Home Meetings Meetings August 28, 2004

August 28, 2004

August 28, 2004

Regular Meeting Notes - Aug. 28, 2004

Opening Prayer: Jace DeCory


Treasurer's Report by: Brian Brademeyer, Treasurer

A. Bear Butte Preservation Task Force meeting report:

Nancy Kile, Secretary, and spokesperson for the Task Force, provided hand outs and reported:

1. Defenders supported the Northern Cheyenne?^?^?s request to the Meade County Commissioners for access to their property at Bear Butte. The Section Line road was inaccessible. Steven Pevar, ACLU Attorney, sent a letter to the Commissioners.

2. The Northern Cheyenne have asked Defenders to lease their private property near Bear Butte. Discussion. We will research the lease agreement process. Need to raise funds for this.

3. ?^?^?No dogs allowed?^?^? on Bear Butte was recommended by the state sponsored Bear Butte Forum and adopted as policy by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Dept. Defenders was asked by SDGF&P to help with the wording of notice signs to be posted. Discussion followed, however the consensus was to decline having Defenders name on the signs, as the signs could read: ?^?^?No dogs allowed as recommended by the Bear Butte Forum?^?^? which stays within the parameters of the

4. Defenders were asked to consider a petition for increased handicap access to the ceremonial grounds. A petition is being circulated and signed by people who use Bear Butte. This would involve considerable physical changes to the existing bridge and the surrounding environment. Discussion. Concensus was that the petition should be referred to the Bear Butte Forum for consideration next spring, thereby allowing more discussion among more people prior to the Forum meeting.

5. IMPORTANT!! The Meade County Commissioners is requesting input on Revised Ordinance No. 24 which will allow Billboards and Signs on Highways 34 and 79 which are by Bear Butte. The meeting is Wed., Sept. 8, 2004, at 2:30 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room, Meade County Courthouse, 1425 Sherman St., Sturgis, SD. We need to attend this meeting and tell them we want no Billboards
near Bear Butte and why.

6. IMPORTANT !! Written comments are being accepted by the South Dakota Department of Transportation (comment form enclosed) on the idea of extending SD Highway 79 through the BLM lands behind Fort Meade Hospital to Interstate 90. There are sacred sites, and historic sites that will be destroyed. Please send your comments in to the SD Department of Transportation.

B. Coteau Mine Update:

Charmaine reported that the ND Public Service Commission has given approval for the expansion of the Coteau Mine which will destroy 1,700 sacred sites in Mercer County, ND. Operations are not to begin until 2007. Defenders need to plan a large prayer gathering near the places to be destroyed. Also, one of the spiritual leaders has asked for assistance in surveying the sites. If anyone is interested in helping, please call the office: 605-399-1868, and leave your name and contact info. Updates on both
activities will follow.

C. Cave Hills/Slim Buttes

Charmaine provided a handout on an idea for actions at Cave Hills/Slim Buttes. (Church Rock Uranium Monitoring Project) Awareness of the dangerous uranium dust that is contaminating the area remains unpublicized. A prayer ceremony at Cave Hills/Slim Buttes must be planned first. Defenders discussed the need for a part-time consultant to work on our most urgently listed issues.

D. Black Hills:

1. Concern about the rapid development of the sacred Black Hills and degradation on the Grasslands prompted discussion about what action Defenders could take. Brian Brademeyer offered a proposal: The Restoration of the Great Sioux Nation, a 25 year plan to restore a large portion of the Treaty area. Brian's plan is a great discussion point and educational opportunity that provides a
First Nations perspective, and a plan for restorative justice.

2. There was discussion about students assisting with research and data collection on the issues and creating an information warehouse. Jace asked who would supervise her students. Charmaine said she could.

3. Billboards saying "Remember the Black Hills are Sacred" and fund raising for bill boards were also discussed. Usually $600+ per month with a 6 month to 1 year lease required. Costs to be researched. Funds will be needed.

4. Logging in the Black Hills is increasing rapidly, mostly for housing development. Great need to try to stop this. Need to brain storm at a future meeting. Making information signs in Lakota and Cheyenne languages renaming commonly known sacred sites was discussed.

[Break for Pot Luck Meal]

Black Hills Cont.

Signs in Lakota and Cheyenne languages were decided by consensus as the best immediate action. A sign painting and hanging weekend was planned for Sept. 11-12. (However, more organization and planning is needed. Materials will be gathered and the action will be held in October.) The idea revitalizes culture and language, and increases the awareness of non-Natives. Brett also suggested
approaching the Forest Service, National Park Service, and the state about funding permanent First Nations signs.


1. Public Lands Without Livestock's Project Director, Mike Hudak, is conducting interviews about grazing on public lands. In 2003 and 2004, he will beconducting interviews throughout the west, talking to former employees of the US Forest Service and BLM. The book will be completed by late summer 2005,
along with Internet installation of interview videos. Charmaine and Brian will be interviewed.

2. The Wyoming Wilderness Association is hosting a two part multi-media event: "Roadless Areas of Wyoming's National Forests," a slide show of threatened wild places by Jeff Kessler of the Biodiverity Conservation Alliance; and "Big Horn Forest Plan Impacts on Wild Lands & Wildlife" by Liz Howell, WWA,
Wed., Sept. 1, at 7:00 pm. Or go to http://www.wildwyo.org/issues_04/alert_bighorn_0722.html and send a personalized email comment to help preserve the Bighorn National Forest wild places. Some of these places are within our Treaty territory.

3. Charmaine will be participating in the debates at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Sept. 9-25.

Next Defenders Regular meeting, Sat. Oct. 2, 1-5:00 pm, St. Isaac Jogues Church coffee room, Rapid City, SD. Pot luck meal to follow meeting.

Closing prayer by: William L. Pedro

Submitted by: Nancy Kile, Secretary

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