Crazy Horse Canyon still burning

The fire which started on June 14, 2012 about 1/4 mile west of Chases The Woman Dam is approximately 80% contained as of 9:30 am today June 18. According to BIA Fire Officer Dana Cook, the cause of the fire is under investigation. As of this morning, at least 305 acres of timber have been lost in this fire. More updates as they become available.  Thank you for your prayers.

Fire burning out of control in Crazy Horse Canyon

GRASS MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY – An out of control fire is burning on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in south central South Dakota.

 

The fire, which began late in the day on June 14, is believed to be human caused. Local firefighters initially had the blaze under control that same evening. However, high winds caused the fire to flare up again on Friday morning.

 

Rosebud Sioux Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux gave notice to all tribal programs which activated the Emergency Preparedness Program (EPP) late Friday afternoon (June 15 2012). EPP will to remain active until further notice. Additional fire-fighting crews and resources, including aircraft, have been ordered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Fire Department.

 

The residents of the new housing area in Grass Mountain Community were asked to evacuate their homes late Friday afternoon. This is only a precaution because the fire has already jumped several lines and the right conditions can change the direction very quickly. Communities on the west side of the Rosebud Indian Reservation are seeing large quantities of smoke blowing through as the wind is blowing from the southeast.

 

Residents can tune into KOYA Radio at 88.1 FM for updates on the fire. A command center has been established at the Rosebud Fire Hall. For more information please call the Fire Hall at 605-747-2700. You may also contact EPP Director Bill Giroux on his cell phone 605-828-1308.

Candidate list is certified, Rosebud’s Primary Election is July 26 2012

Seventy (70) candidates were certified as eligible to run for election by the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Election Board last week. Their names will appear on a ballot for the Primary Election set for July 26, 2012.

 

Tribal members are encouraged to vote. Any enrolled tribal member who is at least eighteen (18) years old and has lived on the Rosebud Reservation for at least thirty (30) days prior to the election is eligible to register to vote at the Tribal Secretary’s office. Voter registration deadline is July 15, 2012.

 

Candidates for Tribal President: Lenard “Shadow” Wright, Cyril Scott, Edward Edd Charging Elk, Reg “Reggie” Little Thunder, Rodney M. Bordeaux (incumbent), Kenneth Night Pipe, Valerie Crazy Bull, Lynda “Mona” Douville and Gabriel A. Medicine Eagle.

 

Vice-president: William “Willie” Kindle (incumbent), Sherman D. Wright, Claudette C. Arcoren, Lois D. Antoine and Oliver J. Semans.

 

Antelope: Scott O. Herman (incumbent), Louis Moran III, Emil P. Wilson, Shannon M. Shaw-Brill, James R. Leader Charge, Glen Yellow Eagle, Shawn Bordeaux, Calvin “Hawkeye” Waln, Jr., Trent Poignee and Dolores R. Barron.

 

Ring Thunder: Patricia Douville (incumbent), Rose Stenstrom, Martha Blue Thunder, Raine K. Eagle Cloud and Alvin Bear Heels.

 

St. Francis: Bonnie J. Hairy Shirt, Dean Yellow Hawk, Anthony Bordeaux, Jr., Joe Ford, Michael Boltz, Sr., John Swift (incumbent), Darleen Black Spotted Horse, John C. Arcoren and Patsy Valandra.

 

Swift Bear: Delano Clairmont (incumbent), Robert Becker, Harold Medicine Bear and Alvin Bettelyoun, Sr.

 

Horse Creek: Fremont Fallis, Webster Two Hawk, Sr. (incumbent), Roger A. Moran, Christine M. Arrow and Craig Marshall.

 

He Dog: Royal Yellow Hawk (incumbent), Floyd Lafferty, Mary Waln, Salina Whipple and Janet Wilcox.

 

Rosebud: Floyd Reynolds, Troy Lynn Peneaux, Sarah Reynolds, Leana M. Long, Richard Lunderman, Kenneth LaDeaux, Ronald D. “Jock” Gassman, Steve Leader Charge, David C. Reddest, Stephanie C. Sully and Neal T. Kramer.

 

Upper Cut Meat: Fred Whirlwind, Philimon D. Two Eagle, Kathleen High Pipe (incumbent), and Calvin Two Eagle.

 

Corn Creek: Arlene (Old Lodge) Black Bear and Brian Hart.

 

Bull Creek: Todd Bear Shield.

 

According to officials there was one challenge filed but the paperwork was not received before the deadline. For more information please call the Election Board at (605) 856-2373.

Rosebud is without a Chief of Police (again)

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is without a Chief of Police. A motion excerpt issued by Tribal Secretary Linda Marshall and addressed to President Rodney Bordeaux states in part that the tribal council voted on May 30, 2012 “to terminate the Chief of Police for lack of leadership and that the police department have a review done and that the Police Commission/Judiciary Committee start the process of restructuring.” The motion was made by Steve Denoyer, Jr. and seconded by Tony Metcalf with the question by Lenard Wright.

 

In a roll call vote the motion was approved by a vote of eight (8) for, four (4) against, four (4) abstaining and four (4) absent. Voting in favor of termination were Opal Larvie Maxey, Arlene Black Bear, Steve Denoyer, Jr., Robert Shot With Two Arrows, Lenard Wright, Pam Kills In Water, Delano Clairmont and Tony Metcalf.

 

Voting against termination were Todd Bear Shield, Willie Bear Shield, Patricia Douville and John Swift. Abstaining from voting were Russell Eagle Bear, Lydia Whirlwind Soldier, Royal Yellow Hawk and Charlie Spotted Tail. Absent were Scott Herman, Webster Two Hawk, Sr., Gabriel Medicine Eagle and Kathleen High Pipe.

 

Prior to the vote several tribal members were allowed to verbally air their grievances against the Chief of Police Grace Her Many Horses and the police department in general. However, Her Many Horses did not get to speak on her own behalf before the tribal council voted to terminate her.

 

The issue of the termination was again brought up on the tribal council floor on June 7 even though the personnel action had apparently already been signed by President Bordeaux. Once again, several tribal members were allowed to publicly state their opinion about the police department during the meeting.

 

At the June 7 meeting, Ms. Her Many Horses stated she had not been officially notified of the action taken by the tribal council to terminate her employment. She has the option of filing a grievance within the timeframe specified in the RST Personnel Manual.

Cleaning up a big mess

There are many people all over the world who view the Lakota as humans who are still one with nature. In fact, many of us remain deeply connected with Mother Earth through ceremony. Also, most American Indian Tribes are viewed by many as environmentalists because of our connection to the land.

 

We are often called stewards of the Earth. I have read stories about how the American Indian people were designated as the original caretakers of Mother Earth. Many elders have also stated that our role is to protect Mother Earth.

 

Still, as we drive through our own homelands it often does not appear that we are the environmental stewards that people say we are. We have big problems disposing of our trash. It really doesn’t matter what reservation you drive through either because many have the same issues with trash disposal.

 

Here on the Rosebud you can drive around and see where people have tossed out their bags of trash along the highway. And now we have illegal dump sites which make the problem much worse.

 

Every spring on my rez there is an annual clean up. This clean-up usually starts in April to coincide with Earth Day. It is the time of year when we are all supposed to work together to clear all the debris which accumulated during the fall and winter. It is also the time of year when I see tribal entities, community members and tribal officials squabble over who is doing what.

 

It seems that the annual clean-up, along with many other activities on most reservations all across Indian Country, always stirs up that proverbial bucket of crabs. When you work to do something good, there will always be those people who are never satisfied.

 

For instance, some will not be satisfied with who is organizing the clean-up. Others are not satisfied with where the trash is piled before it is hauled away to the landfill. And still others won’t be satisfied with the color of the trash bags. I guess you can’t please everyone.

 

Most of us who live on the rez know about the crabs in that proverbial bucket. Still, let me remind you of who they are. They complain about most everything which happens on the homelands. No matter what is being done to improve the community it will never be good enough for them.

 

Also, some of them drive around in the community, brazenly stalking the people who are trying to make a positive difference. They gather in their little cliques and verbally condemn everyone involved. These are the Lakota people who are the role models I do not want my takoja to imitate.

 

When we all work to keep our own yard and surrounding areas free of debris there will be no reason to bicker over who is or who is not involved in the clean-up. There will be no more complaining about all the trash lying around. Right?

 

Still, I know many people who have a lot to say about all the garbage lying in the ditches, in the streets and in private yards. Many are hypocrites because they will complain about it all the while continuing to throw their beer bottles, candy wrappers and soda cans out of their car windows.

 

Also, there is always a limited amount of dollars available to pay for solid waste removal. Recently, I listened to discussion at a meeting about allowing tribal members who are sitting in jail to work with the solid waste program on my rez. For instance, people who still owe an outstanding fine to the tribal court are provided with an opportunity to help with the reservation wide clean up. There is no money involved, it is all in-kind work. For every day the tribal member works with solid waste, he or she gets a portion of their fine reduced.

 

Of course, there are tribal members who will not be satisfied with who gets the credit for creating a project which allows people sitting in jail to work with solid waste in lieu of making cash payments on their court fines. Like I said, clean-up always stirs that proverbial bucket. To me, it doesn’t matter who thought about using tribal members who are sitting in jail to help with the clearing of debris. What matters to me is a reservation clear of unsightly trash.

 

I appreciate a clean community. Everyone is quick to blame solid waste for all the trash blowing around. Still, if we would all be a bit more careful with our rubbish we might find there is no longer a problem. Simply picking up can make a huge difference.

 

And it seems as though the trash problem is always magnified in our larger communities. Here on the Rosebud Rez, we have at least four big communities. They are Antelope, Rosebud, Parmelee and St. Francis. These are the areas which have the most residents.

 

Some of the debris in these big communities has been lying around for years and years. Burned out houses quickly became permanent piles of charred junk. They have always been an eyesore. It takes a lot of work to clear out an area where a house fire occurred.

 

In the last few weeks several residents of St. Francis Community worked very hard to beautify their district. They cleaned up piles of trash and debris which had been sitting for a very long time. They also cleared at least five abandoned lots which were sites of house fires.

 

I know both Rosebud and St. Francis paid daily cash stipends to community members who helped with the clean-up. Many used their own vehicles to haul garbage to the landfill, which is a 90 mile roundtrip. I commend everyone who had a hand in cleaning up the homelands. I also appreciate the tribal programs which assisted with finances to buy gas and pay day labor to those who volunteered to clean up everyone’s mess.

 

Thank you!

Rosebud gears up for summer elections

ROSEBUD, SD – Seventy (70) Rosebud Sioux Tribal members have filed affidavits seeking election to the governing body. Positions available include both the tribal president and vice-president jobs along with ten (10) tribal council representatives. All candidates must meet residency, blood quantum and age requirements before being placed on the ballot. Candidates must also pass a criminal background check.

 

Qualified voters have a right to challenge the eligibility of a candidate by filing a sworn written statement setting forth the grounds for ineligibility no later than Friday, June 8, 2012 at 1pm. A fee of $50 must be paid to the RST Treasurer’s office and the receipt should accompany any challenge documents.

 

All challenges will be reviewed by the RST Election Board. If the Board determines the candidate is not eligible for office, a hearing will be set and public notice given. The Board’s decision on the eligibility of a candidate is final. See RST Ordinance 86-10 which contains the Tribal Election Code.

 

Fourteen (14) tribal members filed affidavits for the top positions in tribal administration. They include Tribal President Candidates: Lenard “Shadow” Wright, Cyril Scott, Edward Edd Charging Elk, Reg “Reggie” Little Thunder, Rodney M. Bordeaux (incumbent), Kenneth Night Pipe, Valerie Crazy Bull, Lynda “Mona” Douville and Gabriel A. Medicine Eagle.

 

Also, Vice-president Candidates: William “Willie” Kindle (incumbent), Sherman D. Wright, Claudette C. Arcoren, Lois D. Antoine and Oliver J. Semans.

 

In addition, there were fifty-six (56) affidavits filed for ten (10) tribal council positions. The winning candidate will serve a three (3) year term. Tribal members who filed for the election are listed in the following paragraphs.

 

Antelope: Scott O. Herman (incumbent), Louis Moran III, Emil P. Wilson, Shannon M. Shaw-Brill, James R. Leader Charge, Glen Yellow Eagle, Shawn Bordeaux, Calvin “Hawkeye” Waln, Jr., Trent Poignee and Dolores R. Barron.

 

Ring Thunder: Patricia Douville (incumbent), Rose Stenstrom, Martha Blue Thunder, Raine K. Eagle Cloud and Alvin Bear Heels.

 

St. Francis: Bonnie J. Hairy Shirt, Dean Yellow Hawk, Anthony Bordeaux, Jr., Joe Ford, Michael Boltz, Sr., John Swift (incumbent), Darleen Black Spotted Horse, John C. Arcoren and Patsy Valandra.

 

Swift Bear: Delano Clairmont (incumbent), Robert Becker, Harold Medicine Bear and Alvin Bettelyoun, Sr.

 

Horse Creek: Fremont Fallis, Webster Two Hawk, Sr. (incumbent), Roger A. Moran, Christine M. Arrow and Craig Marshall.

 

He Dog: Royal Yellow Hawk (incumbent), Floyd Lafferty, Mary Waln, Salina Whipple and Janet Wilcox.

 

Rosebud: Floyd Reynolds, Troy Lynn Peneaux, Sarah Reynolds, Leana M. Long, Richard Lunderman, Kenneth LaDeaux, Ronald D. “Jock” Gassman, Steve Leader Charge, David C. Reddest, Stephanie C. Sully and Neal T. Kramer.

 

Upper Cut Meat: Fred Whirlwind, Philimon D. Two Eagle, Kathleen High Pipe (incumbent), and Calvin Two Eagle.

 

Corn Creek: Arlene (Old Lodge) Black Bear and Brian Hart.

 

Bull Creek: Todd Bear Shield.

 

A reservation wide primary election is scheduled for Thursday, July 26, 2012. The top two vote getters will advance to the General Election on 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 ten (10) 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.

Are we really that gullible?

One of the most valuable tools of a writer is a dictionary. When I was a college student I carried a dictionary with me to class. I used to page through that heavy red book on a daily basis.

 

Times sure have changed. I still look up words every day, but now I can do so by simply clicking on a link and typing in the word I need to find. You are never too old to expand your vocabulary.

 

One of the words I looked up in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary this week was “manipulate.” There are several definitions for manipulate. For me, the connotations this word brings immediately to mind are “to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage” or “to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose.”

 

Are you someone who manipulates other people to get what you want? Personally, I know many people who are very good at manipulating others. I do not view manipulators as credible people. The skillful manipulator is basically an untrustworthy person. When you are really good at constantly manipulating other people to get your way you lack integrity, in my opinion. Like the preceding definition says, manipulation is used to gain something unfairly.

 

One way to manipulate people is by withholding or distorting the truth. There are many people who twist the facts of a situation in order for things to go their way. This kind of manipulation happens when someone who wants to deceive purposely leaves out vital information when giving an account of events. Or they will change their story depending on who is listening. Remember folks, manipulators have no scruples and they are usually pathological liars!

 

Deep down, those of you who manipulate your way through life are probably very unhappy. It takes a lot of energy to work on other people just to get your way. I would rather have other people decide for themselves regarding issues which I am passionate about. I made a personal effort to stop manipulating people a long time ago. Sure we all want others to support the same things we do but life isn’t always about everyone else wanting what we desire. We are all individuals with our own free will.

 

In addition, organizations often suffer from the covert tactics used by a manipulator. When manipulation occurs within an organization, it compromises the integrity of the entire workplace. Oftentimes when an employee is terminated from their job, they will seek retaliation by manipulating the upper echelons in order to harm other people who work in the organization.

 

Even worse are those people who manipulate a situation, then vehemently deny having anything to do with it because they seek to deceive everyone. When you catch them in a deceitful act, they will try to blame someone else. They will say anything necessary to convince you that it is another co-worker or a supervisor who has distorted the situation when in reality it is the manipulator him or herself doing it.

 

Thankfully, human beings can evolve. When you make an effort to stop manipulating people, you will become transparent. Hidden agendas are no longer needed. Your experience as a reformed manipulator often gives you the insight to spot another who works to deceive others. When you become transparent it is very easy to see manipulators for who they really are.

 

I asked my friends on Facebook what thoughts came to mind with the word manipulator. Most of the comments I received focused on the negative things manipulative people do on a regular basis. The word manipulate usually reminds people of situations in the past where they were influenced by someone who wanted to get their way and would stop at nothing to do so.

 

It was very interesting when one Facebook commentator brought up the issue of how our ancestors were manipulated.   For instance, during the 19th century our Itancan gathered with agents of the federal government to negotiate treaties. The representatives who traveled to Lakota Territory on behalf of the great white father carried his hidden agenda with them. They manipulated our ancestors with lies in order to get signatures on a treaty which, over the last 161 years or so, was violated many times, leaving us with our contemporary checkerboard reservations.

 

Our ancestors were tricked by representatives of the federal government and we are still living under the effects of that deception. Sadly, we now see our own Lakota people doing the same thing to each other! Many of the people living on my own Rosebud Reservation work non-stop to manipulate others. They manipulate spouses, family members, co-workers, elected leaders and tribal officials on a daily basis.

 

How sad that many Lakota people are getting things to go their way using dishonest tactics. It just isn’t right. This behavior will trickle down to our descendants. We must make a personal, conscious choice to change. That is, if you show your children how to manipulate the system or other people, chances are they will grow up doing the same thing you are.

 

When we work to manipulate others to get something “by artful, unfair, or insidious means” we are being deceitful. Again, our children learn what we show them. When they are adults they will behave just like we showed them to. I think it is sad to see a majority of Lakota people passing down the traits of manipulation and deception to the coming generations.

 

If manipulation, deception, dishonesty and unfair tactics are what I am going to teach my descendants to carry on for me, I am really no better than the representatives of the federal government who deceived our ancestors into signing those treaties which were broken many times. We have to stop manipulating one another for the sake of our children. We desperately need role models who act with the same integrity as our Lakota ancestors.

 

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Education is a key. I was taught to believe that when you work hard to finish school you are setting yourself up for success. Many families and teachers encourage students to stay in school to lay a foundation for a better future. In today’s modern society, education is very important. Jobs are very hard to find, especially on the reservation. But if you were to venture off the reservation to seek employment it would be very hard, if not impossible, to find work when you are uneducated. Most employers require the minimum of a high school education or equivalent at the very least.

 

But when you live on an Indian Reservation sometimes education doesn’t really count for much. We hear our elected tribal leaders encourage the young people to stay in school and make something of themselves. Oftentimes, this is actually lip service. Politicians always sound good when they are encouraging the young people to continue their education.

 

We are all role models whether we want to be or not. What kind of role model are you? Are you for real? In asking that question I simply want to know if you walk your talk. Many people in positions of power on our Indian Reservations are high school graduates and some are high school drop outs. Only a handful of our people who work for our tribe have earned a college degree and even less have an advanced degree. We need more educated people to step into elected positions and the positions of power in our tribes. Don’t we?

 

With a tribal college located on our reservation there is no excuse not to earn a college degree. But as we all know, there are many people nowadays already know everything. They don’t need to go to school to expand their minds. Furthermore, some of these people are in positions of great power. They can change your life or the situation on our rez simply by raising their hand in a vote.

 

I have learned it doesn’t matter if you have a college degree on the rez. You can apply and be hired for a tribal director job with only a high school education. Furthermore, you do not even need to have a high school diploma or equivalent to run for office as a member of the tribe. You simply must meet the age, residency, along with tribal blood quantum requirements and be able to pass a criminal background check. That’s it. You do not need to have a high school diploma to run for tribal president, vice president, secretary, treasurer or council representative.

 

And when you are elected to a tribal position of power you might find that your false sense of power takes you to places where you should not be. Tribal council representatives are supposed to be legislators. This means they are elected to make laws and/or approve policy for our tribe. Still, I have seen many times where my tribal governing body gets involved in affairs in which they already have departments set up to manage.

 

One area where I see the governing body regularly jump into without hesitation is personnel. I have seen tribal director jobs where qualified, educated tribal members have applied and gone through the selection process which often includes an interview. But when it comes down to hiring the best qualified, educated candidate it inevitably turns into a popularity contest where the names of candidates are written on a dry-erase board and each member votes by secret ballot to select whomever they want. Never mind education, never mind the best qualified, educated candidate – it all boils down to popularity. The applicant with the most votes wins. And it all depends on who you know on tribal council.

 

So if you have a college or advanced degree it doesn’t always mean you will be selected for a position; even if you are the most qualified for the job. And when you are selected you might find that you will have to watch your back because the members of the governing body who did not want you in that position in the first place will work very, very hard to get rid of you. Furthermore, if they have a family member, spouse or other relatives who do not like you they may also work to get you terminated from your job.

 

This is my observation of how my tribe operates. I know there are many other tribal members from other reservations who will agree with everything I have written here. Some have watched their tribal governments violate the civil rights of their own members when it comes to employment or other areas, such as tribal members duly elected to positions on local boards, committees or commissions. The system we all call tribal government does not work on behalf of all the people it is supposed to serve.

 

Also, if you are a tribal director and you exercise your right as the person in charge to terminate an employee under you, you may also find yourself terminated by the tribal council. I think it is wrong for a few members of my tribal council to make a motion to terminate someone just like that. But who am I to judge what they do, I am just a common tribal member.

 

So, it doesn’t matter if you have an education when it comes to working for most tribes in this country. If you cross the wrong family, especially those who may have relatives or in laws sitting on the tribal council, you risk losing your job. It’s as simple as that. Never mind that you were doing a fantastic job or that you were the most qualified and educated candidate initially hired. If they cannot pull you down the crabs in that proverbial bucket will start snapping their claws together to make a big ruckus, which will often influence your elected leaders into making decisions that aren’t completely thought out. Some votes are cast to simply stop the noise, in my opinion.

 

Maybe I should stop encouraging young people to get a college degree and come back to work for the tribe so they can help their people. I will instead encourage them to get a college education and apply that knowledge to a job they love, instead of a job where they risk being fired at the whim of the tribal council. Who needs that kind of stress?

 

A tribal council which flip-flops on decision making shows a real lack of leadership. But reconsideration and rescinding are a reality I’ve seen many times in the tribal council chamber. So if you don’t like a decision made at one meeting, chances are you will see it reversed at the very next meeting, which is a huge waste of everyone’s time.

 

Be sure to vote in the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Primary Election on July 26, 2012 and the General Election on August 23, 2012. I won’t say vote for change because the more things change, the more they stay the same.