Sioux tribes, county agree on law enforcement for Pe’ Sla

By The Associated Press

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — An agreement on law enforcement was reached Tuesday between Pennington County and four Sioux tribes that bought 3 square miles of land they consider sacred in western South Dakota’s Black Hills.

In 2012, the Great Sioux Nation raised $9 million to buy land the tribes call Pe’ Sla from private landowners. The tribes hope to put the land, also known as Reynolds Prairie, in trust with the federal government to be held on behalf of tribal members.

None of the tribes has a headquarters closer than a four-hour drive from Pe’ Sla, the Rapid City Journal ( ) reported. The area is used as a ceremonial site by the tribes because of its role in tribal creation stories. They also plan to reintroduce bison to the site.

If the land is put into trust, tribal jurisdiction would apply. But the agreement would allow the county, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribes to handle law enforcement. If a tribal member is cited or arrested for a crime at the site, he or she would be prosecuted in tribal court, but non-tribal members would be prosecuted in other courts belonging to the local jurisdiction.

Sheriff Kevin Thom said he has some concerns about the agreement, which he called “a little confusing, a little mushy.”

For example, it doesn’t specify which party will be responsible for transporting a tribal member who’s arrested by a county deputy at Pe’ Sla to tribal court on the Rosebud Reservation, he said. It’s also unclear if county deputies will be required to testify in tribal court, requiring them to drive several hours to the reservation, according to Thom.

“That creates some problems from an enforcement standpoint,” he said.

But county commissioners still approved the agreement with a 3-1 vote.


Information from: Rapid City Journal,

Bakken: $3M in grants to address violence against women in rural, tribal communities

A Whiting Petroleum Co. pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont., on Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
A Whiting Petroleum Co. pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains near Bainville, Mont., on Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

By  Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. — Federal authorities have named recipients of $3 million in grants to address violence against women in rural and tribal communities in the oil patch of North Dakota and Montana.

The money from the Office on Violence Against Women will be used to help provide services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking in the Bakken region, which has seen an increase in population and crime because of the oil boom.

Victims in a “vast rural region like the Bakken” have trouble accessing life-saving services, Associate Attorney General Tony West said.

“With this new, targeting funding, tribes and local communities will be better equipped to respond to the increased need for mental health services, legal assistance, housing and training,” West said.

The grants will be divided among the First Nations Women’s Alliance and Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana, the North Dakota Council on Abused Women’s Services, and the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

“The organizations that will receive funding through this project play a critical role in addressing violence against women in the Bakken region,” said U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who organized visits to the oil patch by two of the nation’s drug czars. “By bringing top administration officials to North Dakota to hear firsthand about the emerging challenges, great strides have been made to make sure local law enforcement and organizations receive needed support to address these challenges and help our state maintain our treasured quality of life.”

Department of Justice officials also announced that the Fort Beck and Fort Berthold reservations will each receive three-year, $450,000 grants to pay for tribal prosecutors who will be cross-designated as special U.S. attorneys.

South Dakota Six Sioux Tribes Announce Wind Power Initiative

Former President Bill Clinton (c) with Tribal Leaders
Former President Bill Clinton (c) with Tribal Leaders

Levi Rickert, Native News Network

CHICAGO – Six tribal leaders of the South Dakota were on hand at the Clinton Global Initiative to announce with former President Bill Clinton a new power initiative that will harness South Dakota’s greatest natural resource: Wind.

Representing their respective tribes were: Vice Chairman Wayne Ducheneaux, Cheyenne River Sioux, Vice Chairman Eric Big Eagle, Crow Creek Sioux, President Bryan Brewer, Oglala Sioux Tribe, President Cyril Scott, Rosebud Sioux, Chairman Robert Shepherd, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, and Chairman Thurman Cournoyer, Yankton Sioux.

The initiative is receiving critical legal and public policy counsel from Arent Fox LLP. The Arent Fox team representing the Sioux Tribes includes former Senator Byron Dorgan, co-chair of the Government Relations practice, and Communications, Technology & Mobile partner Jonathan E. Canis and associate G. David Carter.

“Having served as Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I understand the strong desire of the Indian Tribes to build “Indian owned” wind power projects to create new jobs and affordable power for their Tribes,”

said Senator Dorgan.

“This project is a unique opportunity for the Sioux Tribes in South Dakota to chart their own destiny. They live on lands that are rich with wind resources and they can use those resources to build a large wind energy project that can both help the Tribes and produce clean, renewable power for our country for decades to come. Together with my colleagues at Arent Fox, I have been honored to work with elected leaders of the Tribes to plan this project and I am especially proud of the recognition given it today by President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative.”

The Tribes’ initiative comes at a time when renewable energy investment is increasingly a national priority. Through the project, the Tribes stand to infuse up to $3 billion directly into the South Dakota economy, an amount roughly equal to the impact of the entire manufacturing sector in South Dakota in a given year. The planned project could generate 1-2 gigawatts of power annually. Measured conservatively, that’s more than enough power to electrify the homes in Denver, Colorado for the next 20 years, the typical useful lifespan of the wind turbines.

The majority of the project’s funding will come through the sale of bonds by a Multi-Tribal Power Authority, which are expected to be made available to investors in about two years, following a critical planning and preparation stage. For this reason, the Tribes have partnered with the crowd funding platform to seek funding and raise general awareness for the project. Individuals may visit to join in and follow developments.

Already several years in the making, the project has received significant pro bono support from Arent Fox, along with Herron Consulting LLC, the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, the LIATI Group, the Bush Foundation, and the Northwest Area Foundation. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a nonprofit philanthropic services firm, is providing strategic counsel and incubating the project until the new power authority is created.

“When the idea of the wind project was brought to the Bush Foundation we saw an alignment with our goal to support tribal self determination and native nation building. A multi-tribe authority requires tribes to transition from passive beneficiaries to a position of authority and accountability and to develop the institutions, regulations and polices necessary for success,”

commented Nez Perce Jaime Pinkham, vice president of Native Nations at the Bush Foundation to Native News Network on Sunday afternoon.

“The Foundation also provided support for the tribes to attend the Clinton Global Initiative event in Chicago. We felt CGI presented a unique and timely opportunity to bring this project to the attention of additional prospective partners. The Foundation supported two summits for the tribal leaders and their partners to develop a collective understanding of the strategies and capabilities needed to develop and sustain a power utility. Financial, legal, and technical experts participated in the summits,”

Pinkham continued.

The Clinton Global Initiative is an annual event that brings together leaders from the business, foundation, and government sectors in an effort to promote economic growth in the United States.

Sioux tribes form new coalition

Bryan Brewer, Oglala Sioux Tribe President-Elect
Bryan Brewer, Oglala Sioux Tribe President-Elect Photo: Benjamin Brayfield, Rapid City Journal

Jennifer Naylor Gesick, Journal staff

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