- By Native News Online Staff
PIERRE, S.D. — The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe welcomed the news on Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange denied by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem to hold a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore to celebrate Independence Day.
The Republican governor sued Secretary Deb Haaland of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior because the department denied Noem’s permit request for the fireworks display.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe entered into the lawsuit filed by Governor Noem against the Secretary Deb Haaland of the Department of Interior.
On Wednesday, in a 36-page ruling, Judge Lange, an Obama nominated federal judge, ruled that Noem did not provide a sufficient argument to grant a preliminary injunction.
“This Court fully understands the State's position and why this suit was brought,” wrote Lange. “But under governing law, the State is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims and has not met the requirements” for interim legal relief.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier said Noem made misleading statements regarding tribal consultation in her lawsuit.
“Of course, we knew from the beginning that the Governor of the State of South Dakota did not make accurate statements to the court regarding participation of the Cheyenne River Sioux Sioux Tribe in the process of consultation. This is another example of the Governor overreaching her authority on federal land and treaty territory of the Great Sioux Nation,” Frazier said after Wednesday’s ruling.
“This decision will greatly enhance the ability of all the people to gather medicine and pray without the intrusion of explosions or lights. Our sacred land and sites will remain at peace while still being the sanctuary for the animals that can still call the Black Hills home or rely on the sanctuary for their journeys.”
Big Fire Law and Policy Group LLP represented the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in the lawsuit.
“In light of the high burden in this case, which the state did little to meet, Governor Noem’s lawsuit does not appear to have been a serious effort to win an injunction. Instead, it looks more like a piece of political theater aimed at exciting the Trump-Noem base. We are dismayed that Governor Noem has used the federal court to jeopardize our religious freedoms and our beautiful American landscape in service of her political ambitions,” Big Fire attorney and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal citizen Nicole Ducheneaux commented:
“The Lakota people have been fighting to protect our sacred Black Hills for nearly 200 years. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is committed to finishing this fight in the Eighth Circuit and beyond if Governor Noem wants to take it there,” Ducheneaux continued.
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