Standing Rock’s Tribal Council declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.
Tribal Council Members took action against issues that they said are destroying the welfare of families in Standing Rock’s communities.
“With regards to Methamphetamine and dangerous drugs and further resolve the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Council hereby declares that a state of emergency exists on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation with regard to missing and murdered Indigenous people,” said Tribal Council Vice Chairman Ira Taken Alive.
Judge Michael Swallow outlined to the council an increase of arrests associated with drugs, especially meth.
Also, that two people are sitting in a tribal jail for intending to sell two pounds of meth within the nation’s boundaries.
“Substance abuse is a symptom of trauma. So, therefore, they’re easy targets for human traffickers,” shared Nola Taken Alive, a Council Tribal Member.
Another major issue: the rise in missing Indigenous people, not just women.
Just days ago, a search party began looking for Kara Mauai.
Her mother and the brother of Olivia Lone Bear both spoke to the council about what it’s like to have a loved one missing.
“We’re still going through it with Olivia. We still don’t know what happened with her. But you know I feel that the more the families stand together it shows unity and support,” shared Matthew Lone Bear, brother of Olivia Lone Bear.
With resources being scarce, the council is asking for help from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies to tackle the drug epidemic that has led to a rise in violence, human trafficking and missing, murdered tribal citizens.
“The awareness needs to be brought forth by the federal government as well as the state government because it seems and appears that most of the attention is being brought aware by Indigenous people,” shared Taken Alive.
A banishment code was also discussed as a method to resolve the issue with problematic people.
This means violators will be removed from Standing Rock and not allowed to return if they have been found as a threat to the peace, health, morals and welfare to the tribe.
After someone is sentenced to banishment, they will not be allowed to return to the nation.
This ruling only applies to those who break the law, and will not affect any of their descendants or direct family.
Some of the terms used in the state of emergency were changed, like missing and murdered Indigenous women was swapped out for missing and murdered and missing Indigenous people because they believe it’s not only women who are going missing.
For the next 10 days, they will be open for public comment and at the end of that time, they will vote to enact this declaration.