March 24, 1999
Porcupine, South Dakota


Seven young Oglala warriors are manning a tipi camp on
La Framboise Island in the Missouri River to protest a
planned turnover of nearly 200,000 acres of
Indian Treaty land to the state of South Dakota.

The “First Fire of the Oceti Sakowin” spiritual camp
was established after a March 22 demonstration that
brought over 200 protesters to South Dakota’s capitol city
of Pierre on a chilly, windy day to protest the controversial
“Mitigation Act” that was passed in October 1998 despite
strong tribal opposition, and without tribal consultation

The young men staying on La Framboise say that the camp affirms the
Treaty rights of the Sioux Nation to the land along the Missouri River.
Like the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, and the Oglala,
Standing Rock, Rosebud, Crow Creek and Yankton Sioux Tribes,
they base the Sioux Nation’s claim to the land on the
1851 and 1868 Treaties and on aboriginal rights.

Tribes, Treaty Councils, and non-Indian supporters including
the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center are calling
for congressional oversight hearings to reconsider the Act,
and for a full-blown EIS (Environmental Impact Statement)
before the US Army Corps of Engineers moves to transfer any land.

Demonstrators at the March 22 event in Pierre marched
between the Capitol and Federal buildings, to draw attention
to the joint partnership between SD’s Republican Governor
William Janklow and Senate Minority Leader,
Tom Daschle (D, SD), who crafted the controversial
Mitigation Act (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe,
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and state of South Dakota
Terrestrial Wildlife Restoration Act) in secrecy.

The legislation was drafted and passed without consultation
with opposed tribes, although President Clinton’s 1994
executive order expressly calls for such consultation.

After the demonstration, Chief Oliver Red Cloud,
Chairman of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, and
Vincent Black Feather, a spiritual leader of the Oglala Band,
conducted spiritual ceremonies at the “First
Fire of the Oceti Sakowin” camp.

A sacred fire was lit and the camp stands as a public
reminder that the aboriginal and Treaty rights
of the Sioux Nation are not extinguished.

For further information contact:
Emily Iron Cloud-Koenen  605 455-2193
Eileen Iron Cloud  605 455-2999
Joanne Tall  605 867-2673


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