Home Meetings Meetings March 22, 2003

March 22, 2003

March 22, 2003

Submitted by Avaleena Feywine, Concurred by Charmaine White Face.

Earl Denny said the opening prayer.

Charmaine White Face's opening remarks included the caution to remember that the Defenders only take on issues that pertain to the Black Hills and the Treaty area.

Currently, there are several things happening: first is the Bear Butte / Sportsman Complex; the Grasslands as Wilderness Bill; and the projects outlined at the BLM meeting:

1. The Deadwood-Lead Logging Project which is the cutting and thinning of trees around Deadwood/Lead to prevent fires near the towns,

2. The 210 surface cut limestone mine permits for Dakota Cement Plant which is owned by a Mexican firm; the mining would disturb cultural sites in the Southern Black Hills. (Thunder Eagle Canyon (Hell Canyon) is in the center of this area.)

3. The surface mining for coal in ND that would disturb cultural sites and burial grounds but it is outside of Defenders boundaries. She noted that at the beginning meeting in Sept. the Defenders discussed over thirty possible projects in the Black Hills and surrounding grasslands, and made the decision not to go beyond of the boundaries of the Treaty territory.

Treasury Report by Brian Bradmeyer:

The Defenders have not received a report from the Lakota Fund as of today. There have been no bills for this month, and we should have about $700. He set up a petty cash account.

Tatanka Project: Nita Bald Eagle, her husband Chris Ravenshead, Deb Tulle and Duncan Powell(?), who are part of the project, gave a report concerning the Tatanka project, the buffalo interpretive center (a not-for-profit-association) located at the Dunbar Resort in Deadwood SD. Plans include an interactive exhibit about the Story of the Bison. However the Association has expressed the desire that they be represented by Jim Fisher, who was not able to attend. In the interest of stopping rumors, they reported that:

1. It is being built on private land with private money.

2. There will be an admission charged to the public, except Lakota people.

3. It will be a "living history."

4. Research is currently being done, to include the Lakota perspective, for the writing of the educational aspect of the project.

5. Jim Fisher will represent the Tatanka Project. He is invited to the next Defenders meeting on April 26.

6. Projected opening is for late May 2003.

Discussion also about Crazy Horse Mountain. Charmaine stated the Crazy Horse Mountain was brought up in the fall at a previous meeting but nothing had been decided.

Discussion concerning the process of "consultation" and how necessary it is to conclude every meeting, discussion, or phone call with the assertion that for the record this does not constitute a "consultation with the tribes." Even then all minutes have to be carefully read to make sure there are no "misunderstandings." The minutes of the Meade County Commissioners meeting stated that it was a consultation but the Defenders position was stated that it was not a consultation.

Madonna Thunder Hawk gave some "food for thought:"

1. First the need for the tribes to come up with a legal definition of the concept of consultation.

2. Start a campaign: a publicity blitz to educate the public.

At 2:00 Jim Leach, the Rapid City attorney who is donating his services pro bono (Thank you Jim!), made his report about the injunction for the BearButte / The Sportsman Complex.

1. He asked if there was anyone here from the Northern Cheyenne Nation. No.

2. The Lawsuit was filed Feb. 2003. The plaintiffs includes the five tribes: Northern Cheyenne Nation, Yankton Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the Defenders requesting an injunction to stop the project.

3. There was a hearing by phone with the Sturgis Industrial Expansion Corporation and the City of Sturgis resulting in an agreement to halt plans, that there would be no earthmoving, and they can't touch the land.

Monday, March 24, 2003 would be an open court hearing at the Federal Court Building in Rapid City regarding whether the US government can be excused from the case.

The trial is set for June 30 thru July 3, 2003. Mr. Leach emphasized that it is crucial that we have as many people as possible come to support this issue. The courtroom will hold a hundred people and ideally there will be a hundred more people outside holding signs.

Questions were asked of Mr. Leach: the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe decided that they did not want to be a part of this lawsuit, that they want to do their own. Madonna said, " They will support what is being done here."

Regarding the Oglala Sioux, if they decide to "come on board' that he has provided a resolution for them to sign. The same resolution is available to any and all tribes who utilize Bear Butte for ceremonies; all they would have to do is contact him. They would just need to sign the resolution and get it back to him.

Charmaine pointed out the Lakota cultural obligation of the Defenders during the Court dates to provide food (at least one meal a day) and help find lodging for hopefully 200 hundred people. Need a committee to plan this.

Long Range Planning on Bear Butte Project:

1. Publicity / media for June 30-Jul 3 Court date.

2. Request a complete Environmental Impact Study to include other environmental impacts

3. Strategize on how to protect Bear Butte for the future.

4. Watch for land sales around Bear Butte.

5. Strategize on how to create a buffer zone


Request small % of casino funds donated from every tribe

Establish a land trust to buy up the land:

Investigate NW Area Foundation - Howard Valandra (CWF will call him.)

Set aside money to re-acquire land

Contact the trust for public land

Nature Conservation Fund - Faith Spotted Eagle will contact

We need a resolution from the 69 tribes opposing future development around Bear Butte. (Brian B. will develop a draft resolution.)

We need a map of who "owns" the land around Bear Butte and the boundaries of the city of Sturgis. (Ellen Conroy will work with Nancy Kile on finding out who "owns" what and also who might owe back taxes as the County Assessor and the Record of Deeds is open to the public.)

We'll need an economic analysis made by a realtor.

Ruth Thomas said that she is familiar with the process for creating a buffer zone. She was in TN when the "Swan Trust" was created, which has been successful in buying land through donations. They work with cultural sites, endangered species etc. - She will get the information on the process, including the Charter. "It is more advantageous for the Defenders to create a Trust."

A Special Meeting will be held Saturday, April 5, 2003 from 1PM to 5PM in the church coffeeroom next to the Mother Butler Center in Rapid City.

Special Meeting Agenda:

Create 4 committees for the following projects:

1. Crazy Horse (Jay and Earl will bring ideas, but need someone to chair the committee)

2. Grasslands Committee: Grasslands Wilderness Bill (#5489 session 107) CWF will chair this committee (Rep. Pallone is reintroducing the Bill and a national campaign needs to be waged.)

3. Consultation Process Committee: publicity, build awareness (nation wide), educate everyone, assist in creating a legal tribal definition for this term.
Buttons to hand out: "This is NOT a consultation!", other

4. Bear Butte Court Case Committee:
Media Blitz publicizing June 30th - July 3rd
Fund raising
Contact local drum group
Encourage everyone to wear traditional regalia
Notifying the tribes to make their preparations: re- transportation/gas money, lodging.
Logistics for food and local lodging (discounts for advance reservations)
Contacting the RC Chamber of Commerce
Parking, other logistics during the days of court

Next Regular Meeting is April 26, 2003, 1-5:00 p.m. at the Mother Butler Center, Rapid City, SD.

(Defenders has been very successful in our past endeavors. Our success has been because individuals have taken a small piece of a project and did their best with it. Putting all these pieces together, we have been able to accomplish a lot in only six months. We have some major projects ahead of us. This past meeting, there were 30 people in attendance. We started in the beginning with only 7. Our Email addresses are more than 85. We also have many on a mailing or fax list. Please, look at the above listed areas in which we are currently involved. We need every person's help in order to continue our success with these projects also. Thank you. Charmaine)

Mission Statement

"Defenders of the Black Hills is a group of volunteers without racial or tribal boundaries whose mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the environment of the 1851 and 1868 Treaty Territories, Treaties made between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation."

Speaking about radioactive fallout, the late President John F. Kennedy said,

"Even then, the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby who may be born long after we are gone, should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent."

July 26, 1963 upon signing the ban on above ground nuclear tests