Drought threatens Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's sites

A prolonged drought along the Missouri River is exposing burial grounds and sacred sites on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

The tribe is trying to protect the sites from damage and looters. But Jim Picotte, the cultural preservation officer, says the lands around Lake Oahe are vulnerable.

It's a violation of federal law to disturb or remove artifacts and remains. But the Army Corps of Engineers says it will cost $77 million to comply with all historic preservation laws. The agency only has a $3 million budget for preservation.

In April, a group of tribes signed a historic preservation agreement with the Army Corps.

Get the Story:
S.D. drought adds urgency to preservation agreement (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 8/31)

Related Stories:
Army Corps urges people to leave sites alone (07/21)
Tribes sign plan to protect Missouri River sites (04/14)
Tribes and Army Corps to sign Missouri River plan (04/09)
Tribes seek more input into Army Corps decisions (03/17)
Land transfer still a sore issue among critics of Daschle (3/8)
Daschle: Missouri River plan ignores sacred sites (3/2)
Yankton Sioux remains reburied along Missouri River (07/09)
Court won't halt transfer of burial sites to state (06/18)
Appeals court debates S.D. land transfer (03/18)
Judge: S.D. tribe not consulted (7/1)
S.D. grave protection uneven (6/24)
Editorial: 'Offensive' stance on remains (6/17)
Sacred site protection topic of debate (6/13)
Judge halts work at S.D. site (6/12)
Judge refuses to dismiss burial lawsuit (6/11)
Tribal members insulted at hearing (6/10)
Hearing scheduled on Sioux remains (6/7)
S.D. tribe files suit over remains (6/6)
State admits moving tribal ancestors (6/5)