Lakota Country Times: Crow Creek Sioux Tribe breaks with state over #NoDAPL crackdowns

Authorities engaged in another #NoDAPL crackdown on November 20, 2016, accusing resisters of engaging in a "riot" and employing water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and other weapons on hundreds of people. Photo courtesy Morton County Sheriff's Department

Crow Creek Sioux Call South Dakota On Troopers
By Jim Kent
Lakota Country Times Corespondent

FORT THOMPSON --Crow Creek Sioux tribal chairman Brandon Sazue has a message for the state of South Dakota: “If you support those who beat my people with riot batons…we won’t be doing business.”

After discovering that South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers were among law enforcement officers patrolling the Dakota Access Pipeline protest site Sazue announced that his tribe was severing ties with the Northern Plains state.

The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe has two legal agreements with the state of South Dakota. One is a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Dakota Highway Patrol. The second involves a 90/10 percent split with the state on the tribe’s taxes.

“We get 90 percent,” explained Sazue. “They get 10 percent for administering it.”

Sazue noted that those agreements are now null and void as a result of South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers supporting North Dakota law enforcement at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.

“In my mind,” commented Sazue, “they are standing against our people by condoning what Morton County is doing. Macing our people. Beating them with batons. Using their military tactics. And now shooting down a drone.”

Sazue added that South Dakota is also supporting Morton County in charging young Lakota men and women with felony crimes who formerly had clean records.

“So…they’re condoning what Morton County’s doing right now” said Sazue. “And we can’t be a part of that.”

Posted by Josué Rivas Fotographer on Sunday, November 20, 2016

Josué Rivas on Facebook: Water protectors sprayed with high pressure water by Morton County Sheriff on November 20, 2016

In response to a recent comment from Governor Dennis Daugaard’s office explaining that state troopers were sent to the pipeline protest site to be “good neighbors”, Sazue observed that he wishes South Dakota would be as good a neighbor to the Lakota people and the citizens of this state as it wants to be to North Dakota.

South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety announced on October 31 that its highway patrol personnel have ended their two-week deployment to the Dakota Access Pipeline site. But a standing agreement with North Dakota for law enforcement support when required means they could be sent back if requested.

Brandon Sazue declared that he and his tribe are standing with the water protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline site, with the Great Sioux Nation and with all those people around the globe who support clean water.

He added that there will be no more contact with the state of South Dakota.

“It took a lot of years to trust the state to build up to the point where we were at,” observed Sazue, “With all the tribes. And then for them to go and do something like this is blatantly disregarding the tribes.”

Sazue noted that this new distrust is built on more than a century of mistrust of government entities by the Lakota people. If nothing else is learned from this, he added, it’s that history is repeating itself…again.

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After being advised by Sazue of the situation regarding South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers being assigned to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest site, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier sent a letter of support to Gov. Daugaard’s office.

In it Frazier wrote to Daugaard: “I cannot fathom why you would be fighting against your own people - citizens of South Dakota – who are working to protect this state from harm and fighting instead shoulder-to-shoulder with the state of North Dakota for the Dakota Access Pipeline. Unlike North Dakota, South Dakota won’t get rich off this pipeline – but will bear all of the burden of any harm.”

Calls to Governor Daugaard’s office were referred to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

(Jim Kent is a freelance writer and radio producer who lives in Hot Springs. He is a contributing columnist to the Lakota Country Times and former editor of The New Lakota Times. He can be heard on South Dakota Public Radio, National Public Radio and National Native News Radio. Jim can be reached at

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