Sunday, November 18, 2012




By Deborah LaVallie

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council met in a standing room only tribal council meeting, Tuesday (November 14) where a motion was made and a vote taken to issue a $1,000 'social needs' payment to off reservation membership, after testimony was heard from tribal members, Germaine Tremmel, Velma Little Eagle Balderas and Ashley Agard, who spoke to the desperation and the needs of the people. Hallways were crowded to capacity, with people sitting outside in their cars, waiting throughout the day to hear if off reservation membership of the SRST were going to be included in the historic $48.9 million Salazar Settlement, that has recently been issued to many tribal members who reside on the Standing Rock reservation.   Members came from far and wide, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Ohio, Montana, New Mexico and other states in a show of unity and to voice to their tribal council, that they too, are Lakota and members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and should also be included in the multi-million dollar Trust Settlement.  At least 400 people and in some estimates as high as 700 members were there to attend the meeting.

Tribal councilman, Errol Crow Ghost made Motion #55, which was seconded by councilman, Henry Harrison to approve to amend Resolution 451-12 to reallocate funds received from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Salazar Settlement in the amount of $9 million, that had previously been allocated for education purposes, and, to redirect and set-aside those funds for 'social needs' payments to the Tribe's non resident membership, around 8,600 individuals, estimated to be about 60% of the Tribes membership.  Non resident members must submit an application for the 'social needs' payment, attaching a valid proof of enrollment and an affidavit swearing the applicant has not previously received 'social' payments from the Salazar Settlement that had been previously allocated and distributed to on reservation resident tribal members.  The amount set aside for each member will be $1,000 however, the final amount will be officially determined after the application process has closed, and it has been determined how many applications have been submitted according to official tribal minutes.  Applications will be made available until December 31,with the application deadline February 14, 2013.  The controversial application, containing stipulations that weren't required of on reservation members that received the disbursement has been amended at least twice and should be online at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe website sometime after Monday, though this may be subject to change.  Many off reservation members believe that the disparate requirements violate their rights and discriminate against them as tribal members.  Many also feel the SRST Council has discriminated against them because of the amount of the disbursement, with the on reservation membership getting much more, leaving the off reservation members questioning what actually constitutes the meaning of their 'tribal' membership.

The tribal resolution further stated that the Judicial Committee appropriate a budget, not exceeding $300,000 to hire temporary staff to process the applications from the non resident tribal membership, whose duties will include comparing names and enrollment information with those who previously received the distribution as on reservation resident members. Tribal members who are residents of the reservation and whose applications were processed and approved received a $5,000 disbursement, while in other cases, some individuals received as much as, a $10,000 disbursement. 

Councilman, Milton Brown Otter voted no on the tribal resolution with council members, Paul Archambault, Duane Claymore, Errol Crow Ghost, Mike Faith, Henry Harrison, Ben Harrison, Sharon Two Bears, Adele White, Randall White, Frank White Bull and Phyllis Young all voting 'yes' to pass the resolution, with Ron Brown Otter, Jesse Jay Taken Alive and Avis Little Eagle absent from the meeting. 

SRST-ACTT (Active Citizens for Tribal Truth) off reservation spokesperson for the Bismarck-Mandan (ND) area, Dr. Cheryl Kary, stated, "I think the tribal council had an opportunity here, to unite our Tribe and provide true leadership, but they squandered it badly.  Two women elders and one young mother with her son spoke eloquently and from the heart on behalf of families and relatives, pleading for the Council members to do the right thing.  Instead, they passed the token payment and came up with a discriminatory application to divide us even more.  It is a sad day when our so-called leaders disrespect their own people this way.  All off reservation members should be able to apply for the Settlement without fear of retaliation, and a loss of rights."

As of Friday, according to an SRST-ACTT statement, the tribal Judicial Committee met and made a motion to put all the controversial language that had been removed from the application by an administrative decision, back onto the application, although it was not verified by official minutes, but heard through various sources.  This motion will go to the floor of the next tribal council meeting.  The Judicial Committee, is only a 'recommending' committee to the tribal council.  Should the tribal council approve the recommendation, off reservation enrollees may have to resubmit another application if they have applied already, an application that would require the individual to give up the right to sue the Tribe, and the right against garnishment in order to receive the disbursement.  The ACTT leadership is asking non resident members who are angry about the loss of their rights and their disenfranchisement, 'NOT' to disenroll from the Tribe and walk away, but to stand up and help fight for voting rights for all members of the Tribe, whether they live on or off the reservation.  "A constitutional revision that allows absentee voting for 'all' tribal members is the only way to keep the tribal council accountable to it's membership.  This is the only way for the tribal council to recognize us, the off reservation membership, as their Lakota 'relatives'."

Archie Fool Bear, SRST-ACTT spokesman for the reservation, stated, "It is the Council who is making these motions and taking these actions against the non resident enrollees, and, not necessarily the people," wanting to remind everyone that, "many of 'our' relatives in the Districts, supported by motion, a payout for everyone and were ignored.  Almost 800 people signed the recall petitions on the tribal council members who are leading those actions, yet they were ignored.  There were also 70 on reservation members who signed Code of Ethics complaints against the Council, as well, and they were also ignored.  These tribal members may not be as vocal as we would like them to be, and there 'are' some who also have ugly feelings against their own people, but many of them 'are' supportive and they want equal rights for non resident members, as well.  Many of them have lived off the reservation and know how hard it is."  He wants people to keep this in mind, making sure that everyone knows there are some people taking a lot of heat, threats, bullying and immature behavior because of these ongoing issues.

Meanwhile, the Standing Rock Sioux Supreme Court denied Appellants, Archie Fool Bear, Kathy Dancing Bull-Buffalo Boy and Valerie Wolf Necklace in their petition to appeal from the SRST Trial Court's denial of their request for a preliminary injunction.  Their appeal was dismissed and their case was remanded back to the SRST Trial Court.  They sought a preliminary injunction which the SRST Trial Court denied on September 24, to enjoin or stop the SRST Council from spending the $48.9 million Salazar Settlement, and for the Salazar Settlement funds to be paid out in per capita payments.  Their Breach of Trust Complaint is still pending at the trial court level, and they are waiting to hear back from Tribal Judge B.J. Jones on the matter.

The Standing Rock Sioux Supreme Court, composed of Chief Justice Brad Peterson, Carla D. Pratt and Dwight Koch, who was recused, stated in their denial, that the Appellants did not establish their claim for injunctive relief, because they failed to meet the 'necessary burden', and, that they did not fully demonstrate at the time their likelihood of success on the merits of the case.  "Because the Tribal Constitution gives the Tribal Council the authority to administer any funds within the control of the Tribe, it appears that the Appellants may have a difficult time proving that the Tribal Council's administration of the Salazar fund is a violation of the law.  Therefore, there is substantial doubt that Appellants are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim."  The SRST Supreme Court also stated the Appellant's secondary failure was that they failed to demonstrate that they were likely to suffer 'irreparable harm' before a decision on the merits can be rendered.  "Even if Appellants are successful on the merits of their claim, they will have not suffered any irreparable injury.  If Plaintiffs were successful on the merits, the Tribe could reallocate the remainder of the Salazar funds without any irreparable injury to the Plaintiffs/Appellants."

With their Breach of Trust case remanded back to the trial court, the Plaintiffs are now waiting the Judge's decision.  Should their case be denied, Fool Bear, Dancing Bull-Buffalo Boy and Wolf Necklace are preparing to file a class action lawsuit for Breach of Trust in Federal Court for discrimination on behalf of the non resident members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.


The application for the Salazar 'social needs' payment to off reservation members of the SRST can be found at . According to an update from SRST - ACTT the new application will be posted on the SRST website sometime in early December, most likely, after the next tribal council meeting, tentatively, around December 5, though the Tribal Finance Office will be accepting the old application, but no faxes. No checks will be disbursed until after February 14, the deadline for applying for the payment. A new Settlement Disbursement Office is being set up and applications, including proof of enrollment must be mailed to: Settlement Disbursement Office, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, P.O. Box 103, Building 1 North Standing Rock Ave., Fort Yates, ND 58538. The completed application must be notarized.

Velma Little Eagle Balderas, Hunkpapa Lakota originally from the Rock Creek community of the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota, a descendant of Tatanka Iyotaka, Sitting Bull, and an off reservation tribal member and an advocate for off reservation membership living in the Minneapolis area spoke at the tribal council meeting on the needs of SRST membership who don't reside on the reservation.  She spoke of the sadness, the anger and disbelief of the SRST membership that the SRST Tribal Council did not include them in the distribution of the Salazar Trust Settlement, even though they are enrolled members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and have land interests on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.   She also told the council how she felt about the 'bogus' 30 day residency clause to the tribal code that disqualifies many from receiving any assistance or help from the 'Tribe', stating that the off reservation membership greatly benefits the 'Tribe', when they use their numbers in the 'head count', which qualifies the 'Tribe' for federal funding.  As landowners, she told council members, that they were entitled to the per capita distribution.  The following is a statement from Little Eagle Balderas, addressing the Oyate of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe:

"Ahoy!  Mitakuyapi.  During this time, it is a momentous month. It is  Native American Heritage Month, that is so full of reflection, of our Ancestors and Tunkasila Iyotaka, what he battled for, his belief in and his love for his Mitakuyapi.  He stood brave and strong with his mission in life to be a good and honest man, who loved his people.  Mitakuyapi.  I believe in the ways of the Lakota, and to stay true to this identity of a Lakota that we bear as a signature in our lives.  We are all relatives, especially, by our Standing Rock Sioux Tribe enrolled status, that ties our blood to each other.  Do not give up hope, my people.  Mitakuyapi.  There is a change coming, that will be a stepping stone in our climb to be recognized.  We will be reunited with our Lakota traditional beliefs, virtues, values and our seven sacred rites, praying, fasting and smudging.  This is the only way.  Mitakuyapi.  With spirituality.  We are still alive with our spirituality.  We survived the genocide.  Inanjipi, stand up, and show your true self.

I have always spoke and tried to be an example of a true Hunkpapa Lakota, just loving my heritage as a Hunkpapa Lakota Winyan.  Our heritage is so rich with very valuable life skills, traditions, virtues and values and with such strict, honorable and respectful Lakota 'Ways'.  I firmly believe that as a Chief and leader, Tunkasila Tatanka Iyotaka, would work very strongly with his Oyate.  In the Lakota way, the Chief gave up his riches, his material items, so his Oyate could survive.  The Chiefs always ate last and made sure their people were comfortable.  A Chief would never make his people live as 'scavenger's', like the leaders of today are doing to their people.  Tunkasila Tatanka Iyotaka's ultimate sacrifice was his life and we love him as a true role model of what a 'real' leader should be.  His leadership was so historical and his vision and his life live on.  Ahoy, All of my Relatives, Mitakuye Oyasin."



  1. thank you for your words..i am an off rez member and have as many if not more struggles than my family on the truley is a sad day when our tribal leaders treat us in such a manner..thanks to people like you who stand up for us and give words of encouragement

    1. You're Welcome...There's not much I can do, as I am not a tribal member, but, I feel for you...SRST - ACTT has a petition to seek voting rights for off rez members out, but it can only be signed by those SRST members who live on the reservation and can vote. Hopefully, these members will think about their relatives who live off the reservation and get this amendment passed. You can contact the SRST - ACTT (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe - Active Citizens for Tribal Truth) on Facebook, as they have a Facebook page....maybe they can answer your questions better than I can. I really do understand how you feel though, as I am an off reservation member of the Fort Belknap Assiniboine Tribe, where I am enrolled at, and, is one of the reasons this story interested me. The only way things will change is for the People to get involved and become aware of the issues. Good Luck...

  2. Spoke to you this morning Velma.What an honor it was! An Honor to speak to some one that speaks the truth and not afraid to. As I said to you ,I have only 1/4 indian blood running through my veins,not much but enough for me to be very very proud to be native American. As I spoke to you I felt an automatic connection with you and felt I should tell you so.

    As I have stated, I to am an OFF RESERVATION enrolled member of Standing Rock. Giving the Salazar settlement payments to Tribal members who live on the reservation only is all good and well,and probably need it much more that (SOME) off reservation members but that is not the point. If ALL enrolled members were included in the goverment census,then ALL enrolled members should be included with a Salazar payment! After so many years of being a forgotten people and virtually swindled out of everything including our pride a victory in court and some kind of monetary payment will help heal old wounds and scars! Not much but a little!

    The Tribal Council needs to remember the past,live for today,and look to the future for all native people of Standing Rock.Honor the Elders of today and the elders that have gone on before us.The tribal council has a chance to do that and much more! They have a chance to honor and respect the people,of who we are and where we came from and what we have had to endure! Let all enrolled members have what is coming to them and not just a few would bring the tribe closer together, whether it be on the reservation or off!

    With all due respect....... The Tribal Council needs to do what is right!

    Sincerely with Love and Respect,

    Gene Holbrook
    290 Blossom Way
    Yakima,WA 98908