indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Native Sun News: Indian inmates in South Dakota win lawsuit

Filed Under: Law | National
More on: inmates, native sun news, oglala sioux, south dakota
   

The following story was written and reported by Evelyn Red Lodge, Native Sun News Correspondent. All content © Native Sun News.

Inmates win tobacco lawsuit
By Evelyn Red Lodge
Native Sun News Correspondent

SIOUX FALLS – Plaintiffs Native American Council of Tribes (NACT), and Blaine Brings Plenty and Clayton Creek, both Lakota, have overturned a total ban of religious tobacco use in penal institutions in South Dakota. The defendants were Douglas Weber, Warden of the South Dakota State Penitentiary and Dennis Kaemingk, Secretary of the Department of Corrections.

Following a March 2012 trial in which the plaintiffs prevailed, the “court ordered the parties to meet and confer about the terms of a narrowly tailored tobacco policy.” As the parties failed to agree on the policy, post-trial briefs were submitted and the final remedial order was entered.

According to last month’s remedial order, the court found “a complete ban of tobacco in South Dakota penal institutions is a substantial burden on the exercise of the Native American religion.”

The plaintiffs sought the use of tobacco for ceremonial purposes after it was banned in late 2009, according to United States District Court documents.

Misunderstanding and use of non-traditional Lakota input from various Native American medicine men and leaders led to the total ban, according to the plaintiffs’ post trial brief.

This was not the first time non-traditional Lakota input was used to ban ceremonial use as the brief states, “In 1998, the smoking of tobacco was banned at all South Dakota prisons.”

“That same year, the sacred pipe used by NACT was taken away by the prison administration, apparently at the urging of a staff member who was also a Christian minister.”

However this time, documents say Weber had concerns for security as it was alleged that some Native inmates separated the tobacco from the traditional Lakota pipe mixture and took tobacco intended for prayer ties and flags to barter with other inmates.

According to one court order, the background of the case and facts stated say, “The majority of incarcerated Native Americans in South Dakota are affiliated with the Oglala band of the Lakota Sioux people. Brings Plenty and Creek are both members of (their respective) Lakota tribe.”

With this information the court gave more weight to “the testimony of traditional Lakota healer Richard Bernard Moves Camp, and Creek and Brings Plenty to establish plaintiffs’ religious beliefs regarding the use of tobacco.”

Further, Moves Camp testified that taking tobacco away from a Lakota person would be “almost like taking a Bible away from the church. It’s like saying you can go to church, but you can’t use the Bible.”

In addition, the former President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, John Steele wrote a letter of support of ceremonial tobacco use that was not considered in the course of the ban – even though most of the Native inmates are from the Oglala Lakota Tribe.

As for non-traditional Lakota, the defendants had relied on the advice and testimony of several Native leaders, but the court found they were members of Native religions who vary from traditional Lakota practices.

The plaintiffs explained in their brief, “Richard Two Dogs, Roy Stone, Bud Johnston and Breon Lake, witnesses called by the defendants at trial, are all members of the Native American Church or other churches that are different from the traditional Lakota religion practiced by Brings Plenty and Creek.” As per the remedial order, the mixtures used for ceremonial purposes will be reduced to one percent tobacco by volume.

Further, the ceremonial mixtures “used for tobacco ties and prayer flags must be ground” except for the mixtures used for smoking the sacred pipe. All flags and ties are to be burned following the ceremonies.

“The mixtures used during the ceremonies will be provided (by) volunteers who are cleared by the (Department of Corrections).”

--Inmates who practice the Native American religion will be allowed to help make the ties and flags.

Other security measures will also be taken but are basically the same as prior to the 2009 ban.

(Contact Evelyn Red Lodge at welakota@yahoo.com)

Copyright permission by Native Sun News


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Ceremony welcomes return of spiritual beings (3/31)
Tribes and families in South Dakota win big victory in ICWA case (3/31)
Non-Indian adoption group disputes BIA's new ICWA guidelines (3/31)
Dennis Chappabitty: How I survived a racist attack in Oklahoma (3/31)
Ellie Reynolds: Native people used as pawns in mascot debates (3/31)
Jordan Wheeler: Fan in fake headdress turned out to be Native (3/31)
Carolina Castoreno: Racism runs rampant in the 'Hoosier State' (3/31)
Tulalip man charged for buying firearm used in school shooting (3/31)
Man charged in stabbing of BIA superintendent in South Dakota (3/31)
Few details about well-being of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe leader (3/31)
Navajo Nation makes headlines as first with tax on junk foods (3/31)
School to use IHS grant to bring Native students into medicine (3/31)
German photographer earns trust on Fort Belknap Reservation (3/31)
Water agencies seek early appeal for Agua Caliente Band case (3/31)
Radio station on Hopi Reservation launches fundraising effort (3/31)
Bureau of Reclamation seeks $20.3M for tribal water projects (3/31)
Metis Nation of Saskatchewan closes doors after losing funds (3/31)
Report puts tribal gaming industry revenues at $28.3B in 2013 (3/31)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe loses bid to force state into gaming deal (3/31)
Santee Sioux Tribe prepares to open casino golf course in June (3/31)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to welcome visitors to reopened casino (3/31)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation contributes to economy with casino (3/31)
Everything you wanted to know about tribal gaming in Arizona (3/31)
Opinion: Connecticut tribes face challenges to gaming empire (3/31)
Native Sun News: Designation sought at Cheyenne warrior site (3/30)
Lakota Country Times: Efforts to rename sacred peak ramp up (3/30)
Mark Charles: Nation was built on the dehumanization of others (3/30)
Navajo Nation considers agreement for land-buy back program (3/30)
US Attorneys named to lead DOJ Native American subcommittee (3/30)
Kevin Abourezk: Students retrace journey of Chief Standing Bear (3/30)
Patricia Paul: Overcoming hardships and becoming a tribal judge (3/30)
Julianne Jennings: Taking care of our eyesight in Indian Country (3/30)
Police looking for clues after murders of Indian man and woman (3/30)
Chairman Michael Jandreau of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in hospital (3/30)
Hundreds pay respects to Navajo Nation officer killed on the job (3/30)
Police officer who kicked Native man reinstated in Saskatchewan (3/30)
Native boy with rare disease granted wish to join favorite team (3/30)
Jury rules against Cheyenne River Sioux man in 'KKK' scar case (3/30)
BIA official expected to be released from hospital after stabbing (3/30)
BIA delays ruling on Pamunkey Tribe federal recognition petition (3/30)
Alex White Plume aims to grow hemp on Pine Ridge Reservation (3/30)
Blackfeet Nation opposes energy development on sacred lands (3/30)
Opinion: Don't include Indian Country in BLM fracking regulation (3/30)
Fort Peck Tribes might scale back plans for first gaming facility (3/30)
BIA rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming compact (3/30)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles for a gaming compact with Indiana (3/30)
Nisqually Tribe to open second phase of $45M casino expansion (3/30)
Opinion: Expansion of gaming options not a good idea for Texas (3/30)
Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
Bill to benefit Miami Nation moves forward in House and Senate (3/27)
City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred peaks (3/27)
Oneida Nation welcomes ruling backing land-into-trust request (3/27)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.