|For immediate release|
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Press contact: Vivian High Elk, 605-964-6880
|Phillip SD – Today, April 13, 2022, Oscar High Elk pleaded no contest to 3 charges including Simple Assault, Eluding Law Enforcement and Trespassing. Ten (10) other charges were dismissed, including Aggravated Assault (Class 4 Felony). The state dismissed 4-12 counts.|
Oscar High Elk was facing 12 counts against him with a 22 year prison sentence.
In November 2020, “Rootz” Prayer Camp was set up along the Cheyenne River on 1851 Fort Laramie unceded Treaty Territory to monitor illegal KeystoneXL construction. In an official letter dated December 3, 2020 CRST Tribal Chairman Frazier ordered Ziebach Sheriff Gary Cudmore to stay away from the prayer camp after he harassed, illegally stole personal property and illegally threatened community members with arrest. On December 23, 2020 during the annual 7th Generation Wounded Knee Memorial Ride, Sheriff Cudmore showed up to the Rootz Camp in violation of Chairman Frazier’s order. He was asked to leave multiple times by Oscar High Elk and other tribal members until he finally left the area. Oscar High Elk had a conversation with a local rancher Deborah Delbridge about her allowing TransCanada/KXL to set up a private security trailer on her property. After the conversation Deborah Delbridge contacted Law Enforcement and stated she was trapped by Oscar’s parked vehicle, but later testified in court on March 21, 2021 that it was “inconvenient” for her to drive her truck around Oscar’s parked vehicle. At this time Sheriff Cudmore began to pursue Oscar.
Unaware of why he was being pursued, Oscar drove a couple miles back to the Rootz Camp where Eyewitnesses were present. During this time, Oscar drove past Harold Delbridge who was on the road in a UTV, Harold claimed this made him fearful of his life.
Oscar High Elk is happy to return home to his family and he continues to stand in solidarity with Indigenous and Environmental Justice. Thank you for his support and any contributions during this enduring duration of systemic oppression