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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Meade County protest-May 02.

Received via email

PRESS RELEASE
MANDERSON, SD

The Intertribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte, Bring Back the Way, and the Lakota Action Network will gather on the steps of the Meade County Courthouse to protest the desecration of their Sacred Mountain, Bear Butte on May 2, 2006 at 9:30am. The Meade County Commissioners will have a hearing regarding the liquor application of the Glencoe, Inc. Campground on the outskirts of Sturgis, SD. The campground is near Bear Butte, and the site of an already enormous campground hosting thousands of bikers during the Sturgis Motorcyle Rally held every August.

"It's time to take a stand for our way of life, to demand justice," say Vic Camp and Nick Tilsen, organizers of the May 2nd Protect and Preserve Bear Butte Rally. "We need to protect our way of life, we need to protect our Sacred Mountain" says TJ Afraid of Hawk, also of the Intertribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte, "We are sending out a Call to Action to come to Sturgis on May 2."

The May 2 Protect Bear Butte Rally is planned as a peaceful gathering which will begin with morning star prayers at Bear Butte. On April 4, 2006, hundreds of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Ponca people gathered and marched on Sturgis, SD, closing down highway 34 on their pathway to the Meade County Courthouse. That peaceful protest was organized to oppose the liquor license application of Jay Allen, who proposes to build a campground, bar, diner, and ampitheater 2 miles north of Bear Butte. After hearing several dozen native nations, and a few Meade County residents all speak in opposition to the license based on location, the Meade Coounty Commissioners, after no discussion, voted unanimously to approve Mr. Allen's application.

Many Meade County residents were visibly upset that their elected officials approved the application. One resident asked the question "When is enough,enough?" She wondered why there should be another bar, when there are more than 50 already. The April 4 Rally to Protect Bear Butte participants all remembered the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated on April 4 decades ago and asked each other "Will the Meade County Commissioners vote to assasssinate Bear Butte and our way of life?" The vote was yes on April 4, who knows what the vote will be on May 2? Is the decision a foregone conclusion, as many felt the April 4 decision was?

"We did not expect to get justice from the Meade County Commissioners, we expected them to vote for capitalism and private property rights over our Human Right to Pray" said Debra White Plume of the Intertribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte, "and they did not waiver." According to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, attorneys have filed an appeal regarding the April 4 decision to approve the application of Mr. Allen. The Bear Butte International Alliance is doing a petition drive to put the issue to a referendum vote. Meade County residents are posing questions to the SD Dept of Transportation regarding use of the American flag, which the heavy equipment operators who are working on Mr. Allen's property, have been flying from their machinery, an occurence that some say is in response to the flag of the Cheyenne Nation, who hoisted their morning star flag on Bear Butte following their purchase of 120 acres of land on Bear Butte earlier this year.

For more information on the May 2nd Rally to Protect Bear Butte people can call Bring Back the Way at 605-455-2155, Intertribal Coalition to Defend Bear Butte at
605-455-2508 or 605-964-4642,or Lakota Action Network at 605-441-7485 or go to
www.bringbacktheway.com or www.defendbearbutte.org.

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