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RST COUNCILMAN PROMISES HE WILL REPORT ON CORRUPTION WHEREVER HE FINDS IT

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COUNCIL REPORT

By Rep. Calvin “Hawkeye” Waln

I send a special prayer and condolence to families who lost loved ones recently. I will pray for your health and strength. I apologize if I missed calls last week; I was on spiritual leave. Feel free to call back; I will return your call if I missed it.

June 2014 was very frustrating and troubling to me regarding tribal government. RST Council did not meet all month and several committees did not get quorums.

Since council and committees are failing to meet, this is creating so-called “petition resolutions.” They are replacing council meetings. It takes 11 signatures to pass a petition resolution. Keep in mind, petition resolutions will be presented at next council meeting to be ratified or approved. But this isn’t happening since council isn’t meeting all month.

I saw two petition resolutions requesting significant amounts of money. I refused to sign them because there was no budget attached showing how the money would be spent or a repayment plan. There were no financial documents supporting the request and from where it would be taken.

According to RST Ordinance 86-04, Meetings, it says the President can call special meetings or 11 council reps also can, if in writing, and given a 3-day notice. This is not happening, tribal business is not getting done, and resolutions are piling up.

RST Council has not received a verbal report from Rosebud Agency BIA in four months. The council received a written report, but the written report generates questions that have not been answered. The council is contractor and approving-authority for PL 93-638 Self-Determination Act contracts. I see much activity within our contracts and I question government-to-government documents being signed or negotiated without council approval.

In the past two months, I have received limited BIA correspondence in my council mailbox. I have witnessed that other reps have received BIA documents that I don’t receive. Of course, I made copies and took this a step further. I requested in writing that Rosebud Agency BIA provide me copies of all correspondence sent to the tribe in the last 60 days. 

I received a letter from Rosebud Agency BIA superintendent stating that my request was insufficient and vague. I then submitted a second request for all correspondence from January 2014 to present day, but have not received any documents from BIA to date.

As a member of the contracting and governing body, I’m privileged to this information, but for some odd political reason I’m being denied. Something tells me that possibly the RST administration and Rosebud Agency BIA may be modifying contracts and they don’t want certain reps who ask too many questions to be in the political loop.

This leads me to report that the tribe passed a resolution and filed a complaint with Interior in Washington, DC about Rosebud Agency BIA’s controversial move to Mission. This is a blatant treaty violation and I will continuing pushing for the Rosebud Agency superintendent to be stationed back to Rosebud.

Another issue heavily discussed is the Cherry-Todd Electric lawsuit, where the tribe took over as lead plaintiff in an amended complaint. The tribal attorney and RST attorney general still have not given a report to the RST Council on the status of the lawsuit. This affects not only the tribe but every tribal member who has to deal with Cherry-Todd for their electricity, and this is a big case. For this to be placed on a back burner for three months is unacceptable. I feel inclined to pull funding from the tribal attorney and attorney general and use the money to hire a law firm that can give this case its full attention.

When RST Council fails to meet, information is not shared. Petition resolutions only keep the Oyate in the dark. For me to attend community meetings to provide the Oyate with a council report when government is ineffective and holding closed-door meetings on all business, this is unacceptable. A handful of reps are consistently being called into the President’s inner office to discuss business and other issues that should be discussed on the council floor. I question decisions involving all of us made by a handful of people and not the RST Council in session or by motion.

Recently, I read that the OST Council suspended their tribal president. In the article, the reasons given for suspending the president were: (1) authorizing third parties to represent and sign for tribe without council approval, (2) failure to adequately account for a $5,000 check sent to the tribe as a Christmas donation, and (3) signing contracts without council approval.

I’ve argued the same complaints here with our tribe, written about them publicly, and in written complaint form to the RST Council. A few reps have raised the same issues that got the OST president suspended, but the majority of council members say it’s okay for our president to violate the RST Constitution, ordinances, and resolutions in place.

When is the Oyate going to flood community and council meetings and demand accountability and action?

In the Sicangu Sun Times (May-June 2014) edition, President Scott issued a report relating to Rep. Richard Lunderman and me. President Scott says we think we know more about the law than the tribal attorney and RST attorney general. The law is clear on how negotiations take place, whether with state or federal government. Legal actions and meetings have taken place with state and City of Winner officials, actual government-to-government negotiations, without the tribe’s governing body being involved once, before or after.

RST attorney general went to Pine Ridge to meet with a BIA official to discuss the tribe’s corrections department. The attorney general spent the entire day complaining about what she believed were serious contractual violations in the Self-Determination contract. She and President Scott stated that we are not ready to contract corrections beds. Scott called the BIA and ordered a program review of RST Corrections without council discussion or approval. Scott and the attorney general said we needed to do something with corrections or the BIA can take over.

Well, the BIA conducted a review of RST Corrections and the outcome totally contradicted what the president and his attorney general stated. The BIA in a verbal closeout meeting said the review was very good and Rosebud is ready to contract bed space like Hughes County and City of Winner do when they hold tribal members for the feds.

So, the law of the tribe is, no meetings, complaints or negotiations are to take place between governments without consent of the RST Council. This has been repeatedly violated. Mr. president, who is really violating legislative law?

In President Scott’s letter, he sharply criticizes Rep. Lunderman and me for making the motion to enter into a memorandum of agreement with Northern Plains Safe Trials Drug Task Force. Yet Scott defends the RST attorney general for attempting to bring South Dakota Highway Patrol on the reservation. Scott says state cops are on the drug task force.

May I remind the president that this is a federal task force made up of tribal, federal and state personnel to cover all jurisdictional aspects? Does the term tunnel vision apply here? The task force versus your highway patrol on the Rosebud are two completely different things.

This is all a political smoke screen by President Scott simply to discredit two outspoken members of the council who don’t always agree with him and to defend the wrong thinking of his attorney general.

Another fact is that this was approved by RST Council by majority vote, so Rep. Lunderman and I are representing two votes of the majority. I didn’t see the names of any other reps in your article who supported the task force. No one voted against it. RST Council had declared a state of emergency because of widespread meth use and discussed other illegal narcotics that plague the Oyate.

So, President Scott’s statements could be construed as refusing to take a proactive stance in the fight against illegal narcotics. Explain that to your constituents when you go up for reelection next year.

Mr. President, I will continue to publicly inform the Oyate and provide them with documents of tribal corruption. I will not support corruption no matter how much criticism comes my way.

Anyone can feel free to call me and I will show you the corrupt documents and provide you with information on just how deep corruption goes in our tribal government and that it needs to change.

I will always push back against corrupt politicians and publicly report on this growing and insidious corruption so that you, the Oyate, will know the truth and can see it in black and white with your own eyes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this public report. As I said when elected, I will always and continue to inform the Oyate.

Wopila

/s/ Rep. Calvin Waln

RST Council

Antelope Community

—Rep. Calvin “Hawkeye” Waln Jr., a former criminal investigator, is serving his first three-year term on the powerful Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council, representing Antelope Community.

Comments

You should know corruption. You beat up how many defenseless Lakotas on your watch and sat around and had a laugh on their behalf. Now, tell me if I am lying. If the people knew what you have done, no council but federal prison is where you belong. Think real hard. And you know nothing about investigations, Try a proper complaint, idiot.

Editor's Note: Well, Mr. Norman Reddest, it sounds like you have a lot on your mind. If you are referring to the editor, anything he's done is a matter of public record in this newspaper, including getting jailed 20 years ago for public intoxication at his tiospaye's Sun Dance, of all places. For the past 24 years, he has reported on the RST Council's actions when no other newspaper would. As elected representatives of the people, they are public servants and should conduct themselves accordingly. When they don't, I let the people know, which is what a journalist does. I don't boast about the awards I've been given over the years for doing what I do, including first-place awards by the South Dakota Newspaper Association. If these poor Lakota boys want to serve the people and earn $46,000 to $102,000 a year, when everybody else is flat broke, then the people need to know when they're not doing their jobs. It takes guts, Norman, being a journalist. You're hated by rich officials for doing your job. You get death threats. Once I was even caught and beaten up in Antelope for a story I wrote, but I crawled out of bed the next day and limped to work and kept writing. Could you do that, Norman? Do you care enough? If so, then maybe you should start a newspaper so I can retire. Be a watchdog for the people. I only have a few years left, Norman, before I bite the dust, and the people really need a watchdog who cares like I do. You would be doing them a great service. You really would, my friend. If you were referring to Rep. Calvin Waln, then he can defend himself, neh?

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