Native Village
Youth and Education news
January 2010 Volume 1

Crow Creek: Stolen Lands, Wind Farms and Taking a Stand for the People
Written by: NDN News,
Condensed by Native Village

South Dakota:  The United States continues to violate centuries of Indian treaties and the their obligation to honor them.  The most recent case is on the Crow Creek Reservation established in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.  The Reservation includes 125,591 acres.

The Crow Creek Tribe is one of America's poorest Reservations. 78% of tribal members live below the poverty line.

On December 3, 2009 the Internal Revenue Service unlawfully auctioned off 7112 acres located on Crow Creek Sioux Tribal lands. The land is owned by Crow Creek Tribal Farms, Inc. a Tribal corporation and distinct legal entity from the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.

The IRS seized and auctioned the land to recover $3,123,789.73 dollars in unpaid employment taxes.

The Crow Creek tribe filed a motion for a temporary restraining order. The document blames the Bureau of Indian Affairs and an error in their tax advice. The BIA had told the Tribe that, as a federally recognized Tribe, Crow Creek  did not have to pay federal employment taxes.

But the IRS is not a government agency. It is an agency of the International Monetary Fund.


Tribal Chairman Brandon Sazue says that the IRS has seized the personal income taxes of every tribal council member elected since this occurred. Because so much money is owed, he doubts the council will ever see tax refunds again.  

The IRS has continually seized funds from the Tribe's bank account assets.  At this point, it is unknown how much money was seized from the tribe or council before the auction.


These 7112 acres of Tribal lands rank 3rd in the nation for wind energy potential. The Tribe had plans to create a wind energy farm. This would be an economic solution to lift the tribe out of impoverished conditions.


Fort Thompson (on Crow Creek) is home to one of the largest electricity sub stations in America: Big Bend Dam.  When Crow Creek lands along the Missouri River were flooded to build the dam, the Tribe was promised a lifetime of free electricity. But they have never received it.  Instead, the Tribe pays some of the highest electricity rates in the state.


Nearly 80% of tribal members live below the poverty line. Many are unable to pay their electric bills. Even in - 0° weather, the electric company turns off their power for non payment -- even if a payment plan has been made.  This is illegal. Unfortunately, the power company continues to get away with it.


The Can-Do organization documents and offers videos about these events and the land seizures on its website


The Tribe has 180 days from the date of seizure to buy their land back, with an additional penalty of 20% interest.

The Tribes appeal Court date has been set for March 29 - 30, in Rapid City South Dakota. If the ruling is not overturned, the new precedence could allow for continued land grabs on Tribal Lands. 

Since December 7, Chairman Brandon Sazue has been camping on the land in a travel trailer. While temperatures dip far below 0°, he vows to stay there until the land is rightfully returned to the Tribe.

“No Trespassing” signs have been posted around the perimeter of the seized property, warning the IRS and other agencies to keep out.  Signs were prepared with prayer ties in all four colors.

Sazue invites supporters from all nations to join him in a show of solidarity and support.  Many have already responded to his call.

Sign the online petition, “Crow Creek Sioux Land is NOT For Sale.” . .

can do:

NDN News Film: Crow Creek Land is NOT for Sale!


Updates and more info can be found on or email NDN [at]

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