LETTER: Opportunity to make amends
To the Editor:
Recently, the South Dakota Supreme Court rendered its decision in response to my appeal in my suit against the Marty Indian School and named individuals of the Yankton Sioux Tribe who in reckless conduct committed outrageous and egregious acts against me while I served as the Marty Indian School Principal. These acts are well-summarized in the High Court’s decision, though the outcome was not what I sought.
My Appeal sought justice following the lower State Court’s dismissal of my suit without it ever going to trial, agreeing with tribal legal counsel for the Defendants that, as Judge Anderson put it: “Since this is a matter of Tribal Members on Tribal Land” the State Court cannot judge the case, even though the Tribe had masqueraded as State Incorporated in their contract with me. Put figuratively: You can be knocked over the head with the 2x4, and because this occurs by Tribal members on Tribal Land, they cannot be held responsible for their actions committed to a fellow American citizen. The Court in consideration of the dismissal request was required to accept as true all claims made by me.
That individuals in America could get away with not being held accountable for their egregious acts committed to an American citizen, should be anathema to everyone whether Native American or not. There are many in the Yankton Sioux Tribe who believe that Tribal support of the Defendants represents support by the Tribe of dishonorable actions, with which they do not want their Tribe to be identified.
The Tribe has a chance to make it right by showing honorable actions, making amends for the acts committed against me. Continued defense of these egregious acts brings license for this to recur, and gives the Tribe a bad name. Is this what the Tribe wants for its people, for the future of its children, and in its relations with their world
Let the next public account of this on-going case be actions honorable of an honorable people by their righting of wrongs.
Tim Stathis, former principal
Marty Indian School