Monumental Promises Underscore Clinton's
Shared Vision For Indian Country
In an uncharacteristic stumble from a near perfectly
delivered poverty tour script, President Clinton called the Crazy Horse Monument 'Crazy
House' as he urged tribal members to embrace tourism within the New Markets Initiative he
championed on Pine Ridge, July 7. Inadvertently, Clinton's Freudian slip provided an apt
description of this first visit to an Indian reservation by a US President since Franklin
D. Roosevelt called in on the Cherokees of North Carolina during a 1936 vacation.
Packed with flagging cars and horses - drivers, riders, passengers and pedestrians milled
around the streets surrounding Pine Ridge High School in a gaggle of eager anticipation.
"We needed him to come here," insisted Isaac White Face. "I want him to see
the poverty we live in and the need for economic development."
The almost unreal yet highly charged atmosphere was carried onto the campus by an
estimated 5,000 spectators who defied the baking sun and crammed in to witness, and
participate in, the historic moment.
"We are supposed to talk to him," commented Chief Oliver Red Cloud, gesturing
towards fellow traditional Lakota leaders and elders waiting patiently in the punishing
heat. "The Lakota people face all kinds of problems. The United States don't really
honor our treaty rights but I'm here to listen to what their President has to say. After
all, we can't talk to Senator Daschle because he doesn't listen to us - he's trying to
take everything that we have," Chief Red Cloud concluded, referring to Senator
Daschle's role in the Mitigation Bill.
Some two hours later than anticipated, President Clinton finally appeared, following his
congressional delegation, members of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council and an array of
dignitaries into the jumbled aura of powwow, controlled demonstration, political posturing
and high level security operation. Shod in cowboy boots, the President acknowledged his
enthusiastic welcome before Arvol Looking Horse, keeper of the sacred White Buffalo Calf
Pipe, stepped forward in fringed buckskin and eagle feather headdress to deliver a
bilingual opening prayer.
"We will be forever indebted with gratitude to you," OST President Harold Salway
told Clinton during his initial address. "You opened the doors to Indian people with
the Tribal Leaders Summit you graciously hosted in 1994. All of the leaders you have
profoundly touched will never forget your kindness and generosity."
Amidst detailing the criteria the tribe achieved to secure the reservation's designation
as a Federal Empowerment Zone, Salway reminded President Clinton that, "Even today,
we have unresolved land issues with the federal government." However, in the context
of the international community, it would be difficult to imagine PLO Chairman Yasser
Arafat standing in front of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and using similarly
understated tones to express the comparative struggle of his people for the return of
their Occupied Territories.
Salway introduced Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo, as "One
of the strongest advocates for Native Americans in Washington today." A driving force
behind the New Markets Initiative, Cuomo has long preached its virtues and the
Presidential podium soon became another pulpit. Sporting a blue beaded bolo tie he had
received on a previous visit to Pine Ridge, a white collar and black robe might have been
more in keeping as he sought converts through a discourse that was more sermon than
"This nation has a moral obligation to bring its people who are not yet sharing the
American Dream into that great American success story," he exhorted, as Lakotas whose
ancestors fought and died to protect their traditional values from such colonial
corruption looked on. "There is a great economic opportunity for this nation in these
communities," Cuomo continued. "There is business to be done and money to be
made," he said with an echo of 'There's gold in them there hills'. Extraordinary
statements from a man adopted in to the Tlingit and Haida nations, whom, in common with
the majority of Alaska's indigenous peoples, continue to suffer from the federal act of
theft known as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement.
Few agreed with the HUD Secretary's characterization of Senator Daschle as "a great
leader", but 5,000 people joined as one to give the Rev. Jesse Jackson a rousing
ovation. US Department of Agriculture Secretary, Dan Glickman, took a bow as a "true
champion for Indian Country", after signing "the first Empowerment Zone ever for
an Indian reservation." In the excitement, little consideration was given to what
changes that status might effect. South Phoenix, the President's destination after Pine
Ridge, became an Empowerment Zone in 1994 and, according to residents, successes have been
few and far between with over half of the community still living below the poverty line.
"It is my great and most humble esteemed pleasure", announced OST President
Salway as he made way for the President of the United States. Bearing a package of
proposals founded on the concept of promoting investment to poverty stricken areas through
an alliance of the public and private sectors, echoes of Bobby Kennedy's 1967 visit to
Pine Ridge with the Senate Poverty Subcommittee were evident throughout Clinton's address.
"You have suffered from neglect and you know that doesn't work," the President
reminded the residents of the poorest county in the United States. "You have also
suffered from the tyranny of patronizing, inadequately funded government programs and you
know that doesn't work."
Much of the ideology offered by the President was reminiscent of that promoted by one time
Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp and touted by Richard Nixon. Using government
guaranteed loans and tax credits to attract investment may be sound in theory but in
reality businesses won't actually invest unless they are convinced by the bottom line. If
they can't see a profit, no amount of incentives will bring them to the reservation.
Including Pine Ridge in the overall Empowerment Zone/New Markets Initiative equation, the
President proposes to allow some $980 million in tax credits to encourage approximately $6
billion in private investment for businesses and housing - subsidized by $81 million in
federal appropriations. In keeping with other federal subsidies recommended by the
President on the poverty tour, Congressional authority would be required before enactment
but a significant portion of the legislation has yet to reach Capitol Hill.
"Private lenders like Bank of America, Norwest, Bank One and Washington Mutual are
going to work with the mortgage bankers association and HUD to more than double the number
of government insured or guaranteed home mortgages in Indian Country," the President
promised. This Native American Home Ownership Initiative could assist 1,000 tribal members
on reservations to become homeowners across the continent. But OST President Salway had
already emphasized that on Pine Ridge alone, "About 20% of the housing lacks basic
plumbing, and more than 4,000 families are on a waiting list for homes." Many
potential mortgage applicants are uncertain of what may be required as collateral.
"I was profoundly moved by the pipe ceremony," President Clinton confessed,
referring to his receiving the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty Pipe from Millie Horn Cloud.
"Just as I was profoundly moved when your Congressional delegation took me to Mount
Rushmore," he attested. Having brushed over what he described as an
"imperfect" past, maybe the President didn't comprehend the irony of visiting
this alleged 'Shrine of Democracy', located in land the US Supreme Court ruled was
illegally annexed from the Great Sioux Nation in contravention of that 1868 treaty, upon
which that pipe was smoked. Much of the socio-economic depravation that supposedly moved
the President as he traversed the reservation was set in motion by his four predecessors
carved into the mountain.
Those who gathered to hear the US President discuss the Black Hills land claim, and the
threat posed to the 1868 treaty by the Mitigation Bill, left disappointed. Similarly, the
President failed to clarify the United States' position toward the United Nations' Working
Group on Indigenous Populations at the Commission on Human Rights. Also omitted from the
agenda were the conclusions of the UN Special Rapporteurs Study on Treaties of Indigenous
Peoples, a reaffirmation of the legal status of treaties and the sovereign rights of
Protests rumored to have been planned by splinter groups of the American Indian Movement
didn't materialize but demonstrators supporting Leonard Peltier gave the President a
solemn reminder of what many consider to be one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in
American history. Dubbed 'Native America's Nelson Mandela', Peltier began his
twenty-fourth year of incarceration early February, for allegedly shooting two FBI agents
during a June 26, 1975, firefight at the Jumping Bull residence, not 15 miles from where
the President was speaking. At least two Peltier supporters asked Clinton, face-to-face,
when he was going to grant executive clemency to the Dakota/Lakota/Anishinabe political
prisoner. Although no response was forthcoming, one local TV news station reported that
afterwards the President had said he would "do whatever he could".
None of the federal delegation mentioned the possibility of an investigation into the
FBI's COINTELPRO operations on the reservation in the 1970s, or the murder cases on Pine
Ridge that arose during that period and remain unsolved, such as the notorious slaying of
Anna Mae Aquash. The standard of living endured by most tribal members has shown little or
no improvement since that era, a fact the President did acknowledge. Although
underestimating the unemployment level at 75%, Clinton conceded that ". . . .
communities where Native Americans live have deadly disease and infant mortality rates at
many times the national rate."
Having alluded to the rampant levels of diabetes, alcohol and substance addiction, cancer
and heart disease - some of the collective ills of a Fourth World environment that leave
Pine Ridge residents struggling to cope with one of the highest rates of teen suicide, and
one of the lowest rates of life expectancy in the US - it should be hoped that the
President will seek to halt what has been categorized as a biological assault. When
related to the prevailing economic bondage and a commodity supplemented diet, some experts
have described federal dietary guidelines as the 'equivalent of smallpox-infected
blankets' to Native Americans.
In a clumsy attempt at the Lakota language, the President uttered "Mitakuye
Oyasin." Falling some way short of the resonance of JFK's 'Ich bin ein Berliner',
Clinton's speech was no less significant to the Lakota people. When Kennedy addressed a
divided Germany, the United States had already made vast contributions to rebuild the
infrastructure of its wartime adversary. If the United States saw fit to make
proportionate reparations to the Lakota nation as sovereign power it invaded and whose
natural infrastructure and economy it decimated, the Pine Ridge reservation might truly
become an Empowerment Zone.
As it is, the need to "seize the vast potential of tourism" advocated by the
President, through the National Park Service's $12 million request to construct a 'Lakota
Sioux Heritage Center', may become a necessity. Reading between the lines of his script,
the alternative may amount to little more than a trickle of minimum wage chores.
Near hysteria ensued when, on closing his address, President Clinton went walk about.
Others were less enthusiastic, unconvinced by a President with a track record in perjury,
flanked by a Senate Minority leader who gave life to treaty threatening legislation.
"We, the traditional Lakota people, are against what they promised and what they said
today," affirmed Chief Oliver Red Cloud. "We know our treaty rights but the
tribal council try to play with that. We are the ones trying to hang on to our land,"
Pausing to steady himself as the crush of bodies eager to meet the President engulfed him
and his fellow elders and headmen, Chief Red Cloud surveyed the throng. "Today they
pushed us down here and didn't even mention our names. We are the chiefs and leaders sat
here. The tribal council shouldn't have done that to us. We were supposed to meet the
United States President to give him a package made up from our eight reservations but we
As a sense of normality settled over Pine Ridge village, an intoxicated
hitchhiker staggered around 'Big Bat's' gas station looking for a ride to Whiteclay.
Meanwhile at 'Taco John's', a special had been added to the menu. "Give me one of
them $3 forked tongues," a customer requested. "Sorry, they already left
town," the assistant replied.
Whether President Clinton's promises left Pine Ridge with him aboard Marine One, or follow
him out of the White House, remains to be seen. Whatever the outcome, many will credit the
Salway administration for bringing hope, however fleetingly, to the reservation.
Community Demand Freedom For
Clinton warned that America's reputation for human rights
is being severely damaged.
Special to the Lakota Times.
As Bill Clinton's cavalcade swept through the streets of Pine Ridge, the face of Leonard
Peltier both greeted and bade him farewell. Hanging poignantly from a ball court on the
approach to Pine Ridge High School, a banner bearing Peltier's image asked 'It's 1999, why
is Leonard Peltier still in prison?' Having had a letter from Peltier and a copy of his
new book, Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance, passed to him by an OST council
member, it remains a question only the President of the United States can answer.
With one stroke of his pen, President Clinton could free Peltier by granting him Executive
Clemency. Even as he was leaving the reservation, international pressure was mounting upon
him to do so as news filtered through that 29 members of the British Parliament were now
supporting a motion calling for Peltier's freedom.
Initiated by author Serle Chapman and tabled by veteran British Member
of Parliament Tony Benn, the pronouncement set before the British government highlights
the subornation and complicity employed by the United States government in the prosecution
of Peltier and calls for all means of diplomatic pressure to be used to commute his
"Leonard Peltier's case has aroused worldwide interest and there
is no doubt in the minds of those who have heard the evidence that he is innocent,"
said Benn, who played a significant role in the epic campaign that freed Nelson Mandela.
At the forefront of British politics for over three decades, Benn is a member of the
ruling Labor Party lead by Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Robert Free, a longtime friend of Peltier's and a prominent figure
throughout the occupation of Alcatraz, The Trail of Broken Treaties and the 71 day siege
at Wounded Knee, accompanied Serle Chapman to London's 10 Downing Street, March 13, to
submit a thousand plus signatory petition to Prime Minister Blair.
Supported by John Trudell, the visit was the culmination of a British 'Peltier Day of
Action', that included a march through London, an address by Free and Chapman, and the
British premiere of Suzy Baer's Peltier documentary, 'Warrior'. The events garnered
national press coverage despite the United States Embassy sending a dossier with the US
government's interpretation of Peltier's case to the BBC prior to a primetime appearance
by Free and Chapman. The previous day, Chapman had been censored half way through a
"The petition implored the British government to intervene in Leonard's case with
both the US and Canadian governments. Britain is America's closest ally in the
international community and, supposedly, Canada is part of the British Commonwealth. Blair
could play a crucial role but I guess that depends on whether or not he really is a
paragon of virtue who wages 'moral wars', or just another nice smile and sound bite
snake-oil salesman," Chapman declared.
Through a communication from Buckingham Palace referring to the march and approach to
Prime Minister Blair, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ll., informed Chapman that she had
"taken careful note [concerning the case of Leonard Peltier]." As Head of the
British Commonwealth, the Queen has forwarded documents pertaining to Peltier's case to
Robin Cook, the British government's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
A British Commonwealth partner, the Canadian government remains at the center of the
Peltier controversy. Peltier was extradited from Canada June 18, 1976, to face trial in
the US, charged with the June 26, 1975, shootings of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald
Williams during the well documented firefight at Jumping Bull, Oglala. In 1995, the then
Canadian Minister of Justice, Allen Rock, initiated an internal review of Peltier's
extradition following an unprecedented Amicus brief filed with the Canadian Supreme Court
by 55 Members of Parliament, who cited that Peltier's extradition had been obtained
"Once the Myrtle Poor Bear affidavits were found to be fraudulent, there was
absolutely no evidence to support the extradition," confirmed Warren Allmand.
As Canada's Solicitor General at the time of Peltier's arrest, and Indian Affairs Minister
when he was extradited, Allmand made a major contribution to Rock's report on Peltier's
extradition. However, Rock's successor in the Canadian government, Minister of Justice
Anne McLellan, has yet to release the report, stating that she had been "waiting for
the US government to give her permission." McLellan has subsequently contradicted her
governmental colleagues in Canada and the US by claiming that there was "no evidence
of any fraud" in the extradition process.
Referring to the now infamous Myrtle Poor Bear affidavits the FBI furnished to secure
Peltier's extradition, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark states, "As the FBI
well knew, that woman wasn't even there, had never met or even seen Leonard Peltier, and
the government knew it! Long after it was all over, they freely admitted 'there's not a
scintilla of evidence, not a spark of evidence' - those are their own words - that this
woman was a witness to anything."
Clark, now part of Peltier's defense team, recently filed a habeas corpus petition
challenging the US Parole Commission's decision to deny Peltier a further parole release
hearing until 2008. At his last parole hearing, Federal Parole Commissioner, Ray Essex,
told Peltier, "I agree there is nothing that definitely states that you did the
killing," but the Commission still refuse to reconsider their decision because
Peltier has not acknowledged criminal responsibility for the agents' deaths.
"That's a scandalous ruling," author Serle Chapman contends. "Admit to
being guilty even though you're innocent! They're saying 'We know you didn't do it but
somebody in Oglala did and as we set you up, you can serve the time.' We have to challenge
them on every front. Just like we're pressing the British over Canada, because an
extradition based upon falsified affidavits nullifies the writ of extradition. Nobody
seriously doubts that happened with Leonard, so adhering to international law, Canada
should make a formal diplomatic protest to the US. The US would then have to return
Leonard to Canada and try to extradite him again, which they know they can't do, because
legally they couldn't manage it in 1976," Chapman explained. " So Leonard might
get to live on that land up there the Crees have set aside for him to raise buffalo."
Introduced to Peltier's cause by Chapman, international correspondent Andrew Mueller
recently gained access to Leavenworth Penitentiary to interview Peltier for Britain's The
Guardian newspaper, considered to be the most influential publication with Prime Minister
Blair's government. " All things considered, Leonard looked okay," said Mueller.
"To talk to, he was remarkably pleasant, cheerful and courteous by any standards. I'm
ceaselessly amazed by what people can cope with and come through with the better parts of
themselves operative. Leonard's story is as close to a definition of hell as I can think
of but nonetheless, he's still interesting, bright and funny."
"He did say that he should probably concentrate a bit more on exercising and a little
less on painting! There is no conspicuous scarring from his jaw surgery but he explained
that the diet necessitated by his lock jaw wasn't ideal," Mueller reported.
Peltier is currently suffering complications from two maxilla-facial surgeries performed
at the USPS facility, Springfield, Missouri. After the second surgery, Peltier was in a
coma for 14 hours and his mouth is now permanently locked 13 millimeters open. Enduring
constant headaches and watering eyes, prison authorities have yet to amend Peltier's diet
to accommodate his condition, which in turn is exacerbating "diabetes, a cardiac
condition and hyperlipidemia," as catalogued by Federal Bureau of Prisons Assistant
Director of Health Services, Phillip Wise.
In the same notice, Wise denied Peltier's request to receive treatment from maxilla-facial
expert, Dr. Eugene Keller of the Mayo Clinic, despite Dr. Keller's willingness to treat
Peltier. Earlier in his 23 year incarceration, Peltier suffered a stroke which resulted in
him losing 80% of the vision in his left eye.
Apparently, Ernie Stevens, Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians,
has been supporting Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell's reported attempts to secure
Congressional Hearing Investigations into Peltier's case. Seemingly, Senator Campbell is
seeking the cooperation of the Judiciary Committee to hold the sought after hearings.
"I left several messages for Senator Campbell and the National Congress of American
Indians when I was researching Leonard's article for The Guardian," recalled Andrew
Mueller. "Not only would none of them comment, none of them would even call, fax or
e-mail back to explain why they wouldn't comment!"
Leonard Peltier was recently recognized as a Human Rights Defender at the 50th Anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris, France. On April 16, Amnesty
International called for Peltier's "immediate and unconditional release." Former
First Lady of France, Danielle Mitterand, visited Peltier at Leavenworth and later spoke
at a press conference in Washington, DC., sponsored by the Leonard Peltier Defense
Committee and Amnesty International. Prior to Mitterand's visit, the European Parliament
passed its second resolution calling for Executive Clemency, and a motion similar to that
introduced by Tony Benn to the British Parliament, was presented to the French Parliament
by Laurence Dumont, supported by France's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hubert Vedrine.
"While the US keeps him [Peltier] imprisoned, the American reputation for human
rights is severely damaged," said Tony Benn. "I hope that President Clinton
appreciates that this is not only a question of justice but the reputation of a
Benn became aware of Peltier after receiving Serle Chapman's latest book, Of Earth and
Elders, and reading Bruce Ellison's postscript to the book in which he shares his
firsthand experience of the case, the effects of the 'Reign of Terror' that existed on
Pine Ridge, and the practices of the FBI.
"It was important for us here to get Leonard Peltier into Clinton's consciousness, to
directly counter that disgusting propaganda in the Washington Post," Chapman
emphasized, referring to a derogatory, open letter to the President from the FBI Agents
Association that appeared in the newspaper, May 1995.
Chapman was among those who spoke to Clinton about Peltier.
"Yeah, I got to look him in the eyes and to ask him when he was going to free
Leonard," the author continued. "But everybody there with a 'Free Peltier' sign
was asking him. And all of those good folks with banners on the streets who weren't at the
event were asking him. Edgar Bear Runner asked him through the media. It doesn't matter
who does what, so long as 'We', collectively, do it for Leonard - like Sylvain
Duez-Alesandrini in France who is making a fantastic effort."
"It's important to remember," said Chapman in summation. "That nobody
celebrates the deaths of Coler and Williams or forgets the loss to their loved ones. And
nobody forgets the murder of Joe Killsright Stuntz on that day, or the other 60, 100 or
200 who were murdered back then, like Annie Mae. All life is sacred and it wasn't Leonard
Peltier who forgot that."
Land Grabbers Ride Again
Times are hard for Indian people in this day and age, we're being robbed of the most
important aspects of who we are as a people, our way of life and our land.
Pilferers come in many disguises, ranging from business suits and brief cases to bells,
bones, dyed hair and moccasins, but their intent is the same - to steal away as much as
possible from the Indian people under the guise of saviors pretending what they do is best
for the Indian.
The Lakota people have battled to maintain what little we have left. Although our
ancestors fought hard and died brave to keep our way of life alive, the government
continued to create circumstances that meant death, one way or another. Our ancestors saw
this and some leaders embraced the new world order quickly, while others fought until they
could fight no more and with great sadness they reluctantly shook the hand that choked
them. Either way, the leaders did what they did so their people could live. Murder and
starvation were the government's tools of war against the Indian people. Indian men, women
and children suffered the worst of any 'ethnic cleansing' the world has ever seen - less
than fifty years after Wounded Knee, Jewish people were subjected to a doctrine of
inhumanity similar to that we had endured for nearly five hundred years. We are both
holocaust survivors. The US Government would have succeeded in wiping the Indians off the
face of the earth, had they not realized that the world would have viewed them as bigots,
lifting the veil they hide everything under - that cloth they call the flag of democracy.
In 1851, the government made a treaty and set aside land creating the Great Sioux Nation
reservation. Its boundaries extended through most of Nebraska, nearly half of Wyoming,
Montana and North Dakota, and almost all of South Dakota. This was the first and only
agreement the government ever made that was equitable toward the Great Sioux
Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Nation. But that soon changed as the lust for land and greed stepped
in again. After losing the war that closed the Bozeman Trail, with its army defeated by
the allied forces of the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho, the government realized what a
great mistake they had made with that treaty and made another, the treaty of 1868. The US
lost the war but won the peace, which depleted the Great Sioux Nation's land base by more
than half. But the really brazen show of greed came when gold was found in the Sacred
Black Hills and choice land was seen to exist all along the Missouri River; this was when
the government began its 'literary' campaign to take as much land away as 'legally'
possible by creating one Act after another through Congress, which is still practiced
today. Take the 1889 Act that many say illegally cleared the slate
concerning the 1851 and 1868 treaty lands. This Act diminished the Great Sioux Reservation
and created today's Sioux reservations. According to Attorney Mario Gonzalez, the US
Government did not obtain 3/4 of the adult male Indians' signatures required to make the
1889 Act legal and binding. But the 1889 Act is just another example of how the government
minces its words to satisfy its needs. It shows how the government manipulates people to
accept a condition without seeking recourse. Every Act passed by Congress concerning the
Great Sioux Nation has been challenged, but each time the challenge is made, another Act
takes its place. Woe and behold the Mitigation Bill of the century
that has held more titles than a used car dealership. After much diversion of ducking,
weaving, slipping and bobbing for a place to come alive, the bill attached itself - like
the leech it is - to a "for sure it's gonna pass" bill, attached as a rider to
the Water Resources Development Act, or House Bill 2131. Now it has a name it wants to
live with; "The 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act." Why does it like this name?
Because it's a name that covers up the truth. At least they could have been honest and
named it "TheCheat the Indians Out of Their Land Again Act of 1999." Before
riding in on the Water Act, it was known as "The Cheyenne River Sioux, Lower Brule
Sioux and State of South Dakota Terrestrial Wildlife Habitat Restoration Act." And
before that, it was known as "The Cheyenne River, Lower Brule Sioux and State of
South Dakota Mitigation Act of 1997," which was originally written by Democratic
Senator Tom Daschle, the wolf in sheep's clothing who fleeced his flock of
Lakota/Dakota/Nakota voters, and Republican Governor Bill Janklow, a reincarnated Indian
fighter without the flowing locks or fringed buckskin coat.
"What Senator Daschle has accomplished is a miracle", Janklow cooed. "I'd
have no integrity at all if I didn't say this was his handiwork." High praise from a
man who served as a member of the 'Rosebud Sioux tribe's legal services program' until he
was disbarred by Judge Mario Gonzalez in 1974 for "assault with intent to commit
rape, and carnal knowledge of a female under 16." Some seven years earlier, on
January 14, 1967, a 15 year old school girl, Jancita Eagle Deer, had reported to her
school principal that she had been raped and accused William Janklow. Following
examinations and investigations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs filed a report recommending
Janklow's prosecution. When, as a 22 year old woman, Jancita repeated her accusations in
tribal court, Janklow failed to answer his summons. Other allegations were made against
Janklow during this period; some tribal members alleged to have seen him attempting to
shoot dogs out of a car window while driving around the reservation at high speeds in his
underwear. During the same period of time, Janklow became an Assistant Prosecutor in the
State's Attorney General's office and was assigned to prosecuting cases arising from the
Custer court house incident in 1973. Janklow prosecuted Sarah Bad Heart Bull, mother of
Wesley Bad Heart Bull, following the disorder in Custer. Ultimately, Wesley Bad Heart
Bull's killer received two months probation and, prosecuted by Janklow, Sarah Bad Heart
Bull was sentenced to three to five years for assaulting a police officer during the
"The only way to deal with the Indian problem in South Dakota", Janklow once
said, "is to put a gun to the AIM leaders' heads and pull the trigger." The
"Indian fighter" promised to "put all AIM members in jail or under
it", and duly became elected as State's Attorney Journal. Janklow and a heavily armed
posse were among the first to enter the property of the Jumping Bull family following the
June 26, 1975 firefight that left Joe Killsright Stuntz and FBI agents Coler and Williams
dead, and Leonard Peltier wrongly incarcerated. Many accused Janklow of inflaming the
situation with inaccurate and exaggerated remarks. Janklow took to the airwaves to
proclaim that it was time to stop being "soft on the Indians just because they were a
minority group." Demonstrating similar diplomatic skills, Janklow fuelled the rumour
that Anna Mae Pictou Aquash had been an FBI informer prior to her murder. Janklow was
elected Governor of South Dakota in 1978. In the Fall of 1998 he was re-elected for a
fourth term of office. He describes the Mitigation Bill as ". . . the best deal in 50
years for the state of South Dakota, the Cheyenne River Tribe and Lower Brule Tribe."
If you were Lakota, would you buy a used car from this man or one of his buddies?
For two years, every IRA (Indian Reorganization Act) tribal leader in South Dakota knew
this bill had been born and yet they sat back hoping it wouldn't live long enough to go
before Congress. Fires were lit when the bill made it past adolescence. Then people were
getting burnt when it became an adult. When it became an elder the entire Great Sioux
Nation became engulfed in the flames. And now, as the new Act retires to reap the benefits
of its life, it's the citizens of the Great Sioux Nation who are trying to put the fire
What does this Act mean? It means the land claim described in Dockets 74-A, the land
boundaries of the 1851 and 1868 treaties the US government attempted to purchase, and then
litigate, that remains unresolved - and o ur treaty claims for the Sacred Black Hills
filed as Docket 74-B - may both become invalid. The Great Sioux Nation has consistently
and unequivocally stated that this land is not for sale or trade and continues to reject
the US Supreme Court award made in 1980. At that ruling, the Supreme Court decreed that
"A more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealing will never, in all probability, be
found in our history," ruling that the US government had violated the Fort Laramie
Treaty of 1868 when it unlawfully seized the Black Hills. It means more than 400,000 acres
of land that never belonged to the state in the first place will become the property of
the state. It means 550 square miles of treaty-protected lands running along the Missouri
River on the eastern boundary of the Great Sioux Nation that is not recognized as tribal
reservation land will go to the state. It means everything the Great Sioux Nation has done
to recoup what is rightfully ours may never come to pass.
The land was supposed to be returned to the tribes after the US Army Corps of Engineers
were done with it, but Daschle and Janklow saw their chance and took it. If the Corps of
Engineers transfers title of the land to the state the tribes will be left out in the
cold, because the state can claim sovereign immunity if the tribes try to sue in federal
court for the return of the land. But there is hope of a Congressional Oversight Hearing,
which Oglala Sioux Tribe officials claim Senator Patrick Kennedy may request if the
Congressional delegation of South Dakota doesn't. Yet, grave cause for concern remains, as
Senator Daschle charms his way through the metaphorical back scratchers in Congress and
into the hearts of American voters. Many say he will become a US President one day,
likening him to John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy. Sadly, we who know better,
know he is devoid of their finer qualities.
Currently under the leadership of a young Oglala Lakota, Robert Quiver, a group of tribal
men, women and children from South Dakota and afar, have set up a spiritual camp at
LaFramboise Island on the Missouri River in protest of the turnover of 'taken' land.
"A spiritual, non-violent, civil disobedience is what we're calling it", Quiver
explains, expressing how a treaty has a spirit that cannot be destroyed - like the earth
itself. According to reports, camp supporters say all Sioux treaty tribes should demand
that title to all 1851 and 1868 treaty lands held by the federal government in the
disputed area, including the Missouri River, be transferred back to the Sioux people.
Architects of the Mitigation Bill
Governor William Janklow and Senator Tom Daschle.
Serving as a member of the Sicangu Lakota 'Rosebud Sioux tribe's legal services program',
Janklow practiced law on the Rosebud reservation until he was disbarred by Judge Mario
Gonzalez in 1974 for "assault with intent to commit rape, and carnal knowledge of a
female under 16." Some seven years earlier, on January 14, 1967, a 15 year old school
girl, Jancita Eagle Deer, had reported to her school principal that she had been raped and
accused her legal guardian, non-Indian lawyer William Janklow. Following examinations and
investigations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs filed a report recommending Janklow's
prosecution. Jancita's stepmother, Delphine Eagle Deer, was Leonard Crow Dog's sister, and
Delphine vowed to prove that Janklow was guilty of raping her daughter. However, Delphine
Eagle Deer was found beaten to death in a field before she had fulfilled her promise.
When, as a 22 year old woman, Jancita repeated her accusations in tribal court, Janklow
failed to answer his summons and federal and state authorities were less than cooperative.
Other allegations were made against Janklow during this period; some tribal members
alleged to have seen him attempting to shoot dogs out of a car window while driving around
the reservation at high speeds in his underwear! It could be said that his star was in the
ascendancy with the state of South Dakota during the same period of time. Janklow became
an Assistant Prosecutor in the State's Attorney General's office and was assigned to
prosecuting cases arising from the Custer court house incident in 1973. Janklow prosecuted
Sarah Bad Heart Bull, mother of Wesley Bad Heart Bull, following the disorder in Custer.
Sarah Bad Heart Bull was denied access to a meeting being held by members of the American
Indian Movement and representatives from the state's judiciary to discuss the sentence
imposed upon her son's killer, Darold 'Mad Dog' Schmidt. A non-Indian, Schmidt was charged
with involuntary manslaughter for stabbing Wesley Bad Heart Bull in the heart area. At
Sarah Bad Heart Bull's request, AIM were seeking a stronger sentence for her son's murder
than second-degree manslaughter. Ultimately, Wesley Bad Heart Bull's killer received two
months probation and, prosecuted by Janklow, Sarah Bad Heart Bull was sentenced to three
to five years for assaulting a police officer during the unrest.
"The only way to deal with the Indian problem in South Dakota", Janklow once
said, "is to put a gun to the AIM leaders heads and pull the trigger." Being
described as an "Indian fighter", Janklow subsequently targeted Dennis Banks to
live up to his campaign promise to "put all AIM members in jail or under it",
and duly became elected as State's Attorney Journal and received President Gerald Ford's
nomination to the board of the Legal Services Corporation because of his
"expertise" in Indian affairs. Attorney General Janklow and his heavily armed
posse were among the first to enter the property of the Jumping Bull family following the
June 26, 1975 firefight that left Joe Killsright Stuntz and FBI agents Coler and Williams
dead, and Leonard Peltier wrongly incarcerated with two consecutive life sentences.
Janklow had flown from Pierre to Hot Springs to lead his operation and is accused by many
of inflaming the situation with inaccurate and exaggerated remarks. Following what he
described as the "executions" and "assassinations", Janklow took to
the airwaves to proclaim that it was time to stop being "soft on the Indians just
because they were a minority group." Demonstrating similar diplomatic skills, Janklow
assisted in fuelling the erroneous rumor the Anna Mae Pictou Aquash had been an FBI
informer prior to her murder. Janklow was elected Governor of South Dakota in 1978. In the
Fall of 1998 he was re-elected for a fourth term of office. In recent years he has warned
tourists visiting South Dakota to avoid Indian reservations as they are 'unsafe' and he
has contravened the state's legislature by steadfastly refusing to have a mural removed
from the state capital building that portrays Native people as sub-human and obstacles to
Euro-pioneers and 'Christian progress'.
Superficially a political opponent of William Janklow, Senator Tom Daschle has gone on
record to express admiration for his state political compatriot in recent years. On the
surface an enthusiastic supporter of the Lakota people who, coincidentally, form a
significant portion of the South Dakota's electorate, some began to question Senator
Daschle's motivation following disclosures surrounding the 'Golden Cows' fraud in which,
it is alleged, Senator Daschle was implicated. Documentation passed between Senator
Daschle, US Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Lee Rawls and FBI Assistant
Director John Collingwood regarding the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, and the
subsequent cover-up, also raises serious questions of commitment and veracity. Substantive
allegations exist against three individuals whom, it is thought, are guilty of the
abduction, rape and murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, accusations the Senator is fully
aware of. Surely a Senator purporting to support Indian people would not find the FBI's
COINTELPRO operations on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation - particularly between 1973 and
1976 - acceptable. And similarly, the FBI's conduct specifically related to the murder of
Anna Mae Aquash, the spurious BIA pathologist's report and the subsequent mutilation of
her body that the FBI described as "standard practice" to Senator Daschle. A
confidant of President Clinton, Senator Daschle is presently the Senate Minority Leader.
For 507 miles the sincere walked. They sacrificed for the buffalo while others took
them for a ride.
Being Lakota is hard and every Lakota knows this. We wouldn't wish our responsibilities on
anyone, because anyone who isn't Lakota wouldn't know what it means. They'd be confused -
and would cause confusion - if they tried to be Lakota. Maybe that's why there is so much
confusion today, because non-Indians are trying to be Lakota. We have our share of
Wannabes, those who claim Lakota because they went into a ceremony or they danced at a
Sundance or were adopted by a Lakota family through the Hunka ceremony. But let's get real
here. You aren't Lakota unless you're born Lakota. Here in South Dakota, we watch Wannabes
portray themselves as 'one of us.' We watch as they take away what little we have left.
The peril of the Yellowstone buffalo made national and international headlines because
spiritual people gathered to bring awareness to the world. Sadly, a few people who
publicly claim to be spiritual used the plight of the buffalo for self-gain. Although the
walk served its purpose in bringing attention to the senseless slaughter of the buffalo,
there were those who blatantly used this event to promote themselves as spiritual leaders,
announcing the sacrifices they made throughout the 507 mile trek from Rapid City to
Yellowstone, through the media. But did they really sacrifice?
Rosalie Little Thunder said she was heartsick about aspects of such behaviour and
incidents that cast a shadow over the Buffalo Walk and what otherwise was a profound
experience, "Not only for me, but for the others of good, sincere hearts who made
personal sacrifices and suffered on this journey." The true people were those who
held this spiritual event together.
They were the core group who stuck together, rationing funds for food, gasoline and feed
for horses. They slept on hard, wooden floors wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags.
Accommodations were scarce, but they managed with what they had. They walked with the
spirit and made their sacrifices, humbly shying away from the media. Through prayer and
commitment they were able to succeed in their endeavour to save the last free-roaming herd
of buffalo in the world. While on the first leg of the walk, I spoke with Rosalie Little
Thunder at Bear Butte. She looked tired, yet the spark of commitment was in her eyes. She
was one of those in the core group.
Problems arose as the walk progressed. Many identified individuals who only appeared when
the cameras were rolling, only to watch them disappear again when the film ran out. People
claim that Joseph Chasing Horse - titled on letters seeking donations for the walk as one
of the leaders - only walked when the video cameras were rolling and the snapshots were
being taken, although he spoke eloquently when the press were present. The question many
asked was where did he go when he wasn't in the limelight? The answer was simple.
According to people who participated, he was with Brooke and Steve Schiavi, a couple who
claim to be Lakota by adoption. Contrary to their hype, the Schiavis were volunteers and
had not initiated the walk. The Schiavis and a select few, including the Chasing Horses,
ate out at restaurants and fast food chains. Apparently, the Schiavi group also stayed in
motels, in contrast to the other walkers who ate meals prepared by the core group and
slept in church halls and gymnasiums.
One lady said she couldn't believe Brooke's behaviour while on the walk. She said Brooke
was always complaining about how much money she had spent on the walk and that she
'wouldn't lift a finger' to help the other women cook or clean, an allegation supported by
the core group. Schiavi's behaviour struck other women as odd, especially since she claims
her tribal affiliation so strongly. They wondered why she wasn't helping the other Indian
women? Many of these women are Lakota and are committed to their beliefs, working for
others and putting themselves last in line. These women added that because they were on a
spiritual journey theyrefrained from scolding or ostracizing her.
Interestingly, although reports indicated that the pipe carried throughout the walk had
belonged to Chief Two Sticks, a Lakota man called Albert Rivers said the pipe was actually
made by Marvin Helper of Redshirt Table. This would explain why the Two Sticks family were
bemused when they read about the pipe. Raven Two Sticks said she never knew anyone to be a
chief in her family. But, what really shocked participants on the walk, especially the
Lakota, was when Marvin Helper presented the pipe to the Schiavis after the ceremony at
Yellowstone. The Lakota men said it was an insult against 'the very integrity of all
Indian people' for the pipe to have been given to the Schiavis, citing that they had
'shown their true colours' on the walk. They were incredulous after the walk when Brooke
hit the Internet telling how she rode across the prairie to save the buffalo. Of course,
she hadn't. In fact, the horse she mounted wouldn't move and to complete the spectacle the
reins broke. Apparently, she just sat on the horse while her picture was being taken. It
would seem that the Sunka Wakan (holy dog or horse) sensed something wasn't right when she
clambered on his back.
A number of men who participated in the walk came forward to express their dismay at the
Schiavis and Joseph Chasing Horse after reading articles in Indian Country Today about the
Schiavis' website and Brooke's dubious past. Those dealings include her claims of being
Cherokee, when in actuality the man who signed her birth certificate wasn't her biological
father. Her real father was white and her mother doesn't have a trace of Indian blood. The
Cherokee Nation registration office requested copies of the documentation gathered for the
Indian Country Today expose for review. Allegedly her status is based upon a 1/32 blood
quantum. According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation,
Schiavi was charged with fraud, felony fraud and crossing state lines in a stolen vehicle.
She was sentenced to 2 years and 180 days. She served 200 days and was paroled but her
parole was later revoked. A second felony fraud conviction earned her another prison term
of 2 years and 180 days. Lanny Rapper, her former parole officer commented that
"She'd be Danish or Martian if it helped her get what she wanted. There was always a
drama with her. I'm not surprised she's involved with something like this."
Her claim to fame came when she went public on the Internet and
created the 'Dreamers' circle, She also operates a website with her husband called
Wolfsongs/Cherokee Productions which promotes music, Black Hills gold and questionable
medicine men such as David Swallow Jr. It also ran an Adopt-an-Elder page to solicit funds
to feed, clothe and provide assistance to poverty stricken elders. In reality, no one
knows whether the money would ever have gotten to the elders because none of the elders
knew their names and photographs were being used on the Schiavis' website! Thankfully, the
Schiavis have ceased the Adopt-an-Elder page.
Another surprised by his inclusion on the Schiavis' website was Arvol Looking Horse, 19th
Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. Looking Horse, who met Brooke
Schiavi in 1997, said he didn't know she was using his photograph or his name. In fact, he
said he told them not to associate themselves to him by using his name. "The first
time I met her was through Joe [Chasing Horse] and that was about the buffalo, two years
ago. But I realized what she was up to. People were contacting me and sending me
information about her, which alleged a criminal background. I backed away from her."
Arvol said that Brooke didn't want to talk to him when he questioned her about it and said
she became vindictive when she found out that he did not want to be associated with her or
Chasing Horse. However, Chasing Horse promotes his teachings as 'an emissary' of Arvol
Looking Horse, but Looking Horse has since distanced himself from Chasing Horse and says
that he has confirmed such in writing. After the expose on the Schiavis, Rosalie Little
Thunder also disassociated herself from them, saying she was not aware of many of their
Possibly the biggest false boast Schiavi has made regards Wilma Mankiller. Schiavi claimed
to be a cousin to the well-respected former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation but
Wilma Mankiller had never heard of Brooke, "I don't know this person, I've never
heard of her by any of her names. She's definitely not a relative or close friend,"
Mankiller confirmed. Brooke is also known as Brookie Mae Miller, Brookie
Hogue-Craig-Knudsden-Pendleton-Morton-Hedman, and now Schiavi. She calls herself 'Brekah',
Tslagi Woman, Spirit Mother, Spirit Dancer, and Dancer of the Spirits.
Brooke and her husband also produce music through their company. A young Lakota man took
them up on their offer to produce his music but because he didn't have long dark hair or
'Indian features', they had him dye his hair and eyebrows black, pin a hair piece to his
head and wear beads, leather and fringes. He said they told him this would help his music
sell. Well, his music sold, but with the exception of $50, he hasn't received any of the
royalties yet. Another Lakota man is considering a law suit against them over his music.
And the list goes on. The Schiavis have taken their charade to
Europe, taking along others who would sell out their birthright. The Lakota of South
Dakota have sent out a warning to them, yet they continue to exploit our people and others
from non-Indian cultures, who in their often sincere desire for knowledge are callously
taken in by the Schiavis and their ilk. The Lakotas here know them and have advised them
to come clean. One, young Nathan Chasing Horse, is promoted as 'traditional', yet he has
made babies with young Indian girls here at home and abandoned them. A true spiritual
Lakota man, as Nathan portrays himself, would never create life only to walk away from it,
There are true Lakota - born and raised - who have declared war against people like the
Schiavis and want them stopped. Beads, buckskin, fake suntans and dyed hair doesn't make
any non-Indian, Indian! The bottom line: Wanna-bes will soon become Used-to-bes. Support
the cause of true traditional Indian people by exposing these frauds.
What you can do:
Contact AIM(SCC); or the national office; or other AIM chapters, to report individuals
such as these. If they claim a tribal affiliation, contact that tribe and report their
activities. Expose them to Indian newspapers.
"The first time I met her [Brooke Schiavi] was through Joe [Chasing Horse] and that
was about the buffalo, two years ago. But I realized what she was up to. People were
contacting me and sending me information about her, which alleged a criminal background. I
backed away from her." Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred
White Buffalo Calf Pipe
"She'd be Danish or Martian if it helped her get what she wanted." Lanny Rapper,
Brooke Schiavi's former Parole Officer
"I don't know this person [Schiavi], I've never heard of her by any of her names.
She's definitely not a relative or close friend." Wilma Mankiller, former Principal
Chief of the Cherokee Nation
Editor's note: Since exposing the Schiavis in Indian Country Today, Brooke Schiavi has
claimed that Karen Testerman was fired for writing the story. Despite Brooke's best
efforts to discredit her with her employers, Karen still works for Indian Country Today.
Schiavi attempted a similar campaign against a University of Arizona employee who
questioned her credibility. He has also retained his position.