Monday, June 30, 2014

Takeaway from South Dakota Democratic Convention emerging

The trip to Yankton for the South Dakota Democratic Party's state convention, ostensibly to take photos for Northern Plains News, was an opportunity to learn directly from the delegates, legislators and candidates while lobbying them about what this blogger believes is the future of the party.

It was gratifying to be received as a credible voice at an event were everybody knew a blogger living in Santa Fe who cared enough about his home state to drive a thousand miles and shoot a few pictures.

Jeff Barth and the Minnehaha County people took a straggler into their ranks while pressing the caucus on strict adherence to the rules with vigorous confidence but one person from Hyde County avoided me like the plague.

There are some disappointments, like no representation from Lawrence County, for instance; but, the experience of knowing that these people are dedicated Democrats who are sick and tired of being bullied by the state's dominant party while tirelessly fighting for a land they love has been worth every driven mile.

Yankton resident, Leo Kallis, covered the event with an outstanding series of articles posted at his weblog, The Displaced Plainsman.

These images of resolution sausage-making were shot with a long lens from outside the caucus deliberating them: the issues are among those important to this blog. Just click on the photos to make them bigger.

The platform is linked here (pdf).















Friday, June 27, 2014

Hashtag for the South Dakota Democratic Convention: #WeareSD

All photos coming out of the South Dakota Democratic Party from this blog property of Northern Plains News.



Cowboy Caucus: Jason Frerichs and Billie Sutton rehearse for their skit



Lieutenant Governor nominee, Susy Blake in center of photo




Scott Parsley, Bernie Hunhoff, Pat Garrity



Deb Knecht




Zach Crago





Jeff Barth and Minnehaha County contingent









Chris, Yankton delegate






















RT Rybak








Senator Johnson




Rick Weiland reading an email from the podium about an incident at a Yankton business


Update, 28 June: Nathan Johnson covered the banquet speeches for the Yankton Press & Dakotan.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ip affirmed; dots being connected

ip is on a roll:
The Re-wilding Europe Foundation hopes to return 2.4 million acres to pre-Homo sapiens standards by concentrating on farmland that is becoming economically unsustainable. This method of re-wilding the Great Plains does not conflict with the idea of reintroducing the species at the top of the food chain to recreate the interdependent ecosystem that sustained that species. The top of the food chain on the Great Plains was the American Indian, and the key to the ecosystem that sustained him was the American bison. [Steve Russell, Indian Country Today]
Here are several more reasons young people need to vote in midterm elections.
Proposed changes to a 2001 plan to manage Yellowstone Park’s wild bison will be considered as part of a new environmental impact statement to be jointly developed by the National Park Service and state of Montana. New information and circumstances pertaining to bison and the management of brucellosis will be drawn from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Montana Department of Livestock, and the Park Service, according to a statement released Friday by park officials. [Yellowstone Gate]
Montana's Fish, Wildlife, and Parks has approved wild bison preservation as reported by Matt Golz in the Billings Gazette:
"These majestic animals have played a very significant part in the history, religion and culture of our native people on the Fort Peck reservation," said Fort Peck tribal chairman Floyd Azure. "These bison have sustained our ancestors for thousands of years and they are in need of us of returning the favor. We are here to make sure they will always be here for our children."
And:
The best way to manage our problem of too many small trees, according to Penn State forestry professor Mark McDill, a former Custer resident, is start lots of fires all over the place every fall, just before the snow flies, and every spring, just before the green up. We also need to burn like crazy in winter at the first sign of two inches of snow. We should light the 40,000 slash piles that result from logging and fuel reduction projects. We should burn our yards, our lawns (like my dad did every year), our neighborhoods (where we can), and do it when conditions are right, not in the middle of fire season. [Frank Carroll, Rapid City Journal]
No shit, Frank.

In related gloating, Monsanto has been forced to replace surfactant polyethyoxilated tallowamine in their Roundup® formula after research has shown that is has been a threat to human life, not to mention to forest fungi while it is becoming known how antibiotics in cattle manure alter soil health.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Paper: cougars avoid wolf territory

Comes this published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology:
We examined predation habits of cougars (Puma concolor (L., 1771)) following the recent recovery of gray wolves (Canis lupus L., 1758) in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. With the extirpation of wolves in the early 20th century, cougars likely expanded their niche space to include space vacated by wolves, and increased use of habitat better suited to the foraging of a coursing predator, like wolves. We predicted that as wolves recolonized their former range, competitive exclusion would compel cougars to cede portions of niche space occupied in the absence of wolves. To examine this hypothesis, we radio-tracked cougars and examined their predation sites from winter 2000–2001 through summer 2009.
Variation in foraging by cougars was associated with increasing wolf presence. As wolf numbers increased and the mean distance between wolf pack activity centers and cougar predation sites decreased, cougars made kills at higher elevations on more north-facing slopes during summer and in more rugged areas during winter. In addition, cougars preyed on a higher proportion of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus (Rafinesque, 1817)), consistent with predictions of exploitative competition with wolves. Observed changes in predation characteristics reflect differences in predation strategy between cougars and wolves, given that wolves are coursing predators and cougars are ambush predators. These possible predation effects should be considered when developing management strategies in systems where the recolonization of wolves may occur. [abstract, Variation in cougar (Puma concolor) predation habits during wolf (Canis lupus) recovery in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem]
Wolves are considered a federal endangered species in South Dakota.
Dave Whitaker was temporarily stunned when he saw what looked like a black wolf. According to published reports, Whitaker is not the only one who believes he may have seen a wolf recently in the Black Hills. At least three Spearfish residents thought they saw wolves near their homes this week and in December, according to the Associated Press. [Meredith Colias, Rapid City Journal]
Buy 'em books and buy 'em books then they wad 'em up and use 'em for toilet paper.
On Monday Spearfish resident Pete McNamee called the Spearfish Police Department to report a wolf sighting near Windmill Drive shortly after 11 a.m. [Mark Watson, Black Hills Pioneer]
From the RCJ:
The gray wolf found dead Monday morning near Pine Ridge made a 400-mile journey from Yellowstone National Park to southwest South Dakota in less than two months, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wolf specialist said Tuesday. Mike Jimenez of Jackson, Wyo., said information received from the radio-transmitter collar on the wolf identified it as a 3- to 4-year-old male that was part of a wolf pack in the southeast part of Yellowstone. --Kevin Woster, Rapid City Journal
South Dakota Game, Fish, and Plunder has been systematically exterminating the cougar population that had been discouraging wolves from migrating into the state.

Black bears could make a comeback in the Black Hills, too as cougar numbers are reduced.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Russell Means' widow suing New Mexico hospital

A Santa Fe hospital with a history of fraud and malpractice is in the spotlight again.
The widow of late Native American activist Russell Means has filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit accusing medical providers affiliated with Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe of a misdiagnosis that led to her husband’s death. In a suit filed in state District Court in Las Vegas, N.M., Pearl Means accuses doctors who work at clinics owned by Christus of overlooking obvious signs of her husband’s cancer that allowed his condition to worsen as it went untreated for months. Together, they had a home in San Jose, N.M., where Pearl Means still resides, and a ranch in Porcupine, S.D., where Russell Means spent his final days. [Patrick Malone, Santa Fe New Mexican]
Here is a video of Republic of Lakotah activist, Means announcing "a pending lawsuit" accusing potential presidential contender, Senator John Thune (R-SD), of a breach in his fiduciary duty as sworn in his oath of office. Mr. Means believed the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), part of the US Department of the Interior, violated Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statutes within Mr. Thune's full view.

Means' actions came on the heels of an ACLU lawsuit seeking evidence of Indian Health Services (IHS) coercion in Pitocin-induced births on the Cheyenne River reservation. IHS is administered through the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Thune abandoned American Indians by voting against funding the landmark Cobell Indian trust class action.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Daugaard making South Dakota perpetual federal disaster area, education wasteland

Update, 0745 MDT, 21 June:

Fact is: South Dakota relies on federal disaster aid to maintain its crumbling infrastructure.
Butte County Auditor Elaine Jensen said if FEMA were to reimburse the county they'd offer more reimbursement for projects that were contracted out. Jensen advised Adams to take detailed photos of the damage and include GPS coordinates because FEMA officials will likely not survey the area until all the damage has been repaired. Jensen added that FEMA may combine damage incurred in the Butte County flood event to damage incurred in the Wessington Springs tornado event because both events originated from the same storm system. The declaration of Butte County as an emergency disaster zone must be submitted to and approved by the state, and then submitted to and approved by the federal government in order for the county to receive any reimbursement for flood-related damage repairs. [Kaylee Tschetter, Black Hills Pioneer]



Where to start?
Gov. Dennis Daugaard declared a state of emergency and opened the State Emergency Operations Center early Tuesday morning to respond to severe flooding caused by torrential rains in southeast South Dakota. Heavy rainfall across much of southeast South Dakota closed roads, flooded streets and fields in several counties and greatly increased flows in the southern reach of the Big Sioux River. Representatives of key response agencies in the EOC will work with local and federal officials to monitor conditions and coordinate appropriate levels of response. [Josh Chilson, KSFY teevee]
Of course this governor doesn't want South Dakota students to have Liberal Arts educations, higher learning produces Democrats:
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has been talking to students about their post high school and career plans. At appearances at Girls State at USD, and at a summer training recognition, he told students to think about their futures before [they] decided on post high school education. And he said that doesn’t always involve a university. Daugaard says he is not pushing the state’s kids toward more blue collar jobs. Workforce development has been a priority of the Daugaard Administration. [WNAX Radio]
South Dakota's current governor says he's a conservative; yet, he has begged for billions from the Obama administration. His predecessor's office where he was lieutenant governor as well as his current bureaucracy have trafficked Native kids, exploited the federal EB-5 green card scam, are quietly expanding a Medicaid safety net for, and giving raises to, those not yet voting for his party.

Joe Lowe called South Dakota's current governor incompetent and uninterested in governing.

Candidate Dennis Daugaard drew gasps from a State Fair audience in 2010 when he said: “I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts."

My home state deserves thoughtful, Democratic leadership.

Send Susan Wismer some money.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Schweitzer 'deeply sorry' for screwing up 2016 bid

In 2004, in defiance of federal law, Montana voters passed an initiated change to the state's constitution that legalized the cultivation, distribution, and medical use of cannabis. In 2011, after the federal government nipped a thriving industry in the bud and after Schweitzer vetoed a repeal of the law, the state's earth hater legislature passed a statute that Governor Schweitzer allowed to become law without his signature nullifying most of the people's wishes.
"I recently made a number of stupid and insensitive remarks to a reporter from the National Journal. I am deeply sorry and sincerely apologize for my carelessness and disregard," Schweitzer wrote. Schweitzer didn't respond to a request for comment from Business Insider Wednesday. [Colin Campbell, Brian Schweitzer Apologizes For Saying Eric Cantor Set Off His 'Gaydar']
Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer would like to visit all of Iowa's 99 counties: a miserable quest even when it isn't -30...or flooding.
But on Monday, asked whether he would run for president, Schweitzer was hesitant. Schweitzer said his record aligns with what “middle America” looks for and runs counter to some Democrats in Washington, making him a winning candidate. [Tal Kopan, POLITICO]
Dave Weigel interviewed Schweitzer for Slate. When asked if Colorado had done the right thing by legalizing cannabis and whether the rest of the country should go that way, he replied:
Well, here’s what I can say. Each society has to make choices about what’s against the law. You have a large percentage of the population that’s already using this. The war on drugs is another war that appears to have been lost. This experiment with prohibition of marijuana doesn’t seem have to been working. Colorado might have it more right than the rest of us.
The sometimes bombastic but widely-liked Schweitzer, chairman of the board of Stillwater Mining Company, Montana's largest revenue producer, had once been considered a shoo-in for the US Senate seat vacated by the retiring Max Baucus now a battleground race.

Above image belongs to Steve Brodner.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Mesa Verde ancients represent cautionary Malthusian ecocide tale

The Mesa Verdean ancients, who occupied the Green Table for nearly a millennium, grew to a population of about five thousand creating spectacular architecture and art-of-fact, ultimately consumed every living thing atop Chapin and Wetherill Mesas. Matrilineal and matrilocal, their exodus took them east over the Continental Divide (possibly not for the first time considering their hunter-gatherer past) into the Rio Grande valley and settled Santa Fe where their descendants were all but wiped out by the invading Spanish forces.

Theirs is a cautionary tale of ecological destruction followed by extirpation: a trophic cascade where human is the apex predator and decimates a landscape. Rangers at Mesa Verde National Park drive home a narrative of preserving ecosystems to visitors.

Note wildfire scars: they represent centuries of lightning strikes that archaeologists now count on to uncover the over four thousand sites at the park. There are specimens of Rocky Mountain juniper that date to the time of the departure of the puebloans: about eight hundred years old. The bark was used in most of the ways northwest cultures used (and still use) it.

Puebloans in New Mexico accept their stations as members of the Fourth World. The standard of living among American Indians in New Mexico exceeds that of tribal nations trapped in South Dakota due in large part to former Democratic governors here but people of Spanish descent tend to bear the burdens of poverty in greater numbers. People running for public office are at a disadvantage if not fluent in Spanish and/or Dine' because language is such an integral part of heritage.

Chaco Wash is about seventy miles south of the green table and as with Acoma Pueblo, it's key to clan herstory.



























Thursday, June 12, 2014

Application for La Bajada mine tabled after public outcry

County residents stuffed themselves into the Santa Fe Convention Center to witness a hearing by commissioners on a proposal to create a new mining zone. Although the State of New Mexico does not recognize gravel operations as mining proponents argued that the area already has a history of mining.
After hearing public comments and testimony for more than six hours Wednesday on a controversial application for an aggregate mine on La Bajada mesa, Santa Fe County commissioners postponed a vote on the rezoning request until early July. More than 600 people stood up in unison at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, all opposing the proposed mine. Only two people spoke in support of the mine, a representative of applicant Buena Vista Estates that owns the property and Pete Domenici, Jr., an attorney for the applicants. The dark basaltic La Bajada escarpment is seen in movies like No Country for Old Men and by thousands of people driving north on Interstate 25 into Santa Fe. It is often called the gateway to Northern New Mexico. This is the third time since 2005 that Buena Vista Estates has applied to put a mine on La Bajada. [Staci Matlock, Santa Fe New Mexican]
At least five Baja Waldo residents attended the hearing as we are among the closest to the proposed mine. Arlen and Terry Asher would be looking just across el Rio Galisteo into the pit about four miles away and above it. Power would be supplied by a generator that would run continually in a location dark skies are coveted for movie shoots. Two pueblo governors attended as did many local celebrities and politicos. We actually called the 4-1 vote to table about 8 PM but it wasn't until just before the hall would be forced to close at 11 PM as the last of the testimony was heard.

A few outbursts from the mostly baby boomer crowd were fielded by Commissioner Mayfield who ran a very fair forum.

A poster in defiance of the application was in the lobby:
New Mexico IATSE Local 480 is a chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its Territories, Canada, AFL-CIO, CLC.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Daugaard getting religion on Colorado cannabis

South Dakota's governor is enjoying the buzz in Colorado Springs as he attends a Western Governors Association conference.

Even the Rapid City Journal took a puff using the 'p' word in the majority of its copy so i lifted the only sentence that referred to cannabis in an accepted journalistic form:
Counting all taxes, licensing and fees, marijuana has brought in some $17.9 million for the state since January.


Governor Susana Martinez is notably absent in the group photo but maybe that's New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez standing to CO Gov. Hickenlooper's left.

It would be interesting to know the results of drug tests on red state governors and their staffs after this little taxpayer-funded soiree. Nerdling Dusty Johnson works for South Dakota's embattled executive. He's been tweeting some profound stuff lately: make him pee in a cup.

The Netherlands and Uruguay are watching cannabis progress in Colorful Colorado:
Colorado made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January, state revenue officials reported Monday in the world's first accounting of the recreational pot business. The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes. State police chiefs have asked for more money, too. "The whole world wants to belly up to this trough," said Sen. Pat Steadman, a Denver Democrat who serves on Colorado's budget-writing Joint Budget Committee. [Kristen Wyatt, AP]


Cherished reader and contributor, Bill Dithmer, believes cannabis could bring needed revenue to tribes:
Legalizing the growing of hemp and the industries that would come as a result of that one act would make huge strides on the Pine Ridge Reservation. What we are doing is not working, hasn’t worked in the past, and history is a guarantee that it wont work in the future so why not perpetuate change now?
And:
The Pine Ridge is in the unique position to bring it's people out of poverty and at the same time give lawmakers in Pierre a bloody nose. If they legalize industrial hemp and pot at the same time their history with this state would just be a bad dream. [Bill Dithmer, comments]

Deadwood and tribal gaming are inextricably linked: would revenue from the sales of cannabis require a change in the state's constitution, too?
The notion that marijuana users are lazy and unproductive stoners is like most stereotypes fueled by ignorance. Part of the pitch used by states like Colorado in their campaigns for legalization was that it would attract the top talent and minds from across the country to come work in the state. For someone who has spent a significant amount of time in the Ivy League frat scene I can tell you first hand that some of the people occupying top positions in this country’s most profitable businesses indulged in the recreational use of pot from time to time. There are those who fear the danger of addiction and this is a concern but addiction is already present and we lack the funds to address it. I ask these same people to show me one person who has overdosed on marijuana, and to quote Tucker Max, “I will show you my stable of rainbow colored unicorns ridden by Leprechauns.” The time to legalize is now. [Brandon Ecoffey, posted at indianz]
Hey guess what the ninth most important cash crop in South Dakota is.
Seventeen states have removed the threat of jail time for the possession of modest amounts of marijuana. Many of these states, including Minnesota, made these changes as far back as the 1970’s. In fact, just yesterday, Richard Bonnie – former director of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse and policy advisor to the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations – submitted testimony in support of a similar proposal in Maryland. [Robert Capecchi, MPP blog]

It adds up to a quandary for the GOP: Should it embrace the unpopular position still disproportionately favored by its members and risk marginalization as a result? Or will the burgeoning conservative voices in favor of legalization win out? Simply put, do Republicans want to be on the losing side of yet another culture war? For the CPAC panel's audience, which was passionate and disproportionately young, the answer was clearly no. [Molly Ball, The Atlantic]
South Dakota's current governor shoots up federal money with relish while denying his addiction to it:
President Barack Obama on Monday encouraged a group of governors to support a plan to pay for wildfire suppression, and the proposal got a positive reception from the 10 leaders gathered for an annual summit. Obama made the pitch by telephone to governors meeting in Colorado Springs at the Western Governors Association conference. Under the plan, the federal government would budget money for fighting wildfires instead of raiding funding allocated for mitigation efforts. [Ivan Moreno, AP]

Monday, June 9, 2014

T-shirt: Non-native American Mascot Caucasians $22 + SH&H

Okay, this is funny.
Ian Campeau, better known as Deejay NDN of A Tribe Called Red, is an outspoken cultural critic, both as official mouthpiece of the DJ trio and a twitter provocateur. It has to be a sign that you're being heard when an irony-impaired curmudgeon calls for a boycott. We've seen Campeau in a few different ironic t-shirts over the years, but the one that this individual is referring to is likely the "Caucasians" design (sold by Shelf Life Clothing), featuring a white version of the Cleveland Indians' controversial Chief Wahoo mascot. [Indian Country Today]



Dave Zirin, political sports columnist for The Nation magazine and host of Edge of Sports Radio joined Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales on DemocracyNow!
"Little Red Sambo has to go," says Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder and director of the American Indian Movement and an organizer with the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media. "The word 'Redskins' is a legacy of Jim Crow. It's a legacy of the team’s original owner, George Preston Marshall, who was an arch-segregationist," said Zirin.


Clyde Bellacourt lives in South Minneapolis.
Lawrence Sampson, Delaware and Eastern Band Cherokee, and longtime American Indian Movement activist, wrote on the Sacramento Theatre Company’s Facebook page—where a lot of discussion has been taking place: "People who know little to nothing about Crazy Horse choose to present some version of what they imagine he would say with no context whatsoever, without input from his descendants, and against the wishes of the community that holds his memory so dear. What can you expect in a country that continues to wage war against its indigenous population?” [Christina Rose, 'Crazy Horse and Custer' Play Opens Saturday Amidst Protests, ICTM]
DemocracyNow! can be heard in South Dakota at KTEQ, radio for the School of Mines and Rapid City, at 3:00 PM MST on KSFR in Santa Fe, and at 4:00 PM MST on KUNM in Albuquerque.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Barrick buying off SDGFP...again



Land stolen from the tribal signatories of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 appears to be going to a corrupt red state again. While tribes are forced to raise $9 million to buy their own land, the State of South Dakota is bribed to just take it.
Officials with Homestake Mining Co. have been considering selling two large parcels of land in Spearfish Canyon that would be given to the public and connected to land the state already owns. Altogether the land could form a large state park. Game, Fish and Parks Department officials briefed the public on the plan Friday at the agency's regular meeting in Yankton. Under the plan the Spearfish Canyon Foundation would purchase a 73-acre tract, which includes Spearfish Falls, and donate it to the state. [Associated Press]
Bill Harlan reported a previous swindle:
Homestake and its parent company, Barrick Gold Corp. of Toronto, have agreed to those terms, but GF&P Secretary John Cooper warned that if the state doesn't act, some of the most spectacular scenery in the Black Hills could end up in private hands. "Without public acquisition of these lands, it appears inevitable, that Barrick will sell these lands to developers that seek to build trophy homes," Cooper wrote in a letter accompanying his proposal. He argued that even Roughlock Falls could become privately owned, "thus locking out a public treasure." Money for the $3.3 million deal would not come from taxpayers, Cooper said. In fact, most of it would come from Homestake. Cooper hopes to use about $3.1 million that the state already has been awarded as compensation for cyanide and other hazardous substances Homestake dumped into Whitewood Creek for decades. The creek was named a Superfund site in 1981, but Homestake completed restoration in 1994, and the creek was taken off the Superfund list in 1996. In 1997, however, South Dakota and Indian tribes sued Homestake. The settlement established the Whitewood Creek Restoration Fund. The state's share of the complicated settlement was about $2.7 million, which has grown with interest to about $3.1 million. Cooper hopes to use that money to buy the Homestake land.
The State of South Dakota is suing the Army Corps of Engineers to determine ownership of so-called 'surplus water.'

Tribes believe that they own the water.

AG Jacklow is engaging in legal sock-puppetry. By suing the corps over surplus water he is forcing We the People to pay for the clean up of a century of mine tailings and organic effluent that has saturated the banks of the Belle Fourche/Cheyenne River system then depositing many tons of toxic silt into Lake Oahe and the other downstream dams after 1962 now displacing many acre-feet of water.

Hidden agenda? The state has a $83 million dollar surplus but would argue it can’t afford to dredge and treat the dams so it expects taxpayers to do it. Ag and livestock special interests likely contribute the most poison crap to the system followed by human-based pharma/chemical toiletries.

Barrick Mining Company is on the hook for most of the worst shit: it's armed to the teeth with a bank of lawyers and lobbyists. The State enjoyed royalties and severance taxes.

Todd Duex is the local representative for the Canadian firm. It owns most of the rights to water in the Northern Black Hills: water destined for the proposed Deadwood Standard Project.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Rapid City churches appropriated Indian land

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) today welcomed President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to Indian country in North Dakota. The President and First Lady will visit North Dakota's Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Friday, June 13. Heitkamp will join the President and First Lady during their visit to Standing Rock. Heitkamp played a key role in improving and passing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Heitkamp also helped introduce legislation to preserve and protect Native American languages and culture through education programs. The bill would establish a grant program to support Native language immersion instruction from pre-Kindergarten through college. [Indian Country Today]
As the anniversary of the Rapid City flood approaches, Karin Eagle reminds readers of Native Sun News how christians screwed American Indians in yet another way:
The Rapid City churches played an integral role in the passage of the 1948 legislation authorizing the federal government to “gift” the Indian school lands to the city, school district, and State National Guard. The original version of the legislation (H.R. 5651) authorized grants of Indian school lands to churches. The final version of the Act of May 20, 1948 (the “Act”) allowed purchase of Indian school lands for their “reasonable value,” by “church organizations for religious purposes.” The day after Congress passed this act, but before it was formally signed into law, an article was published in the then Rapid City Daily Journal (May 11, 1948) title, “Sioux Indian School Land Grants to City Approved-National Guard, Schools, City, Catholic Church, other Religious Groups to Benefit.”
It is difficult to trace how much each church sold each parcel of Indian school land for and each of the dates of sales as the six church’s parcels has since been broken up into over one hundred smaller parcels. As such, it is difficult to provide an exact estimate of the value of those lands today.However, the nine churches in total purchased about 183 undeveloped acres of land from 1949 -1958 for approximately $30,000. 1950’s dollar value of $30,000 translates into $300,000 in 2014’s currency value. [Eagle, NSN, posted at Indianz]
President Obama issued a statement to Indian Country ahead of his trip to Cannonball on the Standing Rock:
As I’ve said before, the history of the United States and tribal nations is filled with broken promises. But I believe that during my Administration, we’ve turned a corner together. We’re writing a new chapter in our history—one in which agreements are upheld, tribal sovereignty is respected, and every American Indian and Alaskan Native who works hard has the chance to get ahead. That’s the promise of the American Dream. And that’s what I’m working for every day—in every village, every city, every reservation—for every single American.
It has just recently struck me why the Right is resisting parts of the Common Core standards: they stress human influence in climate change, genocide of indigenous by colonizers, gender equality and social justice.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wismer could choose SHS as running mate

Frequent Madville Times commenter, Jerry made a brilliant suggestion after the Associated Press called the South Dakota Democratic gubernatorial primary for state Representative Susan Wismer of Britton:
Good for Wismer, hope she picks Herseth to be her number 2
Bob Mercer caught my enthusiasm for Jerry's idea:
And here’s what we don’t know yet: Who will be Susan Wismer’s running mate? There was an intriguing suggestion Tuesday night by a Democratic activist that former U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin might be the perfect choice. Consider that over coffee today.
Difficult to imagine a more formidable ticket for South Dakota Democrats in November. As Lieutenant Governor, Rep. Herseth Sandlin could hold her current position as legal counsel for Raven Industries in Sioux Falls and not have to live in Pierre, ghastly as it is.

Imagine how much fun it would be to watch SHS kick the tar out of South Dakota's current Lt. Governor in a debate and to have her presiding over the legislature.

If this blogger is not mistaken, Jerry and his wife hosted Senator Hillary Clinton when she was campaigning in Rapid City during the 2008 presidential primary.

Wismer carried Lawrence County: a testament to the power of women there and to the local party chair, Sherry Bea Smith.

Low Democratic turnout was unsurprising as many regular voters registered as Republicans: clear evidence of that was Lora Hubbel's strong showing, the historic indifference among tribal rezidents for midterm elections and Jason Gant's likely criminal malfeasance as Secretary of State. FWIW: ip has a huge rez following and actively recruited people who regularly vote in those counties to register as GOP.

Wismer/Fire Thunder or Wismer/Killer sure would make for awesome campaign materials.

Please join me and send Rep. Wismer some money.




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Nelson, Hubbel honest voices for hope, change in DC, Pierre

Will the bodies of Boz and Ravnsborg be found in shelter belts with shotguns tied to trees like another Rounds staffer's was?

South dakota has seized thousands of American Indian children it marketed to a white foster care industry. Mike Rounds is guilty of genocide. As a CASA volunteer Representative Stace Nelson picked up the pieces shattered by the Rounds/Daugaard years.

Earth hater Lora Hubbel is not nearly as crazy as once believed: she would not commit to endorsing the current South Dakota governor after the primary, supports Stace Nelson, and will vote for Gordon Howie for US Senate if a former South Dakota governor wins that contest.

She is a climate denier like the current governor is, wants to drill baby spill, wants the state to own most federal ground, believes the Indians should drill baby spill, believes government and business should be separate but religion should not be.

Hubbel talked about Minnesota's state-backed cannabis compromise: one I support completely, too. These products should be taxed as traditional pharmaceuticals are and be dispensed by pharmacists.

Comfortable in her skin, she believes in strict adherence to the national earth hater platform, and perishes the thought of living in Pierre, ghastly as it is.

Good on Patrick Lalley: fun show.

Cannabis use by adults for reasons other than medical need is protected by the Ninth Amendment of the US Constitution and the state is empowered to tax it by the Tenth. Industrial cannabis should be organic and free of genetic engineering.

South Dakota voters have had it with single-party rule in the chemical toilet. Registration trends show that Democrats are signing up as earth haters and GOPers are leaving that party to become unaffiliated with any political organ.

Joe Lowe called South Dakota's current governor incompetent and uninterested in governing while Lora Hubbel has the fire in her belly. Democrats have two capable executive-level candidates in our gubernatorial primary: let unaffiliated voters nominate our choice for November. A debate between Susan Wismer and Lora Hubbel would certainly be the highlight of the general election season.

We certainly don't agree with everything Stace Nelson believes in but he is honest to a fault: a trait sorely lacking in any of the other candidates in South Dakota's GOP US Senate primary.

Dems registered as GOPer are providing opportunities to put nominees in place in the US Senate and gubernatorial earth hater primaries that don't have the power that unlimited cash resources affords the front-runners.

David Montgomery tweeted this map. West River GOP establishment wants Howie out of the general and will not vote for Rounds. The East River GOP establishment has its areolae in the wringer. West River will be strong Rhoden/Nelson, East River strong Rounds/Nelson.

Monkey wrenchers: make it so.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Jenkinson: RFK assassination anniversary, Pine Ridge visit backdrop for Obama rez summit

Clay Jenkinson is author of nine books, Theodore Roosevelt Center scholar at Dickinson State University, Distinguished Scholar of the Humanities at Bismarck State College, a Lewis and Clark historian and creator of public radio's Thomas Jefferson Hour. He writes a Sunday column in the Bismarck Tribune. Here are a few grafs lifted from yesterday's piece:
Welcome to North Dakota, Mr. President. The fact that you intend to do this at all has great historical significance. As you know, sitting presidents don't tend to visit Indian reservations. The last one to do so was President Bill Clinton in 1999 — Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge in South Dakota. And the one before that was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936 — the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina.
The bloated entourage of the modern Imperial Presidency is hard on any welcoming community, but in view of the sad history of federal troop presence in Indian Country, the sudden arrival of such stern and obsessive federal firepower is likely to create some discomfort and misunderstanding. And all the instantaneous gawking (by national media reps, presidential advisers and the usual presidential camp followers) may upset the people who actually make their lives on the reservation.
But I am especially eager for you to read Thurston Clarke's "The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days that Inspired America." It's a day-by-day account of the last three months of Robert Kennedy's life, before he was assassinated in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. It turns out that RFK spent a significant amount of time during that pell mell campaign on Indian reservations — much to the bewilderment and (eventually) rage of his campaign staff.
Just weeks before the crucial California primary, he chose to fly to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, where he spent a whole day talking with an Oglala child named Christopher Pretty Boy in the family's modest cabin. His staff members were tearing their hair out, of course, arguing that there was no political gain in spending time with American Indians. But RFK had moral courage and a great passion for justice. Within a year, both Kennedy and Pretty Boy were dead. [Jenkinson, An open letter to President Obama from Indian Country]
Former Lee reporter for Indian Country, Jodi Rave covered President Clinton's visit to Pine Ridge in 1999 and the United Nations passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She followed lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell, keeping Indian Country apprised of the litigation, ratification process, and settlement of the lawsuit bearing her name and is now writing a book about it. Her investigative work contributed to the passage of the Violence Against Women Act.

Tim Giago is blasting the Cobell payments: his column at Indianz is linked here.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Blogger considering purchase of ghost town, rail siding








Am I crazy?

Yes, there is railroad real estate connecting Santa Fe with the Black Hills: a set of rusty, barely-active tracks in the historic rail bed owned by the State of South Dakota now operated by Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad, terminates on Burlington, Northern & Santa Fe holdings at Dakota Junction, Nebraska.

There is a rail spur that completes the connection with Ardmore where the RCP&E connects to the BNSF at Crawford, Nebraska but it's in terrible shape. Genesee & Wyoming will have to spend a load of time and money before RCP&E will ship anything over it.



This 1960ish Mercedes-Benz looks like the one my dad traded for a '65 Oldsmobile Jetstar 88 because Omaha was the closest place to get it worked on.


In east Rapid City, the abandoned Milwaukee Line that used to connect Sioux Falls on the other side of the state dead ends at the junction of SD44 and E. St. Patrick Street. The RCP&E divides sending traffic north and west to Colony, Wyoming and east to Pierre. There is no intersection of the two rail beds. The bridge crossing the Cheyenne River at Creston handles only hiker traffic these days.

That is the abandoned right of way that used to connect Sioux Falls and Rapid City with passenger service: it mostly parallels I-90, one of the largest carbon-based fuel black holes in the cosmos.

For a number of years Sturgis Rally-goers have shipped motorcycles to Newcastle, Wyoming farther north and west of Ardmore then ride through the breadth of the Black Hills: that track overwhelmingly handles coal out of the Powder River Basin, also north to Billings.

The speed limit on Nebraska 71 is 60 miles per hour on the 75 miles of bone-dry high prairie grassland between Crawford and Scottsbluff: it's potentially deadly during a blizzard. Crawford is the extreme west end of RCP&E's holdings but their parent company Genesee and Wyoming has rights on BNSF's main lines.

US18/US85 between Hot Springs and Lusk, Wyoming is no better; besides, I-25, especially through the Denver metro, sucks at biblical proportions: so does flying through DIA with its likelihood of a strip search.

Construction on the estimated half-billion dollar Heartland Expressway connecting Rapid City with I-80 in Nebraska or Wyoming (nobody knows) is glacial if not completely stalled while traffic between the Black Hills and Denver continues to increase as does the volume between Denver and Santa Fe. Amtrak goes over (sometimes under) Raton Pass. The New Mexico RailRunner connects Santa Fe with ABQ and the Southwest Chief.

Minnesota Public Radio has been following fast-tracking development of light rail. Amtrak is reporting 300% ridership increases in some markets.

Senator Jon Tester would like to restore passenger rail in southern Montana.

it's time for Amtrak service between Albuquerque and Cheyenne, Wyoming through Denver then on to Billings, Montana and beyond. Cheyenne to Rapid City then on to Sioux Falls, too.

Btw: SD71 ends at Hot Springs and SD79 roughly parallels the RCP&E track: part of the old Sydney, Montana stage route. My maternal grandparents honeymooned in Hot Springs taking the train from Humphrey, Nebraska right into town; Grandpa Puddy was a Union Pacific brakeman then. There are several historic markers along the Nebraska and Colorado portions of 71 that mark the Texas to Montana cattle drive trail.

Imagine it when 50 million bison were the land managers.

Ogalala National Grassland expands into the horizon south of Ardmore, a town only about 625 miles away from Santa Fe. Thunder Basin ia not far to the west: most of it remains unspoiled by 21st Century humans.

Help me rewild the West.