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Anti Hate-Crime Legislation For LGBT Waits For Approval

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A hate-crime amendment for LGBT people is being proposed for the Oglala Sioux Tribe. But the tribal council won’t vote on it yet because it’s stuck in the Law and Order committee. The push for an hate crime amendment follows recent legalization of same-sex marriage. Proponents of law gave presentations to each of the nine districts to get community feedback. 

 

Eight of the nine districts voted yes on the hate-crime amendment. This week, that community input reached the Law and Order Committee's desk. That’s the last step before it’s sent to Tribal Council for a final vote. The Committee is made up of ten district council representatives for  the Pine Ridge Reservation. At least five members need to be present to send it forward. 

 

Garfield Apple is a Councilman for the Wounded Knee district--Where locals voted in favor of the law. 

 

“Anytime we make a law that affects the people, they have to know about it.” 

 

Apple says hardly anyone knows about the amendment yet. He says employees with the Community Action Program, or CAP, need to distribute information to more individuals so they get a say. 

 

“They just go to their local executive boards their feelings and then they go to a district meeting and either vote yes on it or no.”

 

When proponents of the amendment showed up to present tribal member’s feedback, Apple left, leaving four committee members. The meeting was ended early. 

 

Monique, or ‘Muffie’ Mousseau is a proponent. She watches District Chairman Apple walk through the rain into a car.

 

“I’m kind of really frustrated. I only got probably about an hour and forty five minutes sleep this morning and we’ve been running around getting our resolutions and out packets prepared for this. It’s not been an easy road.” 

 

Mousseau says they’ll keep attending meetings until it passes through the Law and Order Committee. She says the yes votes from each district prove there is enough support to bring the amendment to a full tribal council vote.