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General News    H2'ed 2/4/17

Legitimizing Plunder at Standing Rock Part II

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The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe operates on three budgets. The Indirect Cost Budget is federally funded and pays the salaries of employees through the General Service Administration or federally funded grants. That budget is approximately $4.5 million.

The employee positions that are paid are: half of the Tribal Chairman, Vice Chairman and Council's salaries, (the other half of the elected government's salaries is paid by Casino Revenue), Contracting, Enrollment, Executive Director and Executive Secretaries, Finance, Grants Management Office, Human Resources, IT, Legal Office, Mailroom, Maintenance, Property and Recording. GSA only pays salaries of positions that are Tribal Government support.

The average salary for these positions is $20,000 to $30,000. Tribal Council Salaries of the 17 council representatives and the Vice Chairman is $52,000. And the Tribal Chairman's salary is $80,000. So $26,000 of the tribal council member salaries is paid with Indirect Cost Budget and $40,000 of tribal chairman's salary is paid with IDC budget. The Chairman of the tribe and his right-hand-man, the Executive Director, are the head supervisor's of all tribal employees. Fiscal oversight over all tribal finances is under the Chief Finance Officer of the tribe in the tribal finance office.

The tribe owns 2.3 million acres of land, held in trust on behalf of the 15,000 plus enrolled tribal members. The Tribe's General Fund Budget is $3.6 million and this money is used to provide services to tribal members through employees that serve the people or directly to District Government.

In 2010, the tribal council passed a resolution placing a moratorium on any oil and gas production on the reservation, until the tribe's codes are updated and an Oil and Gas Code is written. The tribal council did this because council members and program directors as well as general membership, saw how much damage the Three Affiliated Tribes was dealing with; damaged roads on the reservation and environmental degradation. Standing Rock was apprehensive that soon oil and energy producers would look to Standing Rock, so the moratorium buys the tribe time to get environmental protection laws in place.

The Casino Revenue Budget is the tribe's largest budget, and the most the tribe has ever generated is $14 million. The Casino Revenue Budget is the profit from the Grand River Casino near Mobridge, S.D. and the Prairie Knights Casino, near Cannon Ball, N.D.

Due to the DAPL protest, the tribe's casino revenue is now under $9 million. The Casino Revenue Budget pays for tribal loans taken for infrastructure on the reservation, including district streets, housing construction and renovation, water infrastructure, the construction of Headstart buildings in the districts, and the tribe's insurance for the districts. It is used to match federal grants for Disaster Recovery, Food Distribution, and matching grants for other tribal programs.

Since the tribe has made assurances on paying the loans for the infrastructure projects, and used collateral to guarantee the loans for the infrastructure projects, the tribe will prioritize its obligations to the banks in order to keep the tribe in good standing.

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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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