December 3, 2009
Meade County Commissioners
1425 Sherman St.
Sturgis, SD 57785
To: Meade County Commissioners Cammack, Creed, Hammock, Aker and Mallow, States Attorney Ken Chleborad, Auditor Lisa Schieffer:
CC: via online web contact forms: Governor Rounds, US Senator Tim Johnson, US Senator John Thune, State Senator Bradford, SD Legislator Representative’s Wink, Rhoden, Brunner, Hereseth, Adelstein, Killer, Iron Cloud
On Wednesday, December 2nd Meade County Commissioners held a hearing for the retail on-sale liquor/package liquor licenses renewals for venues surrounding Bear Butte, including Glencoe, Full Throttle, Monkey Rock, Buffalo Chip and Broken Spoke Campground. All five locations renewals were ultimately approved.
As we have clearly stated over the past four years of opposition, Bear Butte is a sacred site and we oppose any liquor licenses being approved surrounding the mountain.
During my testimony of opposition to the renewal of these licenses, I again requested further clarification in which licenses would be denied based upon “location,” in addition to defining the classification for a location being within the boundaries of a church or school.
The Meade County Commissioners distinct stipulation, “not a suitable location” is one of two stipulations that would disqualify a location or person from approval of an alcohol or liquor license in Meade County.
Instead of a response, I received blank stares and NO RESPONSE or acknowledgement from any of the five Commissioners. I repeated my request again, after a few moments Commissioner Aker stated he would respond to my request after all the testimony was completed.My request was NEVER answered by the Commissioners during the hearing.
This complete disregard, non response or acknowledgment of this question was extremely disrespectful and unacceptable. Residents and voters are entitled to a responsible response from the Commissioners, when we are questioning the clarification of your policies.
In June 2008 at the Meade County Commissioners meeting, I questioned the Commission regarding the clarification on the “location” classification, and how they determined this qualification.
Commissioner Mallow responded that if the location was near a church or school, the application would potentially be denied.
My response was these locations are near a church, Bear Butte has been considered a church by Native people for thousands of years. Our church is the mountain and mother earth. It is where we go to pray and to seek guidance from the Creator. Our church is not in a building on a street corner, it is the mountain. It is a church, just as much as yours.
Commissioner Mallow’s only response was, “I will not debate religion with you, Bear Butte or this location does not qualify within the County guidelines of a church.” End of discussion. Refusing to continue the conversation or provide a reasonable explanation for this ludicrous and insulting statement.
If the Commissioners are going to uphold these two distinct stipulations, they are required to clearly define with specific documented legal details, WHY Bear Butte does not qualify for “not a suitable location.” This question has yet to be answered in four years of questioning.
For clarification, I am formally requesting in writing as a local resident and voter, the Meade County Commissioners address the following points in detail with codes, ordinance info or applicable legal documentation to back up the stipulation. The because we say so, is no longer acceptable, legal documentation to back up your decision is hereby requested.
“not a suitable location”
What basis a license would be denied based upon the criteria of “not a suitable location”
If within a distance of a church or school is in fact a basis of denial for location, clarify the distance of this requirement. Also clarify the definition of church within the ordinance or code.
Please respond in writing via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by close of business Tuesday, December 15, 2009.
Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation
Whereas traditional American Indian ceremonies have been intruded upon, interfered with, and in a few instances banned;…………… "Joint Resolution American Indian Religious Freedom", approved August 11, 1978 (42 U.S.C. 1996),
Whereas the United States has traditionally rejected the concept of a government denying individuals the right to practice their religion, and as a result, has benefited from a rich variety of religious heritages in this country; ;……… “Joint Resolution American Indian Religious Freedom”, approved August 11, 1978 (42 U.S.C. 1996),