presented here without editing or
Dear Buffalo Friends,
We have great news to report:
YOU STOPPED THE PLANNED SLAUGHTER OF THE BUFFALO!!!!
This afternoon, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Yellowstone
National Park held a joint press conference in Helena, Montana, to
announce that they WILL NOT SLAUGHTER any wild buffalo that remain in
Montana come Monday! All those buffalo babies, their moms, and their
families will live on!
This is a major victory for wild buffalo and their advocates
While the larger issue is far from being resolved, we should all take
a deep breath and give thanks for this incredible news that we all
helped make happen. The power, prayers, energy, spirit, love, and
ACTION of all the people who care about the buffalo made this happen!
Here are the buffalo you helped save:
The word from Montana and Yellowstone is this: any wild buffalo
found in Montana come Monday would be transported (captured and
hauled in trailers) into Yellowstone National Park. They would be
taken north, to Stephens Creek, and let go. This transport could be
very hard on the buffalo, especially the small calves, so we are
hopeful that it will not have to occur at all.
The long-term solution for wild buffalo is year-round HABITAT!
Yesterday approximately 200 buffalo were forcefully pushed out of
Montana (off of our National Forest lands), back into Yellowstone
National Park. The agents used horsemen and a helicopter to conduct
this operation. Today, the same thing happened, with about 50
buffalo (moms, babies, families) being pushed off of Horse Butte,
deep into Yellowstone. Sadly, the buffalo were pushed extremely hard
- especially by the helicopter - and they were shot with orange paint
balls by the agents on horseback. It almost looked like a
re-enactment from the shameful buffalo hunts of the 1800s. You can
see footage from yesterday at
During today's operation, a baby buffalo collapsed from exhaustion
and possible injury. BFC patrols stayed with this little calf and
its mom until they were able to be strong enough to resume their trek
to catch up with their family members who had been chased out of
Montana. They made it!
This great victory is not without its shadow, as wild buffalo should
be allowed to roam freely in Montana, especially on our public lands.
We will keep fighting for the buffalo until they are wild and free.
But we will celebrate that these buffalo will not be sent to
slaughter and that is because you made it happen! Thank you all so
much! You flooded them with calls, emails, faxes and IT WORKED! The
governor and Yellowstone made the right decision.
ACTION NEEDED: Please take the time to call and say THANK YOU to
Governor Brian Schweitzer and Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne
Lewis for choosing to let these buffalo live. Encourage them to work
to acquire year-round habitat for wild buffalo in Montana!
* Governor Brian Schweitzer: 406-444-3111
* Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis: 307-344-2002
From the bottom of our hearts and for all the wild buffalo ~
LET THE BUFFALO ROAM!
~Buffalo Field Campaign
Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
BFC is the only group working in the field every day
to defend the last wild herd of buffalo in America.
Stay informed! Get our weekly email Updates from the Field:
Send your email address to
It's what's killing wild buffalo.
Speak Out! Contact politicians and involved agencies today:
Write a Letter to the Editor of key newspapers:
Help the buffalo by recycling your used cell phones & printer
It's free and easy.
This news was
only received this morning and is unsubstantiated.
It is being reported that today in
Montana, Bison calves will be slaughtered.
If others have proof or know this to be
factual, a confirmation
of this unforgivable,
senseless act would be gratefully appreciated.
There are Native persons all across this
country who have repeatedly begged
for unwanted or threatened
Bison of any age to be released to them.
To my knowledge, few, if any, have ever
After 2 years of "no idea
who's really in charge", the BIA has a new leader.
Following 2 sad, confusing
years of non-Natives running the BIA,
it is now finally back in
the hands of Native people again.
The new man at the top is
Carl Artman an Oneida from Wisconsin.
Here's hoping that he gets
the support he needs to do a job
filled with the ugly
truth that is the definition of the BIA:
trying to help Native
people in a white political world.
The Seminole Tribe of
Florida recently purchased the Hard Rock Cafe/Casino chain,
continuing the struggle in
this country of Native peoples to free
themselves of the tainted
grip of Casino and gambling organizations.
I am in a minority, I know,
who believes that any money that comes as a result
of a Casino and Native
union comes at the expense and anguish of the
Ancestors who most
certainly would barely recognize their children's children
and the new kind of culture
that has arisen on those Reservations with Casinos.
The tear stained, shamed
faces of the grandfathers should impel us into
shunning those whose
sole objective is gambling and eliminating them
from the Native world,
which they could not possibly comprehend,
a place where tradition and
honor reign above all else.
Will the current Navajo
chief be the lone objector to this repugnant influence?
Shall he be the only leader
who does not tell the Casino crowd to "come on down?"
Sadly Native Americans no
longer have a supportive voice in the US Government,
not that we ever had much
representation anyway, but now with Ben Nighthorse
and Tom Daschle gone, we
are with few friends in Washington.
Is this because we do not
choose to run for office or because we fail
to win in the Political
arena that determines the fate of our people?
May 2005 find that American
will decide not only to run,
but may actually be
successful in their attempts~
Nothing has been posted to
this page for the past two years
because I have spent this
time out in American Native Country.
I have learned so much and
met such wonderful people.
They have taught me that
the most important things are the simplest ones.
I have met many people in
many states, who live in third world conditions
and they were not all on
Reservations. They were just poor.
There are many poor people
in this country and
they are not all American Natives.
Poverty, unemployment and
poor health are the daily life
of these people and the
outlook for change is bleak at best.
What bothers me the most I
think, is that nothing seems to change.
I have been going to
Reservations for many years
and reading this article this morning,
Sioux Tribe members visit city
took me back to my first
trip to Pine Ridge many years ago.
The shelter of my middle
class cocoon in Los Angeles for 30 years,
had not prepared me for
what I found there that first time.
I was overwhelmed by the
abject poverty, but more importantly,
I was stunned by the
sadness in the eyes of the children that I met.
That first trip many years
ago changed my life and I have been
back many times since to keep reminding
why I put this web site up in the first place.
It is also why I continue
to go all over this country listening and trying to learn.
It doesn't seem to matter
who is in the White House or who we elect
to Congress, poor people are just
always at the bottom of the list
when it comes time to spend money.
Those with the deepest
pockets are quite well represented in Washington
and we still have to my
knowledge, only one Native American there,
the retiring Republican Ben
Nighthorse Campbell, who has been under the
Indian Country Today
recently over the ultimate use of an
$800,000 fund he controls
that was meant to be for educating Native students.
As the voices of the poor in America fall in silence on the deaf ears
of long term
politicians, the only way that change
can ever occur,
is to have more representation in the Law making process
in this country by those with the most need.
If you are an American
must get involved in this process.
Hoping that those who are
already in place will fix things is a terrible mistake.
Today, Native People face nearly
the same unbearable conditions
that their ancestors did 200 years ago.
It is time for change to be
put into place by those with the most at stake,
the First People of this
We need to stop the
endless cycle of the blame game
and get into the change game.
We must do it for
ourselves, we cannot hope others will do it for us.
They have proven that they
cannot be trusted to do so.
extraordinary and monumental event was the opening
ceremony of the Winter
Olympics last night in Salt Lake City.
It was the first time in U.S.
Olympic History, I believe, that
American Native People participated
in these ceremonies.
Never mind that no one
dared to whisper about the horrific
treatment of the Indians
during the last part of the 1800's
by these now seemingly so
respectful Mormons of Utah.
During the time of their
Mormons forcefully removed
many Native children
from their families,
claiming that they were not fit
to raise them, being the
savages that they were.
These same Mormons then
turned around and either
made personal slaves out of these children for their own
homes or sold them to
others who would do the same.
For more information about
this, please read:
The Destruction of California Indians, by Robert F.
This chilling documentation
details the years of abuse inflicted
upon Indians by the US
Military, the Mormons, the miners and
others who all had one
singular purpose, to better their own lives
at the expense of a people
who although born in this country,
were by the turn of the
19th century about to be evicted
from the only home that
they had ever known.
Nonetheless, last night was
a celebration demonstrating long overdue
respect and dignity for all
Native People, from East Coast to West Coast.
We all felt their pride as
they thanked the Creator for the
opportunity to share our
culture with millions around the world,
who sadly seem far more
interested in the treatment of the Indians
in this country, than
many of those who currently reside here.
Regardless your opinion on
Hemp, the point of the matter is that the
Pine Ridge Reservation is
presumed to be a Sovereign Nation.
Apparently that is not the
case, however, if you intend to grow Hemp there.
Please read this story
written by Emily Huber of Mother Jones,
as she describes the never
ending drama that is daily life on Pine Ridge.
Sioux vs DEA, Round Two
In a rare example of unity
between whites and Natives
in South Dakota, the Black
Hills Alliance has joined
two unlikely groups in a
fight against a proposed
billion dollar expansion
by the DM &E railroad.
(Dakota, Minnesota and
This expansion would allow
over 100 million tons of coal a year
to travel through Wyoming
and South Dakota on its way
to power plants in the mid
west and the east.
At a 2 day event in March
of this year, organized by
Charlene White Face and
Harvey White Woman,
the Alliance discussed
plans of opposition to the railroads expansion,
hoping for the same level
of success that had been reached by
the Cowboy - Indian
Alliance when it stopped uranium mining
in the Southern Black
Hills, by the Honeywell company in 1987.
The Black Hills group is
attempting to stop the railroad from
further expansion onto
lands that are currently occupied
by white farmers and
ranchers and Lakota's.
This expansion would
violate the land Treaties of 1868,
which finds many Lakota
holding claims to the land in question.
The environmental impact of
this huge coal transport could be
globular and a success for
the Alliance group may indeed
be a success for all of us
who inhabit Mother Earth.
The outlook does appear to
be good for the moment, with the
Department of the Interior
voting against expansion for now.
This release was handed to
us as we left a Pow Wow
recently and is summarized for brevity here:
All Out December 10th
Free Leonard Peltier
United Nations Building
New York City
8 years ago, when Bill
Clinton was running for President,
he made a campaign promise that if elected,he would pardon
American Indian Movement activist, Leonard Peltier,
who was falsely imprisoned during the Nixon administration.
Still Leonard sits in
prison as an example of American injustice.
There have been many protests internationally, many letters,
faxes, phone calls and telegrams sent to the White House,
but so far there has been no major outpouring of support.
This is our last, best
chance to win a Presidential pardon for Leonard.
This is not just an American Native issue.
It is a Human Rights issue and a Democratic Rights issue.
If they can do this to
they can do it to any one of us.
They are sending a message.
We must send a message back!
On December 10, there will be a major
International Conference on Human Rights
at the UN building in New York City.
If for any reason you can't,
call the White House comments line:
and demand that President Clinton
sign Leonard's pardon now!
The Red Heart Warrior's
This press release was received from FEMA
and concerns an upcoming conference meeting.
Center, Building 710
Denver, Colorado 80225
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2000
Ed Conley, Federal
Emergency Management Agency (303) 235-4909
Gary Gleason, Federal Emergency Management Agency (303) 235-4763
FEMA Announces Historic Tribal Emergency Management Conference
On September 26-28, 2000, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Region VIII will host a tribal emergency management conference titled,
"Honoring our Partnerships, a vision for emergency management in Indian
This will be a historic event in U.S. tribal relations, as FEMA takes
steps toward implementing its tribal relations policie"We expect to
attract tribal chairs, emergency managers and other tribal leaders from
all 28 tribes in our Region,
as well as our state emergency management partners" noted Rick Weiland,
director of FEMA Region VIII, which encompasses Utah, Colorado, Wyoming,
Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
"Through this conference we hope to improve emergency management
capabilities on the reservations, to learn from successful tribal
emergency management practices and to solidify government-to-government
relationships between tribal leaders and FEMA Region VIII."
Each day of the conference,
which will be held at the Civic Center
in Rapid City, South Dakota, will focus on a slightly different
aspect of emergency management.
leadership, building relationships and
fostering commitment to emergency management in Indian Country.
September 27 Vision
management skills training
and formalizing Region VIII’s tribal relationship.
A retrospective look at
disasters on tribal lands:
Pine Ridge, Turtle Mountain and Spirit Lake Nation.
from this conference will help to save lives
and property in Indian country and will have a significant impact
on Tribal/FEMA relations," Weiland said.
regional and national FEMA personnel,
state emergency management staff and the media,
the conference is expected to draw
upwards of 250 participants.
Editor’s Note: For further
information on FEMA/Tribal issues,
visit our website at:
letter was received from Deborah Hare
regarding the untimely
death of Timothy "Little Rock" Reed,
the Native Activist who had
been written about
here several times in the
His death comes only one
year after his release from prison.
A brief summation of his
feelings about Native spirituality
and the rights of
incarcerated Indians to practice their beliefs
are in this court Affidavit
dated January 10, 1989.
Peace "Little Rock"
"Little Rock" Reed, an activist for American Natives and
prison causes, died
January 15th in a car accident in Cuba, N.M.
Little Rock was 39 yrs.
Little Rock was a pipe
carrier, Sun Dancer and
participated in the Native
Mr. Reed made national
headlines in 1997 after the New Mexico
Supreme Court refused to
extradite him to Ohio for violating parole
after serving 10 years in
prison for drug theft and burglary.
The court called him a
"refugee from injustice",
who was in fear for his
life because of his activism.
In June, 1998, the U.S.
Supreme Court reversed the decision,
and he returned in December
to Ohio to complete six weeks of parole.
While incarcerated at the
Southern Ohio Correctional Facility
in Lucasville, Mr. Reed
acquired a reputation as a spokesman
for the rights of American
Mr. Reed was one-half
He also earned two
associate's degrees while in prison.
At the time of his death he
lived with his companion Deborah Hare
in Jemez Pueblo, New
Mexico. He worked as a paralegal.
He was an accomplished
musician and songwriter and
had just completed a
compilation of his works for a CD.
Other survivors include a
son, Jasper Cole Reed of Albuquerque, NM;
his mother, Nancy Scull of
Delhi Township, OH; grandmother,
Gladys McAllister, Delhi
Township, OH; sister Robin Sorrell,
Middletown, OH; brother
Kevin Reed of Bridgetown, OH
and brother Kevin Scull of
San Diego, CA.
A memorial service was held
in Taos, New Mexico
and in Cincinnati, Ohio.
January 29, 2000
For the past few months, the
Sachem and I have been
traveling and observing
conditions throughout Indian country.
We are now back home again
and are being barraged with
faxes and e-mails daily,
asking us to comment on two
very important Native issues.
Feb. 1, marks D-day for the Navajo/Dineh
people at Big
Mountain/Black Mesa, Arizona.
This forced removal and
relocation of Native Elders,
has been a source of agony
for both Native
and non-Native people for
reason for their removal,
has been suggested to be
to allow Peabody Coal,
a British company, to
continue with their expansion onto Native land.
Peabody is under constant
pressure to maintain an uninterrupted,
energy supply to the power
hungry mega cities of the West.
The vast mineral resources
on this land, as with the Black Hills
of South Dakota, have made
it an irresistible plunder
for those who can and do,
take without asking.
Having been a
Californian for over 30 years, I can assure you
that we were not privy to
this kind of information in our daily news.
Moving to New England has
allowed me to gain a new perspective.
this coming Tuesday Feb.1,
if you have either the time
or the desire,
you might say a prayer or
participate in a gathering
on behalf of these
beleaguered Native Elders,
whose only wish is to be
left alone and
to live in peace on the
land of their ancestors.
There are many
protests planned for this day.
Please, make your feelings
known and help support
the rights of these
Navajo/Dineh Elders, who continue to be
forcefully removed from
their homes and their lands.
Government and the Peabody Coal Company,
have been meticulously
careful in controlling
the release of most of this
they will continue this
Judge Schedules Nov. 17
hearing on Whiteclay Jurisdiction
A Sheridan County judge has
Nov. 17 hearing to decide whether the village of
Whiteclay should be under the jurisdiction of an American
Indian reservation in South Dakota.
Judge Charles Plantz scheduled the hearing Tuesday.
He will preside over a
courtroom in which lawyers will argue
whether nine American Indians in a protest over beer sales
in Whiteclay should face charges under Nebraska law.
The nine protesters were
arrested during a July 3 march
from South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to Whiteclay,
an unincorporated village of 22 just inside the Nebraska border.
Marchers were protesting 4
million cans of beer
sold annually by Whiteclay's non-Indian merchants,
mainly to nearby reservation residents,
where the sale of alcohol is illegal.
September 16, 1999
As I have been away from my
computer most of this summer,
moving from Southern
California to Connecticut,
some very important Lakota
stories have been sorely neglected.
This vivid news article
captures the essence of only the
latest in a series of
conflicts between the residents of
the Pine Ridge Reservation
and law enforcement agencies.
Having just returned from
Pine Ridge this week,
these stories and several
others are foremost in my thoughts.
The tumultuous events of
leave the impression that
very little has changed between
these two opposing forces
over the last hundred years.
April 12, 1999
A press release concerning the
" First Fire of the Oceti
the spiritual camp
of seven Oglala warriors, protesting
the turnover of the Missouri River Indian Treaty land.
March 30, 1999
The Pine Ridge Building Summit, a part of the
project from HUD, will offer all
of you who have asked, the
chance to get finally
get involved and help to
improve the lives of
many of the Lakota People
at Pine Ridge.
March 30, 1999
CUOMO ANNOUNCES NATIVE
AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
TO IMPROVE LIFE ON
March 16, 1999
An exciting press release from NASA/JPL
The Lakota people and NASA,
will reach for the stars
in the Black Hills of South
Dakota, March 19-21.
Thank you to Dan Hogan,
Editor of Science Daily Magazine,
for providing the JPL link
and being my source for this story.
March 10, 1999
These words from Leonard Peltier,
which give an
introspective look into his
many years of incarceration,
are an excerpt from his new
My Life is
My Sun Dance
March 2, 1999
For those of you who wish to
contact a particular
person at the
BIA, here is a very comprehensive
of most of those at this agency.
March 1, 1999
of Lakota Student Alliance:
Emergency Meeting Held to
Consider Impact of
SD Wildlife Mitigation Bill
in 1998 Appropriations.
February 22, 1999
Today, is yet another emotional
and distressing day,
for the many Native Americans, who want to know
what the US Government has done with all of their money.
An unprecedented event, is
now taking place,
in Washington, as U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth,
has found two 2 currently standing Cabinet members,
Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Secretary Robert Rubin,
in contempt of court, for failing to produce
documents explaining the location of over $500 million
in 300,00 trust fund accounts of Native People.
The largest amount of this
missing total, over $400 million,
is owed to the Lakota people, as a payment for the Black Hills.
More to follow on this
January 30, 1999
Timothy "Little Rock" Reed, a half
Lakota political activist
for prison reform, has been
allowed to return
to his wife and son in
Albuquerque, New Mexico,
by the Ohio Department of
Mr. Reed will now fulfill
his remaining probation time there.
January 22, 1999
President Clinton has announced a
new Education Plan
which will give 10 million
dollars toward recruiting and
training 1,000 new
teachers, who in return,
promise that they will
teach in schools with a
high percentage of Native
January 14, 1999
Great news from Washington for the
Lakota people today.
President Clinton has named
the Pine Ridge Reservation
among his list of 20 most "
in need " communities,
or " Empowerment Zones " in
the United States.
This means more jobs,
money, federal grants
and tax-exempt bonds will
be going to this, the
poorest city in the poorest
county in America.
This acknowledgment of
indecent living conditions,
by the government, is both
long overdue and desperately
needed, by the residents of
this Lakota Reservation.
More to come on this issue.
December 18, 1998
American Native activist Timothy
"Little Rock" Reed,
was released from prison in
Ohio Thursday night,
by a hearing officer who
decided that he was not a threat
and that he should serve a
minimum of six weeks,
which was the time
remaining on his probation.
Reed now plans to return to
school in Ohio,
to continue his education
in the fields of
Criminal Justice and Native
He would eventually like to
return to New Mexico
to be of help to his fellow
December 3, 1998
Following the joyous events of two
weeks ago, comes the
sad news today regarding
the sale of Indian Country Today,
( called by many the
loudest voice for the Lakota )
to the Oneida Nation, who
also own the
Turning Stone Casino near
Syracuse, New York.
Although, there were many
that I have not agreed with
the opinions expressed
by Tim Giago, owner and
editor of the paper,
I always supported the
right of the man to speak his mind.
Now, this outspoken voice
for the Lakota people of Pine Ridge,
for nearly twenty years,
will be moving on in another direction.
Many Lakota on Pine Ridge
are taking a collective breath;
wondering what and who
will be speaking for them in the future.
December 3, 1998 continued.
American Native activist Timothy "
Little Rock " Reed,
who is half Lakota, has
lost his lengthy court battle
to remain free and has been
returned to Ohio.
A hearing, which will take
place there within the next
two weeks, will determine
Reed, who has expressed
fear for his safety, following his
prison abuses toward American Natives,
has been in hiding in New
Mexico for the last five years.
More to follow on this
November 20, 1998 update
This is a wonderful day for all
but especially for those of
The gracious and
compassionate people of Scotland
have allowed the blood
stained Lakota Ghost Shirt,
which has been on display
in a museum in Glasgow
for over 100 years, to be
returned to South Dakota.
This shirt was believed to
have been worn by a
Lakota warrior during the
massacre at Wounded Knee.
The struggle to retrieve
possession of this article has
taken many years, but has
now reached a rightful conclusion.
The Ghost Shirt is going
home to Wounded Knee.
Having just returned from the Pine Ridge Reservation and
Wounded Knee in South
Dakota, I have learned that some of the
Elders at Pine Ridge, have
requested the following items,
to prepare for the harsh
winter that is about to come:
heaters, firewood and warm clothing.
Winter in the Great
Plains can be a death sentence
for those who are not
fortunate enough to have
sufficient protection from
The temperatures can drop
to more than 60 degrees
below zero with freezing
blizzards and winds to match.
Many of the Elders at Pine
Ridge have no heat,
no electricity and few warm
If you or your company or
organization can help or donate
any of these desperately
needed items, please contact me.
is an August 6, 1998 press release, from the
Department of Housing and
Urban Development, HUD.
CUOMO ANNOUNCES OVER $30
MILLION IN AID....
June 15, 1998
great one is now with Mother Earth
Today this sad
news was received from South
Stanley Raymond Looking
Horse, Sr.- Lyus Icupi,
age 68, died June 8, 1998
at the IHS Hospital,
in Eagle Butte, South
He was born Jan. 24, 1930
Green Grass, South Dakota.
His parents were Thomas and
(Bad Warrior) Looking
A traditional leader,
Stanley lived his
entire life in Green Grass.
Mr. Looking Horse is
survived by his wife,
Mary Cecelia Looking Horse
of Green Grass.
His children are:
Arvol Looking Horse, Ivan
Looking Horse, Beatrice
Looking Horse, Gladys Looking Horse and
Derilee Looking Horse who are all from Green
Stanley Looking Horse Jr.
of Bismarck, N.D.,
Lois Martina Looking Horse
of Minneapolis, Minn.,
his adopted daughter,
Delores Blue Stone of Shakopee, Minn.,
and his adopted son, Gary
Stranger of Eagle Butte, S.D.
Also, his brothers Pete
Looking Horse of Cannon Ball, N.D.,
and Sylvester Thin Elk of
Rosebud, S.D., and his
Aunt Delores Blue Stone of
Bull Head, S.D.
Mr. Looking Horse had 24
Spiritual leaders of the
Lakota, Dakota and Nakota
held the funeral and wake
at the Looking Horse home
in Green Grass.
Burial was at the Looking
at Green Grass on June 13,
Services were provided, by
Luce Funeral Home of Eagle
Thank you to Indian Country
Today, for this notice.
June 13, 1998
story was kindly shared by the Fedgazette
of Minneapolis and although
the data is over a year old,
little has changed since it
was written in Jan.1997
" The opinion below is an excerpt from a
Ninth District newspaper and is expressly
the opinion of the writer, not the Minneapolis Fed. "
Producing jobs is key for
Argus Leader (Sioux
" If South Dakota lawmakers
are serious about creating jobs
on the nine Native Reservations in the state as they have said,
then they should do
something about it.
The opportunity is there."
Rep. Ron Volesky, D-Huron,
plans to introduce legislation
that would create the first
Development Commission in
South Dakota to promote
development and job training on Reservations.
There has been a
suffocating deluge of forums
and discussions about
advancing the economic status
of the state's Native
There is little, if
anything, to show for all the talk.
Late last year, lawmakers
said they had taken the first step by
focusing attention on the
need for job creation on the Reservations.
It is now time for the
all-important second step,
and it must be a giant one.
Legislation must be passed
to ensure that something concrete is
done on the Reservations in
the area of economic development.
Support on both sides of
the aisle will be critical.
The unemployment rate on most Reservations is 50 percent or higher.
Except for casino gambling,
there have been very few
forward-looking ideas to
reduce Reservation unemployment.
The lack of jobs and
related poverty fosters other problems,
including crime, alcohol
abuse, spousal abuse,
violence and broken
Jobs are not going to be a
cure-all to those problems, but
putting people to work will
eliminate a significant portion of them.
Volesky, who is an American
Native, believes job
solve "90 percent" of the social problems.
Economic development on the
Reservations becomes more
crucial with the advent of
welfare reform on the federal level.
"With the block grants
coming down from the federal government
and block grants going to
our Native Reservations
with the requirement that a
certain number of welfare
recipients find employment
in a certain time,
it is critical that we get
serious about job development and
economic development on our
state's Reservations," Volesky says.
Initial funding of the
commission would be $200,000:
The state would contribute
half, and the tribal governments
in South Dakota would
provide the balance.
Distributing state dollars
is always a balancing act,
but Volesky says every job
created on a Reservation
could help save a family.
Few could argue that
there's a better investment than a family.
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