SOUTH DAKOTA URGENT ACTION: SUPPORT REPEAL OF ACT

CPTnet
August 25, 1999
South Dakota Urgent Action: Support Repeal of Act Undermining Treaties Made
with Lakota (Sioux) People

Shortly after the U.S. congress convenes during the first week of
September,
the House of Representatives wil vote on two bills that will affect the
transfer of land belonging to the Lakota (Sioux) people to the state of
South Dakota.

The Lakota (Sioux) people encamped on La Framboise Island request U.S.
citizens to write to Rep. Ron Packard, Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), Sen.
Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), leaders of the Joint
Committee working on HR 2605 before Labor Day. Writers should ask these
congressional representatives to keep Section 505 in the Energy and Water
Development budget bill and repeal the first Title VI. (Background and
explanation will follow addresses of representatives.)

Canadian citizens and people from other countries are asked to send letters
of support and encouragement to the Oceti Sakowin encampment on LaFramboise
Island, with copies to Governor William Janklow and the Capital Journal
(Pierre, South Dakota's newspaper.) Janklow has stated publicly many times
that he believes the state of South Dakota is under no obligation to honor
treaties made with Indians.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR CONGRESS PEOPLE ON JOINT COMMITTEE

The Honorable Ron Packard
2372 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0548
Tel: 202-225-3906
Rep.Packard@mail.house.gov

The Honorable Peter J. Visclosky
2313 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515
Tel: 202-225-2461

The Honorable Pete Domenici
328 Hart Senate Office Building
Wash, DC, 20510-3101
Tel: 202-224-6621
senator_domenici@domenici.senate.gov

The Honorable Harry Reid
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: 202-224-3542
Fax: 202-224-7327
senator_reid@reid.senate.gov

ADDRESSES OF OCETI SAKOWIN, GOVERNOR JANKLOW AND CAPITAL JOURNAL

Oceti Sakowin
519 East Sioux Ave.
PMB 197
Pierre, SD 57501
USA

Governor William Janklow
500 East Capital Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
USA

Capital Journal
333 West Dakota Ave
Pierre, SD 57501
USA

 

BACKGROUND
Since March 22, Lakota people opposed to a transfer of 200,000 acres of
their treaty land to the state of South Dakota have camped on La Framboise
Island across from the SD state capitol in Pierre. The land was promised
"in perpetuity" to the Lakota in the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie and "excess
land" was again promised to the tribes after the federal government seized
thousands of acres of land for a dam system in the 1940s.

A rider slipped into the 40-pound budget bill last fall by South
Dakota Senator Tom Daschle authorizes the transfer of the land to the state
of South Dakota. The rider was called Title VI, or the Cheyenne River Sioux
Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, and State of South Dakota Terrestrial
Wildlife Habitat Restoration Act.

The Oceti Sakowin Camp on La Framboise Island has been demanding a repeal of
the bill.

This summer, in an unexpected move, Representative Ron Packard (R-CA)
inserted a repeal. "Section 505" of HR 2605, the Energy and Water
Development Appropriations bill repeals Title VI. However, Senator Daschle
has already influenced another joint committee to include a second version
of Title VI in a 1999 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) in case the
first Title VI is repealed. On August 17, the President signed the WRDA
bill which would effectively keep the land from being returned to the Great
Sioux Nation as promised in treaties.

Both versions of Title VI should be repealed when the joint committee meets
in September. Please write letters to Rep. Ron Packard, Rep. Pete Visclosky
(D-IN), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), leaders of the
Joint Committee working on HR 2605.

Urge the committee members to keep Section 505 in the Energy and Water
Development budget bill and repeal the first Title VI.

More importantly, also ask them to add language to the bill which will
also repeal Title VI of the Water Resources Development Act of 1999. You
may send copies to your own Representative and Senators to inform them of
the situation.

* Remind them that Title VI was passed in a underhanded manner after the
WRDA bill failed to pass the House in 1998 because of treaty issues.
Explain that it was passed twice under circumstances which make its legality
suspect.

* Remind them that the U.S. is obligated to honor all treaties,
including the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 under which the land in question
should belong to the Lakota nation. Note that Article VI of the
Constitution states that treaties are "the supreme law of the land."

* Remind them that Lakota people are concerned about two sections of Title
VI which contradict each other: Sections 605A, which transfers the land to
the state of South Dakota, contradicts Section 605H, which gives Federal
legal protection to Native American grave and cultural sites along the
river.

* Remind them that six of seven tribes are signatory to the 1868 Fort
Laramie Treaty and oppose the transfer. Although the U.S. has unilaterally
declared the treaty abrogated, the Lakota have never ratified any changes to
the treaty because the required three-quarters of Lakota men did not sign
off on them.

* Remind them that Lakota people are so concerned about this bill that they
have camped as a nonviolent witness since March on La Framboise Island ,
enduring racist heckling and sacrificing family time, jobs and education to
ensure that there is land for future generations of Lakota.