Thursday, April 18, 2019

Eagle Butte

Letter to the Editor…


Jim Pearman

District #4 Council Rep

The election is over, and we have three new council reps.   

All other Council positions remained the same as well as the Executive Officers.

I believe it is time for all elected officials, including myself, to step up, be accountable and provide the leadership we were elected to provide. 

The People have spoken, and are DIVIDED and CONFLICTED on how THEY perceive Tribal government in how it is running. 

We can no longer tolerate over-spending of tribal monies, lack of support, program directors not following the ordinance and guidelines within their programs and total lack of accountability by Tribal government and employees in service to most of the people by whom we were elected and hired to do our Jobs.   

There are many issues we are facing, too numerous to mention here.         

As I have been witnessing these actions the last two and a half years, I have come to realize what past Chairman (Mr. Frank Ducheneaux) had stated in a letter to Ms. Lynn Kickingbird from the Institution for the Development of Indian law (back in 1976 — 42 years ago).

[In part} Mr. Ducheneaux stated, “I do not believe that the various tribal councils have maximized the potential for the exercise of tribal sovereignty for a number of reasons.

Some being, they do not use the Constitution & By-Laws as a guide to their deliberations. They disregard the Constitution & By-Laws at their convenience, not realizing that by doing so they weaken the Constitution. They do not study the Treaties and Acts that effect them.”

Mr. Ducheneaux was a Council Representative for 16 years and Chairman for another 16, and I say again, this is still very true today.      

As a council representative working for the people, in the past two years, members of council, the chairman and administration refused to follow guidelines of the Constitution & By-Laws and Tribal ordinances.

The Lakota people have Seven Values to follow, those being: 1. Prayer; 2. Respect; 3. Compassion; 4. Honesty; 5. Generosity; 6. Humility; and 7. Wisdom.

I believe it is impossible to have good leadership or good government without these values.

I have witnessed a great lack of the Lakota values in tribal government.  Back in 2005, Council passed a Code of Ethics [Resolution No 104-05-CR] for officials and employees of the CRST.

I don’t know about the employees, but in council chambers in the last two and a half years, I can only say besides myself, I have only seen about three other people that try to carry out these values and follow the Code of Ethics, Constitution and the Tribal ordinances.

So, how do we get tribal government to have values, ethics and follow the Constitution and by-laws?

I believe it starts at the top with the Tribal Council, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Program Directors and employees.

As a Representative, I will continue to follow the Rules of Office but looking back 42 years, and at the recent election, the best I think we can hope for is a continuation of the balance from left to right — with the left being over spending , lack of ethics, no values and no accountability, etc., and the right being the opposite of the left.

The people have truly spoken. 

Jim Pearman

District #4 Council Rep