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Lakota Country Times: Bureau of Indian Affairs seizes Oglala citizen's cattle again

Curtis Temple. Photo by Connie Smith

Reservation Rancher Denied Due Process?
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor

PINE RIDGE --One Oglala Lakota rancher believes that his right to due process has been undermined by the Bureau of Indian Affairs' refusal to adhere to a tribal court ruling.

Curtis Temple, a tribal citizen, landowner, and third generation rancher, has had over 250-head of cattle seized by the BIA since a May 2015 tribal court ruling that stopped was supposed to stop any further seizures of Temple's cattle.

"I have followed the law. That's all I can do. Why don't they have to follow the law," asked Temple.

Lawyers working on Temple's behalf say that two grazing units that have been leased to Curtis' family for the thirty-years were given to non-residents in violation of their clients right to due process.

The question posed by Temple is important as it brings into question the legitimacy of the entire Oglala Sioux Tribal Court as the BIA has not only seized cattle after the ruling but has also refused to return any the cattle they had already seized from Temple's herd.

"They are trying to take my entire livelihood from me," said Temple.

The estimated value of the cattle is somewhere in the range of $200,000 and signifies Temple's life work as a rancher.

Temple was one of several ranchers who had their leases cancelled around the time the Oglala Sioux Tribe had mulled establishing a tribal national park in the area where Temple ran his cattle. The two leases that Temple feel have been taken from him illegally have now fallen under the control of two non-reservation residents.

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Temple evoked a portion of the Oglala Sioux Tribe's Grazing Ordinance that allows for a leaser to appeal land decisions. According to Temple he was never allowed a hearing on his complaint and that the standing court order issued by the tribal court is still in effect and that the BIA should not be able to legally seize his cattle until after is resolved by the court.

Temple also claims that he has also been prevented from successfully securing other leases despite being the only qualified bidder. The criteria for securing a lease from the tribe includes wording that bidders must be enrolled citizens who have resided on the reservation for three years and who meet the minimum bid of $50,000 according to lawyers for Temple.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

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Lakota Country Times: Bureau of Indian Affairs seizes more cattle from Oglala citizen (08/02)

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