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Native Sun News: South Dakota tribes barred from Obama meet

The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Managing Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

Cyril Scott, the president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, was one of the several tribal leaders from South Dakota barred from a meeting with President Obama.

SD tribes barred from Obama meeting
Tribes wanted to bring up Black Hills land claim to Obama
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Managing Editor

PINE RIDGE –– President Obama’s historic visit to Standing Rock last week was celebrated across Indian Country. However, after days of speculation, neighboring tribes from South Dakota were barred from a round table discussion that the president had with tribal leaders from North Dakota.

“President Obama missed out on a real opportunity to have a face to face consultation with tribes in South Dakota,” said Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer. “We had several issues that we had planned on bringing to President Obama but that wasn’t allowed to happen,”

Earlier this year Brewer had walked out of a meeting with White House officials after he and several other tribal leaders were greeted by what he called “low-level” staffers during the highly publicized Cowboy and Indian Alliance protests in Washington D.C. against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Brewer and several other tribal presidents from South Dakota including Cyril Scott of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe had traveled to Standing Rock for the meeting and had met in the days before President Obama’s trip to decide which issues they felt were most important for Obama to hear in the short amount of time he had set aside to hear from tribal leaders.

The tribes from South Dakota were set to ask President Obama to publicly denounce the Keystone XL pipeline, continue to step up efforts to address suicide and language loss on reservations, and “most importantly” hear tribal perspectives about the Black Hills land claim.

On the day of President Obama’s arrival the South Dakota delegation was informed by Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II that only North Dakota tribes would be allowed to sit in on a closed door meeting with Obama and that he had been “overruled,” according to President Brewer.

President Brewer did not know who had overruled Archambault but he and several other tribal leaders from South Dakota felt that since the meeting had taken place on treaty lands of the Oceti Sakowin, the familial and political relationships between Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota speaking tribes, would have created a space for the South Dakota tribes at the table.

Representatives from Standing Rock and the White House did not respond to requests from Native Sun News for comment.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

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