and wind up gossiping instead? If you find yourself constantly denying that you do, in fact, gossip on a regular basis, then maybe it is time to listen to what you are actually saying about people.


Innocent conversation is when we usually let other people know what has been going on in our lives. Maybe someone in the family achieved a major accomplishment, like obtaining a college degree. This is something worth letting friends know about. Visiting includes catching up on all the important things which have occurred in our lives since we last saw one another. Genuine visiting is usually harmless. It is good to share information and family updates with loved ones. There is rarely a sharing of lies when we visit.


Gossip is in a totally different realm. It is hard to believe that there really are people, ranging in age from teenagers to elders, who spend their time inventing a destructive chain of lies about other people. The chain of lies begins rattling when one gossipy person will tell another person the made up drama about so and so.


Some people feel they have to run from person to person to blab what they were told. Such is the evil seed of gossip – it grows very quickly. These conversations usually start out with “they said” or “did you hear about.” This is how rumors grow into monsters. One person says something to another person and the wildfire is lit. It’s even worse when we see mere Rez gossip brought up in the tribal council meeting or become the topic of the latest newspaper story. We must be really bored when our focus is on the lies told about other people.


There are often high levels of dark emotion and dysfunction prevailing on the Rez. Local gossip stems from anger, jealousy, hate, resentment or some other fear filled emotion. It is never about love. Rumors are also a fast way to get attention. People who blab to get personal attention should seriously consider counseling. Hard core liars and those who gossip are actually afflicted with an extreme mental illness, in my opinion.


Gossip ruins reputations and lives. It would be great if we could all work to improve our own lives instead of making such a big effort to ruin the lives of others. It is not Lakota to allow all those cruel untruths to spill from your mouth with a hidden agenda of wrecking other lives. I believe that buying into and perpetuating gossip is another example of our willing assimilation into the colonized society!


Does a family member or co-worker gossip about you? I know there are people living on my own Rez, even in my own community, who say things about me all the time. Some are even blood relatives. I have learned the hard way who I can confide in and who not to talk to. My words have often been used against me.


It takes an enormous amount of energy to remain negative. It would be awesome to focus more positive energy on the young people of our Rez. I have learned it is a lot more fun to be positive. The dark, negative emotions will make you physically ill if you continue to hold on to them. Still, some people would much rather cling to their darkness; many are so addicted to negative thinking they are beyond conjuring a single positive thought.


How fast would we change what we think if the people we gossip about immediately knew our thoughts? We all have this gift of knowing, some of us are more attuned to it than others. Would you make a greater effort to consciously monitor your thoughts when everyone around you knew what you were thinking about them?


If it scares you to know that some human beings have the ability to hear your unspoken thoughts, then it is time to purify your mind. I have always believed thought and speech create my reality. For instance, I have an idea which is a thought I might further consider. At some point I will start talking about my idea. If the thought is a good one then I will work to make it my reality.


Gossip begins as distorted thoughts. Thoughts hold power. Create your reality ethically and responsibly. Don’t waste your thoughts, voice or personal power working to ruin the lives of other people.

Our beloved children return to school

All across the Lakota homelands our beloved children are preparing for the exodus back to school. Many are highly motivated to continue their quest for an education. Our students who are genuinely committed to receiving an education, no matter if they are in Head Start, Kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school or college, are looking forward to another academic year in the classroom.


Many of us encourage our young people to finish school. It used to be that you could find work even if you did not finish high school but times have changed. Now if you want to be considered for any kind of meaningful employment you must at least have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED) in order to apply for even temporary jobs.


Furthermore, despite the laws which require our students to remain in school until the age of sixteen or eighteen, there are many young people of school age on our Lakota reservations who have made the choice not to be in school. For these people, who have made a personal choice to remain uneducated, life will probably be a continual struggle for survival.


We desperately need our young Lakota people to become educated. Many of our people who depend on federal, state or tribal assistance for basic survival did not finish high school. It is a fact that some families have not worked at jobs for two or three generations. Is this the future we want for our great-grandchildren?


It is also a fact that some of our own Lakota people who serve in positions of power where they must make educated decisions did not finish school. How can you make an educated decision if you didn’t stay in school long enough to obtain the skills needed to read, comprehend and approve documents that will affect the generations which are still to come?


With all the opportunities we have to become educated, there is no excuse for not being able to read. And reading is really not enough anymore, one must also be able to comprehend what is read and have the skills to apply critical thinking to issues that must be decided on behalf of our families or programs or tribe. What we do today determines the quality of life for the next seven generations.


I have also learned that attaining a higher education does not guarantee anything. It is a fact that many of our own educated tribal members are overlooked when they apply for jobs on their own reservations. Many tribal members have stated that it’s not what you know but who you know when it comes to getting hired for a local job. Corruption is rampant in some areas of tribal government. I wonder if our young people see this and become so discouraged they make a conscious choice to drop out of school.


Sometimes the issue is even more complicated as there are students who are quickly discouraged from attending classes. I believe many of them are tired of being bullied while at school; so many of our beloved children are attacked on a regular basis while they are at school. It happens in the classrooms, restrooms, lunchrooms, hallways and outside of the buildings. If I were being threatened with verbal harassment or bodily harm by another person I sure wouldn’t want to go to school either.


But until the adults set the stage for the children they are raising nothing will change. When you are an adult bully you will most certainly have children, teenagers and extended family members who will mimic you. They will bully their peers and people smaller than them. There are tribal members living on my rez who are well known for their violent attacks on other people who cannot defend themselves. Violent tribal members are not the role models I want my grandchildren to imitate.


If you are a student I do not want to discourage you from attaining an education. Do not give up. A college degree is possible at any age. Nowadays many tribal members graduate from college when they have reached their thirties, forties or fifties. We all can continue to hope and pray that education will eventually mean something when it comes to tribal hiring practices.


So, our children will soon be in school working their little brains into an educated frenzy in order to learn the lessons associated with reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. Our most brilliant young people are in college continuing to learn so they can earn a piece of paper which will qualify them to work in a number of fields that are supposed to pay decent salaries.


The Lakota Oyate is in dire need of educated people to run tribal programs. Please stay in school. A college degree will open many more doors than a high school diploma!


Finally, I want to send my sincerest condolences to the local families who faced the sudden loss of their beloved child this week. There is nothing that can compare to the pain we suffer when a child in our Tiospaye leaves for the spirit world.


As parents and grandparents we have great hopes for our children and grandchildren to have a better life than the one we have lived. Often we depend on them to make the changes which we could not find the strength to make. Our young people are the future and it just doesn’t seem fair to us when they depart so quickly.


I always remember in my prayers the families who have lost babies, children and teenagers to sudden, unexpected deaths. Please know there are many people who are also remembering you in their prayers this week.


We can never see what is coming so make each day on earth a good one for those you love. Hold your babies, children, teenagers and other loved ones close to you. Don’t let a day go by without telling them you love them very much.

Sicangu Lakota Firefighters: the modern day Tokala

The raw powers of Wakinyan, Tate and Peta often remind humanity who is really in charge.


The fires which burned thousands of acres on the Rosebud Reservation helped me to reflect on many things. Even though the fires were started by lightning and no one is to blame for the size of the blaze, there were still a lot of accusations of who was supposedly at fault. Many people showed their genuine selves while the fire burned. Their masks were melted away by the heat.


We should appreciate it when people show their true selves. I don’t appreciate fake people. They are the ones who will act really super nice to your face while bad-mouthing you behind your back. An extreme crisis situation always forces people to show their real motives.


On Rosebud we have a Fire Department which is managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In June 2012 there were many tribal members who completed the rookie firefighter camp held at Ghost Hawk Park. I was very proud of all our young people who toughed out this difficult fire training. You have to be strong in order to be a firefighter.


A firefighter must certainly be in excellent physical condition. Fires are hard work. Many times people who fight fire must walk several miles a day to work on containment. Not everyone is cut out for this kind of work. An individual must have extreme physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength to become a fire fighter.


A firefighter has to be mentally and emotionally sound. It doesn’t do a fire crew any good to have unstable people trying to fight a fire. If your mind isn’t strong, you have no business on a fire crew. Fires have a life of their own, witnessing a huge inferno will definitely work on your mind and emotions. It’s easy to panic when you don’t have a firm handle on your own thought process.


Firefighters have to work as a team. There are many people on my rez who flatly refuse to cooperate when it comes to teamwork. What would have happened if there was no teamwork on those fires we had here on the Rosebud? They probably would still be burning out of control if there was no leadership or teamwork within our fire crews.


The people who dedicate their lives to fighting fires are trained for a reason. They are out there to do a job. It only hampers their efforts when there are untrained people getting in the way. When curious onlookers arrive on the scene of a fire, it complicates the work the fire crews are there to do. Not only do they have to work to contain the fire, they must also worry about the safety of onlookers or untrained volunteers. It must be doubly stressful to have to take into consideration people who do not heed the advice of trained fire fighters.


During the fires on the Rosebud Reservation, I received emails, texts and telephone calls about some of the things which were happening out there near the fires. Some of the information I received was appalling. It is pretty immature when adults criticize the men and women assigned to fire crews. It’s even worse when people refuse to get out of the way of firefighters.


The Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team arrived to help with the fires burning on the Rosebud Reservation on July 21, 2012 at 6pm local time. The teams which worked very hard on containing the fires on Rosebud were part of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Nearly 600 people worked to contain the blaze.


Incident Commander Joe Lowe told departing fire crews, “Firefighters on this incident have been humble professionals and have done an outstanding job, we have come together with local fire fighters and I am proud of the work we have all done.”


Many of us on the Rosebud Reservation are also proud of the hard work all the firefighters devoted to containing the fire. I hear lots of tribal members constantly criticizing our First Responders. Many people do not stop to think what life would be like without the firefighters, police officers and emergency medical staff who put their lives on the line every single day for us.


But everyone has their own internal problems I suppose. That is, most of the people who insult other people are basically insecure. They believe it will somehow help them to feel better if they put someone else down. Insults are also directed at other people to take attention off of personal issues. When you are busy insulting others, you have no time to work on your own problems.


Sometimes people who always seem to be angry insult other people because they are really not mature enough to come up with any other way to handle their internal rage. So, they will try to start a fight or to try to make the other person feel bad in some way. I have learned that the only way to handle an insult with class is to completely ignore it. Just walk away.


When the person insulting you is someone you care about you might confront them with the truth. Let them know you believe need to change their behavior. Of course this might make them even angrier, but at least you gave them something to think about.


So, I want to let all of the firefighters know that they did an excellent job with the Longhorn Complex fires. To contain a blaze spanning 43,639 acres of brush, grass and timber in rough terrain is quite an accomplishment, especially when weather conditions made the job extra difficult.


The Tokala were members of an ancient society who were known for their bravery in defending the people. The Tokala would commit themselves to a fight to the death if need be. I view our Sicangu Lakota firefighters as the modern day Tokala. Firefighters are our heroes!


Bordeaux, Scott chosen as unofficial winners of tribal president race

ROSEBUD, SD – Unofficial results show incumbent Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux will face Cyril “Whitey” Scott for the top seat on Rosebud during the General Election next month.


Bordeaux received 787 votes while Scott picked up 593 in the primary election held in 21 communities on the Rosebud Reservation.


Incumbent William “Willie” Kindle will face Oliver J. “OJ” Semans for the position of Vice-President. Kindle received 1,477 votes. Semans got 358 votes.


Incumbent Scott Herman will face Calvin “Hawkeye” Waln, Jr. for the tribal council seat from Antelope Community.


Incumbent Royal Yellow Hawk will face Mary F. Waln for the tribal council seat from He Dog Community.


Incumbent Webster Two Hawk, Sr. will face Fremont Fallis for the tribal council seat from Horse Creek Community.


Incumbent Patricia “Patti” Douville will face Rose Two Strike Stenstrom for the tribal council seat from Ring Thunder Community.


Rosebud Community will elect a new tribal council member this time around. Richard “Tuffy” Lunderman will face Stephanie C. Sully in next month’s General Election.


Incumbent John Swift will face Patsy Valandra for the tribal council seat from St. Francis Community.


Incumbent Delano Clairmont will face Alvin Bettelyoun, Sr. for the tribal council seat from Swift Bear Community.


Incumbent Kathleen High Pipe will face Philimon D. Two Eagle for the tribal council seat from Upper Cut Meat.


Incumbent Arlene Black Bear will face Brian Hart for the tribal council seat from Corn Creek.


Incumbent Todd Bear Shield will retain his tribal council seat from Bull Creek Community because he ran unopposed.


A reservation wide General Election is scheduled for Thursday, August 23, 2012. Qualified tribal members who have registered to vote will have the opportunity to cast their vote to select a president, vice president and all tribal council representatives.


For more information please call the Election Board at (605) 856-2373. Their office is located on Main Street in Mission, just south of the City office in the building which formerly housed the Mission Medical Clinic.





Longhorn Complex Fire at 95% containment, officials advise residents not to enter burn area

Rehabilitation Efforts Continue on the Longhorn Complex Fire


St. Francis, SD– Today crews continued to patrol, mop up, and rehab the fire line. Rehabilitation efforts include the repair of dozer line, fences, and gates. Fire crews will be working until midnight tonight on the last night shift of the Longhorn Complex and continue day operations tomorrow.

While addressing firefighters this evening at briefing, Shane Del Groso, Incident Commander Trainee, said, “We’ve come a long way this past week. The fire doubled in size and firefighters were able to endure extreme heat and intense thunderstorms. Thank you for continuing to be adaptable in these situations. More importantly, you have made a difference in a lot of lives.”

Entering the burn area is not recommended as many hazards are present following a wild fire. Trees with weakened root systems can become uprooted with little or no warning. Islands of unburned fuels remain within the fire perimeter and pose a risk to non-firefighters. Residents may expect to see and smell smoke over the next several days.

Thunderstorms are predicted with the possibility of dry lighting. Firefighters remain available to support Initial Attack should any new fire starts arise.

Containment of the Longhorn Complex remains at 95 percent. The fire is currently 43,639 acres. The Longhorn Complex includes the Iron Shell Fire (38,617 acres), the South Crazy Horse Fire (3,372 acres), and the Longhorn Fire (1,650 acres).

Road closures have been lifted on the Longhorn Complex Fire as of 12:00 p.m. today. BIA 30 and BIA 5 into the Spring Creek community and on BIA 30 at the intersection with BIA 5, and on BIA 5 at the intersection with BIA 501 are now open. Residents, and those travelling in the fire area, are urged to use caution as emergency vehicles and firefighters will continue to be working in the area.