indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Native Sun News: Indian inmates in South Dakota win lawsuit

Filed Under: Law | National
More on: inmates, native sun news, oglala sioux, south dakota
     

The following story was written and reported by Evelyn Red Lodge, Native Sun News Correspondent. All content © Native Sun News.

Inmates win tobacco lawsuit
By Evelyn Red Lodge
Native Sun News Correspondent

SIOUX FALLS – Plaintiffs Native American Council of Tribes (NACT), and Blaine Brings Plenty and Clayton Creek, both Lakota, have overturned a total ban of religious tobacco use in penal institutions in South Dakota. The defendants were Douglas Weber, Warden of the South Dakota State Penitentiary and Dennis Kaemingk, Secretary of the Department of Corrections.

Following a March 2012 trial in which the plaintiffs prevailed, the “court ordered the parties to meet and confer about the terms of a narrowly tailored tobacco policy.” As the parties failed to agree on the policy, post-trial briefs were submitted and the final remedial order was entered.

According to last month’s remedial order, the court found “a complete ban of tobacco in South Dakota penal institutions is a substantial burden on the exercise of the Native American religion.”

The plaintiffs sought the use of tobacco for ceremonial purposes after it was banned in late 2009, according to United States District Court documents.

Misunderstanding and use of non-traditional Lakota input from various Native American medicine men and leaders led to the total ban, according to the plaintiffs’ post trial brief.

This was not the first time non-traditional Lakota input was used to ban ceremonial use as the brief states, “In 1998, the smoking of tobacco was banned at all South Dakota prisons.”

“That same year, the sacred pipe used by NACT was taken away by the prison administration, apparently at the urging of a staff member who was also a Christian minister.”

However this time, documents say Weber had concerns for security as it was alleged that some Native inmates separated the tobacco from the traditional Lakota pipe mixture and took tobacco intended for prayer ties and flags to barter with other inmates.

According to one court order, the background of the case and facts stated say, “The majority of incarcerated Native Americans in South Dakota are affiliated with the Oglala band of the Lakota Sioux people. Brings Plenty and Creek are both members of (their respective) Lakota tribe.”

With this information the court gave more weight to “the testimony of traditional Lakota healer Richard Bernard Moves Camp, and Creek and Brings Plenty to establish plaintiffs’ religious beliefs regarding the use of tobacco.”

Further, Moves Camp testified that taking tobacco away from a Lakota person would be “almost like taking a Bible away from the church. It’s like saying you can go to church, but you can’t use the Bible.”

In addition, the former President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, John Steele wrote a letter of support of ceremonial tobacco use that was not considered in the course of the ban – even though most of the Native inmates are from the Oglala Lakota Tribe.

As for non-traditional Lakota, the defendants had relied on the advice and testimony of several Native leaders, but the court found they were members of Native religions who vary from traditional Lakota practices.

The plaintiffs explained in their brief, “Richard Two Dogs, Roy Stone, Bud Johnston and Breon Lake, witnesses called by the defendants at trial, are all members of the Native American Church or other churches that are different from the traditional Lakota religion practiced by Brings Plenty and Creek.” As per the remedial order, the mixtures used for ceremonial purposes will be reduced to one percent tobacco by volume.

Further, the ceremonial mixtures “used for tobacco ties and prayer flags must be ground” except for the mixtures used for smoking the sacred pipe. All flags and ties are to be burned following the ceremonies.

“The mixtures used during the ceremonies will be provided (by) volunteers who are cleared by the (Department of Corrections).”

--Inmates who practice the Native American religion will be allowed to help make the ties and flags.

Other security measures will also be taken but are basically the same as prior to the 2009 ban.

(Contact Evelyn Red Lodge at welakota@yahoo.com)

Copyright permission by Native Sun News


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tribal sovereignty foe slated to join Donald Trump's administration (12/7)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin denies speculation of 'privatizing' tribal land (12/7)
Sen. Barrasso passing on gavel at Senate Indian Affairs Committee (12/7)
North Dakota county wants 'Sheriff Kirchmeier' account off Twitter (12/7)
Indian Health Service plans to award $1.4M in Native youth grants (12/7)
Rosalyn R. LaPier: How Standing Rock became a site of pilgrimage (12/7)
Lakota Country Times: North Dakota county sheriff hit with lawsuit (12/7)
Vi Waln: The #NoDAPL movement reminds them we are still here (12/7)
Native Sun News Today: Lakota artist designs 'Water is Life' tipi (12/7)
Ivan Star Comes Out: The lust for oil and the #NoDAPL movement (12/7)
Common Dreams: Veterans ask for forgiveness at Standing Rock (12/7)
Tiffany Midge: Don't shame Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for pipeline (12/7)
Editorial: A 'false victory' on the Dakota Access Pipeline easement (12/7)
Nick Zaiac: Let tribes decide what to do with their own homelands (12/7)
Redding Rancheria 'excited' about bid to move casino to new site (12/7)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe defends right to use land for gaming (12/7)
Dakota Access resumes push to complete final portion of pipeline (12/6)
Dave Archambault: It's time for water protectors to return home (12/6)
Kirk Francis: Tribes must remain vigilant despite #NoDAPL victory (12/6)
Tracy Loeffelholz Dunn: Numbers behind Standing Rock's victory (12/6)
Supreme Court schedules oral argument in tribal immunity case (12/6)
Congress passes long-awaited land bills for two tribes in Oregon (12/6)
USDA awards first $10M loan to help consolidate Indian land base (12/6)
Native Sun News Today: Lone Indian Republican wins in Montana (12/6)
Lakota Country Times: New rule curbs waste of tribal resources (12/6)
Clara Caufield: Indian Country in good hands with young leaders (12/6)
Non-Indian gaming firm fighting Wilton Rancheria casino project (12/6)
Chukchansi Tribe casino dispute leads to lawsuits in federal court (12/6)
Indian Country cheers historic decision on Dakota Access Pipeline (12/5)
Tribes and Dakota Access headed back to court for hearing in D.C. (12/5)
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp again parts with Indian Country on #NoDAPL (12/5)
Dave Archambault: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe thanks many allies (12/5)
Mark Trahant: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe continues to defy history (12/5)
Democracy Now: Thousands of veterans deploy to Standing Rock (12/5)
Dana Lone Hill: Lakota prophecy warns of our water turning black (12/5)
James Giago Davies: Finding the real enemy in the #NoDAPL fight (12/5)
Senate committee ready for hearing on Cobell buy-back program (12/5)
Bureau of Indian Affairs extends comment period on probate rule (12/5)
Native American Farming and Ranching panel gets new members (12/5)
Class III gaming compacts for five tribes in California take effect (12/5)
Lakota Country Times: 'Tanka Bar' company recognized as leader (12/5)
Native Sun News Today: Northern Cheyenne leaders inaugurated (12/5)
Harlan McKosato: Don't believe everything you read on Facebook (12/5)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Why election was dangerous for Indian people (12/5)
Indian Republicans associated with Trump seek trust land changes (12/5)
Quinault Nation prepares for journey to Standing Rock encampment (12/2)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.