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Mar 22 2006

From the You Go Girl Dept.

Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, has had it up to here with that woman-hating honky-ass abortion ban.

“To me, it is now a question of sovereignty [...] I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.”

43 comments

3 pings

  1. jjg

    FanTAStic!!! I love the stealthy concept of this.

  2. Kelley

    I LOVE her!!! Does anyone know how to contact her? I would like to thank her, and offer my support!!!

  3. hedonistic

    I just sent them a letter asking for her contact information. Details to follow!

  4. Pony

    Take note:

    ““To me, it is now a question of sovereignty.”
    She may be speaking about her sovereignty as a woman. Too. But I think here she’s referring to the sovereignty of the Oglala nation against the state of South Dakota.

    There’s also mention of “white males” in the native newspaper story.

  5. aeshannon

    Oh, I can’t even begin to express how much this rocks my world. The first thing I thought of when I heard about SD turning into a theocracy was whether/when the tribes would step up.

  6. femhist

    AMEN, sister. Show those bastards. And as soon as the plans are made, I trust, Twisty, that you will keep us apprised of where to send our hard-earned dough to support it.

  7. Kelley

    I forwarded the article on to the local board of Planned Parenthood. Maybe they can help at the federal/state level by lending the tribe the support of the organization.

  8. stekatz

    Gee, I don’t mean to sound crass, but this is a way better use of Indian land than some stupid casino.

    Hedonistic, do keep us posted. I’m ready to send her a check today.

  9. The Fat Lady Sings

    I certainly wish her luck. And I hope she gets enough support to do what she plans. I’m afraid that both state and federal government officials might use her intentions as a basis in which to rook her tribe out of their land – or at least control over it. This really could prompt some action out of the Supreme Court as well – especially if the question of abortion becomes entangled with Native sovereignty.

  10. ginmar

    Dude, I’m ready to send her anything. That is so damned cool.

  11. CafeSiren

    Right on, Cecilia! Keep on blamin’ in the free world.

  12. jami

    where do i send a check to ms. fire thunder?

  13. Betsy

    Do they take expats?

  14. jjg

    In another thread (where this was first mentioned), someone said she’d have to fight the patriarchy, of course. Looks like her chances are good:

    “decisive election victory of Cecilia Fire Thunder as the new president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. She defeated Russell Means by more than 600 votes in her first attempt and his third to seek the tribal presidency. Both Fire Thunder and Means agree that the women’s vote put the first woman president of the OST over the top. Fire Thunder asserts the vote represents the women’s power coming to bear on Pine Ridge. The tribe’s first woman president was quoted last week saying: ”The women have played an integral role in keeping things going. Going to school, getting degrees, working, taking care of the family (and winning the election) was, that’s the value of the Lakota woman re-elevated back to where it belongs.” (KOTA News) http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096409864

    Her first attempt at election – his THIRD!

  15. hedonistic

    Found two phone numbers on two sites:

    Sovereignty is not to be played with, these are our people,
    this is our land and this is not a game. Call OST President, Cecelia Fire Thunder at (605) 685-6005 or (605) 685-5597.

    Mitakuyepi, Iyokipiya Nape Ociuspapi

    Chairman: Cecelia Fire Thunder
    PO Box 2070
    Pine Ridge, SD 57770-2070
    Phone (605) 867-5821
    Fax (605) 867-1449

  16. Mandy

    Fantastic Hedonistic – thanks so much, will be contacting her right away. She’s amazing!! Sovereignty is not to be played with!!!

  17. Amber

    Simply awesome.

  18. Ancrene

    Oh, Twisty. Thank you. Honestly, that has made my day.

  19. Summer

    Yay! Yahoo!

    Is the above (15) the address to which we can send monetary donations?

  20. Luckynkl

    She defeated Russell Means by more than 600 votes in her first attempt and his third to seek the tribal presidency.

    Ugh. Russell Means. I lived next to his daughter when I lived in S. Dakota. I liked her just fine but he was a flaming asshole. We got into one day and my ex grabbed a gun and damn near shot him. The asshole stold my Mustang and took off with it with his son. I called the cops and they nabbed him before he even reached the bottom of the hill. I then had to go down to the cop shop to press charges. His son apologized all over himself and told me he was so sorry, but he had no choice. He had to do what his father told him to do. RM in the meanwhile was facing off with the cops and telling them he didn’t need to listen to any white man or abide by any white man’s law. Cripes, I thought for sure the cops were just going to haul off and shoot him on the spot. They knew who he was and there was no love lost between them. The cops asked me if I wanted to press charges. RM started getting all threatening towards me so I told the cops I didn’t want to press any charges against his son and to please let him go. But as for RM, I wanted this asshole put in a cage. I don’t blame him for being pissed off at white men, but I’m no damn white man. Truth be told, I don’t have any use for white men and their laws either. But I also don’t have any use for Russell Means. Neither do most of the people on the res. So it doesn’t surprise me in the least that RM was defeated by a woman by more than 600 votes.

    In the meanwhile, hat’s off to Ms. Fire Thunder and her brilliant thinking. You go, go, go, girl! It did cross my mind that the white boys and their laws have no jurisdiction or sovereignty over Indian land, so I breathed a sigh of relief that at least the women in the poorest location in this country wouldn’t be subjected to this tyranny. It never occurred to me tho that women on the res could set up a PPH for all women in SD and united in sisterhood against a common enemy, could give the white boys the bird. I would find it ironic if in the end, it’s none other than Native Americans that come back to haunt the white boys for their dirty deeds and put a wrench in their spokes.

    However, altho there is no jurdistiction by white boys over Indian land at a state or local level, the fed boys do have jurisdiction. So we’re not completely out of the woods yet.

  21. hedonistic

    I don’t know, I found it on the internet. I’d probably call first if I were you! I was keeping an eye on this to find out if the money should go through Planned Parenthood or through her . . . ?

    You know, I knew Russell Means, many years ago. Very much a politico. In fact there is an article saying he’s suing over the election or something like that. HM.

  22. Pony

    jjg

    Thanks for that story. It gives a glimpse of her character and resolve. It’s from 2004 though, and is not referring to the present situation.

    I wouldn’t be wading into native affairs, either, without a bit of asking first. If I were white.

  23. ginmar

    Here’s a bit more from Livejournal:

    From kathrynt who called President Fire Thunder of the Oglala Sioux herself here is the contact info.

    She says……
    I called the Office of the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge, and spoke with Ms. Fire Thunder herself. (In case you haven’t seen it, this is in reference to http://www.indianz.com/News/2006/013061.asp)

    If you want to mail donations to the reservation, you may do so at:

    Oglala Sioux Tribe
    ATTN: President Fire Thunder
    P. O. Box 2070
    Pine Ridge, SD 57770

    OR: and this may be preferred, due to mail volume:

    ATTN: PRESIDENT FIRE THUNDER
    PO BOX 990
    Martin, SD 57751

    Enclose a letter voicing your support and explaining the purpose of the donation. Bear in mind, the Pine Ridge Res is not exactly dripping with disposeable income, so do consider donating funds directly to the tribe as well as specifically for this effort.

    For email contact, you can contact the president at:

    firethunder_president AT NOSPAM yahoo DOT com
    cc:vbush AT NOSPAM oglala DOT org

    That is Ms. Fire Thunder’s personal email address; I have received permission to post it here. For the sake of record keeping, do cc: the listed address on all correspondence; that’s her official secretary.

    She was frankly kind of surprised that a white girl from Seattle was calling to express support, and even more surprised that the news had spread so far so fast. She’s likely to get deluged with screaming hate mail soon, so get your support in fast. Send email with good thoughts if you can’t send money.

    ETA: Yes, please, dear God, link it anywhere and everywhere!

    She’s probably going to be getting shitloads of hatemail and God knows what else, so let’s do some good, okay? Whee!!

  24. Pony

    http://www.unpo.org/news_detail.php?arg=35&par=3479

    Here’s the latest story on the political situation on Pine Ridge.

  25. Kate

    I am ecstatic. Oh yes doesn’t it bear out with the old adage, “What comes around goes around.”?

    I am sure the BIA will somehow find a way to invent some loophole to allow them to attempt to crawl through to intervene on the tribe’s affairs and shut down the clinic. I could also see it boiling into a highly publicized matter and the godbags doing their usual propaganda, criminlizing the tribes and attempting to jeopardize other sovreignty issues tribes face such as the all so popular casino building.

    The soveignty granted them could almost develop into a state alternative to the theocracy developing nationwide in many other ways as well. My mind races with thoughts on this line! But, last I was at the reservations in New Mexico (and that was many years ago), they were pretty patriarchal, I mustn’t let my idealism run wild.

  26. Catharine

    I see your “you go girl” and I raise you a “I worship the sovereign ground she walks on”, by golly!!!

    ~C~

  27. caroline

    Hail to the chief, I say. Thanks for the damn-I’m-glad-she’s-on-our-side moment, Twisty. Like Spider Robinson always says, God is an iron…(practices irony with extreme prejudice)

  28. timkanwar

    I have nothing but praise for Cecilia Thunder Fire and her decision not to take South Dakota’s indefensible abortion ban lying down. But it’s important to remember that a Planned Parenthood clinic on the Pine Ridge Reservation is a band-aid, it is not a complete remedy. The real problem with anti-abortion legislation, in South Dakota and elsewhere, is displacement: the outsourcing of abortion to other states, to other countries, or even to private, unsupervised bedrooms thanks to do-it-yourself online manuals.

    For a glimpse of South Dakota’s future we need only to look across the Atlantic at Portugal, which has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe (although, it should be noted, at least Portugal’s abortion prohibitions provide for an exception in the case of rape).

    Today, roughly 40,000 Portuguese women have illegal abortions each year, according to women’s rights groups. Thousands more go abroad for the procedure, including to neighboring Spain, where the abortion law is interpreted far more liberally.

    Moreover, pro-choice groups assert that hundreds of Portuguese women end up in hospitals each year because of complications resulting from illegal abortions.
    “The women who have abortions are the poorest, the youngest, the oldest, the violence victims,” said Maria Jose Magalhaes, a Porto-based member of UMAR, a women’s rights lobby group. “The others — the middle class, the literate women — they have other possibilities,” including access to private clinics staffed by competent medical personnel.

    http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20050218-010804-3725r.htm

    Cecilia Thunder Fire is doing an admirable thing, stepping up to the plate in an attempt to assist the South Dakotan women who would suffer most from the abortion ban: the socially and physically disadvantaged, and the victims of violence and abuse.

    But the burden should not solely on Cecilia Thunder Fire. Governor Rounds, in his statement accompany the signing of the anti-abortion legislation, said the following:

    In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society. The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them.

    It’s an admirable goal, to protect “the most vulnerable and most helpless” in society, and it is one that South Dakota is failing miserably.

  29. CafeSiren

    I’ve been spreading the word all evening, and have just e-mailed President Fire Thunder (thanks for passing on the info, ginmar!) asking her if and how a non-tribal member could offer tangible support to her efforts. God knows, there will be court challenges aplenty, and those don’t come cheap.

  30. Dr.Sue

    Twisty, thank you for publishing this, and thanks to you, Ginmar, for your research. I just wrote her. I’m afraid this is only the beginning of a harrowing and ugly story, but she is a true heroine and deserves all the support we can give.

  31. ginmar

    Don’t thank me, it was Kathrynt at LJ that did it. By the way, the tribe isn’t exactly rolling in funds, so it might be a good idea to send them a matching amount, too. Every little bit helps.

  32. Dr.Sue

    I’m not exactly rolling in funds either, but my checkbook is out.

  33. Bunny

    Firstly, women like Cecilia Thunder Fire keep me going on days when it seems like The Patriarchy is getting me down just a little too efficiently. To Cecilia Thunder Fire, you rock my socks.

    Secondly, that being said and in acknowledgment to above posts, setting up clinics on reservations, while a much needed band-aid, is just that: a band-aid. I’m not suggesting that I have some sort of grandiose plan that ISN’T a band-aid, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that such steps are reactionary.

    In the past year, we had a big controversy up at my old university stompin’ grounds as to whether or not our student union mandate should include a policy of supporting women’s bodily autonomy in the matter of reproductive freedom. Some god-bag group calling itself Youth Protecting Youth went OFF on some self-righteous, poorly argued shit fit calling for the removal of said policy because it was “contrary” to their beliefs…so long story short, we rallied together, formed a group called Students Protecting Choice and handed their asses to them at a huge student vote. The point of my story is this: we’re getting too comfy. The whole rhetoric of “well, at least its better than it was for my granny” is making us soft. Only when these right-wing smack-tards start trying to assert their supposed ownership over women’s bodies do we truly get our knickers in a twist, or so it seems.

    What’s a Patriarchy Blamer to do? In an anti-woman, anti-feminist culture where women are raised to believe that life would have been easier if they were in the kitchen, or that at the very least they are equals, how does one light a collective fire under the asses of a generation of women who can’t see the forest for the trees?

  34. Tam

    I’m amazed by this woman’s courage, but I’m also a little dumbfounded, trying to imagine an America where you drive to the nearest reservation for your abortion.

  35. jjg

    Aha, I see now – thanks Pony for pointing out that the link I posted (got it from dKos under the link, “Here’s more info about her”) was from 2004. My bad for not checking out the date of the “more info” article. They make it seem like it’s a current story.

    Thanks, ginmar, for posting that very useful information from LiveJournal .

    From above – “But it’s important to remember that a Planned Parenthood clinic on the Pine Ridge Reservation is a band-aid, it is not a complete remedy.”

    But it’s a start.

  36. meg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/Dolmadez/random LJ/billchoices.jpg

    that was posted on an lj community i’m part of, with the note: “yes the numbers are right.”

  37. Alicia

    just want to make sure the creator of said toon gets credit:
    http://minimumsecurity.net/toons2006/6034.htm

  38. meg

    ooh. awesome. i was wondering where it came from. thank you.

  39. Cass

    Thanks, Twisty, I so needed that…

  40. Sara

    What an aptly named post! Thank you so much, Twisty, for letting us know. And thanks to all the commenters who shared info on how to help.

  41. Sharoni

    I’m just catching up, I’ve been moving, and I just got the computer back up. This one is great!! Cecilia Thunder Fire should be given an award – SHE is the one who is protecting the “most vulnerable and most helpless” in our society. Women who need abortions are increasingly at the mercy of the patriarchy and it must be stopped! I blame the patriarchy and hope fervently to see its downfall. Thunder Fire could be one of the first steps to make that dream come true.

    Rock on, Twisty!

  42. Pony

    I don’t understand why PLAN B isn’t getting as much play on the feminist blogs as the abortion issue. It looks like the forced pregnancy pervs recognize it’s importance.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2139107/

    FAIR USE

    The Birds and the B’s
    Are morning-after pills abortion or contraception?
    By William Saletan
    Posted Saturday, April 1, 2006, at 7:19 AM ET

    If you thought it was hard figuring out your views on abortion and birth control, get ready to wrap your mind around something in between.

    Emergency contraception, also known as the “morning-after pill” and marketed in this country as “Plan B,” is a drug that a woman can take after sex but before an embryo attaches to her womb. If you don’t know much about this murky week in the reproductive process, it’s time to learn. Lawmakers in many states are deciding right now whether EC will be easy or hard to get. Some say it causes abortions. Some say it only prevents them. And the dirty little secret is, nobody really knows.

    The Food and Drug Administration approved Plan B in 1999. Since then, it has become the focus of a political war. Under President Bush, the FDA blocked over-the-counter access to the drug. Proponents of EC have turned to the states; opponents have responded with legislation protecting pharmacists who won’t sell it. Battles are raging everywhere. Last Monday, the governor of Illinois ordered a crackdown on pharmacists. Last Tuesday, the Maryland Senate rejected over-the-counter access; last Thursday, the Colorado Senate approved it. Already, EC is a factor in the 2008 presidential race. Republican governors Mitt Romney (Massachusetts) and George Pataki (New York) vetoed EC access bills last summer. Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York) is blocking Bush’s new FDA appointee over the issue.

    The outcome of the war depends on whether EC gets defined as birth control or abortion. Several states have excluded it from insurance coverage or Medicaid-funded family planning. Romney, in his veto message, said if EC were “contraception, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.” Nor would most Americans. In a Zogby Interactive survey released a week ago, 44 percent of respondents supported over-the-counter access to “the morning-after abortion pill.” Change that question to “the morning-after birth-control pill,” and the minority would instantly become a majority. Even Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito, while reserving judgment on Roe v. Wade, endorsed Griswold v. Connecticut, which established the right to birth control.

    Many people think EC can’t be birth control, since it’s taken after intercourse. This is—forgive me—a misconception. Sex-education classes often give the impression that the egg waits for sperm to show up. It’s usually the other way around. An egg loses its fertility within 12 to 24 hours. It takes sperm about 10 hours to reach the egg, and sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to five days. If you want to get pregnant, you’d better send in the sperm before the egg shows up. But if you don’t want to get pregnant, and the sperm are on their way or already there, you still have time to stop the egg.

    That’s the idea behind Plan B. “It prevents pregnancy mainly by stopping the release of an egg,” says the manufacturer, Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. However, Barr adds, the drug “may also prevent the fertilization of an egg” or prevent a fertilized egg “from attaching to the uterus.”

    There’s the rub. If you think a fertilized egg is a human being, as anti-abortion activists do, then preventing it from attaching to the uterus is abortion. Some anti-abortion groups—Americans United for Life, the American Life League and Concerned Women for America—assert flatly that Plan B does this. The National Right to Life Committee, however, isn’t sure. It’s taking no position until Plan B’s effects are clarified. The South Dakota legislature, which banned abortions a month ago, exempted any “contraceptive measure, drug or chemical, if it is administered prior to the time when a pregnancy could be determined through conventional medical testing”—i.e., Plan B.

    Even the Catholic Church is uncertain. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops authorizes doctors to offer a rape survivor a drug that blocks ovulation or fertilization “if, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already.” According to the Catholic Health Association, most Catholic hospitals interpret this directive liberally, since conception is hard to verify and there’s “no direct scientific evidence” that EC blocks implantation.

    Abortion rights supporters are divided, too. Planned Parenthood, the Population Council and similar groups claim that studies prove EC has “no effect on implantation.” But Plan B’s manufacturer doesn’t agree. Neither does James Trussell, a leading authority on EC. Trussell says that while EC usually prevents ovulation, some evidence “suggests a post-fertilization contraceptive effect.” A week ago, he warned colleagues, “We cannot conclude that EC [pills] never prevent pregnancy after fertilization.”

    Who’s right? Does EC kill some embryos, or doesn’t it? The answer is, we don’t know. We can’t know, because, as the Catholic Health Association explains, “There is no current method for ascertaining that an ovum has been fertilized until implantation.” It takes a week and a half for hormones to register in pregnancy tests. To verify fertilization before then, you’d have to open the woman up. And that would kill the embryo.

    Each side spins the uncertainty its way. Opponents of EC say pharmacists are entitled to refuse to sell drugs “suspected” of causing abortions. Proponents demand a “presumption” that Plan B does no such thing. If you’re troubled by the moral or factual ambiguities, each side offers the simplifying comfort of semantics. Proponents say EC can’t abort a pregnancy, since “medical authorities” define pregnancy as beginning at implantation. Opponents reply that “embryologists” define pregnancy as beginning at fertilization. Everybody wants to give you an authoritative answer, when there isn’t one.

    If the two camps were to stop spinning and listen for a moment, they might learn something from each other. Proponents of EC, who talk so much about choice and information, might realize that their denials of any abortion risk from Plan B, through semantics or stretching of the evidence, deprive women of informed consent. The right to choose a pill that’s probably birth control but possibly abortion includes the right to know that’s what you’re choosing.

    Opponents of EC might realize that the risk of abortion depends on when the drug is taken. The odds that it will abort an embryo, rather than prevent an embryo’s creation, are very low. The earlier you get the pill, the lower the odds are. And every successful EC intervention spares a woman the greater danger of ending up with a surgical abortion. Plan B should be available over the counter so it can be what its advocates hope for, not what its enemies fear.

    A version of this article also appears in the Outlook section of the Sunday Washington Post.

    William Saletan is Slate’s national correspondent and author of Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War.
    Photograph of the morning-after pill on Slate’s home page by Patrick Farrell/KRT.

  43. Pony

    Do you believe this guy? Bill Napoli on the reaction to his perverted fantasies.

    “The cartoon generated a huge amount of filth, intolerable filth,” he told the Rapid City Journal. “Ninety-nine percent of the calls I got were just filth. I bet I didn’t talk to 20 or 25 people I could talk to. The rest were screaming obscenities before I could hang up.”

    Here’s the rest so you don’t have to suffer through Salon’s adgate to get it:

    Abortion cartoon raises $2,200 for choice

    Quick update on the results of Stephanie McMillan’s online auction of her hilarious cartoon criticizing South Dakota state Sen. Bill Napoli’s creepy antiabortion rhetoric: The strip raised $2,201! Proceeds will go to abortion providers in and around South Dakota, including Sacred Choices, the clinic Oglala Sioux President Cecelia Fire Thunder plans to place on sovereign tribal lands within S.D.

    Of course, Napoli has been less than thrilled about McMillan’s consciousness-raising efforts. “The cartoon generated a huge amount of filth, intolerable filth,” he told the Rapid City Journal. “Ninety-nine percent of the calls I got were just filth. I bet I didn’t talk to 20 or 25 people I could talk to. The rest were screaming obscenities before I could hang up.”

    Well, that’s a real bummer, Bill. But as McMillan told us in an e-mail, “What’s really obscene are his efforts to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, even if they’re victims of rape or incest, even at the risk of their health, regardless of their feelings or circumstances.”

    If you missed the chance to bid on the original cartoon, but want to support the cause, you can buy prints of the strip at McMillan’s Web site. For information on how to donate to Planned Parenthood and Sacred Choices clinics directly, go here. ”

    A reminder:

    A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.”

  1. Feministe » Take That, South Dakota

    [...] Via Her Twistiness, the president of the Oglalla Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota throws down the gauntlet: The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women. [...]

  2. Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Cecilia Fire Thunder on Abortion as a Question of Sovereignty

    [...] From Indianz.com, via I Blame The Patriarchy: [...]

  3. around… « strength never power

    [...] check out janna’s recent post on the stupidity of the proposed immigration bill hr 4437 and this i blame the patriarchy post about the freaking awesome stance of oglala sioux president cecilia [...]

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