Medicine Wheel Alliance Newsletter

chicken@astro.UMD.EDU (@TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU:owner-native-l@TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU)
11/8/93 3:24PM

Original Sender: Michele Lord <!!milo>
Mailing List: NATIVE-L (

[I'm posting this for Nicol Price who does not yet have
access to a computer network. PLease, contact her for further
details. Thank you. -Michele]

Medicine Wheel Alliance/Associated with Northern Cheyenne
Cultural Commission

PO box 37, Huntley, MT 59037 406-348-2079-nicol
PO Box 763, Lame Deer, MT 59043 477-6215-tallbull


Time to catch you up on what has taken place over the summer at the
Medicine Wheel and Medicine Mountain.
In June six signatories signed a short term MOA put together by the
Big Horn Forest Service (BHFS) after we had spent 2 months working
and commenting on an MOA [Memorandum of Agreement for the short
term management of Medicine Mountain and the Medicine Wheel in
1993] put together by the Advisory Council. The versions were so
close and time was getting short. The version put out by the Advisory
Council was a tighter version.
MOA stipulations were: a gate would be placed at the junction of
MW road and FAA road, a small information center placed here, with
a small parking lot and most people would be required to walk the
1-1/2 miles into the Wheel Site itself. The handicapped and
elderly would be allowed to drive the road to the south, with no
more then three cars permitted at one time. Interpreters would be
hired and in place by July 1. Hours would be from 7:00 to 7:00,
seven days a week. Hiring was to have Native American input and
sensitivity training was to take place for all interpreters. Time
frame was to be from July 1 to Nov. 1, with 12 days set aside for
NA [Native American] ceremonial use between July 1 & Nov. 1 and the
12 days of solstice and equinox. With a monitoring meeting to be
set up each month for members of the signatories and forest service.

It sounded good, but this is what happened.

The first three interpreters were 'rehires' of seasonal white
people, which happened in May. Then two Native Americans were hired
from Denver & Navajo country. Seven NA who applied from this area
were turned down. Towards the end of July, a northern Cheyenne
Lady was hired, also. By mid August the two NA hired from Denver
had left and by Sept. 29, the Northern Cheyenne had left. Only the
northern Cheyenne lady had NA input into her hiring and to date
the Forest Service is still out of compliance with the MOA for the
way hiring took place. The sensitivity training amounted to 3 hrs,
one afternoon spent with Elders. The chief interpreter insisted
that the Native Americans tell all the theories attached to the
Medicine Wheel and then they could tell about their cultural
affiliations. There have been many confrontations on this point and
as yet the 'Indians' have not won. The Chief Interpreter considers
the 'Custer Battlefield' his sacred ground. The NA input that
should have taken place has been very hit or miss. The gate across
the road is 'not' closed. Anyone who wants to drive by the Wheel
is allowed to do so. The gate is never locked. The FS closes all
roads the time in timber cuts but this one they just can't do.
There have been good things. The visitation will be cut from 70,000
visitors last summer to more around 30,000 this summer. Maybe a
third of the people coming are not walking in. The ones that do
over 90% are happy with the walk and having some interpretation
taking place. So what we have been telling the Forest Service all
this time was right!
Now for the other 10%. The Community of Lovell has been another bag
of tricks. There were many abusive articles and comments out of
this community this summer. By the likes of Cal Taggart, Reggie
Croft, Jay Ellis Ramson and a new group call the 'Big Horn
Mountains Medicine Wheel Assoc.' of which these same people are
part, and then, remember the former Dist. Ranger, Pete Chidsey. Oh
did he come out of hiding this past summer. He was and it was ugly.
There were several of these. At first I thought we were dealing
with Wise Use people but as things proceeded to get uglier,
realized that we were dealing with White Supremacists and the like.
Many hate calls were made late at night to people, threatening lives,
that kind of thing. Its been a long summer to say the least. This
same group 'did' their own survey up at the Wheel, stopping cars
and giving them false information. Sent people up to harass the NA
interpreters during their work hours. This same group is very
concerned about 'their' first amendment rights.
So thats how the summer went. Its been long and to be honest
extremely hard on all of us. Something so many of us have spent so
much time trying to make better and then must deal with articles
from the likes of Pete Chidsey, really is disheartening. We may
know "Why" we didn't get any place the first two years of this
Where are we now? That's a good question. The BHFS was to start
the process towards a long term management plan 60 days after the
MOA was signed. To date we are still waiting for that to happen.
The Short Term MOA states a Long Term MP will be in place January
1994. To date the Forest Supervisor, Larry Keown, has not even
bothered to start the process let alone look like he'd like to see
this finished. He is balking at supplying the funding for the next
two parts of the ethnographic study and beginning to suspect that
he to maybe a very right wing appointment into this position. So
MWA is still waiting for the first meeting date to be put forward.
It will not be easy, the group from Lovell wants full signatory
rights along with the rest of the groups and we are sure they will
do everything in their to disrupt the meetings. It looks like an
even uglier and longer winter.


We are waiting the appointment of Mr. Tallbull to the Advisory
Council on Historic Preservation at the National Level. This would
be a great appointment to help further the cause for preservation
of Sacred Lands. He is one of three being considered so keep
your fingers crossed.
The Environment Studies Dept of U of M accepted another of our
proposals to analyses the snowmobile use on Medicine Mountain and
grazing allotments. The Long Range Management plan they did for us
last semester was submitted in August and we are asking for 70% on
one allotment for no grazing. We didn't leave much out but felt we
would ask for it all then would have areas to mitigate from.
MWA also submitted a Rest Stop Alternative to the Medicine
Wheel Dist. for the Rest Stop/snowmobile warming hut. Its a
disturbed area along the highway a quarter mile from the turn off
going west from the Med Wheel Road. Its higher up then the one
planned for by the community of Lovell. This should be out some
time yet this fall of early winter.
MWA will start meetings with the South Dakota Rec. Dept (SDRD)
on Bear butte. We have decided to go to different Tribes and get
their input. Many surveys were passed out this summer by us and
SDRD but so far only $ have been returned. If anyone should want a
copy of the survey please send a stamped envelope and we will mail
one out.
The Sweet Grass Hills has had a moratorium placed on all
mineral leasing for two years until a better assessment is done by
BLM. We have our congressional delegation of Williams and Baucus to
thank as well as Sc. of Interior Babbitt. This will help with getting this
declared a National Historic District. Also, the Mineral Policy
Center, Bozeman, helped in this and the MWA was a hidden partner on
106 compliance issues on this.
Tongue River Railroad is still on hold and we have heard
nothing further on this project since last summer.
The Dry Fork Hydro Project on the Big Horn is now in FERC's
hands and they have not issued a permit for construction. FERC
is requesting more information in different areas. Some of us have
gone into this area this past summer and what a beautiful
wilderness area it is. It will be a real shame to see it turned
into a dam and hydro project.
There were many blowdowns on the Big Horns this summer which
took out several million board feet of timber. The spirits were
Devils Tower has turned into a real problem child. We are now
on our third acting superintendent in 5 years. A climbing
management plan is out for this site and our stand on this is for a
name change and no climbing allowed. MWA has finally done a FOIA
request to get some information on meetings that have taken place.
Some of us will be going to Devil's Tower this next weekend for a
There are always enough projects to keep us busy. We have done
much journeying around the country to speak on these issues and
spent countless hours on the phone doing the same thing.
We will keep you informed as things start to happen. We will need
petitions and letters for the reststop/snowmobile warming hut and
may need comments on the a long range management plan.

Nicol Price

The Medicine Wheel Alliance is hoping that with your spiritual and
financial support we can continue our work for another year. Join
the Medicine Wheel Alliance today with a $30.00 contribution toward
preserving a wonderful area and a spiritual haven for all of us.

The Board of the Medicine Wheel Alliance

Bill Tallbull, Chairman John Hill, Sr., Vice-Chairman
Floyd Youngman Haman Wise, Sr.
Phillip Underbaggage Pat Chief Stick
Curley Bear Wagner Liisa Ellis
"Sam" Hartley Jo Smith
Coordinator, Nicol Price

Michele Lord + If you have come here to help me,
+ you are wasting your time.....
+ But if you have come because
+ your liberation is bound up with mine, + then let us work together.
Aboriginal Woman

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