Black Hills Treaty Council affirmed Treaties and initiated removal proceedings of BIA Superintendent Robert Ecoffey, Jr.
October 22, 2009
By Oglala Delegation of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council
PINE RIDGE, S.D. -- The Oglala Delegation of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, headed by Chief Oliver Red Cloud, reaffirmed the 1851 and 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaties by exerting their inherent rights and authority by issuing removal proceedings against their agency's BIA Superintendent Robert Ecoffey, Jr. for human, civil, and treaty rights violations against the Oglala Oyate (people).
Article I of the Treaty states, “… If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States, shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will … proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished … and also re-imburse the injured person for the loss sustained … If bad men among the Indians shall commit a wrong or depredation upon the person or property of any one, white, black or Indian, the Indians will deliver the wrongdoer to the United States to be tried and punished …”
Upon issuing the order for Ecoffey to vacate his position as the Pine Ridge Superintendent, two tribal members occupied Ecoffey's office in the BIA for several hours. They released a statement that they would not leave the office until the Agency was shut down and a federal negotiator would be called in to hear the complaints from tribal members regarding Ecoffey's ineffectiveness as an Agent, especially several years of questionable trust land transfers and refusal to conduct a forensic land audit.
Wednesday's non-violent action stems from months of false promises made by Ecoffey to address numerous complaints brought by firefighters from the Pine Ridge Agency Fire Department who have sought to remove Fire Management Chief Daigre Douville, Mike Twiss, Harold Compton and others from the station for human and civil rights violations and a sexual assault charge.
In a pre-emptive move to appease the tribal membership, he made a 11th hour call to the Equal Employment Office in Washington, D.C., who sent a representative to Pine Ridge yesterday to take testimony on the sexual assault charge brought against fire station staff. The E.E.O. officer was on hand to witness the Treaty Council exert their custom law on Ecoffey and assured tribal members that he would return to D.C. and summons a special commissioner to come to Pine Ridge to address the peoples' concerns.
By late afternoon, Ecoffey had granted two-week paid administrative leave to Fire Chief Daigre Douville and Fire Technician Mike Twiss, pending the outcome of the E.E.O. investigation.
The Black Hills Treaty Council contends that their action is legal under custom laws as lineal descendants of the treaty signers. Therefore, the Pine Ridge Agency is currently without a Superintendent and any action Ecoffey attempts to takes will be considered illegal.
Yesterday's events are a result of the perpetual poverty and genocidal policies that the federal government imposes on the Tribe. The Treaty Council will re-convene on November 3, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in Billy Mills Hall, Pine Ridge to update tribal members on their progress.
Contact Alex White Plume, Treaty Council spokesman, at 605-455-2534 605-455-2534 for additional comment.