PINE RIDGE – The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council Finance Committee has ordered an independent investigation into the tribe’s receipt of a $50,000 check from TransCanada Corp., setting February 20 as the due date for results.
The tribal government is on record as opposing the construction promoted over the past 10 years by TransCanada Corp. of the Keystone XL Pipeline across unceded 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty territory. The Canadian company changed its name to TC Energy Corp. last year.
The Finance Committee voted 4-0, with one abstention, for “our attorney to do a full investigation on how the $50,000 check from KXL TransCanada was solicited and who all had knowledge of this check and why it was made to the Oglala Sioux Tribe and how the time frame of this whole process went up to January 29, 2020, when Tribal Council was made aware of this check.”
The committee also voted to remove its chair, La Creek District Rep. Cora White Horse, from the position “due to no confidence” for failing to inform the rest of the committee when she found out about the check’s existence, which she said was January 14.
On February 1, Oglala Sioux Tribal Council Treasurer Mason Big Crow announced that the tribe had rejected the $50,000 donation and sent the money back to TransCanada Corp. last year.
“Currently, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Treasurer and the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council officially does not accept donations from KXL or TransCanada Oil Pipeline Companies,” the Treasurer’s Office said in a written statement.
“In keeping with our stance against KXL and TransCanada, the donation in question was rejected and sent back to TransCanada by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and our Office back in November of last year (2019),” it said.
All 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty tribes, and many others have signed multiple resolutions and treaties opposing oil pipeline construction.
The Tribal Council discussed the issue prior to the posting of the statement, during a special session on January 29.
At that time, Tribal Council Rep. Nakina Mills asked about the status of the check and Tribal Council Rep. Richard Greenwald said, “We, as a tribe, said, thanks but no thanks,” according to a transcript the Treasurer’s Office furnished.
LaCreek Tribal Council Rep. Cora White Horse then informed the Council that her LaCreek District government had resolved at its most recent meeting to accept the $50,000, “because the original donation was in the name of LaCreek District and Pass Creek District.”
Minutes from the LaCreek District Council meeting of January 15 reflect that South Dakota state-chartered Wild Horse Butte Community Development Corp. Executive Director Kimmie Clausen told the more than two dozen participants that she had a check in the amount of $50,000.
She said that half of it “will need to be distributed to Pass Creek District.”
She noted, however, that the check was made out to the Oglala Sioux Tribe and “OST won’t cash the check because of political issues,” the minutes read. “The OST president is against the pipeline,” they say.