Mark G. LaPointe passed away into the spirit world on May 10, 2013.
14th Wacipi Sept 13-15 Donations needed for giveaway!
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The Year of the Dakota EVENT
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Remembering Dakota Grandmothers ceremony, Fort Snelling, May 4th 12:30pm
April 24th for culture class including special guest: Sheldon Wolfchild!
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Pidamaya to the person who returned the White Buffalo Calf Woman picture to Mendota.
Language class every Wednesday night from 6:30 to 8:30 (see details)
Monthly Archives: December 2009
The volunteer treasurer job is still open. The hours are about 2 hours a week. Or you could come in every two weeks. It is really up to you, we will work around your schedule. The last Tuesday of the month is the voting membership meeting at 7:00pm that you need to attend. Maybe 10 or 12 hours a month. You will have a key so you can come when you want. If interested please call the office. 651-452-4141.
Your Tribal Council.
Vigil on the Plains
Crow Creek Sioux chairman is ‘not going anywhere’
By Stephanie Woodard, Today correspondent
Story Published: Dec 29, 2009
Story Updated: Dec 24, 2009
FORT THOMPSON, S.D. – On Dec. 15, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Chairman Brandon Sazue got a visit from eight horseback riders on a pilgrimage to memorialize 38 Dakota men who died in the nation’s largest mass hanging, in December 1862 in Mankato, Minn.
“The group took a detour from the main ride to fill a pipe here that will be smoked and prayed over when they get to Mankato.”
The 35-year-old chairman was camped on 7,100 acres of wind-swept, snowy land owned by Crow Creek Tribal Farms. The IRS recently seized the tract and on Dec. 3 auctioned it off for $2 million less than its $4.6 million value to pay a purported tax bill for the tribe, a separate legal entity.
The riders found Sazue holding his own in sub-zero temperatures. The chairman took up residence on the expanse shortly after the auction, intending to fast and pray for its repatriation until the crisis is resolved. “I’m not going anywhere. This land never was and never will be for sale. Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow. As chairman, I inherited the tax problem and tried to work with the IRS. They claim they ‘consulted’ with us, but all they did was tell us ‘here’s how it’s going to go.’”
The IRS action appears to fly in the face of legal precedents as far back as a 1790 law prohibiting the transfer of Indian land without a treaty, according to a legal memorandum drawn up by the tribe’s attorneys, Mario Gonzalez, Oglala Lakota and Terry L. Pechota, Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The document was filed Dec. 2 in U.S. District Court in an effort to stop the sale. That request was denied; however, a trial will take place in March, during which the tribe will attempt to regain the site.
“It’s the Black Hills gold rush all over again,” said historian Waziyatawin, Ph.D., Wahpetowan Dakota from Upper Sioux and a University of Victoria research scholar. “Nowadays, the press is reporting on a green energy land rush and Department of the Interior efforts to free up millions of acres for wind and solar development. Open prairie land, such as that on Indian reservations in the Plains, is suitable for such enterprises. So the U.S. government is going after the poorest of the poor to find the resources it needs.”
|How to help
Send donations of supplies or cash to Chairman Brandon Sazue, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, P.O. Box 50, Fort Thompson, South Dakota 57339.
To reach the Obama administration, call the White House Comment Line: (202) 456-1111 Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Eastern standard time, or go to www.whitehouse.gov/contact. Find your federal representatives at house.gov or senate.gov.
The tribe, which has an unemployment rate of about 80 percent and lives in one of the poorest counties in the nation, had been planning a wind farm for the area, said Sazue. “If we lose this land, we miss that opportunity. We have profound connections to this place as well. Our ancestors are buried here, and tribal members come to collect sage and other traditional medicines.”
When Waziyatawin visited the site with her family Dec. 12 for a pipe ceremony, she joined Crow Creek tribal members and visitors from Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, the Yankton Sioux Reservation, and the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.
The tax problem appears to have arisen after Harold Condon, a BIA employee who became financial manager of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in the early 2000s, advised the community not to pay federal employment taxes. According to a document that Gay Kingman, Cheyenne River Sioux, executive director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, received from the BIA in early December, the agency claims Condon did “an excellent job.” Further, the BIA letter says, the tribe owed the taxes and Condon was “instrumental in working with the Internal Revenue Service to get the large bill paid.”
The tract, which makes up 20 percent of Crow Creek’s reservation, was originally sold off after the Allotment Act of 1889 moved it into the hands of individual Indian owners. Notably, this was done without the majority vote of the tribe required by law. “We all know the referendum never took place,” Pechota said.
The tribe repurchased the land in 1998, according to Gonzalez’s and Pechota’s legal memorandum. Crow Creek then attempted to put the acreage back into trust, said Sazue. “We started the process in 2000. It shouldn’t take a decade to accomplish this.”
Nedra Darling, Prairie Band Potawatomi and a BIA spokeswoman, refused to comment on any aspect of the situation, citing the ongoing litigation. Darling added that Hilary Tompkins, Navajo, solicitor of the Interior Department and one of the Obama administration’s high-profile Native appointees, would also not comment.
The crisis occurs against a background of economic devastation created by the building of a series of giant dams along the Missouri River in the mid-20th century. The dams flooded valuable riverside agricultural areas on Sioux reservations throughout the Dakotas. Starvation ensued in many areas. In return for giving up the richly diverse bottomland, Crow Creek was promised free electrical power, which it never received. It did get $27.5 million that has been put into trust. However, the tribe can only touch the interest, not the principal, said Sazue. “I call that living off scraps. Why couldn’t we use that money to pay the IRS?”
The tribe’s difficulties have been exacerbated by the IRS siphoning off earnings from Crow Creek’s small casino and motel, making it difficult for the tribe to meet payroll and provide public services, as well as to pay the tax bill in an orderly fashion, Sazue said. The problem has also arisen at the worst time of year, according to the chairman. Despite frigid temperatures, the local electric company has been disconnecting the only power source for many Crow Creek families, claiming non-payment of bills. This forces the tribe to shelter members at its Fort Thompson motel, thus forgoing income it might receive by renting the rooms.
This is an annual occurrence, according to the humanitarian organization Can-Do, which filmed the electric company ripping out meters throughout Crow Creek during the winter of 2008, as babies cried and mothers tried to understand mysteriously escalating bills. To see the group’s video, visit www.can-do.org and look under “Project Progress Videos.” Can-Do’s investigation found “severe increases of illness, disease and mortality” on the reservation.
Sazue’s family was affected this year as well. “A month ago, my cousin called. She just had a baby, her husband is on oxygen, and her electricity got cut off. Companies are not supposed to do that in inclement weather, but they do here. Our people are suffering.”
“The Obama administration could help solve this crisis,” Waziyatawin said. “Obama is talking the talk when it comes to Indian country, but are he and his appointees going to walk the walk?”
If you would like a new ID, please send a new picture the size of a passport. No sun glasses or other people in the picture. If you have a Dakota name, and would like that on your ID, please spell it out. The cost is $10.00. We will have the information here at the office, so we can make them anytime. There will be a tribal number on each ID.
MMDC tribal Council.
If anyone can make fry bread or other foods for the Mankato run, please let us know. Connie or Sharon 651-452-4141
Crow Creek Sioux Land is NOT For Sale
CLICK HERE to sign the demand to return of the unlawfully auctioned Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Lands to their rightful owners.
To: Dakota Oyate, friends and supporters.
Date: December 15, 2009.
Re: Ride Itinerary and Donation Needs – on behalf of Peter Lengkeep, Crow Creek SD -2009 Eagle Staff Carrier.
The organizers who continued to fulfill the vision and commitment of the Dakota Wokiksuye Memorial Ride need your support. The 5th Year of the Ride is taking place and the dream of prayer, healing and forgiveness for riders, communities and nations continues. This is a call for friends and volunteers to help in whatever way they can, such as: Hay and feed for horses, lodging, cooks to provide meals along the route, and a final feast on December 26, 2009, when Riders and Mankato Runners arrive at Land of Memories Park in Mankato.
Changes to Schedule and Route (see * for changes)
Dec. 13-17 – Riders will support Crow Creek Dakota Oyate. Leave Flandreau, S.D. on Dec. 17th; Leave Pipestone, MN, on the 18th to Russell and Milroy, MN).
Dec. 20 (Sun.)– Arrive Birch Coulee Battlefield/Morton, MN (Horses will be corralled at Strong Family Ranch/Birch Coulee).
Dec. 21 (Monday) – Rest Day. Horses corralled at Strong Family Ranch/Birch Coulee.
Dec. 22 (Tues.) 5:30 p.m. - Opening Feast – (Morton City Hall.*) sponsored by Lower Sioux elders and families.
Dec. 23 (Wed.) 9 a.m. – Ceremony at Birch Coulee Battlefield. Riders leave Birch Coulee/Morton to Fort Ridgley.
5:30 p.m. – Return for evening meal at Morton City Hall sponsored by Upper Sioux Community, Granite Falls. Horses corralled at Strong Family Ranch/Birch Coulee.
Dec. 24 (Thurs). 9 a.m. Fort Ridgley to Courtland. Horse corralled at Courtland/Folsum Family Ranch.
6p.m. Meal at Courtland Community Center.
Dec. 25 (Friday) 9 a.m. Courtland to Mankato, Land of Memories Park. Horses corralled at Courtland/Folsum Family Ranch.
5:30 p.m. Memorial Feast sponsored by Cloud-Eagle Chief Family at Best Western Banquet Room, No. Mankato.
Dec. 26, a.m. – 9 a.m. Riders leave Land of Memories Park to downtown Mankato, Ceremony. Return to Land of Memories Park to greet Mankato Runners.
Dec. 26 –Noon, approx. Final Honoring Feast for Riders and Runners, Best Western Motel, No. Mankato. Conclude 2009 Wokiksuye Memorial Ride and Mankato Run activities.
If you can donate financially to the Dakota 38 Memorial Ride, send donations, Dakota Wicohan, P.O. Box 7, Granite Falls, MN 56241 or through the official website: Dakota 38 website, 2008 news/photos and updates: http://www.smoothfeather.org/dakota38/.
If you can Volunteer, Cooks and servers are needed for the final feast. (Menu, soup, fry bread, coffee, tea, water, fresh fruit) Contact Info: Cooks/meal volunteers – Yvonne Leith (320-226-6994)or Fern Cloud, Granite Falls, MN 320-564-4954.
For Rider/Horse needs, MN Coordinator, Darwin Strong, 507-430-5246. Lead Riders: Peter Lengkeep 605-730-3128 and Julian Boucher 605-268-6983.
Mankato Run Info: Dallas Goldtooth, Minneapolis, 507-210-4679.
Wopida, thanks to the many communities, tribal communities, organizations, churches and families who have offered help and support on this sacred, healing journey.