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Thune and Ragsdale were in Ft. Yates today

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existentialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-01-08 09:21 PM
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Thune and Ragsdale were in Ft. Yates today
Edited on Tue Jul-01-08 09:50 PM by wicasa
Senator John Thune and BIA Commissioner Ragsdale were in Ft. Yates today.

I was there; it was interesting.

There had been limited advance notice, and turnout was light--probably less than 100 people, but that included most of the tribal council, and the few people there were very much interested.

The topic of the meeting was law enforcement. It has been a terrible problem here recently. Law enforcement, which is BIA here, had been cut, and cut, and cut until most of the time there was one patrol officer on shift for an area almost as large as Connecticut.

Among other items, an Amnesty International report which particularly focused on violence against women on three reservations, one of which was Standing Rock had put a lot of pressure on the BIA to do something.

The response (sometimes called a "surge") was to temporarily assign about 30 additional officers to Standing Rock on a temporary basis. This sextupling of available Law Enforcement officers here has had an effect. Generally people feel safer, but they are well aware that this newfound commitment to funding law enforcement here is temporary. Also, although there are more police officers making arrests, there has been little increase in detention staff, and none for jail space, the Courts, the Prosecutor's Office, or the Public Defender's Office. There are other problems too.

Nevertheless, the local public as represented at the meeting was grateful for the increase in law enforcement, but concerned that it would be done and over in three months with little or no permanent benefit. They were seeking commitment for continued increased law enforcement assistance. They received some oral assurances that were short or promises, and Thune in particular seemed very nervous when pressed.

Don't know what more to say; it was interesting.

One side note:

The SRST member who had gone to Washington with Russell Means a few months ago and (with no authority to speak for anyone except their own very small group) announced that the Lakota were withdrawing from all treaties with the United States, was there, and spoke, insisting on the responsibility of the United States to honor its treaty commitments. . . .
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