LAN is in the midst of carrying out three campaigns:Stop Black Hills Logging, Wind Powering The Lakota Nation and Stop the Legalization of Alcohol Sales. We have chosen a campaign based design so we can track progress and success.
Black Hills Logging Campaign
The Black Hills National Forest is among the 10 most endangered forests in the nation. The forest’s extensive road system, the lack of roadless areas and the shortage of undisturbed, old growth stands threaten water quality, several wildlife species as well as Native American sacred sites.
- With more than 8,000 miles of roads, the forest has only 16,447 roadless acres and one small wilderness area comprising less than 2 percent of the total land in the forest. Two roadless areas have been released for logging.
- The forest is the largest timber producer in the Rocky Mountain Region although it is below the average forest in size.
- More than 120,000 acres have burned in the past three years, mostly in heavily logged and thinned areas.
- The Black Hills hold many sacred sites that have historically been used by the Lakota people and many that are in still use to this day.
Significant threats are posed by salvage logging and by fire “pre-emption” efforts allowed by the suspension of environmental laws. The Black Hills Fire Prevention Agreement, contained in a legislative amendment by Senator Tom Daschle, has allowed logging in both the Beaver Park Roadless Area and Norbeck Wildlife Preserve.
Norbeck Wildlife Preserve is the home of Harney Peak, which has long been a sacred site to the Lakota people. During the early spring we have the welcoming the thunders back ceremony which is an important ceremony in the cycle of our spiritual way of life.
Our goal is to stop the current logging & road building in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and to work towards the permanent protection of Harney Peak and the entire preserve. LAN is part of a growing coalition working to protect Norbeck Wildlife Preserve & other sacred places in the Black Hills. Other organizations involved in the coalition include:
- Defenders Of The Black Hills
- National Forest Protection Alliance
- Biodiversity Conservation Alliance
The movement to protect these sacred lands brings together the different strengths of the coalition members. LAN’s role is the mobilization of Lakota people to take action in protecting these lands. We will do this by creating easy and accessible ways for people to get involved and by using non-violent direct action where it fits best in the campaign.
Wind Powering The Lakota Nation Campaign
Twenty-three Native communities in the Great Plains have an estimated 350-gigawatts of wind energy power. The electrical generation capacity for the entire United States is 600-gigawatts of power. These twenty-three native communities have the potential to alter the current direction of global climate change through the development of wind. Eight of the twenty-three communities in the great plains make up the Lakota Nation. Lakota Action Network, believes that creating the infrastructure for wind development to happen in the Lakota Nation could open the door for Global change.
LAN is working with Honor The Earth and KILI Radio – the first and biggest Native American community-owned Radio Station in America – to bring alternative energy to Pine Ridge reservation.
The goal of this campaign is to create a small-scale wind turbine that will power KILI Radio, saving the station money and bringing alternative renewable energy to Pine Ridge reservation. This wind project, we hope, will serve as a model that can be repeated throughout our nation and other Indigenous communities in an effort to move towards self-sufficiency. As well, this campaign contributes directly towards increasing Lakota sovereignty as an independent nation, a significant part of ensuring our survival and securing our rights. As well, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil and non-renewable resources is central to creating a functioning economy that is based on sustainability with our environment and on Lakota way of life.
LAN’s role in this campaign is to lead grassroots community organizing and public education on alternative energy. One of the planned tasks is to create & distribute a petition to all the tribal members of Pine Ridge, explaining that Lakota people want to make the move towards renewable energy for our communities. This petition then will enable us to build the political momentum to influence the electrical providers of Pine Ridge to support the development of alternative energy on Pine Ridge. Will utilize this political momentum to urge the creation of policy for Pine Ridge so that we, as a people, can participate and so that our communities will benefit from the development of wind and other clean and renewable resources. The state of South Dakota is the fourth windiest state in America, and LAN believes it is our responsibility to harness such energy in a clean and sustainable way.
Organizations involved in the campaign include the Honor the Earth, KILI Radio, Lakota Communications, and Seventh Generation Energy Systems. LAN’s role is public education, on-the-ground community organizing and advocacy as well as the coordination of details for erecting the turbine.
Stopping The Legalization Of Alcohol Sales
The Pine Ridge reservation is facing a significant tribal debate between the elected officials of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the grassroots people. The issues at hand are should alcohol be legalized on Pine Ridge and should it be sold and marketed to create economic revenue?
LAN is saying no! Pine Ridge is one of the poorest places in america with a hovering unemployment rate of 60-80%. We beleive that pulling our people out of poverty & creating jobs is important. In order to accomplish that we need to work towards building a sustainable economy that works to protect and preserve Lakota values. We beleive that the legalization of alcohol is not working towards our goal of building sustainable and that is our main stance for being against the legalization of alcohol. Moreover, LAN believes it is unrealistic to assume that legalizing alcohol will ensure that the tribe would capture all of the revenue and convert it to jobs and services for the people. LAN seeks to stand on the moral high ground and to be accountable to our Lakota values.
LAN has been coordinating community organizing and coalition building with the existing movement to stop the legalization of alcohol. We have succeeded in stopping the existing vote to legalize alcohol, but the threat still continues. Our campaign involves continuing and broadening public education and advocating for more sustainable alternatives.