South Dakota Public Broadcasting: Governor's Press Conference to Discuss Coronavirus in South Dakota - May 21, 2020 [Comments about coronavirus checkpoints start around 18:00]

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Abusing power through ignorance

Native Sun News Today Columnist

Abusing power through ignorance … is a real thing in this era of government and bureaucratic criminality, and it is as “catching” as the coronavirus. 

When the U.S. President refuses the Health Advisors’ call to be tested  for the virus and wear a mask during the worst pandemic of the century and threatens the few State Governors who don’t want to ”open up” to the tourist trade,  disease and abuse  spreads. 

He cuts the federal funding for World Health Organizations because he wants to avenge some petty slight.   He uses the courts as his strategy for abuse.  Indian Country is not ignorant of this way of power. 

In a like manner here on the local scene, the Rapid City Regional Airport President Darren Haar goes to court also on account of some slight.    He denies that he had made a threat toward a council member,   the majority council finds in his favor, fires a member of its own, trashes the council member’s reputation and agrees to pay $17,000 in public tax funds for Haar’s legal fees.  They all were, apparently, just “doing their job."

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn. Courtesy photo

At the same time a STATE  attorney is investigating the legality of  COVID-19 checkpoints  on the Oglala and Cheyenne River Indian Reservations,  writing letters to everybody from President Trump,  to the Department of Justice,  the Department of Interior,  the STATE  delegation and  God? Because it is this governor’s bigoted view that the checkpoints are “unlawful."

History reminds us that the Law of the States in this country have ALWAYS been the enemy of Tribal-Federal-Treaty Law!  In South Dakota, since 1889, it has had dozens, perhaps thousands of law cases against the tribes. 

“They have legal jurisdiction,” says the governor when she talks  of  the  Bureau of Indian Affairs, in Washington,  D. C.,  taking their motto (Boss Indian Around) seriously.    Taku?  Taku?   Since when?

Does this governor know anything at all about what the U.S. Constitution says about the Indigenousness Nations of America and Tribal Nation Sovereignty?  It is true that it is a unique relationship. The difference of a bureaucratic entity or a state constitution and a Federal Treaty obligation between nations,   between the Federal Constitution and a State declaration of its own making is not so obscure that people like state governors can’t “get it.”   

Unwittingly, she says: “We are asking them to DO THEIR JOBS.” Her ultimatum smacks of a threat much like the corrupt Haar denial charge which he took to court and won, and there is little hope that this abuse of power concerning Sioux Nation Sovereignty will be recognized for what it is by this community.

Maybe a broader look tells us this is more than a struggle about roads. Perhaps this greedy-for-power governor is trying to get the treaty status of the Indigenous nations into the right-wing packed Supreme Court to be overturned since she knows of Donald Trump’s hatred of Indians.  Remember that he took the gaming tribes to court when his casinos were failing.  He lost that one!   Is this another try? They say he hates to lose.

Posted by Anna Halverson on Sunday, May 10, 2020

There is such a thing as unresolved criminal behavior in the U.S. courts against Indians.   How do we suppose the treaty protected estate of the Sioux Nation was stolen?   We are not ignorant of the fact that we are experiencing an era of incompetent law and justice behavior and such criminality always starts at the top. 

Our governor is just a Republican sycophant knows almost nothing about Sioux Indian political and legal history, and consults with the White House at every opportunity.


Support Native media!

Read the rest of the story on Native Sun News Today: Abusing power through ignorance

Contact Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today          

Join the Conversation
Trending in News
More Headlines