Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Briefs. Discussion »
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION When Bryan Brewer, 65, takes the oath of office tomorrow as the newly elected president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, he plans to hit the crowd running. He will conduct his first tribal council meeting; then he will board a plane bound for Washington DC to partake in the White House Tribal Nations Conference.
Bryan Brewer, 65, president-elect, Oglala Sioux Tribe
“I am very humbled and honored to become president of my tribe,”
commented Brewer to the Native News Network in a telephone interview from Rapid City, South Dakota where he was tying up loose ends for the Lakota Nation Invitational, a highly successful basketball tournament he founded, that will occur December 19-22, in Rapid City.
“I have never really wanted to be president. Actually, I thought when I retire, I would run for tribal council, but then I decided it was time for me to run for president.”
Brewer defeated current Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele on November 6 in a hotly contested race. Brewer won by 193 votes with 52 percent of the vote.
Born and raised in Pine Ridge, Brewer is a disabled Vietnam War veteran. He is a retired educator, who spent 30 years teaching on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He founded the Lakota Nation Invitational in 1976.
Brewer is bringing the passion he has given to making the Lakota Nation Invitational successful to the presidency of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. He wants to turn things around to move the Tribe forward.
“Everything is in place, such as policies. However, we have been lax in enforcing them. I intend to run the Tribe like a business. As a former school administrator, I can see very little of the policies have been followed as they should have been. We have to be accountable.”
“I have already met with the Tribal Council. They have an understanding where I am. They know I will fine them according to the ordinances already in place if they are late,”
Brewer sees plenty of opportunity in developing much needed housing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
“Housing is going to be area I want to see developed. We have to learn to work with those who want to help us. I think we have not done a good job of working closely enough with those who want to help us. In a way, we have run them off and I will figure how to change that.”
Another major concern Brewer has for his Tribe is White Clay, Nebraska, the small town across the border from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation that has a population of 12 people; yet sells over four million cans of beer annually.
“I am going to close them up!”
Brewer said with strong commitment.
“I am going start with the governor of Nebraska's office. I want him to have the State of Nebraska close down White Clay. I know there is a talk of bringing alcohol and liquor to the reservation - to open it up. I am not sure we are ready for that. I have looked at studies that indicate abuse goes up, killings go up, more accidents happen. Are we ready for this? We don't have the infrastructure to deal with that. We don't have the law enforcement in place, so we are not ready to sell liquor here. We need to educate our youth about the dangers of alcohol. I am trying to get people to go along with me on this.”
“Our tribe needs a lot of healing. I am anxious to see what I can do,”
posted December 3, 2012 7:40 am est