Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council accused of misappropriation of donated funds

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council accused of misappropriation of donated funds

in Freshest News/Shock by

In a December 20 Resolution the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council decided to put $3.2 million from donations towards their own debts instead of the water protectors needs

  • The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council claim the money will be used to “reimburse” the tribe

  • Some who donated are upset that their donation is not going to the water protectors who need it as they thought it was going to

  • The SRST have a long history of economic problems

  • Dave Archambault Sr encouraged tribal members to take part in the Land Buy-Back Program

Editor’s Note: TDH would like to remind you that the actions of the tribal council do not reflect all the people that have given their lives to stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline. There are many good people still in North Dakota that need support and are still standing for the same cause. While the news of the tribal council’s decision to use money to repair their economy is disheartening, it should not be allowed to hurt this movement. #NoDAPL

For months there have been questions regarding why the large donations to the Standing Rock Sioux were not being seen by the water protectors in Standing Rock. People who have been there for months have watched millions of dollars in donations pour in, yet they can still barely get gas.

Yesterday, a Facebook post appeared to have to confirmed what many had already feared. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council are using money that was donated towards what they want, instead of the water protectors needs.

Resolution

Wasté Win Young posted a status on Facebook yesterday referring to a resolution held by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on December 20. The results of the meeting were disheartening to say the least. The post read as follows.

Just FYI…the SRST has passed a resolution allowing them to use the NoDAPL funds to pay off the tribe’s debts…instead of using them for camp.
#10. MOTION WAS MADE BY FRANK WHITE BULL, SECONDED BY JAMES “JOE” DUNN, TO APPROVE: NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBAL COUNCIL HEREBY AUTHORIZES REALLOCATION OF UP TO $3.2 MILLION FROM THE NO DAPL ACCOUNT, ON AN AS NEEDED BASIS AND SUBJECT TO TRIBAL COUNCIL APPROVAL, TO FUND VITAL TRIBAL GOVERNMENT
NO – 1 NOT VOTING – 2
SPECIAL TRIBAL COUNCIL MEETING INTER-OFFICE FOLLOW-UP
MEETING DATE: December 20, 2016 PAGE: 5 MOTION #10 IS CONTINUED.
PROGRAMS ADVERSELY IMPACTED BY THE CASINO REVENUE SHORTFALL, BY RESOLUTION.
ROLL CALL VOTE:
CLAYMORE, Duane
DUNN, “Joe” James HARRISON, “Ben” Samuel TAKEN ALIVE, Robert THOMPSON, Caroline
TWO BEARS, Cody
WHITE BULL, Frank
WHITE MOUNTAIN, Jr., Joseph
VOTE:
MOTION CARRIED
ARCHAMBAULT, II, DAVE – EXCUSED
[Chairing]
N.V . YES EX. NO N.V . YES YES YES
ARCHAMBAULT, Paul FAITH, Jr., Mike HARRISON, Chad MCLAUGHLIN, Jesse MCLAUGHLIN, Kory W ALKER, Charles WHITE, Adele YELLOW FAT, Dana
YES NO YES EX. YES N.V . EX. EX.
YES –7
5 – EXCUSED
#11. MOTION WAS MADE BY FRANK WHITE BULL, SECONDED BY CODY TWO BEARS, TO APPROVE TO CREATE A NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION, ALONG WITH NECESSARY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES, TO ADMINISTER DAPL FUNDS AND SUPPORT ENDEAVORS BENEFICIAL TO STANDING ROCK AND INDIAN COUNTRY.
ROLL CALL VOTE:
CLAYMORE, Duane
DUNN, “Joe” James HARRISON, “Ben” Samuel TAKEN ALIVE, Robert THOMPSON, Caroline
TWO BEARS, Cody
WHITE BULL, Frank
WHITE MOUNTAIN, Jr., Joseph
VOTE:
MOTION CARRIED
ARCHAMBAULT, II, DAVE – EXCUSED
[Chairing]
N.V . YES EX. YES N.V . YES YES YES
ARCHAMBAULT, Paul FAITH, Jr., Mike HARRISON, Chad MCLAUGHLIN, Jesse MCLAUGHLIN, Kory W ALKER, Charles WHITE, Adele YELLOW FAT, Dana
YES NO YES EX. YES N.V . EX. EX.
YES –8
5 – EXCUSED
#12. MOTION WAS MADE BY FRANK WHITE BULL, SECONDED BY CHAD HARRISON, TO APPROVE TO SUSPEND ANY NEW DAPL CONTRACTS OR
NO – 2 NOT VOTING – 3
NO – 1 NOT VOTING – 3
SPECIAL TRIBAL COUNCIL MEETING INTER-OFFICE FOLLOW-UP
MEETING DATE: December 20, 2016 PAGE: 6
MOTION #12 IS CONTINUED.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the resolution was found under Motion 12, which looked to approve suspending any “new DAPL contracts.” One can only assume to suspend any new DAPL contracts there had to be at least one previous one.

Reimbursing Facilities

Shortly after Young’s post, Waniya Locke posted a video to her personal page. In the video, Locke had just got done seeing the results of the December 20 resolution for herself and asked for it to be explained to her.

What Locke was told is that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was taking $3.2 million to reimburse themselves for expenses they endured throughout the stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline. TDH reached out to the SRST for comment, but every line we tried to contact was answered by voicemails that were full.

Prairie Knights Casino and Hotel

In the video, Locke discusses the facilities that were used to house water protectors over the months. At one point discussing the Prairie Knights Casino and Hotel, who supposedly hosted many people in their Pavillion area.

Out of all the time TDH spent in the Standing Rock area, and at the Prairie Knights Casino and Hotel, due to our endless need for WiFi, the only time we witnessed the Pavillion open for people to stay in was the weekend that the veterans came to Standing Rock. While it is possible there were another nights this was allowed, the people were still not given any other accommodations.

With all the foot traffic Prairie Knights was getting, along with constantly being totally booked for the night, we couldn’t help but wonder how they needed reimbursement?

According to the Prairie Knights website, the hotel has 200 guest rooms and 12 luxury rooms. Prairie Knight Casino and HotelThe going rate for a standard room is $100.00. If you are a “Club 7 member” the price goes down to roughly $85.00. The 12 luxury rooms go for $150.00 a night.

For the last several months, finding a room at the hotel has not been an easy task. The stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline has shot Prairie Knights business through the roof. Until recently, the hotel side had been booked solid for the last few months. Being the only hotel in the area, that does not come as much of a surprise. Since we cannot receive solid information at this point of time on how much money was being spent in the casino side, how much money was the hotel side bringing in?

Let’s say for whatever reason, 50 of their 200 rooms are not being booked out every night, despite the hotel claiming to be booked solid. At $85.00 a night, which is the discounted rate, that is $12,750 the hotel is bringing in a night. This total is without including the luxury rooms, considering fifty rooms a night being empty, before guests bought food and alcohol, or spent any money gambling.

At this rate, the hotel is bringing in roughly $382,500 a month in just regular guest room rentals. In a three-month period, the hotel rooms alone would bring in roughly $1.1 million dollars. Not bad for a hotel in the middle of nowhere North Dakota.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council Respond

After the results of resolution had a few hours to go around social media, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council decided to release a response to the allegations against them. Their response explained that they had decided to use $3.2 million of the money donated directly to the tribe to rebuild their economy.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12-29-16

Statement from SRST Tribal Council

Recently, it has come to our attention that there is some misunderstanding about the purpose of the Tribe’s “NoDAPL” fund account and a recent allocation of a portion of the funds.
There have always been numerous options to send donations in order to support our movement, including many that were specifically for the camps. Several donors, however, chose to give to the Tribe’s fund, so that the council could allocate such funding wherever the needs were at any given time. In support of both the camps and the movement, the tribe has allocated such funding to areas such as legal fees and camp infrastructure; for waste management and outdoor restrooms.

At this time, we have allocated a portion of the funds to rebuilding our economy & servicing our government responsibilities, especially those investments in jobs, youth and elder programs. While we are grateful for the attention that the camp brought to our cause and the movement that it has fueled, we also would like to point out the severe impact this conflict has had on our reservation economy. Due to Morton County’s blocking of the bridge and the significant drop in tribal business revenues, as well as incurred expenses, we are facing a difficult time financially. While this movement benefits Indigenous peoples globally, especially regarding infrastructure projects, at this time our Tribe has born the brunt of the cost.

It is our duty and obligation to make decisions that result in the betterment of our Nation, and this allocation is a practical usage of funds that were given to support the Tribe’s efforts at the Tribe’s discretion. Other funding mechanisms for specific programs remain intact.

standing-rock-sioux-response-to-funding

While some may see the SRST’s decision to reallocate the funds as fine, others are arguing that they have no right to use money that was donated to water protectors to try and solve their government’s problems. Which is a legitimate argument when you take into consideration what the main donation page for the SRST said to the general public.

StandingRock.org is Still Accepting Donations

The doStanding Rock Sioux Donationsnation page on StandingRock.org, which is still accepting donations, clearly says that the donations are for the “STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE – DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE DONATION FUND.” If the tribal council ever had the intentions of trying to repair their debts, that is something that should have been announced to their supporters beforehand.

If you read the small print at the bottom of the donation page, it states that “Donations will be used for legal, sanitary and emergency purposes!” Nowhere does it state that it will be going towards the tribe’s debts? However, even the promise of legal-aid seems to be falling short, as many water protectors are going without any legal help. Perhaps a closer look at the SRST’s economic history will help clear things up a bit.

Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Funding

In a “Proprietary & Confidential” document titled, “Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Funding,” we see a few troubling factors. For one, unlike other camps, the SRST were accepting donations primarily through their PayPal.

DAPL Protest Funding Background 11.16.16 by The Daily Haze on Scribd

When you use Go Fund Me or other crowdfunding websites, you can normally see how much money an individual is raising for their cause. When donations go directly through a PayPal we are left with no visual proof of what money is coming in.

This document also shows that the SRST were in financial problems coming into the stand against DAPL and had previously blown through a large federal settlement.

$6 Million Deficit in 2015

The SRST entered their 2015 budget with a $6 million deficit. SRST Chairman Dave Archambault II announced a list of budget cuts, which included cuts to elderly programs, casino-funded positions, and political appointees within the tribe.

One budget cut was to a casino-funded program titled “Elderly Needs.” For several years the program gave members of the tribe that were 60-years-old and over $750 in May and December to go towards groceries, utilities, and propane. The total cost of the program was almost $900,000. The cut to the program bumped the age group up to 70-years-old and over, and brought the total cost of the program down to about $250,000.

$48 Million Gone

The document shows that in 2012 the SRST received $48 million from a settlement from the federal government, but spent all of it. The $48 million was a result of federal mismanagement of tribal trust lands. The money was spent among the tribe with $5,000 going to each tribal member, $4,000 to each tribal household, and $1,000 going to off-reservation members.

In 2015, the SRST also received $4.3 million settlement from the federal government for underfunded federal contracts. In total, tribes in the Dakotas received around $48 million out of a $1 billion settlement. The SRST’s portion broke down to $4.3 million, and it is unclear what this money was used for.

One of the Worst Economies in America

As far as the SRST’s claims that the water protectors were a drain on their economy, the tribes own reports over the years show that there was no economy for them to drain. The SRST have been facing financial problems for quite some time. At least the majority of the tribe has. In the year 2000, the highest income bracket was under $10,000, with a very small percentage making $200,000 or more.

Standing Rock Sioux Summary by The Daily Haze on Scribd

According to the 103-page “2013-2017 Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy,” things have not got much better over the years.

2013-2017 Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy by The Daily Haze on Scribd

Inside the CEDC it shows that from 2006-2010, those making under a $10,000 income was still the largest bracket with 16.5%. Over twice the average of the 7.2% average of the United States. Only 1.4% were in the bracket of over $200,000 a year. When comparing the SRST reservation to even other parts of Dakotas, the numbers are still shocking, showing the actual economic fragility that the area has been plagued with.

Land Buy-Back Program

When you see just how bad the SRST are sitting financially, it is no surprise that 7,395 offers were accepted from the Land Buy-Back Program. According to a summary of the Buy-Back Program dated November 25, 2016, 18,131 offers were made to the SRST totaling $230,687,368. Out of those offers, 7,395 accepted, for a total amount of $110,161,479 and 191,453 acres.

Table Lbbtn Transactions Through November 25 2016 by The Daily Haze on Scribd

The Land Buy-Back Program aimed to target Native Americans who had fractionated ownership of property. Fractioned ownership is the result of the General Allotment Act of 1887, also known as the Dawes Act.

Fractioned Land

The Dawes Act divided up and allotted land to members of tribes. When an allottee dies, ownership is divided up among the heirs, but the physical land itself is not, meaning some of these areas of fractionated land are owned by hundreds, to thouLand Buy Back for Standing Rock Siouxsands of people.

The original allottee may have had an area of land that started with a value of $1,000. Once the original allottee passed away, their heirs received ownership of the land, making the value of the land to each owner depreciate. Over generations of passing down the land, this same land that was once worth $1,000 to one person, is now worth $4.12 to a couple of hundred people.

These land buy-back programs are a chance for these fractioned land owners to make a higher amount of money, while the federal government receives the benefits of owning the land, including mineral rights.

Covering Financial Debt

As we look through the troubling economic past of the SRST, you cannot help but wonder if the tribal council did not see this as yet another way to receive a large sum of money that the people will once again see not go towards the greater good of their community.

While the tribal council tries to claim that the casino-funded programs are hurting due to the road being blocked off during the stand against the Dakota Access, the casino has seen more foot traffic than it has possibly seen in its entire existence. The two gas stations in the area, one of which is owned by Archambault II, are seeing a definite increase in business. So where is this extra money going?

At the end of the day, people were donating money under the guise that is was going to help the stand against the Dakota Access, not to help solve the repeated problems of a careless government’s financial debts.

 

 

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