Yankton Sioux: Oyate Duta Awa Yankapo
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Yankton Sioux: Oyate Duta Awa Yankapo

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May 24, 2008

Oyate Duta Awa Yankapo, or Protectors of the Red People, looks at the recent events surrounding the construction of an industrial hog farm that is completely surrounded by the Ihanktowan, or Yankton Sioux Nation.

Since April 15th, 38 Ihanktowan peacefully blocking the construction have been arrested by state law enforcement officers acting outside of their jurisdiction on behalf of a company that is itself, acting illegally.

Shelley Bluejay Pierce writes, “The hog farm is located near Marty, South Dakota and is only a few miles away from many private homes, tribal facilities and institutions, including a Head Start center, schools, hospital, church, the tribal hall, and the Ihanktowan Community College. Additionally, there are ceremonial sites nearby including [two] Sun Dance grounds and [five] sweat lodges. The hog farm is in the vicinity of the town of Wagner, wetland areas, the Ogallala Aquifer and a creek that eventually feeds into the nearby Missouri River.”

“When construction began in early April, the community attempted to block the completion of the hog farm over concerns of dramatically decreased property values, health and environmental safety issues.” At that point, the state troopers began making arrests, some of which you’ll see in Oyate Duta Awa Yankapo.

Shelley continues, “the Yankton tribal council [also] passed an exclusion order against Long View Farms, of Hull, Iowa, and asked the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) to confirm its jurisdiction over the road, which would have denied access to the building site.”

According to Indian Country Today, the BIA has done just that. On May 1st, the sent a letter to Charles Mix County, reminding them of the 1994 deal that signed the road over to them (the BIA). This confirms beyond all doubt that the hog farm is illegal. For that matter, so were the arrests.

Despite this however, construction of the hog farm continues.

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