Take That, South Dakota

Via Her Twistiness, the president of the Oglala Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota throws down the gauntlet:

The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women.

“To me, it is now a question of sovereignty,” she said to me last week. “I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.”

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23 comments for “Take That, South Dakota

  1. Joe
    March 22, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    This put a smile on my face.

  2. Raine
    March 22, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    That is awesome! She is my hero.

  3. hedonist
    March 22, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    In case anyone is interested in calling, I found two phone numbers on two websites:

    Sovereignty is not to be played with, these are our people,
    this is our land and this is not a game. Call OST President, Cecelia Fire Thunder at (605) 685-6005 or (605) 685-5597.

    Mitakuyepi, Iyokipiya Nape Ociuspapi

    Chairman: Cecelia Fire Thunder
    PO Box 2070
    Pine Ridge, SD 57770-2070
    Phone (605) 867-5821
    Fax (605) 867-1449

  4. Erin M
    March 22, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    Take that, indeed. :)

  5. March 22, 2006 at 7:06 pm

    Will it work? The abilities of states to regulate what goes on within reservations seems clear– here in California, at least, Native American casinos are regulated by the state.

  6. J.J.
    March 22, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    Hell yeah :) Kick ass. I will support her any way I can.

  7. ginmar
    March 22, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    From kathrynt at livejournal who called President Fire Thunder of the Oglala Sioux herself here is the contact info.

    She says……
    I called the Office of the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge, and spoke with Ms. Fire Thunder herself. (In case you haven’t seen it, this is in reference to http://www.indianz.com/News/2006/013061.asp)

    If you want to mail donations to the reservation, you may do so at:

    Oglala Sioux Tribe
    ATTN: President Fire Thunder
    P. O. Box 2070
    Pine Ridge, SD 57770

    OR: and this may be preferred, due to mail volume:

    PO BOX 990
    Martin, SD 57751

    Enclose a letter voicing your support and explaining the purpose of the donation. Bear in mind, the Pine Ridge Res is not exactly dripping with disposeable income, so do consider donating funds directly to the tribe as well as specifically for this effort.

    For email contact, you can contact the president at:

    firethunder_president AT NOSPAM yahoo DOT com
    cc:vbush AT NOSPAM oglala DOT org

    That is Ms. Fire Thunder’s personal email address; I have received permission to post it here. For the sake of record keeping, do cc: the listed address on all correspondence; that’s her official secretary.

    She was frankly kind of surprised that a white girl from Seattle was calling to express support, and even more surprised that the news had spread so far so fast. She’s likely to get deluged with screaming hate mail soon, so get your support in fast. Send email with good thoughts if you can’t send money.

    ETA: Yes, please, dear God, link it anywhere and everywhere!

    She’s probably going to be getting shitloads of hatemail and God knows what else, so let’s do some good, okay?

  8. March 22, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    How much you wanna bet at least one legislator said, “We should have killed them all when we had the chance?”

  9. Sierra
    March 22, 2006 at 8:29 pm

    Ginmar, forgive my ignorance, but what does ‘NOSPAM’ translate to? @nospamyahoo.com?

  10. Anne
    March 22, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    ScottM, I would assume that the president of the Oglala would know if SD had jurisdiction over the reservation….

  11. zuzu
    March 22, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    From what I understand, the state has no jurisdiction over the reservation, but the feds do.

  12. March 22, 2006 at 9:57 pm


    *does happy dance and purrs loudly*

  13. geoduck2
    March 22, 2006 at 10:29 pm

    That’s fabulous!!!

    I’ve been wondering if the reservations could do this since the SD law passed.

    So can the state be barred from closing down or regulating clinics on tribal land? Oh, if this works that will be excellent!

  14. Harrison
    March 22, 2006 at 11:28 pm

    Well done, Madame President! (I assume that’s the proper way to address her?)

  15. kate
    March 22, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    I feel excited, but it is checked. I don’t have much faith that the asses in the White House, or those in Congress, specifically the BIA, or those in the fundie churches will let her do as she states without them applying a gargantuun smear campaign, possibly threatening to tighten up on all tribal regulations nationwide as punishment against the Souix nation. Like the psychopath who puts a gun to someone else’s head and threatens to kill them instead of just you if you should not fall in line.

  16. Chet
    March 22, 2006 at 11:50 pm

    Ginmar, forgive my ignorance, but what does ‘NOSPAM’ translate to? @nospamyahoo.com?

    It translates to “cheap spam protection from page-scanning address harvesters who, lacking human intellect, are completely unable to remove a fairly obvious token before parsing the address.”

  17. March 22, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    It is wonderful that someone has the courage to stand up to the idiots in South Dakota. S.D. has no jurisdiction in those tribal lands anyway, so they can’t even retaliate.

  18. March 23, 2006 at 12:21 am

    I have nothing but praise for Cecilia Thunder Fire and her decision not to take South Dakota’s indefensible abortion ban lying down. But it’s important to remember that a Planned Parenthood clinic on the Pine Ridge Reservation is a band-aid, it is not a complete remedy. The real problem with anti-abortion legislation, in South Dakota and elsewhere, is displacement: the outsourcing of abortion to other states, to other countries, or even to private, unsupervised bedrooms thanks to do-it-yourself online manuals.

    For a glimpse of South Dakota’s future we need only to look across the Atlantic at Portugal, which has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe (although, it should be noted, at least Portugal’s abortion prohibitions provide for an exception in the case of rape).

    Today, roughly 40,000 Portuguese women have illegal abortions each year, according to women’s rights groups. Thousands more go abroad for the procedure, including to neighboring Spain, where the abortion law is interpreted far more liberally.

    Moreover, pro-choice groups assert that hundreds of Portuguese women end up in hospitals each year because of complications resulting from illegal abortions. “The women who have abortions are the poorest, the youngest, the oldest, the violence victims,” said Maria Jose Magalhaes, a Porto-based member of UMAR, a women’s rights lobby group. “The others — the middle class, the literate women — they have other possibilities,” including access to private clinics staffed by competent medical personnel.


    Cecilia Thunder Fire is doing an admirable thing, stepping up to the plate in an attempt to assist the South Dakotan women who would suffer most from the abortion ban: the socially and physically disadvantaged, and the victims of violence and abuse. But she should not be forced by the state of South Dakota to bear that burden alone.

    South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, in his statement accompanying the signing of the anti-abortion legislation, said the following:

    In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society. The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them.

    It’s an admirable goal, to protect “the most vulnerable and most helpless” in society, and it is one that South Dakota is failing at. Miserably.

  19. March 23, 2006 at 11:26 am

    This is wonderful news indeed, but I’m confused on one thing. Maybe someone here has some insight.

    Native Americans have always been at the mercy of IHS for health care (unless, I suppose, they can afford private care, not often likely) . IHS has only allowed twenty abortions in the last 25 years to Native American women.( IHS has a rape and life threat clause. )

    So, if procuring an abortion has always been difficult for Native American women, as this would indicate, why haven’t they put a Planned Parenthood on the res before now?

    Unless they have decided simply that, like casinos, PP can become a revenue source for the Oglalas? I am assuming that prior to now, perhaps a lack of support for the idea was a deterrent, but now, with potential revenue, there is support?

  20. March 23, 2006 at 11:47 am

    Indian Nations’ lands are not subject to state control. They are subject to federal jurisdiction– witness the 1973 showdown between the FBI and AIM at Wounded Knee, among other incidents throughout the time that Europeans started plunging around grabbing territory in this hemisphere.

    This is why states back East– like Georgia– wanted to expel Native Americans from within their boundaries in the 19th century. This is land within their boundaries that they cannot control.

    According to federal law as it applies to “domestic, dependent nations” such as Indian tribes, as long as the federal government allows family planning clinics, then the Pine Ridge reservation cannot be blocked from building a family planning clinic within even a state such as South Dakota.

    I say good for her. Chairman Fire Thunder is taking a principled stand against irrationality. Frankly, under treaty obligations set up when the Sioux ceded their claims to most of the Plains in exchange for money secured by the federal government in a trust fund for the Lakota people’s benefit, the Sioux people should have funds for such a clinic. Not to mention electricity and telephone service and running water.

    What? You didn’t know that the money is missing? Try typing “Indian trust fund lawsuit” into google. You’ll get an education there, my friends.

    But back to the subject at hand. My check is in the mail.

  21. March 23, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    i answered my own question. Twisty’s blog has a comment on it showing she was just elected. It all makes sense now!

  22. March 24, 2006 at 1:48 am

    I love it!

Comments are closed.