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General News    H1'ed 2/2/17

Legitimizing Plunder at Standing Rock Part I

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Do you want to make a "gift" to an organization with absolutely no accountability, or would you rather work with an accredited 501 (c) (3) charity?

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of American Indians. 81 Federal Register 26826, 26830 (May 4, 2016). Under the Indian Tribal Government Tax Status Act of 1982, 26 U.S.C. 7871 et seq., Indian tribes are treated like states for purposes of federal income, estate and gift tax deductions for charitable contributions. The only "official" site for the Standing Rock Tribal Government (Stand With Standing Rock) does not solicit, but was set up as a means to accept free-will donations that were bogging down the PayPal account on the official Standing Rock Tribal Website.

To date, SRST has taken in $6 million that has been subsequently earmarked for legal defense in the lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers and DAPL, waste management at the camps, and budget shortfalls incurred because of the closure of Highway 1806 and local boycotts of the casinos. The annual Prairie Knights Casino intake was approximately $14 million in 2015 and dropped to near $8 million in 2016. The budgets and spreadsheets will be discussed in general terms later in this article. (See Sidebar)

Where Is the Money?

Over $6 million has been raised through a handful of other private sites, including the Sacred Stone Camp, Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund, Last Real Indians, Unify, and the Lakota People's Law Project. These private donations are not reflected in, nor will they be included in, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's budget outlays. The $6 million for private sites in this investigation does not include monies raised on the Internet by thousands of other entities which use the Standing Rock name to raise funds for anything including, but not limited to, cameras, film projects, gasoline, wood, food, legal services, travel expenses, public relations, tiny barns for horses, yurts, tipis and other commodities too numerous to mention. It is anyone's guess what the total amount is and how to account for it.

A set of questions about budgets and charity registrations was sent to the Sacred Stone Camp, Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund, Last Real Indians, Unify, and the Lakota People's Law Project. To date, the Sacred Stone Camp, the Lakota People's Law Project and the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund have replied by email.

As of this writing the "Official Sacred Stone Camp" has raised over $3 million through a GoFundMe campaign. "We are asking for financial support for water-propane - food and blankets for the camp," according to the website.

After an initial email response, followed by a request for a partial redaction, Sacred Stone's spokeswoman Ladonna Allard expressed her concern that the information would somehow benefit DAPL proponents. We are honoring her request for a partial redaction. According to Allard, the GoFundMe account was initiated "'by a man named 'Howaste,' for Sacred Stone." (Howaste means Good Voice in Lakota). The $3 Million is being managed by her bank and will be used to build infrastructure on what she says is her privately owned land.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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