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P.O. Box 13521
Minneapolis MN 55414
612/ 721-3914 . fax 612/ 721-7826
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Bull Conner Lives On in Yankton, South Dakota

April 16, 2008

Press Release

Selma, AL – Wagner, SD – Bull Conner Lives On!

Sheriff Ray Westindorf, Sheriff of Charles Mix County in South Dakota and the SD Highway Patrol has initiated a police occupation of Indian Land on the Yankton Reservation. An out of state Hog Farm Corporation has set up shop on the Reservation against the wishes of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, local farmers and community members. The Hog Farm is surrounded by Reservation land and the only access road is under the jurisdiction of the US Bureau of Indian Affairs.

On April 15th Yankton Sioux Tribal Members began a peaceful protest against the Hog Farm and were met immediately with illegal law enforcement presence and arrest. To date twenty-two people have been arrested on trumped up charges and there has been a total over reaction of law enforcement numbering up to 52 SD Highway Patrol Cars with 22 more Highway Patrol cars waiting in reserve. Some patrol cars from as far away as the state of Iowa. The Highway Patrol has set up snipers with rifles on top of two command posts they have established near the scene. The State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction on Indian land and the highway leading to the Hog Farm is Indian Land where Tribal members and others have been arrested while peacefully protesting. This amount of law enforcement presence is unprecedented for a peaceful protest and violates the legal Jurisdiction of the Yankton Sioux Tribe.

Sheriff Westindorf is carrying on the Spirit of Bull Conner in Selma, Alabama during the Civil Rights era of the nineteen sixties. The Sheriff’s son was awarded the electrical contract for the building of the Hog Farm. Is law enforcement now being used to protect out of state corporate interests and family members of the Sheriff in the State of South Dakota? Corporate Hog Farms have been outlawed in many states in the US. How many Highway Patrol cars have been dispatched to White Peoples’ protests in South Dakota? Racism is alive and well in South Dakota! The Peace and Justice Center has been notified and has dispatched observers to the scene with Catholic Nuns vowing to protest and be arrested if necessary to bring attention to the violation of Human Rights of the Yankton Sioux Tribal Members.

The Dakota American Indian Movement has observers at the scene and if the community decides to invite the National American Indian Movement to the reservation to protect the People from the SD Highway Patrol we will respond with a call to all of our members in the Upper Midwest to travel to Yankton to help the community in any way possible.

The International Indian Treaty Council has dispatched attorneys to the scene to document the Human Rights Violations which will be presented to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues meeting, beginning in New York on Monday April 21, 2008.

Contact numbers for the American Indian Movement are:

Clyde Bellecourt, National AIM
612- 251-5836

Dennis Banks, National AIM
763- 242-4242

Bill Means, International Indian Treaty Council
612- 386-4030