April 25, 2000
LaFramboise Island Protest Camp Anniversary Celebration
By Dorothy Goertz
LaFRAMBOISE ISLAND, PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA -- On March 25, 2000, a celebration
was held on LaFramboise Island, Pierre, South Dakota to commemorate the
year-long occupation of the island by the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota nations. The
spiritually-based Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires) Camp began March 22,
1999 in protest of recent violations of the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851
The latest violation was the passing last year of a federal law (commonly
referred to the Mitigation Act) that would transfer approximately 130,000
acres along the Missouri River from federal government management to the
state of South Dakota and two of the seven tribal band of the Great Sioux
Members from eight South Dakota reservations were invited to the March
25 day-long celebration to reaffirm their commitment as Lakota people to the
opposition of this and other legislation that ignores treaty agreements.
The celebration began with a prayer ceremony and smoking of the sacred pipe,
and was followed by honoring ceremonies during which recognition was given
to the young warriors who have stayed to keep the sacred fire burning, as
well as to the elders and various camp supporters who have given invaluable
guidance and aid.
CPT was recognized by Charmaine White Face, Media Coordinator for the
Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, for its role in reducing potential
and real violence against camp residents and supporters.
In the afternoon, the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council met to
discuss the future of the camp. With five of the eight reservations
represented, there was consensus to keep the sacred fire burning as a
continuous reminder of the need to uphold nation-to-nation treaty
The council also agreed to accept Standing Rock Reservation's offer to
begin the process of a court injunction to block construction access to
South Dakota on the contested land.
The meetings concluded with more prayers and with all participants, young
and old, shaking hands with each other in a closing circle of recognition
and respect. Other significant activities included shared noon and evening
meals, traditional drumming and singing, a sweat ceremony, and sharing of
presence and stories around the main camp fire.
Members of the March20-30 CPT South Dakota Delegation were Rick
Polhamus, delegation leader (Fletcher, Ohio), Carl Meyer (Goshen, Indiana),
Jacob Liechty (Dublin, Ireland), Carrie Harder (Kitchener, Ontario), John
Harder (Kitchener, Ontario), Dorothy Goertz (Goessel, Kansas), and Vern
Riediger (Toronto, Ontario).