Home Meetings Meetings July 8, 2005

July 8, 2005

July 8, 2005

Defenders of the Black Hills Special Meeting Notes - July 8, 2005

Opening Prayer: Garvard Good Plume

Opening Remarks: Charmaine White Face; Coordinator

Bear Butte Preservation Task Force Report: Nancy and Jace

Nancy gave a rundown of current Task Force activities: two (2) plant walks in the Alkali Creek area have been completed with the assistance of a Professor from Black Hills State University. He stated that the area contains an amazing biodiversity of plant life due to the interface of the prairie and mountain ecosystems, and should be protected.

During the June 12th Plant walk, a Ute burial ground? was shown to the Task Force by a local historian. Jace reported that she had contacted Betsy Chapouse who is the Tribal Historic and Cultural Preservation Officer for the White River Band of the Ute Nation. Betsy informed Jace that the Ute refer to this segment of their history, which includes their travel into the Great Sioux Nation, as the Ute Odyssey of 1906-1908.? At that time, approximately 400 Ute were detained by the U.S. Sixth Cavalry at Fort Meade Military Installation and camped in this valley southeast of the Fort. The Task Force is documenting the history of the 1906-07 Ute detainment at the Fort Meade military reservation, and further information is available upon request.

Ute tribal officials are aware of the cultural sites. They are in contact with the South Dakota Historical Preservation Officer Jay D. Vogt. They are planning a 100 Year Anniversary Commemoration for next year. Ute tribal officials are also in the beginning stages of deciding what to do about the burial grounds. The land surrounding the Alkali area with boundaries continuing northward is designated as Bureau of Land Management? lands? under the Department of? Interior. These public lands also contain German POW engravings on the cliff face, and Cavalry historic sites. Defenders is working at alliances with local land use offices and organizations.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation is hosting a series of public meetings called the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program Five Year Plan. The next public meeting is to be held in Rapid City at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Alpine Ponderosa room (second floor) at 7 P.M. on the evening of Tuesday, July 19th.

{Thank you to Jace and Nancy and other members of the? BBPTF for their excellent work and also for preparing a statement to be presented at the meeting as Charmaine will be at ceremonies. (See attached statement) We encourage everyone who can attend the meeting to please show your support and add your individual voice so that these sacred areas can be protected and preserved. }

Break for Pot Luck Picnic


Charmaine presented an outline for the Defenders campaign on the Cave Hills/Slim Buttes? uranium contamination cleanup effort. Categories outlined are:

Responsible Parties:? Nine responsible parties are identified and include? federal, state, and tribal agencies as they were all aware of the situation . Kerr-McGee and other? mining companies? and private individuals are also responsible.? However, the immediate concern is to halt any further contamination by radioactive dust particles or polluted water runoff.

Health Research: Past and current research? must be completed to determine radiation impacts on the total populations of the contaminated area including the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Reservations. The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA, has been contacted but said they must be notified by the State Health Department.? Some University Medical Research facilities have been contacted but have not responded to date.? Any research will require funding.
(Anyone interested, or knows of an organization that might help with this, please call Charmaine at 605-399-1868 after July 25.)

Water Research: Initial baseline testing must be performed at Missouri River outlets. Costs range from $40 per test to $200 for drinking water quality.? We were informed that the people in Wakpala still drink the water from the Grand River which is contaminated. A mineral study completed in 1987 at Standing Rock showed radionuclides in the water at that time.

Land Ownership Research: Need someone to complete Title searches in Harding County around Cave Hills & Slim Buttes as we have been informed that the state of SD owns an extraordinary amount of land in this area and has recently approved expanding oil well drilling operations.? The FEIS completed by Custer National Forest states that oil well workers would be required to wear disposable clothing and should not eat or drink anything while in the area due to the high levels of radiation. (Anyone wanting to do this, please call Charmaine at the office, 605-399-1868.)

Legal: We need the help of environmental lawyers as it appears that some federal environmental laws have been ignored. The Impact Fund has been contacted but we have received no response to date. (Anyone having contact with an environmental lawyer willing to look at this, please call Charmaine at the office: 605-399-1868.)

Legislation: Federal legislation is needed to specifically appropriate monies for the costs of health research and care, clean up of the mines, and the expense of collection from responsible parties. The money should be channeled to another agency not associated with the current federal, state, or tribal agencies that knew of this situation and did nothing about it. (Anyone wanting to help write legislation, please call Charmaine at 605-399-1868.)

Also, in the 1950s, SD State laws were rescinded to allow this uranium mining. Where these protective laws ever put back in place? Need someone to gather this information. (Call Charmaine if you can help.)

Letters and Petitions: Individual and group letters can be sent asking Congress for special appropriations for Clean Up of the Cave Hills and Slim Buttes abandoned uranium mines. Also we will draft a form letter and begin a Petition drive as this contamination is covering a large part of the Midwest.

Media-Public Awareness: Need to continue to educate the public about health concerns. Need to enlist allies such as other environmental organizations, and? public figures for assistance in getting the word out, passage of federal legislation, and fund-raising. Discussion followed on the possibility of a big Fall Rally enlisting Harding county ranchers as allies with Defenders such as the Cowboy - Indian Alliances I and II.

Defenders received an office CD copy of the South Dakota Public Broadcasting?s June 29th, 2005 SD Forum radio program. This program examined the impact of the abandoned uranium mines in South Dakota. Guest speakers include Charmaine White Face, Harold One Feather, Walt Stevens, and Lori Walters-Clark from Custer National Forest . This is an informative piece with discussion about the uranium contamination in Treaty Territory. (Anyone wishing a copy should call the office, 605-399-1868.)

Fund Raising:? Victor Fischer is helping with fund raising for the Cave Hills/Slim Buttes campaign. Anne suggested? Resist? for funding.? Need additional help with proposal writing. (Anyone wanting to help with proposals, contact Charmaine at 605-399-1868 so there will be no overlap on contacting foundations.)

A special Thank you and our deepest gratitude to Harold ?Buddha? One Feather from Rock Creek for all of the information he has provided to Defenders on this and other uranium issues.


*Defenders of the Black Hills has received copies of a 13 minute promotional CD on the Treaties and the Black Hills produced by Seventh Generation Fund.? Kudos to Chris ?Mo? Hollis for his excellent work.? (Anyone wishing a copy should send a note or call the office.)

*Defenders of the Black Hills will be having a birthday celebration in September! We will be sending out a wish list with party details later.

*Defenders could be tabling at the Sturgis Rally. Details not finalized yet.(Call the office if you would like to help at a table at the Sturgis Rally, Aug. 5-12.)

*Defenders will have a booth at Mount Rushmore from Aug. 8-12. (Call the office if you would like to help hand out information at Mount Rushmore for dates and times.)

*Jim Leach, attorney for the Bear Butte Shooting range case wrote a piece that was published in the South Dakota Law Review, Vol. 50, Issue 2, entitled: A Shooting Range at Bear Butte: Reconciliation or Racism?? Defenders has a copy at the office.

*There will be A Tribute to Tony Black Feather, Friday evening, Aug. 12, at 7:00 pm at Wolf Creek School. A Memorial dinner will be held at noon on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Next Regular Meeting is scheduled for 1:00 pm, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2005, in the coffee room at St. Isaac Jogues Church next door to the Mother Butler Center, Rapid City, SD.

Closing prayer: Jace DeCory

Handouts: (Available upon request)
Uranium: Pulling Profit and Poisons From Waste
Report on the Oceti Sakowin Gathering with Statement by Alice Four Horns
Shortsightedness in a Sacred Place (also at www.defendblackhills.org)

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