Charles Trimble: Dreaming of a new Oglala Sioux empire
The following story came to me in an email, and I imagine it’s making the rounds through the entire Indian Internet circuit even as I write this. I’m told the KILI Radio, the voice of the Pine Ridge Reservation, ran the story and it caused a reaction a lot like the “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast of Orson Welles back in the 1930s.

Here are some of the thoughts that came to me, but first the "news story:"
Congress Accidentally Gives South Dakota Back to Sioux
Washington DC (GlossyNews) — On Friday, in a late business wrap up, the US Congress gave back the state of South Dakota to the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Reports have surfaced that an obscure bill, which was supposed to cede a 100 acre parcel of land in South Dakota back to the Oglala Sioux, had a small typographic error in the official copy which, accidentally, ceded the entire state of South Dakota back to the Oglala Sioux.

President Obama signed the measure into law without reading it late on Friday and on Saturday morning, the Oglala Sioux began the process of taking over a number of Uranium mines and oil fields. A group of South Dakota Republican state legislators stated that the acts were illegal and the law obviously a mistake. However, federal lawmakers are now into a two-week recess and are not available to set the motion right.

When asked if he could rescind his signature, President Obama replied, “It isn’t my place to redo the work of congress. If congress has decided to give South Dakota back to the Indians, well, I support that. My signature stands.”

South Dakota governor M Michael Rounds reportedly said in a press conference Sunday morning that, “We all know this is a mistake. If necessary I will order out the National Guard to keep the unlawful seizure of property to a minimum.”

A spokesman for the Oglala Tribe remarks of Rounds, “Who is he? I think he might be a little out of his jurisdiction now. Technically, now the Chief of the Oglala Sioux Nation is governor of South Dakota.”

Democratic Congressman Tom Chase (D-SD) who authored the bill is quoted in the article as saying, “Well I was trying to help some Sioux by getting them their land back, I guess we just helped ALL of them instead.”

I immediately forwarded the email to former associates at the University of South Dakota to see who might be there to take over the new Oglala Lakota University at Vermillion (OLU-V). Sicangu faculty member Gene Thin Elk declined the suggestion that he change his enrollment to Oglala in consideration for the position of OLU-V President. But others suggested that he couldn’t pass the tough entrance test to be an Oglala anyway. So faculty members Chuck Swick and Jerome Kills Small, both Oglalas, are presumably top candidates.

Other suggestions are for South Dakota State University in Brookings to be turned into a tribal farm, since it was meant to be a farm in the first place. Other colleges like Black Hills State, Northern, and School of Mines, could be made junior colleges for red-shirting freshmen from Oglala Lakota College and Oglala Lakota University football and basketball teams.

Being a native son of the village, my first suggestion is to make Wanblee the new state Capitol. After all, Pierre has always been an embarrassment since nobody outside the state knows where it is or how to pronounce it (Peer, not Pee Air). It might take a while and a whole bunch of Federal stimulus funds to disassemble the Capitol building there and relocate it to Wanblee, but it would mean plenty of jobs for everyone, including disgruntled and disenfranchised white folks.

But a big question is what to do with the Rosebuds, Cheyenne River, Baja Standing Rock, Lower Brule, Crow Creek, Flandreau, and the Sisseton oyate, all of which are within the borders of the New Oglala empire and presumably will come under Oglala jurisdiction. Charging them rent would be unbrotherly and mercenary. We could institute a trust relationship with them, and have a Bureau of Other Sioux Societies (BOSS) and put Tim Giago in as Commissioner.

Another big question: what to do with all the non-tribal or non-Native Americans in the state. Brother Louie LaRose of Hochunkland suggests reservations for them, with boarding schools, commodities, plus a massive relocation programs.

After KILI Radio ran the story the word spread far and wide via word of mouth and Internet. Reportedly, messianic motivator and erstwhile Itacan Phil Stevens is planning a return from California to see if he could get Wyoming, North Dakota, and Nebraska added onto the bill, plus a permanent annual line item of $50 billion in the national budget.

If Stevens is successful getting North Dakota, the University of North Dakota should be told to cease and desist using the name Fighting Sioux or face a law suit in the new expanded Oglala Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Mario Gonzales presiding. That ought to put a stop to this interminable nonsense.

Russell Means, reportedly has started raising money in Hollywood to make a run for OST President (his 22nd attempt), but President Theresa Two Bulls doesn’t appear to be worried. By the way, what will she be titled in the expanding Oglala empire? Let’s see, she already has the title of President, so Governor would be a comedown. How about Empress Theresa “Huck” Two Bulls? Or Queen Huck would sound even more sovereign, more Oglala.

I know I’m getting carried away with all this. In fact, I have received several e-mails suggesting that I just cool it, that the report is all a big hoax. I knew that…..DUH!

But it is great fun to dream of dominion, and to take the role of conquerors and colonizers for a while before we let the dream evaporate, as so many of our dreams have over the years.

Why not dream on….

Charles “Chuck” Trimble, Oglala Lakota, was principal founder of the American Indian Press Association in 1970, and served as Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians from 1972-78. He may be reached at His website is

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