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Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe surprised by MazaCoin plan





The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Managing Editor. All content © Native Sun News.


The logo for MazaCoin, a proposed digital currency that the Oglala Sioux Tribe has not officially endorsed.

Man claims OST has launched own currency
Council and President taken by surprise
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Managing Editor

PINE RIDGE — The Oglala Sioux Tribe supposedly launched its own national currency. However no one bothered to inform Tribal President Bryan Brewer or the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council.

When contacted by Native Sun News President Brewer said that he was unaware of any official move by the tribe to launch a new currency.

“There has been no action taken by the council to approve of a new currency. The economic development office gave a letter of support to Harris to continue to research the industry and that was it. As far as it being an official currency of the tribe that is not true at all. Any action like that would need to go through the council,” said President Brewer.

Last week Forbes Magazine reported that a new currency had been adopted by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and that the new currency was being promoted by Payu Harris and traded on the global market. Forbes claimed that Harris was a member of the tribe, however, there is no one on the rolls named Payu Harris or Payu Kimitsu.

The Mazacoin that Harris is claiming to be the official currency of the “Traditional Lakota Nation” is a digital currency that falls under the realm of cryptocurrency and is modeled after the more established Bitcoin.

Essentially Bitcoins are a way of exchanging value digitally. It is not a unit of currency that can be exchanged physically, only through the internet. It is unregulated by any government watchdog like the Federal Reserve. Once a person invests in a Bitcoin they are forced to set up a digital wallet online usually through a third party who stores the value of the investment.

The currency was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto who was frustrated by the swaying value of current currencies and the ability of governments to raise inflation by simply printing more money. The problem with not being regulated by a government entity is that there is also no protection for the currency once it is in a digital wallet online. Unlike Federal insured banks that will back savings up to $100,000 there is none and many fear that Bitcoins are under the constant threat of hackers.

In an interview with Forbes, Payu Harris who has also gone by the name Payu Kimitsu touts the Mazacoin as the new buffalo for the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

“I think cryptocurrencies could be the new buffalo,” he says. “Once, it was everything for our survival. We used it for food, for clothes, for everything. It was our economy. I think MazaCoin could serve the same purpose,” Harris told Forbes. “I want to get my people educated and show them this is the next level of finance,” he said. “Let’s make the rest of the world play catch up. Let’s be leaders and rebuild the economy on our terms. We’re not going to ask the federal government if we can do this. I refuse to ask them to do anything within my own borders. When you have children going hungry, it’s time to focus.” In the interview with Forbes Harris is referred to as a Chief and the author states to have contacted unnamed elders who reportedly referred Forbes back to Harris.

According to the Mazacoin website there are two initial phases that the group will look to complete.

“In the second phase of the MazaCoin pre-mine, the MazaCoin Development Team will pre-mine 25 million MZC as a starting point for the MazaCoin Tribal Trust. The MazaCoin Tribal Trust will give grants of MazaCoin to any Tribal member, business or charity of the Traditional Lakota Nation. Grants are set to be 1000 MZC for individuals, 10,000 MZC for businesses and 50,000 MZC for non-profit Tribal organizations. With the initial pre-mine coupled with future mining and donations the MazaCoin National Trust will be able to give these grants out indefinitely,” it reads.

The link provided to the Traditional Lakota Nation leads to a page that lists tribal government information and numbers to the official Oglala Sioux Tribe. The website also states that public ledger is available for viewing but was unworkable during the writing of this story.

Attempts by Native Sun News to contact Harris went unanswered and an interview request was declined by Harris earlier in this year.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at staffwriter2@nsweekly.com)