Oglala Sioux Tribe issues state of emergency in response to homicides, meth

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner on Monday declared a state of emergency, pointing to the “rising number of homicides and meth use … which directly affects the Lakota way of life and balance of society.”

It is unclear what this declaration of an emergency means for the thousands of people on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The proclamation requests immediate help from several federal agencies; asking them to “deploy” investigators and other resources to assist the tribe in preventing meth-related crimes and homicides.

The proclamation points to problems such as the high rate of unemployment and poverty in Oglala Lakota County.

“We live in a constant state of crisis and trauma,” Bear Runner said in a Facebook post. “My office will update as to immediate future plans to help defend our way of life.”

There were two recent homicides on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Friday, Casey L. Weston, 30, was killed at a Pine Ridge home. No suspect has been arrested at the time of this story’s post. In December, Sloane Bull Bear was killed in a Pine Ridge home. Colton Bagola, 26, has been arrested and charged with Bull Bear’s murder.