Posts Tagged ‘Rosebud Sioux Tribe’

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

By Randall Howell
Native Sun News Correspondent


HOT SPRINGS – Shannon County’s commissioners have extended something of an olive branch to Fall River County’s elected officials.

That olive branch symbolizes an effort on the part of the commissioners to settle their growing list of differences with Fall River County, which for years has been functioning as the government infrastructure for the unorganized Shannon County.

With that peace-talk session scheduled for Friday, Sept. 24 [Buffalo Post will update with results of that meeting], early voting – one of the snarls that has tangled county-level government – got underway on Thursday, Sept. 16, according to Chris Nelson, South Dakota’s secretary of state.

Voter disenfranchisement remains an issue, however, given that more than 95 percent of the Shannon County population is American Indian.

Those Oglala Lakota not only live in the country’s poorest county, but also they lack the resources for travel to a polling place – a place that, in this case, is at the Fall River County Courthouse in Hot Springs.

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DIRK LAMMERS  Dave and Regina Kills In Water, left, talk about housing problems on the Rosebud Indian Reservation with Rosebud Sioux Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux, far right, and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan yesterday in Soldier Creek, S.D. The couple's trailer has no running water or sewer service. (AP/Dirk Lammers)

DIRK LAMMERS Dave and Regina Kills In Water, left, talk about housing problems on the Rosebud Indian Reservation with Rosebud Sioux Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux, far right, and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan yesterday in Soldier Creek, S.D. The couple's trailer has no running water or sewer service. (AP/Dirk Lammers)

The Rapid City Journal’s story is below:

ROSEBUD – The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is tackling its reservation housing shortage by becoming its own builder.

Tribal officials on Tuesday showcased the new 33,600-square-foot Ojinjintka Housing Development Corporation plant to U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Sen. Tim. Johnson, D-S.D., as part of a tour of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.

The tribal-owned corporation will employee up to 26 residents with the capacity to build up to 48 affordable homes a year for low-income families.

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Here’s a complaint you sometimes hear – that the generosity of Americans is too often directed overseas, when there are plenty of people here at home who also need help. Basically we feel that any help given, anywhere, is a good thing. But it’s nice when some groups do turn their attention to the need within our borders.

Here’s a story from Jomay Steen of the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal on one such example:

    After turning on the flashing lights and sirens, a Tacoma, Wash., charity will deliver three refurbished ambulances and a truck filled with toys to the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

    A team of Tacoma Crime Stopper board members and volunteers are slated to deliver the ambulances and toys today in Rosebud, said Tina Hagedorn, a volunteer for the project.

    “It’s all done in the spirit of giving,” she said.

    For several years, the Crime Stoppers of Tacoma and Pierce County donated refurbished old ambulances to poor communities in Mexico as part of its Emergency Vehicle Rescue Program mission to help those in need. This year, spearheaded by detective Ed Troyer, the group decided to research communities within the United States that may need emergency vehicles, Hagedorn said.

Rosebud resident Nathan Chasing Horse, founder of People for Indigenous Preservation and the Environment, helped coordinate the donation with Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney Bordeaux and the tribal council.

Gwen Florio

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Here’s the entire story from Dirk Lammers of the Associated Press (and, read more about Dr. Donald Warne here):

Dr. Donald Warne ( photo)

Dr. Donald Warne ( photo)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The largest hospital system in the Dakotas is launching a new effort to reach out to residents of the region’s Native American reservations, hospital officials announced Wednesday.

Leading Sanford Health’s new Office of Native American Health will be Dr. Donald Warne, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge. He will coordinate activities among the hospital system, the federal Indian Health Service and the 28 tribes within Sanford’s coverage region, which spans South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, said Mark Johnston, a Sanford Health vice president.

“It’s an important step to try to improve the health and welfare of the folks on different reservations in Sanford Health’s service area,” Johnston said Wednesday.

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We really hope things get straightened out a domestic violence center on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Mary Garrigan, of the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal writes here that the shelter is facing some serious issues:

A domestic violence shelter in Mission that had funding frozen by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe on July 16 said complaints against it of client abuse and poor living conditions are unfounded.

Allegations against the White Buffalo Calf Society women’s shelter were made to the Rosebud tribal council last week by at least three former residents of the shelter. On Friday, the council voted 12-0, to revoke the society’s ability to receive pass-through federal grants from the tribe. It also voted to “notify all funding agencies of the allegations concerning funding, alleged abuse of clients, poor living conditions, alleged non-compliance with fire and health codes and alleged verbal and mental abuse to women and children.”

Tillie Black Bear, executive director of WBCWS, which has provided services to abused women and children on the Rosebud Reservation for 33 years, called the allegations “unfounded” and questioned why tribal council members didn’t investigate further before putting a hold on funding.

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Michael Black, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, will continue to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Only difference now is that it’s official.

Black has held the job on an interim basis since March, but now has been officially given the agency’s top spot, reports Ledyard King of the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader, here:

    Michael Black

    Michael Black

    Black, who held the post on an interim basis since March, will manage the BIA’s day-to-day operations through four offices: Indian Services, Justice Services, Trust Services and Field Operations. Those branches administer or fund tribally based infrastructure, law enforcement, social services, tribal governance, natural and energy resources and trust management programs for 564 federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native tribes in 33 states.

    “I am deeply honored to have been offered this opportunity to lead the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” Black said in a statement. “I want to express my appreciation to (Interior) Assistant Secretary (Larry) Echo Hawk for his confidence and to affirm my commitment to strengthening the BIA’s mission of service to Indian Country.”

Tribes from reservations in the Dakotas hailed the move. “A good deal” is how Michael Jandreau, chairman of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, termed it, calling Black “pretty sensible and pretty open-minded.”

And Rosebud Sioux Tribe Chairman Rodney Bordeaux says that Black “knows our needs out here. Oftentimes, our needs on the Great Plains and in the Rocky Mountain Region are overlooked in favor of the smaller tribes and self-governance tribes.”

Gwen Florio

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Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (AP/Dan Steinberg)

Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (AP/Dan Steinberg)

Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt are one of those cutesy one-name nickname couples.

They go by “Speidi” in the gossip columns. But now , the couple who star in the MTV reality soap opera, “The Hills,” want to be known by new names – White Wolf and Running Bear.

They recently announced after a spat that, as part of making up, they’d given themselves “spiritual” Native American names. That’s according to TMZ, here.

TMZ called the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota – who termed the stunt “ignorant,” according to this follow-up post:

    After the people formally known as Heidi and Spencer announced their new names, TMZ spoke with a rep from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, who told us, “Continued stereotyping such as this by people ignorant of our traditional ways is very disrespectful and only hurts our efforts to curtail these stereotypes.”

    The rep claims they’re especially upset because “the names they have given themselves are legitimate names in our tribe.”

TMZ doesn’t name the tribal representative, which bugs us. But the sentiment rings true.

Gwen Florio

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The cousins Abourezk – they would be Richard, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, who lives in Omaha, and Kevin, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, who lives in Lincoln, Neb. – started their War Pony Express blog to examine the practice of predatory lending to Native Americans.

Richard has in-depth knowledge by virtue of his job in the auto industry. In his introductory post on the issue, he writes:

    Richard (left) and Kevin Abourezk (War Pony Express blog)

    Richard (left) and Kevin Abourezk (War Pony Express blog)

    I decided to write my first blog post on War Pony Express to elaborate on our
    Native Americans living on reservations don’t have the same financial opportunities and education as those living elsewhere. As the graduate of a reservation high school in South Dakota, I can tell you there isn’t much emphasis on teaching financial independence and aptitude in most reservation schools. With the lack education in that area, the only other place a person can pick up that type of knowledge is as an employee.

    With high unemployment rates and few available jobs on reservations, few people have the chance to learn financial skills while working. Few jobs also mean little money for tribes to build self-sustaining economic infrastructure that most communities have. Thus, the capitalistic wheel that turns America’s economic engine doesn’t turn in the country’s most needy places.

What does that mean? That Native people are particularly vulnerable to lenders who prey on them – and that those lenders are well aware of that.

Gwen Florio

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(Editor’s Note: Today is a day for light posting as I spend most of it traveling. Please check back this evening for postings of the day’s events.)

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Elouise Cobell, whose name heads the historic Cobell v. Salazar class action case, has been touring the Dakotas this week to answer questions about last fall’s settlement of more than $3 billion in the case. The money is to compensate tens of thousands of Indian people for federal mismanagement of royalty payments due on their lands. The amount, while one of the largest ever in such a case, still falls far short of the roughly $50 billion some estimate is more accurate, and not everyone is happy with the settlement. Here‘s the entire Rapid City (S.D.) Journal story, by Mary Garrigan, on one of Cobell’s sessions this week:

Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls

Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls

Tribes in western South Dakota are re-evaluating a $3.4 billion settlement proposed in a class action just days after Elouise Cobell toured the state to explain it.

Cobell finalized the proposed settlement in December 2009 after a 14-year legal battle on behalf of more than 300,000 Native American trust land owners. She alleged the Interior Department bungled the accounting on thousands of individual Native trust accounts for more than 100 years.

But as the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the settlement, which Congress must approve and fund by an April 16 deadline, critics began cropping up on Capitol Hill and on reservations in South Dakota.

After a March 8 public meeting in Kyle, where Cobell and two of the attorneys in the 14-year-old lawsuit answered questions about the settlement, Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls said Wednesday that “there are a lot of questions” about the settlement throughout her reservation, and she canceled a trip to Washington, D.C., to speak in favor of it.

“I declined to testify at the March 10 hearing. I need to hear from my tribe first. I can’t go there to say yes or no on the settlement,” Two Bulls said during a radio address Wednesday to the tribe, broadcast live on KILI radio.

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Ellen Pfeiffer next to one of the 186 quilts she is on a mission to make for families of children who died at a boarding school for Native American children. (AP Photo/The Jamestown Sun, John M. Steiner)

Ellen Pfeiffer next to one of the 186 quilts she is on a mission to make for families of children who died at a boarding school for Native American children. (AP Photo/The Jamestown Sun, John M. Steiner)

Quilting project honors Native children who died in boarding schools
Jamestown, N.D., resident Ellen Pfeiffer first learned about Indian boarding schools from her former husband, a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe whose grandmother was taken from her family and sent to the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. She found the story heartbreaking, and began to study the era. Barbara Landis, Carlisle Indian School biographer, reports that nearly 10,000 Indian children went to Carlisle in its 40-year-history. Of those, nearly 200 children died, most of them of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Pfeiffer believes the schools, whose purpose was to assimilate Indian children, did a disservice to Native Americans. Now she’s making quilts to honor the children who died so far from their families. The project involves 186 quilts, according to this Jamestown Sun story distributed by the Associated Press.

Connecticut tribes blast state’s plan to add keno games
Connecticut is looking at adding keno games to help close a $1.3 billion budget shortfall. But tribal casinos – which already offer it – are crying foul, saying it could cut into their profits, Indian Country Today’s Gale Courey Toensing writes here. Jackson King, general counsel for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, says that if the state launches keno, the tribes could stop making payments to the state based on their own earnings, because of a violation of the compact.

Navajo Nation plans five casinos within two years
Despite a drop in gaming revenues around the country, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise says it has secured the funding for five news casinos, and plans to build them within the next two years, according to the Navajo Times. Investment Committee members say gaming looks like more secure route than the stock market these days.

Seneca Nation stops effort to ban mail-order smokes in New York
The New York Times has this story on how the Seneca Nation turned around a bill designed to halt the shipment of mail-order cigarettes. The bill was approved by the New York House of Representatives and a Senate committee, before the Seneca Nation, which sees more than $1 billion annually in gambling and cigarette revenues, launched a full-scale lobbying effort to stop it.

Nunavut to substantially cut polar bear harvest quota; hunters object
Over the next four years, the annual hunting quota for Baffin Bay polar bears will gradually be reduced from 105 to 65, according to the Nunatsiaq News. Biologists are worried the bears are being overhunted, and Greenland has already reduced its quotas. But some hunters are demanding compensation for their communities.

Salish Kootenai College honors lifelong Salish language teacher Sophie Mays

Last month, family and friends on the Flathead Indian Reservation gathered at Salish Kootenai College to dedicate Sophie’s Room. It honors Sophie “Supi” Quequesah Mays died last year at the age of 56, the Char-Koosta News reports. Mays, who grew up with parents who spoke only Salish, dedicated her life to preserving the Salish language. She was the first Salish teacher when the college was founded.

Gwen Florio

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