Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Protesting the Oglala Sioux Tribe

Protesting peacefully across from the Oglala Sioux Tribal building on July 29, 2014.  It was organized to stop the South Unit development of creating a Tribal National Park and a reintroduction of Bison.  Many people are protesting the lease land because they feel the tribe is taking away their livelihood.  I thought the picture above was interesting as they were next to Subway and then you see a Tipi and about fifty people with chairs and having lunch.  

 A line was drawn when the tipi was set up and the protestors were told not to cross the line or they would be arrested and taken to jail.  While this protest was going on the Tribal Council was having a regular scheduled council meeting.

 The signs were made and set on both sides of the Tipi and people seemed to be enjoying the day.  The council meeting was on the radio so they were listening what was going on.  The council voted to table the issues of the South Unit and I expect the pro South Unit Development Tribal/National Park people will begin to make their case in front of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Jeff Whalen and Floyd Hand were visiting about the issues and were working on getting their documents ready to distribute.  Floyd is on the Treaty Council and it was great to see him out protesting.  Even though the line was drawn with construction paint.  Floyd was in his chair on the other side of the line.  Refusing to follow the directives of the council and wanting to be heard on his issues.  He eventually went into the Council Meeting. 

I must admit I do not have all of the issues right and I do have an opinion but I am really unsure of what is actually going on.  I know the Tribe voted to take away some leases from Ranchers near the badlands.  Some of the Families have been there for half a century and now the is a move to develop the South Unit and bring in tourists.  I heard today from a person for the Park that Oglala Members would be working and then you have people who believe the tribe is taking land away from people.  I have been to a couple of the meetings, one by the council and BIA but it seems like many people are confused on what is happening. 

Pine Ridge Reservation seems to always be a hotbed of activity and it is because people have a distrust in tribal government and this brings out the protestors.  I caught up with one counsel man early and asked him about the alcohol issue and even though it has been a year they still do not have it in place.  Personally I believe they need to stop taking people to jail for consumption.  As an Oglala Member if you drink a beer and the police stop you and see that you have been drinking, they will take you to jail for at least eight hours.  It seems like people are afraid and want to keep the things the way they are on the Pine Ridge.  Of course the people in the border towns are making lots of money and this is hurting our economy.  Pine Ridge is the last of the Nine Reservation to not sell alcohol within their borders.  People protest for lots of reasons but I would like to see people start protesting the joblessness we have on the Pine Ridge.  It is time to move and grow and build a sustainable economy for our children and our children's children. 

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