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General News    H1'ed 2/2/17

Legitimizing Plunder at Standing Rock Part I

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An inquiry to the tribe revealed Sacred Stone Camp is not entirely on private allotted land. It is on US Army Corps of Engineers land and on a fractionated allotment of which the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has interest.

At a January 4, 2017 informational meeting at Standing Rock Tribal Headquarters, Allard publicly stated that they have repaired 44 cars with some of the money, but did not offer a dollar amount. The email conversation said additional funds were used to "help elderly travel home," and "hotel for media," among other projects.

According to Allard, Sacred Stone has four paid positions: a bookkeeper, a CPA, a "youth media and media liaison," and a 501 (c) (3) to develop a permanent camp. After extensive searches, the 501 (c) (3) number is not publicly available.

When asked for an EIN number, Allard was unable or unwilling to provide it. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN, especially if they have people on a payroll. Allard also made it clear that "our focus is the people who live in Sacred Stone Camp," and not the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

When people donate to the Standing Rock Protests, they assume that they are donating, some with great personal sacrifice, to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline and assist members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Obvious questions arise.

Why did none of these funds reach the three people who froze to death outside of the camp, but on reservation land? Are they not worthy of protection? Who is responsible, if anyone? This is not the first year that people have frozen to death on reservation land because of lack of fuel for heating, and it would seem that people are making donations in order to alleviate suffering on the reservation. Are people aware that donations are going to travel expenses and hotel rooms for media?

The Lakota People's Law Project exists under the umbrella of the Romero Institute, an interfaith team of attorneys, organizers, and researchers from Santa Cruz, CA. Romero is registered with Charity Navigator 501(c)(3) as a tax-exempt organization, but has no rating. The latest Form 990 return from December 2015 indicates an income of $1,087,902. $476,353 is listed as salaries, with $450,000 spent by the Lakota People's Law Project. $75,000 for the "chief counsel was (sic) invited to be a guest lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz. With the back up of our team he taught a class on the Trajectory of Justice in America." Currently, the main focus of the Lakota People's Law project, according to the website is to "defund DAPL."

An email was sent to Sara Nelson, Executive Director, Romero Institute and the Lakota People's Law Project (LPLP), along with a follow-up that was answered by Press Director Ardy Raghian. Raghian promised an accounting from the organization's Treasurer by email that same day. It has not arrived, but Teton Times will publish it when and if it is received.

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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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