Treaty Council comes down hard on company*
KYLE—In news first reported by freelance reporter Natalie Hand, the Tetunwan Oyate Treaty Council has come down hard on a company who had illegally mined for zeolite on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
On June 12th, the Tetuwan Oyate Treaty Council convened a meeting at Pejuta Haka College Center to discuss the issue of zeolite mining on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation by a Dickinson, North Dakota, based company called Dakota Land Trust.
Last year the Dakota Land Trust had bypassed the Oglala Sioux Tribal legal and regulation process by originally obtaining a gravel mining permit from the State of South Dakota for a tract of land within the borders of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, however, instead of mining gravel the company began mining for zeolite illegally. Once tribal officials and citizens were made aware of the mine actions were taken to shut it down. This same company has recently reached out to the Wounded Knee district in an attempt to restart the mining project.
The treaty council found James G. Durham aka Jim Redcloud, Wylie Bice, Keith Kautzman, and Harry Lidsay, all of whom are representatives of the Dakota Land trust company, to be in violations of Article 1 of the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty and deemed the individuals guilty of violations and depredations against “Mother Earth.”
The treaty council placed the individuals on notice that they were banned from the reservation and barred from ever reentering. The treaty council also voted in favor of a decision against any type of zeolite mining on the reservation.
Actions by the treaty council have in the past have not been followed by action from federal officials who are responsible for enforcing the “Bad Man” clause of the treaty that allows for tribal citizens to remove non-members found in violation of portions of the treaty from the reservation.
By policy the Oglala Sioux Tribal council is recognized by the federal government as the governing body of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation but actions by the treaty council hold significant political influence over policy makers on the reservation.
(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at email@example.com)