March 11, 2013
Council representatives from four Sioux tribes met this weekend in Rapid City where they laid the groundwork to work as one nation to address issues important to their communities, Oglala Sioux president Bryan Brewer said Sunday.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe hosted representatives of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe at the Holiday Inn in Rapid City for three days of meetings. The tribes have not come together in such a way for over 100 years, according to Brewer.
“This has been something the tribes have talked about for years,” he said. “It has always been a dream of our tribes, but it actually happened now. This is a historic event for us all to pull together again.”
Brewer said close to 60 tribal representatives attended the convention that began Thursday and ended Saturday when they signed a proclamation declaring their intent to work together as the Oceti Sakowin, or the seven council fires of the great Lakota/Dakota/Nakota people.
The conference also produced a set of bylaws, a mission statement and the preliminary planning of commissions to address the most pressing issues for the communities.
“We identified some areas that have the most need, including our land issues, environmental issues like with the oil pipelines, economic, education and child welfare,” Brewer said.
He said the coalition will release position papers soon, and the group hopes that together their actions will have a bigger impact.
“We have been divided for quite a while so we got together to try to be one voice,” Brewer said. “The government has singled us out so we are going to speak to the government with one voice and we think that may help our tribes. Individually we are not very strong, but together we are hoping to be a pretty strong organization.”
There are 22 Sioux tribes eligible to join the organization, according to Brewer.
The next meeting will be hosted by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and is scheduled for April 4-6.
Contact Jennifer Naylor Gesick at 394-8415 or firstname.lastname@example.org.