When the bodies of two more Lakota men were found on June 8th, 1999 and the law enforcement of Sheridan County Nebraska seemed to either not care, or were possibly covering up for one of their own, the people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation demanded justice. When there was little or no investigation into the deaths of these men, nor any investigation into previous deaths of Indian people in this area, the brother of one of the slain victims, Tom Poor Bear, and others, organized a peaceful march to the town of White Clay, Nebraska, just two miles from the South Dakota border, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They also asked the leaders of the American Indian Movement and supporters to come and stand with the Oglala Lakota people on this issue. People on the internet began to show their support by sending email messages, FAX messages and calling the governor of Nebraska and other state officials. Various news media were also contacted and asked to cover the event. A Governor's aide was quoted as saying the Governor would not meet with the Oglala Lakota organizers.
Announcement of the MARCH FOR JUSTICE
White Clay is a border town with a population of just 22 people, but they have four liquor establishments that combined, sell more than four MILLION dollars worth of alcohol every year. Most of it to impoverished Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge. High unemployment rates bring with it an increase in alcohol abuse. The U.S. unemployment rate is around 5%. The unemployment rate on Pine Ridge Reservation is between 75% to 80%. A very large contributing factor, but add to that the utter convenience of four liquor stores within walking distance, and in those stores are proprietors willing to "run a tab" for people who are addicted. That is probably what cost these two men their lives. One of these proprietors threatened one of those who died over an unpaid "tab". He said if it was not paid, then the "boys" would take care of the debtor, or maybe the Deputy Sheriff would. A town of racists, making a living from people they hate, protected by a racist law enforcement. The very breeding ground for murder.
The march took place, and it was a peaceful and determined march into White Clay. They stopped at the place where the two bodies had been found to pray for the slain Lakota men, then continued the march into the town.
There are many stories of how it happened, but it is believed by most that people already in the town, people who had been drinking, started to trash VJ's market. In the process, a fire or fires were started inside the market. Newspapers and TV reporters focused on this act of violence, even reporting that the store burned to the ground. It didn't. The organizers neither planned nor condoned what happened, and indeed it pulled the focus from what they wanted people to see. The media forgot immediatly that men had died, that racist law enforcement had ignored those deaths, that the racist store owners had at least contributed to those deaths. The media thought it was more important to tell people about the cases of softdrinks that were thrown into the street. The violence was unfortunate, and should not have happened, but it was blown so out of proportion as to overshadow the DEATHS of two men, and the INJUSTICE of what followed!
An Eyewitness account of this first MARCH FOR JUSTICE
Another march was planned for the following Saturday, July 3,1999. This time, an invitation was extended to Nebraska residents and other interested people, to join in the WALK FOR JUSTICE along with the Oglala Lakota Oyate. Open Invitation for the WALK FOR JUSTICE. Also, this time it was stressed that NO violence would be tolerated. AIM security would accompany the marchers, and one of their tasks would be to keep any sort of violence from beginning.
On June 28, 1999, Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns announced he would meet with Pine Ridge Indian Reservation leaders and Sheridan County, NE, elected officials sometime during the next two weeks.
On June 29, 1999, Pine Ridge- Dale Looks Twice, Jeanette Eagle Hawk, and Oliver Red Cloud hosted a one hour radio show on KILI radio at about seven PM. The show was called "Walk for Justice", to commemorate the walk from Pine Ridge to White Clay. Dale stated the show will air until the killers of Wilson Black Elk and Ron Hard Heart are brought to justice, until they stop selling alcoholic beverages in White Clay and until the land that White Clay sits on is returned back to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
On July 1, 1999, Gov. Mike Johanns said he has started a dialogue with Oglala Sioux leaders and will assemble a team to study alcohol sales in Whiteclay and other troubles between the Nebraska border town and the Pine Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Also on July 1, 1999, a very important and moving message was distributed from LPDC; Message from Leonard!
On July 2, 1999, authorities evacuated the town's 22 residents, closed down its businesses and sent in 100 troopers Friday on the eve of a second protest march by the Oglala Lakota people. Governor Mike Johanns had ordered the evacuation and sent in the troopers.
On July 3, 1999, the group of marchers once more made their way through the streets and down the highway toward White Clay, Nebraska. They again stopped to pray at the site where the bodies of the two Oglala men had been found. As they approached the town of White Clay, they were met with a solid line of shoulder to shoulder Nebraska State Police, Sheriff's Deputies, and other law enforcement people, all wearing riot gear, blocking the route to White Clay. They even had snipers on the rooftops. There was also a piece of yellow tape stretched across the road in front of the "lawmen". The marchers were informed that they were not allowed to cross that tape. Tom Poor Bear, Webster Poor Bear, Ben Black Elk, John Yellow Bird Steele, Frank LaMere, Allen Shepherd, Russell Means and two others disregarded the "order", and crossed the line marked by the tape. They were arrested for "failure to obey a lawful order". Several things spring to mind about these actions by the Nebraska "lawmen". They were violating the civil rights of all the marchers by not allowing them to walk down a public highway. They would not allow a peaceful demonstration to take place. One other thing that came to the minds of the organizers, according to Treaty Law, White Clay stands on land that belongs to the Oglala Lakota people, so the Nebraska State Police had no jurisdiction to arrest anyone.
Update - as of 07/26/99 additional (more serious) charges have been brought against these people. They were informed today 07/26/99 that "Obstructing a Police Officer" charge has been added.
Treaty of 1851
Treaty of 1868
Text version of the 1868 treaty
U.S. Supreme Court regarding Treaty of 1868 - Argued March 24, 1980
The Dawes act text
U.S. Supreme Court decision based on Dawes - involving Sioux Tribe(s) Argued October 6, 1986
A Presidential Executive Order issued in 1904 is also involved, but I do not have the wording of it yet.
On July 4, 1999, the Oglala Lakota Nation declared its independence with the development of CAMP JUSTICE. Tom Poor Bear organized and set up the beginnings of the camp, and invited others to join with him there. Tipis were erected, and the camp is situated on both sides of the "border" between the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and the State of Nebraska. The Oglala Lakota Oyate have stated that the camp will remain until justice is served.
On July 5, 1999, the following appeared in the Lincoln Star Journal; "Within about 24 hours of reopening, beer store owners in Whiteclay, near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, shut their doors again Monday afternoon. Nebraska law enforcement officers had asked all businesses in Whiteclay, including those that sell beer, to shut down Friday to avoid conflict with native people who protested near the unincorporated town last weekend. Several stores had reopened Sunday."
On July 7, 1999 this update was recieved. Message from Oglala Lakota Oyate
Also on Wednesday July 7, 1999 President Clinton visited Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. "Clinton Offers Hope To Pine Ridge Indians. President Clinton Wednesday toured the poverty-stricken Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the scenic but desolate Black Hills and vowed to find a way to ``fix this'' economic crisis that has driven so many to despair."
On July 10, 1999, the "WALK FOR JUSTICE" once more marched into White Clay, after pausing at the site where the two Lakota men were found, and offering prayers. This time however, as they entered the little town, they produced eviction notices which were posted on four liquor establishments and 1 grocery store. The law enforcement present, backed off and allowed the notices to be posted without incident.
On July 11, 1999, due to confusion caused by people other than the organizers, attempting to collect donations to sustain CAMP JUSTICE - it became necessary to issue a statement from the organizers as to declare exactly who was to recieve donations. Message concerning donations
One of the eviction notices served July 10th.
If you see this image on another website, know that it was stolen from this website, along with many of the words from this website.
Also on July 11, 1999, due to a lot of misinformation being sent around the internet, including confusion over where to send donations, AIM Arizona issued a statement from the organizers to clarify the situation.
AUTHORIZED INTERNET SOURCES
On Tuesday July 13, 1999, Whiteclay, Neb. - Gov. Mike Johanns walked into South Dakota with a few hundred Oglala Sioux activists Tuesday and sat in a shady grove of elm trees to hear demands for the immediate closure of all liquor stores in the remote border village.
Update on CAMP JUSTICE and the meeting with Governor Johanns
Update on CAMP JUSTICE and a declaration from the Oglala Lakota Oyate stating that the camp and the marches will continue until justice prevails.
On July 31, 1999 the TV show "America's Most Wanted" did a segment on the murders of these two Lakota men. If you have any information, you may leave a tip at this site. (or call 1-800-crime-tv)
On September 3, 1999 after negotiations with the Nebraska Task Force broke down, the Oglala Lakota organizers of CAMP JUSTICE issued this statement;
Update on CAMP JUSTICE and the meeting with Governor Johanns Task Force
On September 9, 1999 this press release was authorized by Tom Poor Bear to be posted.
Update on CAMP JUSTICE and the activities from the last march into White Clay
September 27, 1999 The reward for information leading to an arrest has been increased to $20,000. Black Elk and Hard Heart were last seen about 10:30 on June 6th walking from White Clay back to Pine Ridge. If you or anyone you know, has any information - please call the FBI's Rapid City office at (605) 343-9632 or Tribal Police at (605) 867-5513 in Pine Ridge, or Tom Poor Bear at (605) 867-5821.
On October 8, 1999 this press release was authorized by Tom Poor Bear to be posted.
Update on CAMP JUSTICE and the activities the residents of the camp have been participating in.
November 4, 1999 update. Tribal Council has said that this month, they will file an injunction in Federal court against the town of White Clay, Nebraska. The Wounded Knee District Council has written a resolution in full support for the agenda of Camp Justice and the White Clay issue. Oglala Tribal President, Harold Salway met for fifteen minutes with Attorney General Janet Reno in Washington.
December 1, 1999 update. Tom has received an invitation to speak with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The committee will meet with the Sheridan County, Nebraska Sheriff at 10:30 on Sunday December 5, 1999. After that meeting, they plan to proceed to Camp Justice, and then meet again in the Red Cloud Building at 1:00 pm. The official meeting will take place in Rapid City on Monday 6 December 1999, from 10:30 am to 9:00 pm.
My own personal view of this is; that by the commission members comming to White Clay, Camp Justice, and to Pine Ridge before the official meeting it might mean they are willing to actually listen. It has been a very long time since the camp was first established, but maybe someone has finally noticed that the people of Camp Justice are serious and are not going away.
December 6, 1999 update. Tom appeared before the U.S. Commision on Civil Rights today and gave this report. It raises the questions of why are there more than 100 unsolved murders - and not just unsolved, but UNINVESTIGATED! murders since 1973. It also raises the question of why are officials ignoring the law in regards to White Clay. Attached to the report is a letter from the FBI dated December 3, 1999. Although it addresses the search they just performed of the area where the bodies of Ron and Wally were found, the letter carries no case number, no contact information for investigators involved, and has no signature - and this search that they talk about in the letter took place SIX MONTHS after the murders took place!! And the search took place within a few days of the Commission for Civil Rights arrival in South Dakota to hear from the people.....
January 15th marked the 31st weekend of "March for Justice" to White Clay, Nebraska. and the establishment of Camp Justice. We are still waiting for answers, responses and action from officials in regards to all the unsolved murders and injustices.
January 16th, at 2:00 pm a grass roots group of over 100 Traditional Oglala Lakota representing a group of concerned Oglala Tribal members took control of the Red Cloud tribal building to protect files that is said to incriminate the Oglala Sioux Tribal Treasurer, Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs and several Oglala Sioux Tribal Council members.
The grass roots group consisting of; Lakota Traditionalists, which includes Chief Oliver Red Cloud, Lakota Spiritual Leaders, members of the Council of Elders, Headsmen, and many advocacy groups and individuals have asked Camp Justice to support this effort by taking a stand to address and help correct the many, many injustices, violations and corruptions occurring on our homelands and against our people.
Camp Justice update of 01/18/200
On January 6th, 2000 the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission granted liquor licenses to the liquor establishments in White Clay, Nebraska. The decision to renew the liquor licenses in White Clay reflects the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission's blatant disregard for the saftey an protection of the Oglala Lakota Oyate and the laws that guides the United States Constitution and it's local and state govenmental agencies.
An additional "Walk for Justice" is announced for February 9th, 2000 at 10:00 am.
Also a press release issued 02/08/2000 about the protest and current progress at Camp Justice. PRESS RELEASE Protesting Nebraska Liquor Control Commission for granting liquor licenses in White Clay.
A document referenced in the press release is the actual letter filed with Sheridan County as an official complaint against the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.
On February 10th, 2000 a second letter was filed in protest of the actions of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.
Update for 02/22/2000 On February 10th Camp Justice and supporters filed and sent the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission letters of protest for granting liquor licenses to White Clay, Nebraska businesses. We were not allowed to file the complaint in Rushville, as the Court Clerk stated that she did not know how we would do that, so we had no alternative but to file the protest letter as instructed by Forest Chapman, Director of the commissions complaint department, with the County Clerk on Friday. Mr. Chapman assured us, that the official letters of protest would be noted as filed before deadline, because we were prevented from filing on the deadline.
Sheridan County Judge Charles Plantz, is presiding over the hearing of our nine warriors who were arrested for trespassing. These warriors acted in sovereignty on behalf of the Lakota Oyate by crossing through Law enforcement lines to enter White Clay, Nebraska, per agreement with officials beforehand. White Clay legally belongs to the Lakota. Contrary to media reports, our legal representative stated on Friday the 18th, that Judge Plantz has not answered or filed an official ruling pertaining to the protests and arrests.
Members of Camp Justice are still assisting with security and supplies to help and protect the Sacred Canupa and protestors occupying the Red Cloud Building.
March 14, 2000 update
The 9 defendants who were arrested July 3rd, 1999, will appear before judge Charles Plantz in Rushville, Nebraska, on Friday, March 17, 2000.
March 24, 2000 update
The defendants remained SILENT before Judge Charles Plantz, so the Judge entered a plea of "not guilty" for them.
March 27, 2000 update
The South Dakota Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights will release its report, Native American in South Dakota: An Erosion of Confidence in the Justice System, at a press conference on Tuesday, March 28, 2000, in Sioux Falls, SD. http://www.usccr.gov/sdsac/main.htm The entire report can be found here.
April 12, 2000 update
The defendants have filed a motion for dismissal and/ or a change of venue. A Journal, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order from the County Court of Sheridan County, Nebraska, Case No. CR99-457.
April 24, 2000 update
Trial date postponed to Wednesday, (May 3rd) at 1:00pm for the Warriors charged with failure to comply with a lawful order by crossing into White Clay, Nebraska on July 3, 1999.
Statement to governor Janklow.
Camp Justice and members of AIM are sponsoring a walk, giveaway, memorial dinner and festivities in honor of Ron & Wally, and other deaths that have occurred throughout our nation.
Flyer for June 10, 2000 monument unveiling in memorial to Wally and Ron.
May 02, 2000 update
CAMP JUSTICE ISSUES INVITATION FOR JUNE 10, 2000 MEMORIAL
May 11, 2000 update
Tom's letter of May 5, 2000 to the National Council of Churches
With Respect and Honor
Tom called me on June 7th, and I asked his permission to post this in my own words. For several years I have attempted to make known the names of those who have died in the area of Pine Ridge, and their deaths still remain unsolved or uninvestigated. Deaths without justice.
Camp Justice update after the memorial.
Tom called today, June 12th to update us on how the memorial, the dedication of the monument, and the march to White Clay went on Saturday (the 10th).
Camp Justice update.
I talked with Tom and just had a few notes from the conversation to post here.
January 21, 2001 - more than 18 months with little to no word on any of the "investigation" by the FBI.
Camp Justice article in the Rapid City Journal
Please imagine if you can - two men brutally beaten and killed, bodies left on the roadside - but imagine that it took place in Chicago instead of Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Would the media stand by mute while 18 months roll by, and NOTHING is said by the FBI who claim to be investigating these murders? Why does the media stand by mute in this case? Is it simply because Ron and Wally are among many other Indians who have been murdered, all without a real investigation, all without a solution to the crime, all written off by the FBI "investigators" as unimportant?
April 20, 2001
Tom Poor Bear speaking engagement this coming Friday (April 27th) in Chicago Illinois at NAES College.
May 20, 2002
The camp has been abandoned. There is still no word of any progress on the part of the FBI "investigators". In fact, there is no outward evidence that they ever investigated anything.
Two more Indian victims forgotten by the system.
August 6, 2004 New beer license sought in Whiteclay while another revoked license holder has appealed to the courts to get his license reinstated following a felony conviction.
August 6, 2004
The Oglala Sioux Tribe opposes any new liquor establishments in the border town of Whiteclay, Nebraska.
Currently, only three stores are operating because one store recently lost its license. But that store is appealing and another one wants a license to open a new store.
Together, the stores sell millions of cans of beer to residents who cross the border from the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation. The tribe and a group called Nebraskans for Peace has been asking the state of Nebraska to crack down on liquor law violations in the town.
August 10, 2005
Pine Ridge gets OK to enforce law in Whiteclay
Nebraska and tribal leaders plan to sign the agreement Aug. 30. Then tribal officers from Pine Ridge reservation will be deputized and have the legal right to enforce Nebraska state law.
Another long list of unsolved/uninvestigated deaths
Another page about unsolved/uninvestigated deaths in nearby Rapid City, SD
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