Home Meetings Meetings May 21, 2005

May 21, 2005

May 21, 2005

Defenders of the Black Hills
Meeting Notes, May 21, 2005

Opening Prayer: Karissa

Opening Remarks: Charmaine

Treasurer?s Report: Brian: ?We?re hanging in there??

Meeting Notes: of the April 30, 2005 meeting were not read as they were received in Email or mail and there were no questions.

Cave Hills/Uranium Presentation by the USFS at Buffalo, SD, on May 11, 2005. Charmaine, Garvard, and Janice attended the Forest Service Meeting in Buffalo, SD, for an information meeting on the Cave Hills Uranium problem. Harold One Feather came from Standing Rock. Approximately fifty ranchers and townspeople were also in attendance. Laurie Walters-Clark, USFS On-Scene-Coordinator, led the presentation. Item presented included Geology of the North Cave Hills; Historical Review of USFS Action and Findings; Risk Assessment; Introduction of the Comprehensive Environmental Reclamation, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (the old Super Fund Act); Community Involvement Plan; and the Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis which is to be available in a couple of

Unfortunately the reports were delivered as rapid-fire power point presentations with such overwhelming technical information that the audience appeared silent from the shock of overload. Furthermore, when the presenter outlined the measurements of toxic chemicals like arsenic, molybdenum, thorium, and
radium, the information was rushed through so that the information could not be digested. Only the Riley Pass Mine at Cave Hills was discussed but details were not given on the other 88 uranium mines.

Kerr-McGee is responsible for the Riley Pass mine at Cave Hills. No mention was made of who did the mining in the Slim Buttes area. When asked by a rancher if the FS would provide testing on their lands for the pollution caused by these chemicals, the FS said they were only responsible for USFS lands. The FS clean-up plan, or Engineering & Environmental Cost Assessment (EECA), is to build one catch-pond to stop the runoff from the Riley Pass Mines. Runoff has been flowing out of that area for forty (40) years into the Grand River. No mention was made of how to control the radioactive dust. The FS is still trying to get Kerr-McGee to take responsibility for the estimated cost of clean-up which at today?s costs is approximately $12 million.

Some of the problems:

Cattlemen: the radioactive dust gets on the grass, the grass is eaten by the cattle, cattle are eaten by people, and the ranchers spend more than 200 days per year in the area thus exposing themselves to cancer-causing contamination. According to the sign posted at the mine, the area is ?highly radioactive
and people are not to spend any more than 20 hours per year there.? Some ranchers have already spent thousands of dollars having their water and wells tested and haul in water. Ludlow School children: Their playground is directly below an abandoned mine site along Highway 85. Buffalo citizens: Their dump was used for radioactive processing and tailings. Standing Rock Reservation: Grand River is possibly contaminated with radioactive run-off and contributing to cancer rates in the villages of Rock Creek, Little Eagle, and Wakpala as well as contaminating any wildlife and cattle that drink the water. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe: Slim Butte mines empty into the Moreau River which flows through the communities of Iron Lightning, Thunder Butte, Green Grass, and Whitehorse. Missouri River: Both the Grand and the Cheyenne Rivers empty into the Missouri. Possible contamination impact on all areas and people touched by these rivers. Radioactive dust is blowing across all of South Dakota, and points east by the westerly and northwesterly winds. The Engineering & Environmental Cost Assessment (EECA), which is to come out in two weeks from May 11, will only be available from 8:00 to 5:00 MDST in the Harding County Court House, located in Buffalo, SD, or on the USFS website. It will then be open for a ?public comment? period for 30 days. One of the questions Defenders asked at the meeting was ?How long has EPA known about this?? Answer: two years. USFS will ONLY work at on-site; EPA should
handle off-site.

An Area Map of Uranium Mines and Prospects covering SD, WY, MT, & ND, as requested, was sent to Defenders. The WY portion within the Treaty Territory is covered with hundreds of abandoned mines or prospects. The radioactive dust from these abandoned mines is carried over the Black Hills and points east, the runoff drains into the Cheyenne and Belle Fourche Rivers.

Assistance is needed in the following areas:

Land ownership: Much of the land around Cave Hills is owned by the state. When was it acquired?
There are many oil wells in the Cave Hills area. Is the oil tested for radioactivity? Do the casings meet safety standards? How do we insure that the underground water is not being affected by the oil well drilling?
Health: Effects from radiation on human beings need to be surveyed and include: cancer, birth defects, miscarriage, lupus and other illness rates in the county and affected reservations.
Science: We need help from the scientific community to insure that impartial principal investigators conduct surveys of the water, the grasses, other types of research. Testing is required of the ground and river water, soil, oil, meat, plants. Individuals needed to read and give summaries on specific articles and investigations.
Legal: We need a lawyer, or lawyers for legal advice.
Fundraising: Need individuals to help with grant writing for all the above needs. The Oceti Sakowin Meeting in Lower Brule, May 14, 2005. Representatives from each of the Seven Council Fires attended. The noon meal was provided by the Lower Brule Culture Committee, the evening meal by Janice Bad Horse Larson?s sister, Ellen Wright. Defenders provided the meeting room, and the Sioux Valley (Canada) Dakota Nation provided the morning and afternoon refreshments. The Eyapahas were Ted Ten Fingers and Garvard Good Plume. The morning session was a discussion on the revitalization of the Oceti Sakowin. In the afternoon, Harvey White Woman gave a Power Point Presentation on the Treaties  and Charmaine gave a presentation on the International Work of the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council. A compiled body of information (330 pages) on the international work, entitled ?Let the Spirit Lead,? was given to a representative from each of the groups present. This will be offered to the public at $25.00 each to cover the costs of copies and materials.

A Working Group was formed to meet on May 28th to plan the next large Oceti Sakowin Gathering.

Bear Butte Preservation Task Force Report The First Plant Walk will be held on May 22, 2005. The area to be surveyed is around the proposed Hwy 79 Extension off of Interstate 90 at the Black Hills National Cemetery exit, including the Alkali Creek Campground. [Prayers and offerings of water and tobacco were made, then the plants were digitally photographed, samples taken, labeled and identified, and if possible, were cross referenced as Indigenous medicines. A second visit will be made to observe

BBPTF Future Sunday Plant Walks: June 12, 2005, at 10:00 AM, July 10, 2005, at 10:00 AM, August 28, 2005, at 10:00 AM, September 11, 2005, at 10 AM. Dates are subject to change.
BBPTF Fund Raising for the Bear Butte Buffer Zone is continuing. Sponsor a Star, a Quilt Raffle, and the Unci Homeland Security Tee-shirt are pending.

Summer Raffle: Digital pictures of the items to be raffled will be posted on the Defenders website and include a star quilt, oil painting, photos, mixed media artwork. Aveleena is in charge of the Raffle and anyone who want tickets or information may contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or mail her at PO Box
2003, Rapid City, SD 57709. Drawing on August 27, 2005, at the Regular Defenders Meeting.

Summer Tabling: Anyone wanting to hand out information and sell raffle tickets at an event where they live, please call the office, 399-1868, and let us know.

World Peace & Prayer Day: June 18-21 at the Elk Creek Campground, Piedmont, SD. Defenders will meet to pray as a group at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, June 21.

Sacred Hoop Run: The traditional 500-mile run around the Black Hills will end on June 21 at Bear Butte.

Inappropriate ceremonies at Bear Butte: Since Defenders assisted in stopping the Shooting Range from being built near Bear Butte, we are notified of other activities that might have adverse effects on this sacred place. A ceremony is planned to be held on Bear Butte at the Rosebud Lodge on June 24 & 25 by a Tetuwan man from Rosebud. However, it is not an ancient Tetuwan ceremony but belongs to another Indigenous nation and is a young ceremony. We have been informed by Tetuwan elders that this ceremony should not take place on Bear Butte. Adverse consequences will occur to many people if the ceremony happens. We have been informed that the Cheyenne will enforce an old tradition should the plans to conduct this ceremony proceed. We, as Defenders, cannot discriminate and must stand only for ancient, appropriate ceremonies being held at this sacred place. We support the decision of the Cheyenne nation, and encourage everyone to continue to pray for the protection of Bear Butte.

Tabling at the Rally: Discussion was held about tabling at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which is held in the middle of August. The purpose is to distribute as much information as possible about the sacredness of Bear Butte, the Black Hills, and that this area is treaty territory. Further information will be obtained on this tabling prospect.

Signs on the Grand and Moreau Rivers: Due to concerns regarding the radioactive runoff from the Cave Hills and Slim Buttes abandoned uranium mines into these two rivers, testing needs to be done on these rivers and signs erected warning people of the dangers.

Billboard Update: It will cost up to $50,000 per year to lease two lighted billboards along Interstate 90. We have a picture and want the caption ?Remember the Black Hills are Sacred? as well as our web address placed on the billboards. We will seek a private donation for this. Any takers?

No Defenders Meetings in June and July because of ceremonies.

Closing Prayer: Janice Bad Horse Larson

Potluck meal.

Next Regular Defenders Meeting will be August 27, 2005.

Submitted by Aveleena Feywine, Recording Secretary
Concurred by Charmaine White Face, Coordinator

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