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Only bad leadership can lose $2.3 million

How does a tribal government lose $2,300,000? I can see losing this much money over a two-year period but losing it in three months stinks of bad leadership. Think about it, people. It adds up to $25,274 of your money a day, for the 91 days in the months of August, September and October of 2001.

Isn't it also by "coincidence" that during these months, tribal elections were happening? Campaigning isn't cheap.

I disagree with Mr. Kindle's answers to the questions our people are asking of him. School clothing orders for our children don't make a good excuse for why these monies are missing. They only account for a small portion of the missing funds. It shouldn't even matter because a tribal leadership has the responsibility to make sure the children are taken care of before it takes care of itself. This is the Lakota way.

Our tribal officials have always had the bad habit of keeping tribal information out of the public eye. No accounting records have been sent to our communities for them to address or approve. In last week's article in Indian Country Today about the Rosebud Sioux Tribe's financial woes, Mr. Kindle blames the past council or administration, but he doesn't say that he was part of that past council. A twist of words can sometimes be misleading so I would like to clarify that statement: Mr. Kindle was the president of RST in the last administration and should "as he stated" take full responsibility, if not face impeachment, for the lost $2.3 million of our tribal monies. He should at least clear it up by any means necessary, such as forensic audits of all tribal accounts and programs.

Tribes have been notorious for misspending and "losing" money throughout our 1934 act history. To me the reasons are obvious but you all know where I think this money went. But that is my opinion.

What should happen at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is that full forensic audits on all tribal accounts in every program should be backed or initiated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For those of you who do not know what a forensic audit is, it is an audit that looks specifically into fraudulent activities.

It always seems to many tribal members, including myself, that whenever these issues of missing monies occur, the BIA is nowhere to be found, out of sight, out of mind.

One thing that is consistently overlooked by the federally employed individuals who work for the BIA and the tribe is that all this money that is being misused or "lost" came out of the pocket of the American worker, the taxpayer. If $2.3 million were missing out of any other program that is federally funded, some heads would roll and careers would end.

I think it's about time to start out this New Year with a new tribal accounting cleanup. The people need to know what has been happening to all our tribal funds and why our lands, through the Tribal Land Enterprise, are being used to cover loans for the expenses of a tribal government that lost $2.3 million in tribal funds in the first place. If someone is putting up my families' land value as collateral to cover the tribal expenses and overhead costs because the tribe lost a couple of million, then I, and my family, as land owners should be asked first.

Also our tribal council shouldn't be allowed anymore tribal raises since they never created any type of progress these many years in the first place. Why award employees who aren't effective workers with more money in their paychecks? What are they being paid for, bad leadership?

They should take a pay cut, and I mean all councilmen, including the tribal president and vice president.

Today I tried to contact my "fearless leaders" but ran into closed doors as usual. No comment, no answers, no responses, no integrity for if a true leader amongst our people should exist he would be the first to open the can of worms and clean up our tribal governments so this "losing" of tribal money doesn't happen again.

The time is coming when we Rosebud Sioux tribal members need to protest our tribal government at the tribal offices and demand forensic audits of all program accounts if the tribal leaders refuse to do so.

A people who are subjugated are weak in spirit. Our Sicangu people have been too meek for too long. A stand is near and a stand should be made.

It is our right to gather in non-violent protest of a tribal government that is lacking in integrity and responsibility and if we are denied answers to our questions or incarcerated then so too is the American taxpayer denied his freedom of voice.