South Dakota Appeals Pe’ Sla Trust Status on Daugaard’s Colonialist Attitude

See that open spot in the middle of the Black Hills? That's Pe' Sla.
See that open spot in the middle of the Black Hills? That’s Pe’ Sla.

Four tribes—the Shakopee Mdewankanton, Crow Creek, Rosebud, and Standing Rock—worked for three years to purchase Pe’ Sla, the sacred grassland in the middle of the Black Hills. Playing by colonialist rules, our Indian neighbors bought that which is not for sale. They now want to place their land in federal trust so that it will not be sold again and so that “all tribal members access to it, particularly for ceremonial and prayer purposes.”

Despite some strange conservative opposition to American Indians exercising their property rights, the Pennington County Commission voted last August not to oppose the tribes’ efforts to place the land in trust. The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced its approval of federal Indian trust status for Pe’ Sla on March 10, allowing the tribes to work together to exercise their sovereignty over their land.

That sovereignty is too much for Governor Dennis Daugaard. He announced last week that the State of South Dakota is appealing the BIA’s Pe’ Sla trust decision. Federal trust status may cost local governments a measly $80,000 in property taxes. The state has a legal argument that the four tribes working together aren’t a tribe but an “organization” for which the BIA can’t take land into trust and essentially create a reservation in the middle of the Black Hills. The state also has concerns about jurisdictional issues

At a Rosebud Sioux Tribe council meeting on April 21, Governor Daugaard said he can support putting land into federal Indian trust status that is contiguous with existing tribal land in order to clean up jurisdiction issues but can’t stand creating islands of trust land that “creates checkerboarding.” But then Governor Daugaard expressed this stunningly paternalistic argument against trust status for Pe’ Sla:

Governor Dennis Daugaard tells Indians how to spend their money. Screen cap from Rosebud Sioux Tribe council meeting, 2016.04.21.
Governor Dennis Daugaard tells Indians how to spend their money. Screen cap from Rosebud Sioux Tribe council meeting, 2016.04.21.

“I also oppose the Pe` Sla land into trust for this reason,” explains Daugaard. “ You have many tribal members who have needs here on the reservation. And if Grandma needs housing. Or if Grandma’ needs food. Or if Grandma needs transportation…Grandma doesn’t need you to spend tribal resources on a park land setting 200 miles away for religious use or for buffalo agricultural use. Grandma needs housing. Grandma needs food. And so…that’s your decision to make…not mine. That’s yours to make. But I don’t support it…for that reason. And that’s the reason I don’t support it” [Jim Kent, “Governor Opposes Pe` Sla Land Trust Status Due to Reservation Tribal Members’ Needs,” SDPB Radio, 2016.04.25].

Let me save the Governor’s staff some time—there is no provision in federal law giving state governors veto power over tribal budget decisions, any more than tribal chairmen can walk into the Capitol and veto the state budget because of the state’s use of GEAR UP money to pay Rick Melmer and friends six-figure salaries instead of paying for college for American Indian kids.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal President Dave Archambault accurately says Governor Daugaard’s opposition to trust status for Pe’ Sla “is perplexing, disheartening, and reveals a lack of understanding and respect for our beliefs, values, and the origins of our people.”

Jurisdiction may be complicated, but the tribes and all local parties involved in providing law enforcement and emergency services have agreed they can make it work. When the Great White Father in Pierre says Pe’ Sla trust status shouldn’t move forward because the Indians aren’t spending their money properly, he is only prolonging the colonialist attitude that Indians aren’t smart enough to manage their own affairs.

67 Responses to South Dakota Appeals Pe’ Sla Trust Status on Daugaard’s Colonialist Attitude

  1. The land is already bought. Using Daugaard’s “grandma needs food” argument, putting the land in trust is a good financial move for the tribes because it will save the tribes property taxes which could buy lots of fry bread. Daugaard isn’t following his own logic very well.

  2. Mike Henriksen

    Churches and other “organizations” send money all over the world even though there are needs within their own congregation or community. I look forward to hearing the Governor address those groups about their choices.

  3. Good points, Ror and Mike! The Governor is tangling himself in specious arguments.

  4. DD opposes ‘trust’ status for this land the tribes purchased. Disregard for the moment the multiple definitions of ‘trust’. Consider what this means. The tribes PURCHASED land – sacred land – previously granted them through treaties they had signed. Can ‘trust’ be any more ironic in this context?

  5. The tax revenue that could be brought in from reigning in on Daugaard’s tax breaks and exemptions could benefit a lot of “grandmas” and provide much needed health care (refusing to expand Medicaid ring a bell?), housing, food, etc but he opts to emphasize tax breaks instead. I am not opposed to tax breaks to spur economic development but, I am opposed to hypocrisy.

  6. Paul Seamans

    What did Gov. Daugaard say when private land was bought and made into the Blood Run Park in southeastern SD. Wasn’t this land taken off the tax rolls? Or does GF&P make payments to the counties in lieu of taxes? Is this all part of the governor’s reconciliation plan?

  7. We all know the governor’s real concern is that if this becomes trust land the tribes can build a casino there. I don’t see that happening. But that is his real concern.

  8. Grandma should not be eating balls of dough fried in grease. It’s unhealthy.

  9. Paul Seamans

    Rorschach, you are probably right. For years the Lower Brule Tribe has wanted to build a casino on trust land on the edge of Oacoma, thirty miles off the reservation. More power to them.

  10. this reminds me of bush going after saddam Hussein. ” this will not stand.” then uneducated pilot lil’ bush. saddam went after my daddy so “bring it on”. the war machine at work. Or Custer County chair Phil Lampert who thinks the Indians should “learn the lesson[of the 1855 Blue Water massacre]”. his website cites “that despite the efforts of the Federal Government to keep white people out of the Indian owned country, [I]n 1875 Custer City was staked out….[and] the establishment of the Harney National Forest Headquarters in Custer in 1898”. proud heritage!

    Pennington County Commissioners didn’t care to comment until after the fact.

    Indian History in the northern great plains is long and complex. you would think every time when we elect a governor, understanding that history would be a necessary requirement. we even have a state agency called the SD Historical Society that sits on the governor’s cabinet, so perhaps such a decision could be well grounded.

    oh well, even rounds couldn’t seem to understand the short history of the oahe dam with thousands of miles of shoreline right thru the middle of his state.

    Instead we have a law trained, children’s home society experienced governor that says “I hate that”. Now the Indians, perhaps with BIA’s deeper pockets, will have to litigate. gramma is gonna go hungry, appears Dauggard’s strategy. just like general Harney’s. What would Wismer have done? why don’t we work with Indians? few things are more important to Indians as sovereignty.

    prolly a good thing the tribe’s have capable Attorneys General. Oglalas have one named Means, for instance. Sitting Bull had a reservation at Standing Rock. His people do not lay down and take it. We surely are in the fine state tradition of Mississippi and Alabama. I do not wish this on our Indian brothers and sisters. our neighbors. but perhaps SD has fired enough “shot(s) heard round the world” in this last year of time. Hockey beer spilling. Harney Peak rule changing.

    Democrats need to take a stand on behalf of the Indians.

  11. Some would say they ran Costner off because he built a casino in Deadwood and tried to build a second mega casino there.

    ror, are u poisonous intentionally? ugh.

  12. Troy Jones


    I think you are 100% correct. This is about non-contiguous lands becoming land upon which casino’s can be built.

  13. grudz, as u know starvation is an employed means of genocide.
    “commods” aren’t known for their nutrition. that was your point, right, you troll?

  14. yes checker boarding of private homesteads and placers thru out 1.5 million acres of forest service.

    troy u don’t have a clue, really, do you?

  15. What’s the business case for building a casino out in the Black Hills backwoods, about as far as one can get on pavement (?) from Rapid, Custer, and Deadwood, with no through highway, rather than investing in a casino at the site Paul mentions in Oacoma?

  16. cory, your yellow arrow on the hills sat. photo is precisely the road custer cut to Pe Sla from the north in his june-aug.1874 trespass.

    at this precise time 100 miles to the south,but visible from renamed Harney peak, red cloud agency was distributing commods and 10-15,000 Indians were at the sun dance, meticulously documented by artist jules Tavernier.

  17. Paul Seamans

    Has Gov. Daugaard taken a stance on churches receiving property through bequests and then removing it from the property tax rolls?

  18. Ken Many Wounds

    The Gov. fails to recognize that the entire Black Hills still belongs to the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota people. So if one is to truely look at it, the property tax money that has been collected from the past and to present should be going to US! He has no clue as to what the Paha Sapa means to us and why it is so sacred to us. He is concerned about that almghty George Washington (dollar bill), in other words money. it is greed that drives the wasicu and he not wanting to allow this land to be pt in TRUST. So what if this piece of property is miles from the government established reservations that we are confined to. We as Lakotas, Dakotas, and Nakotas have a purpose for this land and it damn sure isnt about the money!

  19. Paul,

    Blood Run sure was taken off the tax roster. However, I would hope we could agree it’s better the area with such historical significance be preserved in a more natural state and maintained for public visitation.

    The alternative was to have it be developed as McMansions for Sioux Falls’ upper crust. I hope we can agree the park was the best option available. For your reference Here’s some proof that the endeavor has been a collaborative effort among state, local, and the tribes.

    Additionally, Good Earth will be maintained. Who’s going to pay to maintain the roads leading to Pe’Sla? If they don’t have to contribute tax moneys to the local township, should the township be required to maintain the roads? It’s going to be a hardship, especially given the winters out there.

    However, I must say I really like the idea of creating another area with bison herds. I frequently fish Deerfield Lake; the view would be much improved with bison roaming the hills as opposed to cattle. However, developments such as lodges and casinos would be very detrimental to the area… I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic to say doing so would ruin the sanctity of the area.

  20. Paul Seamans

    I appreciate your comments Wayne B. I agree that a making Blood Run into a park was a great idea. I guess that I was using Blood Run to try to make a point that Gov. Daugaard seems to be singling out Pe Sla in regards to land that is receiving services without paying any property taxes.

    Any thoughts on church owned land not being subject to property taxes? Does GF&P land make payments to counties in lieu of taxes. Do colleges pay taxes to counties on land that they own? I am not trying to be cute here, I am just wondering. I don’t know the answers to the questions that I just posed.

  21. mike from iowa

    OT,Paul. I am heartened to hear Trans-Can was not able to kidnap you or anyone else from the prayer vigil. I was rightly concerned that you hadn’t posted here for a few days afterwards. Cory assured me you were posting on Facebook. Woo there be any pics posted? mfi

  22. Eve Fisher

    “Grandma needs housing. Grandma needs food.” How about “White Grandma needs health insurance via Medicaid?” Back at ya, GDD.

  23. Paul Seamans

    mfi, Don’t pay the ransom, I escaped. I believe that Cory was sent some pictures from that day. We had a great time. Landowner Galen Heckenlaible welcomed us onto his land and spent the afternoon with us. Cory’s guide, Frank Kloucek, was there to help us out also. They were still digging when we were there on Saturday.

  24. Lanny V Stricherz

    Governor Daugaard is on pretty thin ice on talking about what the tribes should have done for Grandma. During the first part of this decade, the State of South Dakota at the direction of Governor Daugaard, purchased 80 acres of private land at $18,000 an acre for the Blood Run State Park. They bought another 200 acres from Spring Creek Golf Course for 10k an acre, which will go back to the golf course after 10 years. I wonder how many poor grandmas, on whom the State of South Dakota just increased their tax on food to 7%, that would have fed?

  25. It is interesting that the Shakopee Mdewakanton put up the bulk of the funds to buy that prairie from the Reynolds family, and that they are one of the richest tribes out there. They have very few enrolled members and a staggering balance of cash. They are a huge donor to various philanthropic undertakings, which could be what they are doing here. But they are also no slouches when it comes to business undertakings and investments, which could be what they are doing here. We will have to see. I’m just sayin…

  26. Paul,

    To your questions: I don’t believe GF&P pays taxes. That would be self-defeating. However, user fees pay GF&P expenses so you and I don’t have to cough up so much in sales tax. I’m trying to think of a state park that isn’t connected by a state highway (and therefore maintenance is done on the state’s dime, not the county or township).

    I don’t have a strong opinion about churches being tax free. It makes sense, however, given the first amendment and the long history of jurisprudence, it seems right not to tax religious institutions.

    My understanding is state colleges don’t pay property taxes – they’re governmental organizations. Private colleges, whether for profit or not-for-profit, pay taxes. So do other 501c3 organizations.

  27. Mr. B, I do believe the Fish and Game Department pays taxes. At least they pay some taxes. I know darned well that when they own hunting areas they pay taxes. I don’t know about the parks the state owns. You should look this up before you make claims. You could be right or you could be wrong. Here’s a start for you, sir: I have been shown how this pasting works for 41-4-8. State-owned areas subject to taxation for county, township, and school purposes–Assessment and extension of levies. All state-owned lands, known as public shooting areas, acquired under the provisions of §§ 41-2-19 to 41-2-21, inclusive, or which may hereafter be so acquired, and all state-owned game production lands or areas and controlled hunting areas, are subject to taxation by the local taxing districts within which the lands are severally located for county, township, and school purposes only.
    The lands shall be assessed by the directors of equalization in the same manner as other lands are assessed for taxation. The assessments shall be equalized and the lands entered upon the tax lists for taxation in the same manner as other lands are equalized and entered, but in extending the levy of taxes against the lands, the taxing officer may extend only the levies made by the local taxing districts for county, township, and school purposes.

  28. Paul Seamans

    Wayne B. Thanks for the information. You too grudznick. Maybe I should look these things up before making claims. I thought that I was asking for help from others. If I was, in fact, making claims it has been my observation that someone on this blog will correct me if I am wrong.

  29. No casino will be built on Pe Sla. And if there was what the hell is the difference between that n Deadwood, where EB-5 money built the Mountain Grand? Crap the Catholic churches invented bingo didn’t they?

    Last Weekend A Hundred people Gathered there for prayer n friendship. People, young and old, from near and far (Wisconsin, New Mexico, Minnesota, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Carolina, Oklahoma).
    Rosebud, Pine ridge, and the local area. This includes non native friends and people of many religious followings. There was more than one little blonde standing on the earth celebrating the coming of spring.

    One of many gatherings there. Bringing thousands of dollars into the area economy ( oh and yes Troy, we help the poor, pay taxes and invest just like your church and your white lunch republican partners)

    The Shakopee Tribe for 20 years has invested millions into South Dakota. Loans and grants. Much of that money spent in SD economy. Architects engineers, contractors, supplies….on and damn on.

    Grudznick is right. Financial saavy by the Indians? Heaven forbid (pun intended) we dare to take advantage of the financial opportunities provided to us in the good ol USA. Can anyone say TIF? Chinese can buy citizenship for 500k? Wow.

    Heck people’s, there are all kinds of non members that work with and for tribes. We put millions in banks. I know a few bankers and investment people that have done well with Indian business.

    Grudznick is wrong tho. Rosebud put up the most money. Rosebud has been buying land back for years. They figured out that is the way to get stronger and preserve a lot of good ways. It also honors our ancestors who survived genocide so we can live. And it’s our right, just like everyone else.

    How about child labor in the Mormon compound? Guess that’s OK live and let live, but the natives dared to actually buy some land so it’s scarey isn’t it? Wait till we buy some on highway 16 and build a freaking Hard Rock with the Seminole! Better watch out.

    Many tribes throughout the country respect the SD tribes for not accepting the court ordered Blick Hills payment ( which by the way, covers much more that just the Black Hills). Maybe we will get the Oneida of New York, the California tribes and more to invest with us.

    Wayne we bought it to PREVENT lodges and casinos. And we aren’t going to ignore the roads, we manage roads daily and will help.

    We are not in the hate giving business. This is about preserving our church. It really is its that simple. Truely. Before it becomes a parking lot.

    Come join us. You are all welcome. Ask Paul Seamans. And if you don’t want to join, leave us alone, we don’t bother you at your place of worship.

  30. I have been asked to relay to the Governor- opening the Emergency Room at the hospital and passing Medicaid would help Grandma most.

  31. Spike-last week I believe Daugaard met w/ the tribal chairs and made a public announcement about how well it went. He has a name for his version of Reconciliation which he is touting. But it is hard to believe he might have used that opportunity to notify you folks of this appeal of BIA trust status. let’s hope that it is just one more lawsuit he and Jackley insist on bringing out of ignorance. I am sorry our elected leaders impose these additional litigation costs and disheartening attitudes of last century on the South Dakota located Tribes. Thank you for speaking out today on this matter.

  32. Paul Seamans

    Well said Spike.

    As I am not familiar with the Pe Sla land I am wondering about the roads leading into the area. Are they county roads or are the state or federal roads. If they are not county roads then that takes away some of the argument that this land should be paying county taxes to maintain county roads. Same goes for fire protection. Wouldn’t a lot of the fire protection in this area be provided by the forest service or is fire protection provided by the counties or maybe a combination of both?

  33. Darin Larson

    Spike, I understand it is a matter of principle, but think about all the good you could do with over $1 billion if the tribes accepted the award for damages over the Black Hills taking. Heck, you could buy a lot of the Black Hills back. You could create a heritage center, an education center. It could be the economic rebirth that would kick start a bright future for Native Americans in South Dakota, and indeed, in the whole region.

    At some point, you have to consider making lemonade out of lemons. Your point has been made. From the outside looking in, I would ask you to think of the good you could do.

  34. mike from iowa

    Why should Native Americans have to buy back sacred land that was clearly illegally taken? If I am the decider,these lands would be given back with a sincere apology and about half of one years defense spending on top as a show of good faith.

  35. mike from iowa

    and a side mention that nevermore would wingnuts be allowed to govern South Dakota.

  36. John Wrede

    There seems to be some real failure to grasp the reality and practicality of this. Failure to recognize the obvious and reality is a obtuse conservative trait. Contested Lands in the Black Hills and elsewhere, have been adjudicated and just because the Tribes refuse to accept remuneration for compromise of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 does not leave the treaty in the same position and standing that it was in when it was signed. Both sides of that treaty violated it’s provisions and it’s time to accept that reality and move beyond it. Does anyone remember the infamous Bradley Bill? It was defeated in Congress after open and honest debate so can we move on to some sort of realistic solution to this?

    Some folks on this blog have already started this discussion but for those that seem to want to linger on past governmental indiscretions and social behaviors, and hold current generations accountable for something they had nothing to do with, there is a productive way to move forward and it’s called compromise because that is how government is suppose to work.

    The issue here is largely the loss of property tax revenue to the affected counties and in the case of the lions share of “The Reyonolds Ranch” which is one of few homestead ranches in the Black Hills, that property tax is significant. (County Commission decisions notwithstanding) The other issue here is precedent; as Paul mentions about the Lower Brule land purchase issue near Oacoma that Janklow and staff squashed. Most of you don’t know that one of the tribes already own a fairly large parcel of land not far off of Hiway 85 in Lawrence County not all that far from Crooks Tower. I do not know if that land is in trust status or not but for as long as it has been there, leased for grazing, one has to assume that it is; which represents non-taxable land. It also represents “water rights” issues that nobody wants to talk about. It’s not a lot different than what is going on with the relationship the Tribes have with the Cheyenne River.

    But I digress. The stated primary issue is loss of tax revenue. So, for the sake of discussion, lets just assume that there is a source of revenue to replace taxes and lets assume that there is a process whereby the Tribes can exercise their wishes and purposes for the property with minimal encumbrance. Would everyone then set aside their angst and finger pointing long enough to get something constructive done?

    The US Forest Service pays annual amounts to Black Hills Counties for the amount of land administered by the Agency in Fall River, Custer, Pennington, Meade and Lawrence Counties. It is referred to as PILT or Payments in Lieu of Taxes. Is there something unreasonable or egregious about the Tribes conveying title to “Pe Sla” in exchange for uses consistent with the purchases’ original intent (which I believe are bison grazing and religious and ceremonial functions) via perpetual special use permit and joint management agreements; and the Forest Service then becomes obligated by statutory requirement to provide PILT money to Pennington County for the newly obtained acreage.

    If you say no on the basis that the tribes would not own the land, I might remind you that the tribes don’t own the land they are on now…. Saying no also admits that the issue isn’t about exercising tribal rights and privileges but rather one of “control of land”. That is a right wing property rights theory creeping into a place it doesn’t belong. It’s trust property held by the Federal Government. You might also consider the most recent SCOTUS decision in the Cobell Lawsuit that has significant implications here. Tribes in Montana and elsewhere are now striking coop agreements with private and federal land managers for Bison Management and Cultural expansion. This opportunity is no different. We can keep the tribes at arms length and try to control them like we always have or we can be innovative and accommodating using the system we have (functional or not) to help them become a greater part of a diverse society.

  37. John Wrede

    In response to Paul S. question about GFP lands there is statutory rules that apply to taxation of GFP administered lands. Parks lands, as administered by the Division of Parks and Recreation are, by statute, exempted as are S&PL Lands and lands upon which state buildings etc. are found. However, due to all the legislative wisdom collected over the years, The Wildlife Division of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, does indeed pay taxes on virtually all lands it administers with the exception of some small lakeside use areas that basically have no facilities other than a boat ramp that facilitate access to water bodies that are also “non-taxable” I’m not completely sure on the amount (it’s reviewable on GFP’s website) the tax bill on things like GPA’s, PSA’s, etc. exceeds 2 million annually and the general taxpayer doesn’t pay a dime of that liability (well they do if you consider that the hunter/fisherman/trapper etc. is also a general taxpayer) What is going on here is less than 50 percent of South Dakotan’s with a particular avocation are doing double and triple duty paying taxes on land that is accessible by everyone for no fees. If you want to access park lands, you generally pay some sort of entrance fee, in addition to camping fees, boat launch fees and so on………. If anybody has a complaint for paying too much in taxes, it is the outdoorsman…… Lastly, I know several outdoorsmen including myself, that would gladly pay an access fee or user fee to national forests and public lands if it gave them an equal seat at the table to advance conservation for wildlife and the outdoor past times.

  38. John Wrede

    Paul: Yet another question with an answer………. Roads and Fire protection…… The old Reynolds Ranch doesn’t have a great deal of timber on it but none the less, fire management in the Black Hills has been an evolutionary process that now involves the Forest Service, The State of South Dakota, Volunteer Fire Departments and even City Fire Services that are all part of the Interagency Fire Management Team concept. Fire suppression and management has been brought under an umbrella and while the FS is perhaps the agency with the greatest amount of resources for fire suppression and management, the state is usually the first responder to fires no matter where the occur and resources are then brought in and allocated under a specific, highly detailed process that developed after Janklow ran up and down highway 16 picking fights with the Forest Supervisor during the Battle Creek Fire numerous years ago. With relationship to roads and access, the primary road to access any of the old Reynolds Ranch is now called the South Rockerville Road and the Tourism/Business community in the Black Hills is now pushing hard to convert that road from what is basically an all weather, lightly traveled gravel road to an expanded, straightened, asphalt thoroughfare from Rochford to Deerfield Lake for the singular purpose of providing another “scenic” road for the bikers to ride during the rally…. The theory is that it will create increased business revenue from Lead/Deadwood to Hill City and the Southern Hills………. The projected cost is 10 Million and the state is taking the lead in planning and construction with federal grant money. We need that road like we need a blasted hole in the head. Several members of the Tribes have been fighting that foolishness for at least 2 years as have I…. An asphalt road right through the heart of some of the best and sensitive deer and elk habitat in the Black Hills is something we do not need or want and I’m sure the tribes would rather have greater solitude and security than what they would get with thousands of bikers and tourism gawkers burning gas through an otherwise peaceful landscape. From there, we can begin to ask some serious questions about why we can have 10 million to upgrade a road to nowhere when we can’t afford to repair roads and bridges that we do need………. Even the 4-6 residents that live year round along that stretch of road don’t want those improvements and yet the process moves forward. I just got a notice the other day of another “open house” to learn about the EIS process…………. The whole blasted thing is yet another republican lead economic development scam….. In the hearings I’ve been to, there was only one person that stepped forward in support of the project and it was some guy from Lead/Deadwood that outfitted bicycle tours in the Black Hills. His support was based on the notion that bicyclists needed a safe place to ride from north to south to avoid the heavy congestion of traffic on Highway 385. Do these people think? Nope……….Fiscal conservatives………..nope………. If they can use the general taxpayers money to make their cash registers ring,,,,,, they are all for it.

  39. John Wrede

    Should have said The south Rochford Road in Stead of the South Rockerville Road……….. Sorry……. The road begins just north west of the 10 person hamlet of Rochford and travels for nearly 10 miles through mostly public land past the primary access points to “The Merry Go Round, middle Castle Creek below Deerfield, and under the base of Whiteail Peak and follows a small stream course in places that runs rather hideous acid mine run off water into Rapid Creek. It eventually ties into the Deerfield Road out of Hill City within 200 yards of where Sawyers Deerfield Store use to be. During rally week, there are a few sensible bikers that do ride the gravel very slowly and carefully and their whole purpose is to get to the Moonshine Gulch saloon so they can get blasted in a place that rarely sees a cop. Rally resources are already stretched to the limit but we build this travesty and it will cost the public a bunch more money in police, fire, ambulance, road maintenance etc…. Even the Mayor of Hill City told me he thought it was a joke but that doesn’t stop these tourism idealists from using public money to try and shore up a 4 month business enterprise that was of questionable legitimacy even before it was constructed. What was it that Edward Abbey said about keeping progress out of his elk pasture? That’s me and a whole bunch of other people……..

  40. Bob Newland

    I wept. Wept, I tell you, at Gubner Daugaard’s concern for Indian grammas.

  41. John,
    Great comments.

    We could discuss this for quite a while. I don’t have your stamina for keyboards. My compliments.

    Rosebud and other tribes do own land. Bought with their own cash. Not held in trust. Some gifted to the tribe because people respect the relationships we have with the land. The stories are humbling.

    Darin. We understand what your saying. A billion will be gone. Too fast. You can’t sell your church my friend. You just can’t.

    John, we from Rosebud know firefighting well. We know Joe Lowe brought the state fire program up, brought the feds down and now it’s all forces togeather. Great stuff. Joe was Janklows expert. We fought and managed fires with Mr. Lowe on and off the rez. We will assist Rochford and Hill City VFD’s. We understand fuels management, we understand how to co-op on fires. We will carry our weight. Todd Pechota, the Black Hills fire management officer, Type 1 National Incident Commander, only 12 or so nationally. Hey Rosebud Tribal Member!!! Cool huh!

    There was no SCOTUS decision in Cobell. Congress approved the settlement.

    It’s not a loss of tax revenue it’s giving natives and tribal governments more control. We want more and the state doesn’t agree.

    $78,000??? Watch ladies and gentlemen, that money will be replaced in other fashions as John mentions.

    Rosebud has already received forest management money to utilize on PeSla. A new fencing RFP was just released by the tribe for 15 miles of good perimeter fence. Buffalo management planning is going on now. The tribe is deeply involved in the management of 900,000 acres at Rosebud. Agriculture, wildlife management, rural and urban planning. Waterside management. I know tribal biologists, range conservationists,
    Foresters, attorneys, archeologists, spiritual leaders, scholars. Yale grads, SDSU grads, SDSM&T grads, Sinte Gleska University grads, Colombia, Harvard, USD …….Rosebud tribal members. Need some cowboys? We got the best.

    Pe Sla will be a place of great love and we will be great neighbors.

    Albert White Hat said the land is our relative, when we take care of it, she takes care of us.

  42. And my congratulations to the new President of South Dakota State University.

    Barry Dunn, Raised on the Rosebud Rez, Rosebud Tribal member.

  43. kudos Spike.

    John W.- many know the history and the facts of course. your unique experience could be helpful. you will have no success, however, nor should you, attempting to “get on with it”, as Spike deftly mentions. no offense. I thought that way too, once 20+ years ago, thinking scotus ruled in 1980, but there are serious viable treaty issues. the Indians are anything but obtuse.

    anyway, I would like to discuss the crooks tower/ Cheyenne River issues, outside the blog perhaps over coffee in RC, or via confidential emails if you might be interested. thanks.

  44. Craig Moore

    That’s some funny s—, Daugaard is an idiot!

  45. Daugaard is following the script that Governors have followed since Janklow, do not give Indians any kind of break whatsoever. I have personally heard from some ranchers and landowners that the reason they liked Janklow so much was because he “stood up to the Indians. By God so they would not get a toe hold and start taking “their lands back” The one thing that scared the bejabbers out of them was if the Indians got the money, they could purchase lands to box them in so they could not grow in the future.

    You may think that is nonsense that no one could ever be that set in the ways to deny and deny to cause hardship, but recently, a man who wants to take Daugaard’s place, fired another round directed at libeling Natives as a whole. The announcement by Jackley, the lady in waiting, was that basically the Indians could not be trusted to have destroyed the marijuana crop they confiscated before he got his mitts on it. What purpose did he have by making such a clearly racist statement if not for points scored as an Indian fighter?

  46. Paul, the tax roll issue on churches could be pulled into the discussion, but churches don’t help us with the jurisdictional issues and legal issues the Governor wants to raise. The church getting farm land by bequest (the Presho church had this happen, and now uses the proceeds from farming that land to help put seminarians through Luther to become pastors—ask my wife!) doesn’t change who provides fire and ambulance service. It also doesn’t raise a question of whether the Lutherans are creating a new tribal entity.

  47. But I am intrigued by the Payment in Lieu of Taxes question. We get PILOT when other entities take land off the tax rolls; should churches and tribes do the same?

  48. Lanny, good point about grannies and priorities. No one should want to get into that fight. I support the Blood Run conversion to public park. We could easily oppose any investment in GF&P by putting it side by side with grannies’ needs, Medicaid expansion, support for local fire departments, or any other life-and-death public service issue. We could kill GOED and the Future Fund the same way: Dennis, how can you give a French cheese factory millions of dollars when little kids are going without supper?

    Priorities are important, but Daugaard’s argument falls flat. Just like state government, tribal government has an interest in providing a variety of public goods and services. For the tribes, that includes reclaiming and protecting spiritual space.

    I would be curious to know what the grannies in Manderson think of acquiring and preserving Pe’ Sla.

  49. Spike, are there any roads being ceded from public control to tribal control? Pe’ Sla itself is just the grassland, while the roads to it would still be county and state roads, right?

  50. John, another road, just for the rally, cutting further into the backcountry that is currently blessedly removed from the roaring engines? While I would enjoy that ride as a driver and a cyclist, will that route really enhance the rally experience? Will it draw any more bikers and revenue to the state? Is there any biker saying, “I’d go to Sturgis, but they don’t have a good paved route from Rochford to Deerfield Lake, so forget it”?

  51. Barry Dunn is Rosebud? Interesting! Maybe he can encourage some field trips for SDSU range and wildlife science majors to study Pe’ Sla and the impacts of the tribal preservation efforts on the ecosystem. :-)

  52. Craig Moore

    I thought the Catholics got all the farmland from the Liechtnam family in Presho!

  53. mike from iowa

    I always thought of the Black Hills as quiet solitude and spiritual awakening. Now I find it is for whitey to make money and noise. Silly iowan.

  54. You’d hate it there, Mike.

  55. John Wrede

    There is yet another issue with Pe Sla that has not yet been aired but it will be another one of those jurisdictional thorns that exist in and around every reservation in these United States and those concern both water and wildlife resources. Assuming that the status of Pe Sla is upheld as trust land, that means that anyone entering on the land that is not a native American Tribal Member, is subject to 16 USC 1165 which is the federal trespass law. What the trust status does, effectively, is give the tribes jurisdiction over public wildlife and water once it crosses over onto trust lands. The condition is no different than it is with the National Parks. It makes management hugely complicated and ineffective. Putting up a buffalo fence the effectively restrains wildlife ingress and egress to the property in historical home ranging movements that have operated for perhaps a century, is not something I can support. If the tribe’s profess to care about the land and it’s ecology, they would also consider the resource which is one of the foundations of their culture. If anyone remembers, Janklow attempted to transfer Wind Cave NP to the State for reasons connected to this issue but it didn’t go very far. Rounds wants to do the same thing and part of the reason for it is that there remains these unresolved jurisdictional issues that leaves both the tribes and the public dissatisfied and at arms length. One place to look at the magnitude of the problem is in Bennett County where free ranging elk populations that spend much of their time in Todd County exit the Rosebud jurisdiction and create thousands of dollars of crop damage that the state must somehow deal with. Excessive numbers of hunting licenses are issued by the state in addition to wildlife damage management payments have been made to private landowners over the course of at least 15 years,and it has not corrected the problem. Any attempt by the state to extend the state hunting season and licensing authority onto private lands within Todd County to reduce the conflict has been met by heavy tribal government resistance. That is not cooperation folks. It’s representative of a control issue rather than an issue of fairness or treaty rights. My entire point was that there is ample opportunity to convert the swords to plow shares and start thinking about the broader issue of resources and culture…….. As long as the tribes and state government continue to butt heads without taking an honest look at what each wishes as a desirable outcome to a particular issue, we’re going to continue down this road of pointing fingers at contemporary generations for the errors and omissions of historical federal and state leadership. The Black Hills land claim issue may not be settled in the minds of the tribes but the reality is that it is binding precedent and stare decisis. We can look to real solutions and satisfactions in an effort to bring the two cultures together or we can continue down this road of jurisdictional argument that has, thus far in the past, 200 years, netted anyone nothing except more confusion, more frustration, and perpetuated racism that exists on both sides.

  56. mike from iowa

    Binding precedent and stare decisis don’t appear to mean much when someone’s ox is being gored. Been plenty of judicial activism from the wingnut dominated Scotus just in the past 15 years. One doesn’t need to be a legal scholar to see and follow jursts that pull decisions out of their arses.

  57. Mr. Wrede is probably righter than right, and he writes like a fellow who used to work for the Wildlife Parks and Forestry department. Verbose and one giant paragraph, but righter than right.

  58. mike from iowa

    You is wrong,Grudz. There is beauty and spirituality in ever type of terrain known to anyone. The ugliness comes from humans who exploit the beauty for profit. That is what I would frown upon. I could prolly tolerate you,as well.

  59. John Wrede

    Cory: The PILT issue is a political one no differently than the historical issue Custer County has with the state avoiding tax liability with Custer State Park; or even the argument that the State unfairly competes with private recreational enterprise in the development and operation of campgrounds- usually at a little bit cheaper fee than private campgrounds. We’ve been down that road at least three times that I can remember in my life time and it seems we’re always going to be faced with a few malcontents that believe government in it’s many forms should adhere to “non-compete” contracts with private business of every level. The same argument extends to tribal enterprise – particularly when it is supported by federal tax money. This is yet another argument we’re going to hear about tribal development of land off the reservations. If large functions and ceremonies are held on this land and accommodations are provided at low or no cost to the participants, the tourism lodging industry machine is going to have something to say. Then, when overflow starts occupying space in government campgrounds to the exclusion of otherwise tourism multipliers, the general camping and recreational participants, both local and visitors, are going to stimulate government to action. I will argue that PILT has historical and economic significance and precedent simply due to the amount and distribution of land in the Black Hills that is managed by the Federal Government. When one considers the volume of land involved, in relation to the tax base, it becomes relevant. Pennington, Custer, Fall River, and Jackson County not only have the Black Hills National Forest Land Base but they also have the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands which occupy a large amount of territory in those four counties to say nothing of National and State Parks. A church that owns a few hundred acres that are taken off the tax roles is hardly comparable. The issue in that case is that the Church is using the land as a profitable enterprise to support the church’s mission. In most of those circumstances, church properties are supported by member donation and free will offering which, in my opinion, should be tax exempt. My denomination supports a very small cattle grazing operation on property it owns in the Black Hills to help support the management and operation of the property which is maintained for both religious and secular activities. Should that be taxed. Frankly, I don’t know…… Should their be some form of payment to government in lieu of taxes to pay for maintenance of infrastructure that serves that facility…. I think there already is. Church members are taxpaying citizens too.

    As far as the South Rochford Road development is concerned, as near as I know, there has been no study or fiscal impact evaluation done on the road. Based upon my limited history with the project, the road improvement is a product of cumulative biker commentary and evaluation since the 50th Rally and Races when we started getting these world wide participation rates that simply overwhelm both public and private resources. It’s a natural off shoot of biker overcrowding. Think of it this way…… These bikers show up expecting these wide open spaces of gently sloping and winding roads that are, admittedly, nearly the ultimate road bike riding experience. This is the typical “Tourism Marketing” image that’s sent out all over the country and in Europe. At one time, that was true…… Now, the condition is that there are so many bikers that there is no such thing as wide open, wind through your hair, open roads where one can indulge the aesthetics and scenery. It is literally wall to wall bikers where one has to focus on staying out of everyone’s way lest they wind up in the hospital or the morgue. They have finally put up a temporary stop light at the intersection of Hiway 44 West and Hiway 385 before and after Rally week to simply allow resident and some biker traffic on Hiway 44 west to get into north or southbound Hiway 385 traffic. I’ve sat at that intersection for more than 20 minutes waiting for a lull in biker traffic sufficient to let me turn left onto the southbound lane of traffic. If you’re pulling a boat to the lake; forget it…… stay at home….. That condition is what the retailers and tourism industry is paying attention too. They are looking for alternatives to this overcrowding to simply improve the biker experience and keep them coming back every year and they are wanting it all at the same time. There are a lot of bikers now that simply refuse to come to South Dakota and the west during the Rally and that has always been true of the normal “family” vacationer that, if they are aware of the rally condition, will avoid Western SD and Eastern Wyoming like the plaque during the month of August. There is nothing like sharing a campground evening with the roar of Harley Davidson all night long coupled to raucous beer and Jack Daniels swilling campfire parties. The two campgrounds at Deerfield Lake are already over-packed with bikers during the month of August and what they want is back door access to both Hill City and Deadwood through Rochford because it’s a novel and unique old time western adventure……. Far be it from the tourism business, that has exploited the aesthetics, ambiance, and excessive number of roads in the Black Hills not to embrace the idea; thinking it will make the cash registers ring more often. Since the South Rochford Road is the “ONLY” access to the old Reynolds Ranch and the ranch property borders both sides of that road in places, the tribes have skin in this game in more than one way. As mentioned previously, there are forks of Castle Creek on the property, a couple of which are compromised severely by acid mine run off. The FS and private property owners have not dealt with that but eventually somebody is going to have to. The Tribes can not complain about the Cheyenne River being compromised and ignore equivalent damage to Black Hills stream courses. Like I said, this is far more complicated than it appears on it’s face and it only going to get worse and more divisive unless we choose to shed old paradigms and start developing a clear view of both jurisdictional and cultural reality.

  60. And the streams in Reynolds Prairie all run into Castle Creek one way or another, which runs into Rapid Creek, which runs into the Cheyenne River, which grows the fish that feeds the people in Bridger and Cherry Creek and beyond before becoming diluted in the Missouri.

  61. The fence is not “buffalo fence” it’s just good fence. It will not impact wildlife movement any more that the roads and other fences in the area. Or the rifles pointed at the wildlife. Or the various other human impacts.

    John we cannot win the debate with you. You remind us of our responsibility to our history of the animal nation, then admonish us for letting “too many elk” eat other people’s crops.

    I guess we will just stay on the rez where we belong.

  62. You think this is causing a problem for Daugaard’s child sales business?

  63. John, if you can provide info on who to write regarding the South Rochford Road development project, I’d happily pen an opposition letter.

  64. Wayne: Google the South Rochford Road Project and you’ll get to a website that will give you info on how to comment. I don’t have the URL saved on this lap top.

    Cory: I see that I’ve been censored… I guess it isn’t the first time and probably not the last.

  65. Lanny V Stricherz

    Great one Donal. He should be in prison for ignoring the law and breaking the law as regards ICWA.

  66. Paul Seamans

    John, Spike, and others. I really do appreciate all the information on this that everyone has provided.

    The fact that Pe Sla has been protected from development makes me not care about any perceived problems associated with putting it into trust status.