SOUTH DAKOTA UPDATE: July 20-30, 1999

August 31, 1999
South Dakota Update: July 20-30, 1999

Tuesday, July 20
Around 10:30 p.m., two non-Indian people approached the camp
saying they wanted to have some beer with the campers. It was explained to
them that this is a spiritual camp and a drug and alcohol free camp. The
man replied, "Oh... I thought this was South Dakota." The couple was
intoxicated and their tone was rude and confrontational. After more
comments, they left.

Wednesday, July 21
A Korean film crew interviewed campers and will run a story on the Oceti
Sakowin (First of Seven Fires) Camp in Korea.

In the late afternoon, someone riding by on a jetski yelled, "Get a job!"

Four Indian men on horseback came to spend three days with the camp. They
were riding to unite all the Native people
together. They rode from Yellowstone National Park and were
headed to the Four Corners area of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

Friday, July 23
Two Army Corps men visited and asked the riders to tie up their horses,
explaining that they had received calls from concerned townspeople. They
said that the local police department had wanted the island cleared for a
RiverFest the first weekend of August. The Corps said that they refused to
clear the island since the camp would likely not be in the way.

Saturday, July 24
A South Dakotan visiting the camp said that a friend in town had warned him
about the camp. "Be careful for your life out there," the friend said.
Another townsperson said, "How long are they going to stay out there? The
point is made."

The Army Corps of Engineers visited the camp and ordered the
horse riders to leave. They explained that townspeople had
complained about danger to joggers and to the island's ecosystem.

Sunday, July 25
Several visitors came from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to show their
support for the camp. The Cheyenne River band is one of the two tribes that
will get land along the river in Title VI (aka Mitigation Act) besides the
state. Some band members are concerned that their leaders are
misrepresenting their interests.

Monday, July 26
The camp learned that the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy
and Water Development added a Section repealing Title VI, or the Mitigation
Act, to House of Representatives Bill (HR)2605, an appropriations bill. Of
the three demands the Lakota had said they wanted met before vacating the
Oceti Sakowin Camp, this was the one they least expected to see met. (See
July 26 URGENT ACTION: Urge Representatives to Pass Section 505 of HR 2605
to Repeal Mitigation Act).

Tuesday, July 27
The House of Representatives passed HR 2605, with Section 505 intact.
Section 505 was the repeal of the Mitigation Act, or Title VI, the Cheyenne
River Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux
Tribe, and State of South Dakota Terrestrial Wildlife Habitat
Restoration Act.

Representative John Thune (R-SD) requested that comments from Governor
William Janklow be inserted into the Congressional Record opposing the
repeal. However, he did not
request that the repeal be removed from HR 2605 when given the opportunity
to do so. The mood at the camp was jubilant.

Although Section 505 passed, HR 2605 must go through a conference committee
in September and be "reconciled" with its Senate counterpart. (See 30 Jul
1999, CPTnet Release, Pierre, SD: Small Victories at Seven Fires Camp)

Wednesday, July 28
CPTers visited the Army Corps of Engineers office. Director Dr. John Bartel
talked about the Corps' commitment to land
stewardship. He said that the Corps has delayed discussion of
leasing land to the state until October 1.

An editorial in the Pierre newspaper began with the headline,
"Protest isn't the answer for Indians." It suggested that
lawmakers in Washington are not paying attention to the Oceti
Sakowin Camp, and that they should rather lobby Washington.

At 1:30 a.m. a car drove up to the camp and a person yelled "Prairie
Niggers" at the campers.

Thursday, July 29
A car drove by the turn-about at the gate at about 12:40 a.m. As it pulled
away a male voice yelled, "This is OUR land. This is OUR land. It's ours,
baby!" At 1:15 a.m., a dark pickup truck
parked partway down the causeway and a male voice made a Tarzan call twice.

Friday, July 30
Three CPTers visited Major Tom Dravland of the South Dakota State Highway
Patrol. Major Dravland responded to CPT's concerns about the discrepancies
of stories between the off-duty state police officer who reported a funny
smell coming from a white van and the local police officer who stopped a
colorful VW CPT van and searched for drugs.

The Major apologized profusely and said he did not know how the confusion
occurred. Major Dravland said he had, on his
supervisors' advice, advised troopers that they need to be
specific with vehicles they are dealing with so innocent
passersby don't get pulled in and falsely accused.

One CPTer pointed out that the stop made it look like the police had set-up
the CPT van and its passengers. The major said that he didn't ask the
officers involved if they knew the van was related to the island, but
expected them to volunteer that themselves.

The major said that stopping the CPT van should have been based on
"articulable reasons." He added, "I won't give you those because you just
don't give reasons for your indicators of whether drug use may be afoot. It
was too bad the van they
wanted was not stopped; the other one [CPT's] was."