100 Sioux Seize Pine Ridge Office
PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) _ About 100 Oglala Sioux who have taken over tribal headquarters to protest alleged financial mismanagement are refusing to budge until the governing council steps down.
``We’re not giving up here until these demands are met,″ group spokesman Dale Looks Twice said Monday. ``But we don’t anticipate violence unless they pursue the violence.
``We’re a peaceful group. We’ve got women and children in this building. We’re unarmed.″
The group, which is allied with tribal President Harold Dean Salway, took control of the building on the Pine Ridge Reservation on Sunday.
The protesters are calling for an audit and have demanded the immediate resignation of Treasurer Wesley ``Chuck″ Jacobs and all 17 members of the council. They also have asked the FBI to seize tribal records dealing with law enforcement, housing and other programs.
``The bottom line is, we want accountability and responsibility by our elected officials,″ Looks Twice said.
Members of the council have voted to throw the protesters out of the building and have tribal law officers enforce bans on the spread of false propaganda and actions that interfere with council business.
On Sunday, federal agents seized paper files and computer records from the Oglala Sioux Housing Authority. U.S. Attorney Ted McBride said the warrant was related to an investigation of programs funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Salway, the tribal president, signed an order late Monday suspending Jacobs for a second time. He suspended Jacobs in October for allegedly mismanaging tribal funds, but a tribal judge later reinstated him.
Jacobs has denied the allegations of mismanagement of tribal or federal funds.
Most of the tribe’s 12,100 members live on the reservation, which consistently ranks as one of the poorest areas of the nation.