Press Release — Travel Denied!

PRESS RELEASE July 24, 2020
FORT YATES, ND. – Members of the lnyan Woslata Treaty Council (IWTC) of the Standing Rock Reservation were invited to attend and participate in an important Oceti-Sakowin Treaty Council meeting, on July 24, 2020, in Porcupine, SD, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The purposes of the meeting were to review and discuss the implications of the recent SCOTUS
decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, and its impact on the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties, which are valid and enforceable. And, the other purpose was to finalize plans for a proposed gathering of all Oceti-Sakowin Oyate/Great Sioux Nation Treaty Councils, that is tentatively scheduled for September 4-6, 2020, at the Fort Laramie Historic Site in Wyoming.

While enroute to the meeting, on July 23rd, the members of IWTC were stopped at Timberlake, SD, by Covid-19 checkpoints established by CRST Chairman Frazier and Mr. Craft’s Command Center. We were told by checkpoint personnel that our request to travel on SD Hwy. 20 to Hwy. 73 had been denied by Mr. Craft. While waiting for a response, numerous vehicles with nontribal members were allowed to pass, unimpeded, yet, Craft was denying Full-Blood Treaty Lakota from crossing their own unceded 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty Territory. To say the least, it was an insulting and a very humiliating experience, that we hope Mr. Craft never has to experience. Mr. Craft we urge you to discuss this matter with Chairman Frazier to address this particular matter to arrive at a reasonable solution.

We further state to Supervisor Craft, your checkpoint personnel who were following your orders were respectful and courteous, and we commend them for that. We, also, strongly support protecting the most vulnerable members from the Covid-19 virus. However, we cannot and will
not condone your obvious lack of respect, humility and compassion, which are the traits of a true Lakota leader, obviously lacking in this instance.

We have relatives on all reservations. We have tribal veterans who have medical appointments who now have to travel longer distances and spend more time on the road. We stand ready to challenge your federal corporate authority which we know is not on the same level as our Treaties which are “the Supreme Law of the Land.”

There is simple solution that will protect your members and the traveling public. Follow the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Covid-19 checkpoint protocols that are more respectful and efficient by designating SD Hwy 20 as the pass thru route to Hwy 73 to all points south. This simple fix will eliminate hours and miles for our Veterans, Standing Rock members, other travelers and at the same time protect our Minnecoujou Relatives.

This press release will provide you with advance notice that if your checkpoints continue to interfere with our free travel in our treaty territory, you can expect the lnyan Woslata Treaty Council to challenge your limited authority in an appropriate forum. That is not our preferred route for resolving this, but, your unwillingness to be reasonable cannot be allowed to continue We urge you to consider our Hwy 20 and Hwy 73 alternative.

If you have questions or require additional information, you may reach the IWTC by calling the following numbers: 701-301-2416, 701-955-2403 or 701-516-7627. Wopila Tankalll

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