Posts Tagged ‘Pine Ridge Indian Reservation’

Leaders on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are trying to find ways to stop statistics like this: One in four children born there suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome.

A man drinks a beer while standing with other American Indians on the streets of Whiteclay, Neb. (File photo by William Lauer, courtesy of Associated Press)

Alcohol is not sold on the reservation but it is in nearby cities. That prompted Oglala Sioux tribe to file a lawsuit accusing the retailers and others of knowingly contributing to the reservation’s alcohol-related problems.

But, as Grant Schulte reports on the Great Falls Tribune website, beer companies have filed several motions to have the suit dismissed.

    Lawyers for the beer companies said in court papers that such an order would force Whiteclay’s beer stores to discriminate against American Indians from Pine Ridge.

    “The absurdity of this request cannot be understated,” said Jerald Rauterkus, an attorney for State Line Liquor in Whiteclay. The tribe “is seeking an order from this court that would actually command retail defendants to refuse the sale of their otherwise publicly available goods to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation based solely on their race and ethnicity.”

Are there other answers to the problem? That remains to be seen.

    Randall Goyette, an attorney for the Jumping Eagle Inn store in Whiteclay, said the alcohol problems on Pine Ridge “can only be due to personal conduct.

Jenna Cederberg

Tags: , , , , ,

Groups working to form the nation’s first tribal national park on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation moved one step closer to their goal this week.

The National Parks Service announced Thursday that the final General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the South Unit of Badlands National Park has been completed and released, a NPS press release said.

    The South Unit of Badlands National Park is entirely within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. The Park Service and the Tribe have worked together to manage the South Unit’s 133,000 acres for almost 40 years. If a tribal national park is enabled by Congress through legislation, the Oglala Sioux people could manage and operate their lands for the educational and recreational benefit of the general public, including a new Lakota Heritage and Education Center.

Work to create the official national park has been ongoing since 2006. Partner groups include the NPS, Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority.

    Under the plan, the National Park Service and the Tribe will focus on restoring the health and vibrancy of the prairie to enhance wildlife habitat, expanding bison into the South Unit, providing roads and trails and providing greater opportunities for visitors to experience the natural grandeur of the South Unit and the heritage of the Oglala Sioux people.

    The National Park Service is expected to sign the Record of Decision for the GMP/EIS this summer; however, congressional legislation is necessary before the Service can implement the Plan’s Preferred Management Option. In the meantime, the Park Service and Tribe may prepare for and implement appropriate parts of the plan and identify the components of a tribal national park that need to be addressed by legislation.

Here’s the full press release from NPS:

    BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis today announced the release of the final General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the South Unit of Badlands National Park, recommending the establishment of the nation’s first tribal national park in partnership with the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Russell Means (Photo By REUTERS/Joshua Lott/REUTERS)

Russell Means (Photo By REUTERS/Joshua Lott/REUTERS)

By Jesse Abernathy, Native Sun News Editor

SANTA FE, N.M. – Russell Means says he is still cancer-free and will forever be unaffected by the dread disease.

Means, who is Oglala Lakota, was diagnosed last summer with what was then referred to as “terminal” esophageal cancer. In December, the actor and former American Indian Movement activist claimed victory over his affliction partially by way of “Indian prayer and Indian medicine.”

“The cancer’s gone – I don’t have to worry about that,” Means said from his wife Pearl’s familial home in Santa Fe.

“I beat it, it’s gone,” he said firmly.

As was the case in December, Means’ voice is still clear and robust – a noticeable difference from the height of his throat cancer last August, when his tones were audibly weak.

“None of my doctors believe in the term ‘remission,’” said Means. “Either you got cancer or you don’t – period.”

Means concurs with his physicians in ascribing no validity to the cancer-related state of remission, which is an all-too-common polarity of metastasizing, or actively spreading, cancer cells.

“Remission means there’s cancer hanging around – to me, that’s what it means – and I totally reject that basis. The reason the medical profession uses that word is because they know their radiation, chemo and their meds weaken the immune system to the degree that it invites all kinds of disease. But specifically, it invites cancer to come back, so that’s why they say ‘remission.’ They know, because of how they treat cancer, it weakens you and makes you even more susceptible to disease.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

By Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Editor

RAPID CITY – Less than two weeks after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited the Rapid City community and spoke about measures to curb violence in Indian country, three Rapid City Police officers were shot by Daniel Tiger, a 22-year-old Native American male.

James Ryan McCandless, 28, died at the scene and Nick Armstrong, 27, later died as a result of gunshot wounds sustained during a shoot-out with the suspect. Tiger also died of gunshot wounds.

Another officer, Tim Doyle who was shot in the face during the armed altercation is currently recovering from his injuries.

According to the Rapid City Police Department on Aug. 2 at about 4:30 p.m., during what was termed a “routine stop” a Rapid City police officer patrolling on a bicycle came into contact with a group of four individuals at the intersection of Anamosa and Greenbriar streets.

Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender reported that there had been complaints of underage drinking in the area and an officer was responding to the call.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,

Neleigh Driving Hawk gets help riding her bike down a street with her aunt Mariah in Lower Brule, S.D. (Devin Wagner/Argus Leader)

Neleigh Driving Hawk gets help riding her bike down a street with her aunt Mariah in Lower Brule, S.D. (Devin Wagner/Argus Leader)

    “There’s also all these positive and beautiful things that you can still live here and have a good life,” - Autumn White Eyes, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation resident now studying at Dartmouth

The Argus Leader debuts today an eight-part print series and dynamic online multimedia presentation, “Growing Up Indian.”

Most South Dakotans can scarcely imagine what it’s like to grow up on an Indian reservation, their website tells readers as we’re introduced to the project. So, AL reporter Steve Young and photographer Devin Wagner (UM photojournalism, ’08) went on their first assignment for the project in January.

Hundreds of hours, thousands of photos and a deeper understanding later, they introduce readers to three central characters in the project, which began its print run today in the AL. Featured prominently as the “first leg” is Neleigh, a 3-year-old whose young mother hopes the best for her little girl.

Also featured is the disturbing story of Marquita Walking Eagle, who was raped and murdered in 2009, paralleled with the inspiring optimism and drive of Gates Millennium Scholar and Dartmouth college student Autumn White Eyes – who says she wants to return to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to make positive change.

“She (Neleigh) faces, basically, one of two options; which are the other two legs of the story,” Wagner told me during a phone interview on Friday.

“(What) we’re trying to do is show our readership what is like to grow up a young Native American. Things that effect them are higher than what in effect you could call normal life,” he said.

Those things include suicide, alcoholism, teen pregnancy and high school dropouts – among others portrayed in the comprehensive GUI project.

Video, photos, live chats, diaries
One of the most exciting aspects of the presentation is its completeness: The eight-part print series is anchored by a huge lineup of multimedia (video, slideshows, guest opinions on hot-button topics), including three video diaries that look into the lives of Native students who taped their own experiences for nearly a year. That portion of the project was created in partnership with the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute and Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.

“We want them to tell their story, I don’t care if its Blair Witch Project (style camera work). We just want them to give us some insight on what it’s like to grow up how they grow up,” said Wagner, who mentored the teens throughout the process. “They’ve overcome some obstacles. It’s beautiful to see that they’ve fought such adversity.”

The words, the photos and the voices captured in all of GUI’s content are immense. Wagner, a Crow from Lewistown who spent time “a lot” of time on the Crow Reservation in Montana, said getting to know the Lakota or Sioux people – telling their stories – has been a blessing.

“I was invited into people’s homes, people’s communities, people’s lives. Like I said, these people go through such adversity, yet they are still able to be very humble, be polite. Be hopeful.”

Jenna Cederberg

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota:

Nearly 3,000 registered voters are expected to vote today at local precincts on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters will need to present a photo ID at their respective districts to vote for executive and council representatives, according to Dorothy Brown Bear of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Election Office.

Election judges went through training Monday for the first reservation-wide voting using electronic balloting, Brown Bear said. Precinct locations include Crazy Horse School, Eagle Nest District; Lacreek Community Action Program office, Lacreek District; Kyle CAP office, Mediator Church and St. Henry’s Catholic Hall, Medicine Root District; Oglala CAP office, Brother Rene Hall at Our Lady of the Sioux and Red Shirt School, Oglala District; American Horse School, Pass Creek District; Billy Mills Hall, Pine Ridge Village; Sharp’s Corner Baptist Church and Porcupine Clinic, Porcupine District; Calico CAP office, No. 4 Payabya LTLI Building, Slim Buttes, Red Cloud, Blue Community Building at Wolf Creek, Blue Community Building at Wakpamni Lake and Batesland College Center, Wakpamni District; and Manderson CAP office, Rockyford School and Wounded Knee Community Center, Wounded Knee District.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

On Sundays, Buffalo Post features a column by Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, who is the editor and publisher of Native Sun News. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard with the Class of 1990. His weekly column won the H. L. Mencken Award in 1985. His book Children Left Behind was awarded the Bronze Medal by Independent Book Publishers. He was the first Native American ever inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2007. He can be reached at

Tim Giago

Tim Giago

By Tim Giago

The ads are becoming more frequent and more vicious.

Kristi Noem, the Republican candidate for the lone House of Representatives seat in South Dakota, is the recipient of out-of-state advertisements that are using a scorched earth policy of attacking the incumbent Congress woman, Democratic Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

The most effective way to combat horrible ads is for Herseth Sandlin to respond with ads that show her accomplishments, and she has many.

Her current ad showing how she has worked with military veterans in so many positive ways is a classic example. As the song goes, “You have to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”

Herseth Sandlin is a Representative who has taken the time to learn about the Indian Nations in her state. She and current South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) are probably two of the most knowledgeable members of Congress when it comes to Native American concerns and issues.

I have sat in and listened as both of these members of Congress answered questions, some quite hostile, about Indian issues, and they not only answered the questions, but turned the questions into a time to educate the questioner.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

nativesunEvery Saturday, Buffalo Post features stories from Native Sun News, published in Rapid City, S.D.

By Randall Howell
Native Sun News Correspondent

PINE RIDGE –– A candidate for the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Pine Ridge District representative continues to await a response to a complaint he has filed with the tribe’s Election Commission.

Bruce Whalen, a first-time candidate for tribal council representative in Pine Ridge District, said he filed his complaint early last week.

The complaint was filed by Whalen in connection with his inability to get a copy of the commission’s meeting minutes wherein it reportedly altered the candidate filing frame because several “chose by their own free will” to go off-reservation to get the drug tests – decisions that several candidates said would delay paperwork establishing
viable candidacy.

“They are changing the rules … changing horses in mid-stream, changing the rules in the middle of the game,” Whalen told Native Sun News. “Not only did they change the rules, but also they won’t provide me with the minutes of the meeting where it happened.”

Meanwhile, Whalen has charged the commission and the Tribal Council with violating its own open-meeting rules and then meeting to extend the filing deadline to accommodate candidates who went off-reservation for those drug tests. Several candidates reportedly complained that because they did so they could not meet the filing time frame.

Hence, the Election Commission apparently adjusted the time frame to meet the filing needs of those candidates, contends Whalen.

The tribe’s top election commissioner – Francis Pumpkin Seed – conducted the ballot positioning session for the tribe late Wednesday but did not supply minutes of the time-frame-change meeting, though Whalen was present.
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Every Saturday, Buffalo Post features stories from Native Sun News, published in Rapid City, S.D.

By Randall Howell
Native Sun News Correspondent

WANBLEE –– Tag used to be a school-yard game.

That kind of tag is rarely played by school children anymore.

Today, the word has taken on a new gang-like meaning, often referring to a graffiti-based, black-paint “tag” or symbolic territory marking on the exterior walls of a house or public building, such as a post office.

And, a significant number of Wanblee residents say they have had enough of that kind of tag to last several lifetimes.

“They (graffiti vandals) have tagged and retagged some buildings around here many times,” said Phyllis Swift Hawk, a long-time Wanblee resident and one of those re-organizing and rekindling the community’s five-year-old, unimplemented Neighborhood Watch program.

“The initial momentum ran out of steam somewhere along the line,” said Swift Hawk, who is helping spearhead the revival of the program, which has Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Department of Public Safety cooperation and blessing. In fact, Sgt. Larry Romano reportedly has been assigned to the community, though the Wanblee Law Enforcement substation has been shut down after the building recently was condemned as structurally unsound, according to Swift Hawk.

“We have to do something to turn this thing around,” said Swift Hawk, who noted that the fading away of the first such program left community members awash in a subsequent sea of drug use, under-age drinking and vandalism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

David Steindorf starts the Massey Ferguson tractor his father bought in 1961 – and which Steindorf still uses – as his brother Jim watches recently at their place near Charlo. The Steindorfs’ grandfather, Albert, homesteaded the land when the Flathead Indian Reservation was opened up to non-Indians 100 years ago. Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian

David Steindorf starts the Massey Ferguson tractor his father bought in 1961 – and which Steindorf still uses – as his brother Jim watches recently at their place near Charlo. The Steindorfs’ grandfather, Albert, homesteaded the land when the Flathead Indian Reservation was opened up to non-Indians 100 years ago. Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian

Flathead Indian Reservation sees centennial of white settlement
Joe McDonald, whose father sold off two allotments to pay for his brother's casket. (Tom Bauer/Missoulian)

Joe McDonald, whose father sold off two allotments to pay for his brother's casket. (Tom Bauer/Missoulian)

This year marks the centennial of homesteading on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana, a painful time that saw much of the reservation’s Indian land sold off to non-Natives. In today’s Missoulian, Vince Devlin has a pair of stories told from both the perspective of the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille tribes who watched their lands vanish, and from that of the whites who moved there, often not knowing how those lands were obtained. “They were certainly brave souls,” Joe McDonald says of the homesteaders. “Most came in and didn’t know the politics” behind the opening of the reservation to non-Indians. McDonald’s own father sold off two of the family’s tribal allotments to pay for a casket for his little brother. The situation led to the tribes becoming minorities on their own lands.

Voting site set for Shannon County, S.D., and Pine Ridge Reservation residents
It looks as though a plan has been worked out for voting in Shannon County, S.D., home to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Rapid City Journal reports that beginning Tuesday, Shannon County voters can cast ballots for the upcoming general election at the county’s Lakota Language Program office in the old hospital at Pine Ridge.

Advocate for Native American art dies

The New York Times says Ralph T. Coe, “played a central role in the revival of interest in Native American art, from the ancient to the modern.” Coe – known as Ted — headed the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., from 1977 until 1982. He was 81 when he died Sept. 14 at his home in Santa Fe, N.M.

First Nations chiefs protest deplorable school conditions
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs helped lead a demonstration in Winnipeg Friday to protest problems at schools in First Nations communities. The group said that schools in three Manitoba First Nations are closed, while others are overcrowded, and that the buildings are moldy and deteriorating, according to the Vancouver Sun.

Second Navajo Nation casino to open Oct. 13

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise has announced that the Flowing Waters Navajo Casino will open Oct. 13. Gaming there will be more limited than at the Fire Rock Navajo Casino, according to the Navajo Times. There will be no card games and slot machine players compete against each other instead of against the house, the story says.

Gwen Florio

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,