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News from the Great Plains

Rosebud president faces ethics charges

ROSEBUD, S.D. - Charges of ethics violations have been filed against Rodney Bordeaux, Rosebud tribal president, over a $1 million land purchase.

Bordeaux is accused of the misuse of tribal funds in the purchase of 800 acres of land without tribal council approval, and his critics claim he paid an inflated price for the land.

Webster Two Hawk, tribal elder and former staff person for past president Charles Colombe, filed the complaint. Charges were also filed against Fern Bordeaux and Michael Boltz, tribal council members who supported Bordeaux's decision to purchase the land.

Bordeaux asked for approval to purchase the land from the tribal council and was twice rejected. He then used the Tribal Land Enterprise office to purchase the land.

Bordeaux said he was within his right to use the TLE, but Colombe argued that the TLE is directly regulated and controlled by the tribal council.

He argued that he did not need council approval to buy land, only council approval to borrow money to buy the land.

Two Hawk, in the complaint, claimed that the value of the land according to BIA appraisals of neighboring land would be $300 per acre and the purchase price was $1,250 per acre, according to a release.

Bordeaux may face suspension or possible removal from office. He defeated Colombe for president in 2005 and Colombe claimed he will not be a candidate for president.

Forum planned on social, religious freedom

RAPID CITY, S.D. - As hundreds of thousands of bikers come from across the nation to gather in Sturgis in the shadow of Bear Butte - the sacred mountain to some 32 tribes of the Great Plains - a group of religious and spiritual leaders will gather to discuss the spiritual significance of Bear Butte.

On Aug. 5, Lakota people from the Oglala, Sicangu and Hohwoju bands will join with members of the eastern bands of Dakota and with Arapahoe and Cheyenne Nations. They will be joined by members of the Christian Peacemaker Team and from the South Dakota Association of Christian Churches.

The Mato Paha Forum will be a first in decades to gather traditional and spiritual leaders from many nations in a forum to focus on sacred places and traditional ways of life.

Speakers will include Oren Lyons, faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation; Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne; Rosalie Little Thunder of the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center; the Rev. Gail Arnold of the S.D. Association of Christian Churches; and John Sprague of the Christian Peacemaker Team.

Crow health education tool released on DVD

CROW AGENCY, Mont. - A new DVD to be used as a tool to educate health care providers about Crow customs has been released.

The DVD is a cooperative effort by a group of Crow women who formed The Messengers for Health to provide health care information through traditional tribal networks.

The DVD, called ''Akbali'a Balehawase I'tchiok: Medical People Take Care of Us,'' will be used to educate IHS health care workers and others who deal with Crow Nation members.

The video deals with Crow healing traditions that may not otherwise be understood or even known about. On the DVD the use of sweetgrass, traditional herbs and Crow relationships that might help the healing process are explained.

''Different organizations have taken the DVD and liked it so well they've distributed it around the state,'' said Alma Knows His Gun McCormick, co-project coordinator, in a release.

The video was funded by a grant from the American Cancer Society in connection with the University of Montana - Bozeman.

According to a release, The Messengers for Health consists of 35 women from across the Crow Nation who are in their fifth year of providing what they call kitchen-table health education.

Water that glows in the dark

RED SHIRT VILLAGE, S.D. - It was many years ago that people would turn off lights in the homes and watch the water in their sinks glow in the dark on Red Shirt Table on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Uranium testing and mining in the region from the 1950s through the '70s is said to have caused this phenomenon, which residents claim continues today.

Warning signs that radiation is at an unsafe level are now posted along the Cheyenne River, which runs through the reservation and near Red Shirt.

Water from the Cheyenne River is used to water gardens and people eat fish from the river.

A water sample test revealed levels of alpha radiation higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum acceptable levels.

In the 1990s, the Oglala Sioux Tribe had to borrow money to plug holes on the reservation that were dug to extract the uranium. Neither the mining company nor the federal government would fill the holes.

United Tribes Technical College gets funding assurance

WASHINGTON - United Tribes Technical College in North Dakota will receive more stable funding, the result of a bill the U.S. Senate approved a provision in the Higher Education Reauthorization bill that would encourage the administration to include funding for the college in its annual budget.

Year after year for the past six years, the administration has zeroed out funding for UTTC; and each time, Congress has put the school's funding back into the budget.

The provision was introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan and approved by the Senate.

''United Tribes Technical College has proven itself as a valuable education facility for our American Indian students,'' Dorgan said.

''It has graduated thousands of students that have gone on to fulfilling careers and important leadership positions in our country. This school doesn't deserve to be cut out of the president's budget every year, and this amendment will help make sure it can depend on a reliable supply of federal funding to carry out its important educational mission,'' Dorgan said.