Home Meetings Meetings February 25, 2006

February 25, 2006

February 25, 2006

9:00 AM Caravan to Bear Butte for prayers for guidance about the Black Hills.
12:00 lunch in the coffee room.
The meeting was opened at 1:25 p.m. with a welcome address by Charmaine White Face.


Defenders - Black Hills Video
The 12-minute Defenders video was viewed by all in attendance. Thank you to Clayton Wright Jr. for making this possible.? The CD will be available in VHS format this week.? Both will be available for public distribution by request to our office and submittal of a mailing envelope.? Assistance with duplicating the video was requested although all requests will be honored. The cost to duplicate the video is $7.00.

Treasurers Report: Brian reported on our current financial status.? Discussion followed on ways to help fund the general operations of the Organization. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Defenders? operations in Rapid City may be moved to the Pine Ridge Reservation at or near the end of March 2006.

Minutes: February 11, 2005 Strategic Planning Meeting on the Destruction in the Black Hills ? proceedings were read by Garvard Good Plume, Jr.? After much discussion about all of the projects and development in the Black Hills, the group decided that a large gathering should be planned around April 29 to commemorate the signing of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and discuss what is happening in the Treaty Territory. Legislation is already available to help protect the Black Hills, the Grasslands, and the rest of the Treaty Territory but a campaign plan must be developed and implemented.? The costs of such a Gathering will be the limiting factor. A committee to work on this included: Vincent Black Feather, Phillip Farrell, and Howard Eagleman.? The committee will be expanded at the meeting on Feb. 25.? A Prayer Gathering will be held before that meeting to meet at 9:00 AM at the Mother Butler Center and caravan to Beaver Park or Bear Butte depending on the weather. A brief repor!
t was also given by Charmaine about the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Miscellaneous Items and Handouts:
A brief outline of the news articles and informational handouts provided was given by Charmaine (see attachments).? Among issues discussed were: the Bureau of Land Management?s approval for strip-mining; the Homestake Mine lease proposal of the State of South Dakota; the Inyan Kara and Jewel Cave mining upon which comments are due by March 8th; the contamination of the Ogallala Aquifer; and President Bush?s proposed public land sale which, incidentally, includes large portions of designated Treaty of 1868 territories.

Of urgent interest is the meeting on Monday, February 27 of the State-Tribal Relations Committee.? The prime topic for discussion will be the abandoned uranium mines.? Featured presenters include Gerald One Feather, JoAnne Tall, and Charmaine White Face. All members are urged to raise awareness and to provide support by attending this meeting.? Writing letters to the Rapid City Journal and to area Indian newspapers is especially encouraged.

Signs for posting in local communities are available to members. These were to be posted in the Black Hills and say: He Sapa kin wakan; oheniya kik suyapo! These were generously provided by an individual donor who will also gift Defenders with a limited number of bumper sticks that bear the messages: "The Black Hills are Sacred", and "Let the Spirit Lead."? Ideas were requested for expanding upon this avenue for raising awareness of the Defenders? mission.

April 29th Commemoration Gathering:
At the meeting on February 11th, there was discussion for sponsoring a 2-3 day event here in the He Sapa as commemoration of the April 29, 1868, signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty.? Discussion.? A projected cost estimate of $5,000 was based on the expenses associated with sponsoring the 2-day Oceti Sakowin event in 2005 .? Special emphasis was placed on keeping a focus on the continued destruction of the Black Hills.? The committee was requested to coordinate this event in conjunction with other treaty offices and the Oceti Sakowin planning committee.

Following extensive discussion, a 5-member Black Hills Preservation Committee was formed for the purpose of planning a two-day event in April.? Committee members include Ted and Violet Ten Fingers, Garvard Good Plume, Ingrid Long Soldier (cooking) and Don Belile (youth).? The tentative dates are April 29-30.? Members will seek participation of the Oceti Sakowin and the Youth Leadership Conference.?? This will be an opportunity for families to conduct honorings, wopila, and naming ceremonies.

Uranium mines:? there is an immediate need for development of an informational presentation, similar to the Defenders - Black Hills CD,? concerning the radiation contamination in the Treaty Territory. A mapped view was provided of all the existing/abandoned uranium mine sites and prospects within the five-state area.? Our Lakota families have been found using irradiated waters as swimming areas and in some places as drinking water.? A suggestion was made for collaboration with the United Tribes of Colorado.

Black Hills State University:? A table will be staffed by Defenders members during the Powwow in April 2006.

A spring/summer raffle will be promoted by Defenders.? Items to be raffled include a collection of four framed photographs of Bear Butte (to be raffled separately) and a single photo of the Needles Wilderness Area.? Also discussed were items for auction as part of fund-raising for the Uranium mines issue.? It was decided by consensus that Defenders will purchase a Geiger counter using a portion of the raffle proceeds.

Additional discussion included:

Raising awareness of regular Defenders meetings at a local level and also with assistance of area Indian media such as KINI, KILI, KLND and newspapers.? Violet offered to help with this.

Pending implementation in 2010 of federal legislation regarding the harvest of medicinal plants in the Black Hills.? Failure to consult tribes in this matter has become an issue. Ted will bring info to the office.? Charmaine will extend an invitation to area Forest Service officials for the next Defenders meeting and also requesting a group expedition to an area in question on the Sunday immediately following the meeting (March 25-26, 2006).? Suggested collaboration with the Grey Eagle Society and the committee formed at the USFS meeting.

Research the possibility for tribal contracting of federal services within the Black Hills as stipulated within Public Law 93-638 and the Buy Indian Act. Howard will request this help at Standing Rock.

Research for legal precedents in establishing the 5-mile buffer zone around Bear Butte. Suggested avenues of research are:? an open fire ban in Oklahoma that was successfully challenged as it related to ceremonial fires (Lee); a buffer zone created in the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River areas as relates to taxation issues (Philip); and the buffer zone (proposed?) for the White Clay/Pine Ridge alcohol sales issue (who will get this info?).? A proposed bill for the buffer zone needs to be ready by the Defenders? regular meeting in April.

Native Era duo follow-up as a fund-raising effort.

Meeting ended at 4:30 p.m.? Closing prayer was offered by Howard Eagleman.

Submitted by Karen Little Thunder, 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