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Related Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | U.S. | Womyn
Abortion Banned On Pine Ridge, Cecilia Fire Thunder Removed From Presidency
by Steven Argue
Thursday Jun 15th, 2006 9:31 AM
After taking a courageous stance against the ban on abortion in South Dakota, Cecilia Fire Thunder, first female president of the Oglala Sioux tribe, has been attacked by members of the Tribal Council, who are attempting to remove her from office. On May 30 the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council banned abortions on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and suspended President Fire Thunder for 20 days until an impeachment hearing can take place.
1096412970_large.jpg
Defend Oglala Sioux President Cecilia Fire Thunder

Background:

Abortion has been outlawed in South Dakota:
http://www.ntimc.org/newswire.php

Outraged Cecilia Fire Thunder, President of the Oglala Souix Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, has voiced her defiance saying, "To me, it is now a question of sovereignty, I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction."

After taking a courageous stance against the ban on abortion in South Dakota, Cecilia Fire Thunder, first female president of the Oglala Sioux tribe, has been attacked by members of the Tribal Council, who are attempting to remove her from office. On May 30 the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council banned abortions on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and suspended President Fire Thunder for 20 days until an impeachment hearing can take place.

The complaint is that Fire Thunder improperly used her title to solicit donations for the clinic. Fire Thunder has said that donations for the proposed private clinic have been unsolicited, though she has welcomed nationwide support. The surprise vote was called when Fire Thunder was out of town getting an annual checkup of the cochlear implants that restored her hearing. Read more at indianz.com/News/2006/014231.asp

Cecilia Fire Thunder has lost popularity on the reservation due to her austerity policies that she has done in the name of “fiscal responsibility”. While demanding the restoration of federal money for programs where federal funding has been cut on the reservation, Liberation News does not endorse Cecilia Fire Thunder’s policies of austerity and job cuts.

In addition Liberation News does not take a position on the accusation by Cecilia Fire Thunder’s political opponent Russell Mean’s (of AIM) that she is not eligible to hold her position because she lives outside the reservation.

Liberation News does, however, strongly condemn the banning of abortion on the Pine Ridge Reservation as an infringement on the sovereignty of women over their own bodies, just as forced sterilization was a crime against women on the reservation in the past. Likewise, Liberation News opposes the suspension and possible impeachment of Cecilia Fire Thunder due to the fact that the issue of her courageous stand for the right to abortion has been mixed into the reasons why her leadership position is under attack.

Join the call by reproductive rights activists to send a letter to:

Oglala Sioux Tribal Council
PO Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770-2070
fax: 605-867-1449
phone 605-867-5821

and send a copy to
President Cecelia Fire Thunder
PO Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770-2070

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Steven Argue
Thursday Jun 15th, 2006 11:33 AM
Above link to Liberation News appears with contact info for Cecilia Fire Thunder, but is not connected to her.

It was meant appear something like this:

Article first appeared at Liberation News:
http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news
by cp
Thursday Jun 15th, 2006 3:18 PM
Probably there is a really complex dynamic going on there. In the 70s and 80s, there were doctors at the federal clinics who were sterilizing people against their will. It's a big scandal that never really saw justice. Women would come in to give birth, and the doctor would snip their tubes without telling them and they only figured it out later on. So a lot of people on the reservations in S.D. are very wary of outsiders who seem to support birth control.
There was a passage about this in 'Lakota Woman'
by Steven Argue
Thursday Jun 15th, 2006 3:41 PM
I took up this question of forced sterilization in the article stating, "Liberation News does, however, strongly condemn the banning of abortion on the Pine Ridge Reservation as an infringement on the sovereignty of women over their own bodies, just as forced sterilization was a crime against women on the reservation in the past." You are probably right about some of the impact forced sterilizations has had on views of abortion, but I think this is the way to pose the question.

Cecilia Fire Thunder, however, is not an outsider in support of birth control. She is from Pine Ridge although her exact residence does seem to be in dispute.

Another major contributor to this problem is that for so many years Native children were kidnapped from the reservation and schooled by missionaries where they were forced to accept the religious beliefs of their kidnappers.

The exact outlook of the majority of people at Pine Ridge on this question is something I do not know. I do, however think that writing the Tribal Council on behalf of the right to abortion could possibly help.
by Steven Argue
Thursday Jun 15th, 2006 3:46 PM
President Fire Thunder's supporters are organizing on the reservation. They would like letters, especially from indigenous people, to the tribal council in support of President Fire Thunder and opposing the tribe's ban on abortions. Message should reach the council before Monday, June 19.
by Steven Argue
Thursday Jun 15th, 2006 11:26 PM
I forgot when I wrote this not to identify Russel Means with AIM, the legitimate members of AIM have said in no uncertain terms that Russel Means is not a member:
http://www.aimovement.org/moipr/onrussellmeans.html

They also distance themselves from Ward Churchill and his inflammatory statements trying justify the 9-11 attacks (or really statements made to discredit AIM):
http://aimovement.org/mckiernan.html
by Important to remember
Monday Jun 19th, 2006 11:02 PM
When she came to power, she cleaned house in order to help tribal finances, and now she is paying the price. Read more here:
http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096412970

The Lakota need to resolve this, not outsiders. But- the Lakota are not apart from the rest of us, what happens to them ultimately happens to all, and we should act accordingly.
by Steven Argue
Monday Jun 19th, 2006 11:56 PM
As I stated, "On May 30 the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council banned abortions on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and suspended President Fire Thunder for 20 days until an impeachment hearing can take place." In other words she has been removed from her office for 20 days, a very serious move and a bad omen, but as has just been pointed out again, possibly not a permanent removal.

The ban on abortion in South Dakota and now on the Pine Ridge Reservation is an infringement on the sovereignty of women over their own bodies. As a revolutionary internationalist I will take the side of women being oppressed whether their oppressor is Governor Mike Rounds or the Lakota Tribal Council, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Iraqi puppet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The people who asked for these letters are not outsiders, just as those who ask for solidarity against the repression of the Mexican government in Chiapas are not outsiders. As I stated earlier: “President Fire Thunder's supporters are organizing on the reservation. They would like letters, especially from indigenous people, to the tribal council in support of President Fire Thunder and opposing the tribe's ban on abortions. Message should reach the council before Monday, June 19.”

I noticed there is something wrong with the link I posted in the article to the article “Women’s Rights Under Assault, Abortion Outlawed In South Dakota
http://cleveland.indymedia.org/news/2006/03/19361.php