Published November 5, 2016
EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA — In a scathing letter dated November 2, 2016 and addressed to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Secretary of the Army, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier is calling for the immediate release of Commander and District Engineer of the Omaha District, Colonel John W. Henderson.
In his letter, Chairman Frazier write: “…in light of Colonel Henderson’s completely unprofessional, insulting, and perhaps illegal conduct, I demand his immediate removal from the Omaha District as he is unfit to handle a sensitive issue of this magnitude and has a proven incapacity to deal respectfully and maturely with Indian people.”
Chairman Frazier was writing in response to the militarization of law enforcement that was approved by Colonel Henderson. When Chairman Frazier called Colonel Henderson to as a jurisdictional question, the chairman was met with statements by Henderson accusing American Indians of slaughtering a buffalo, which has not been proven.
Further, Chairman Frazier says Henderson “accused the Tribe of violating the Rivers and Harbors Act because several demonstrators had constructed a hand-made bridge to cross the small tributary.”
The letter continues: “The fact that he did not understand the difference between individual demonstrators (who may or may not be Indian, let alone members of my Tribe) and the sovereign government of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe should give all of us pause in light of the vast powers this man wields over Indian lands and Indian lives. What is equally appalling is that Colonel Henderson is charged with the management of the Missouri River water system, which only exists because it was created at the expense of Missouri River tribes impacted by the Pick Sloan project. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe alone had over 104,000 acres of tribal land flooded.”
As of Saturday, there has been no response from the officials at the Pentagon.