RST Tribal Building tests positive for drugs, Council and some tribal members tested

By Rich Winter

The news of the Tribal Building in Rosebud being tested for drugs and then the accompanying news that RST Council Members and perhaps, employees, being tested Thursday, sent off a wild tremor of rumors across social media sites across the Rosebud.

Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Tribal Secretary, Julie Peneaux helped the Tribune piece together the story of what did and didn’t transpire at the Tribal Building.

* The Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Tribal Building was tested for drugs on Wednesday, Feb. 17. The results of that test came back positive. (While the exact positive test couldn’t be confirmed by amount, Lori Walking Eagle, Director of the Meth Initiative Program said a positive result of a drug test only indicates the building came back positive for at least one of the ten drugs that are tested during the toxicity testing.) 

* On Thursday, Feb. 20, RST Councilman, Jim Leader Charge, Swift Bear, made the comment during a regularly scheduled council meeting at approximately 3:00 p.m that he wouldn’t mind being tested. The Certified SWA officials who did the Tribal Building test Wednesday, then administered the drug test to Council Reps that were in attendance and chose to be tested. 

* Shortly after the report of findings by SWA testing team, President Kindle immediately left the chambers and sent out a memo mandated all employees of the Tribal Office report at 8 a.m. And informed them that the Tribal Office would be closed from 1-5 for further testing of office area by SWA. Employees were informed that they would all be tested at that time.

* Among errors being passed around by social media sites were that Lila Kills In Sight, Spring Creek, Lester Kills The Enemy (Upper Cut Meat, and Patty Douville (Ring Thunder), and Arnetta Brave (Butte Creek) were not tested. Brave was at home watching her children and Kills In Sight and Kills the Enemy were both at funerals. Peneaux confirmed she was in the same room with Douville, as both were tested.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Butte Creek Councilwoman, Arnetta Brave received a text from Tribal Historic Preservation Director, Russell Eagle Bear asking her if she and the rest of Tribal Council had been drug tested.

Brave, who had been to the morning session of Tribal Council, but had to leave to pick up her children as she had no baby-sitter, had been part of discussions during the morning session in which a special meeting revolving around SWA and the recent explosion of meth on the Rosebud Reservation was being discussed, told Eagle Bear, ‘NO’ and thought nothing further of it until Thursday morning.

When she woke up, Brave had numerous texts and several missed calls from people telling her she was all over the news for walking out of council chambers as the news was announced of the impending drug testing of Tribal Council Members and the Tribal Building itself.

Brave, who left the Tribal Building around 11:30 a.m., hadn’t heard anything about any testing before she left, got on the internet and found the source of all the texts and missed calls.  

“I was upset that rumors were floating around about me being a drug user,” Brave said. “I am a non drug user and I wasn’t even there when any talk of a drug test or an actual drug test was taking place.”

Brave made a point to get her drug test taken Thursday morning and she shared those results with the Todd County Tribune that indicated she had come up negative in all areas.”

Soldier Creek Council Rep, Kathleen Wooden Knife further clarified how the testing of the Tribal Building came about.

“I asked SWA, “do you have adequate time to come in and demonstrate how the morph machine and swab testing is done and can you test the chambers for your demonstration and thereafter two other areas were selected to be tested.”

Wooden Knife explained that two of the tables in Council Chambers had also shown higher levels on the test. Both the furnace room and several bathrooms had tested positive readings of at least five different drugs. Wooden Knife and RST Treasurer Wayne Boyd both confirmed those tables sit directly under two vents that pump air from the boiler room into Council Chambers.

“Swab testing showed positive readings for several different drugs on those two tables,” Wooden Knife said. 

Wooden Knife explained that none of the council members tested were mandated to do so, saying they volunteered to take the test.

While Wooden Knife doesn’t expect the test results until Tuesday or Wednesday, she reminded the Tribune that Council Chambers has more than just Council Reps. using the area, and points to a number of committees, members of the community, and other organizations that frequently meet in the building.

While the wave of social media rumors were bothersome, Wooden Knife welcomed the test and any further testing that may come.

“As leaders of our Tribe, we need to be drug and alcohol free having clear minds in making decisions for our tribe and to lead by example, especially with the meth epidemic,” Wooden Knife said. 

Results of the tests will likely be delivered during executive session, either Tuesday or Wednesday. It is not immediately knows if the test results will be made public.

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