During a couple of days on the road, we here at The Price of Liberty are watchning an example of the evils of government right here in South Dakota.
In a panicked response to angry activists and people, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has passed laws to STOP “Christian” churches from worshipping on the Oglala Lakota Nation, until (still undeveloped/ unpublished) forms of registration are distributed, completed, and approved by the tribal administration. And they banned a Baptist missionary for “hate speech” while linking him to another religious group (not his at all) which was protested and threatened with being burned out by a “protest” crowd. To FURTHER outcry (from a different group of people), the very next day the council delayed the ban for a few weeks.
What is going on?
We think it is yet another battle in the war on human rights – especially free speech, the right of assembly (peaceful or not), and freedom of religion. Another battle – another front – and an important one, even given the location and small number of people involved.
We here at TPOL first read about this at the Lakota Times, a weekly publication, on the 28th (Thursday). We have found a number of stories in other “AmerInd press” – publications owned, operated, and primarily intended for American Indians (AmerInd). News aggregators didn’t pick the story up until Saturday: an article from the Native News Online on the OST Tribal Council action on the 26th (Tuesday), followed up with a second article (Native News Online) about the Council rescinding the “temporary suspension” on the 27th (Wednesday).
As of 1300 hours MT on Saturday, neither Freedom’s Phoenix NOR Freedom Net Daily/Rational Review News Digest seem to have carried the story. We’ve passed the info on to Tom Knapp.
We probably don’t need to explain why this is bad. But for the sake of completeness, let us look at the OST Tribal Constitution, Article XII – Bill of Rights. “The Tribal Council in exercising its inherent powers of self-governance, shall not make any tribal law or enforce any tribal, state or federal law that: (a) Prohibits the full exercise of Lakota culture and spirituality or any other religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition for a redress of grievances;” and “(h) Denies to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws or deprive any person of liberty or property without due process of law;”
Of course we see immediately how this closely follows the US Bill of Rights. The Tribe is a “dependent” sovereign nation. This means that it is under the jurisdiction of the US Constitution, including the Bill of Rights – and the court expansion of those limits on government that the Bill of Rights documents and protects.
The Oglala Lakota Tribe has violated its own Constitution. And denied the rights of its own members under BOTH constitutions. Even though the suspension of activities is delayed for some weeks, it is still on the books – and still a denial of basic human, constitutionally-protected rights. “Banishment” of this young preacher is almost certainly denial of equal protection. The mob demanding “something be done” wants church buildings and mission centers destroyed (and has threatened to do so if the tribal council does not do it) – again, a violation of rights.
The people who are part of the mob and testified to the Council – and then spoke to news outlets – make it clear that they consider “christian religion” to be evil, violent, antithetical to the Lakota way of life, and intolerable. Note this is despite at least 1/2 of the enrolled members and MORE than half of residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation being christians of some type: mostly Roman Catholic and Episcopalian, followed by Lutherans and Baptists and other denominations. That does NOT matter to the hatemongers who stampeded the tribal council into the panicked reaction.
Regarding the panicked “recantation” the day after the panicked UNANIMOUS ordinance was passed: In reality, most of the ordinance was kept but the the suspension mandate was delayed until possibly October. The rest of the rules remain – and many activists are livid, demanding not just that ALL [Christian] churches be destroyed and threatening violence against them if the tribal council does not take action, but that anyone having anything to do with them also be driven out. The accusation is that christianity was spread and is dominant because of violence – aggression – and therefore must be rooted out. At least out of Pine Ridge Reservation.
In support of the “justice” of demanding that the churches (not just missionary activities but ALL “christian churches”) register, at least one council member claimed that the State of South Dakota requires churches and missionaries to register. Fortunately (as we have confirmed through extensive research on an unrelated affair over the past several weeks) this is , say again, NOT the law in South Dakota – which at least tries and claims to respect human rights.
Why is this important? It is coming to your State, your community – or is already there. More and more enemies of liberty are claiming that christianity is nothing but a form of, and tool of white supremacy, racism, and oppression of people of color and other minorities. These enemies care nothing for your rights, or my rights. And they will and DO resort to violence – even while proclaiming how peaceful they are.
One quick aside or footnote: Honestly, the Lakota Times seems to have the most objective and honest reporting – not a surprise given its establishment by the esteemed Tim Giago, an Oglala journalist himself who just passed away last week at age 88. We here at TPOL disagreed with him on many, many things, but he was an honest and peaceful man and a good journalist – especially in this time and place.