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Hemp Industries Association 2003 Convention Report

Posted on August 28, 2003

Sovereignty for Pine Ridge Reservation

Gathering at Kiza Park on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, fifty hemp entrepreneurs and activists were welcomed by the White Plume family to their Lakota cultural center. We came with intent to support sovereignty for all people, and specifically for this tribe whose laws allow industrial hemp cultivation (one of sixteen in the USA). Alex and Debra White Plume’s family was terrorized by the DEA three years ago and today they continue to fight for the right to grow a plant that can feed, clothe, and house their family.

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) held their tenth annual convention on native land, sleeping in tipis, eating buffalo stew, listening to Lakota singing, and joining in prayers of thanks. Some rode horses, while others hiked the beautiful hills and communed with the buffalo. We visited hemp buildings — one house built by Tom Cook and crew for his wife Loretta Afraid of Bear’s family, a greenhouse, and another earthship being built by Henry Red Cloud. Their Slim Buttes Land Use Association has developed over 400 vegetable gardens on the reservation. Gorgeous beadwork was offered by skilled craftswomen.

Stories were shared by Milo Yellow Hair, Alex White Plume and Tom Cook of the struggles the Lakota have endured and continue to fight. The Black Hills were taken by the government because there was gold and oil to be mined, so the Lakota’s seven sacred sites are unavailable for their ceremonies. Through all the challenges (85% unemployment, alcoholism, etc.) the Lakota remain strong and several families have the courage and determination to keep traditions and maintain their language, and survive with dignity and respect for each other and Mother Earth. It was a special meeting and we thank our hosts for the precious time spent with them in their homeland.

Meals prepared by Alta and Rita, Debra White Plume’s sisters, and neighbor Betty were authentic Lakota fare — buffalo stew, fry bread, and choke cherry pudding. Thanks to the crew from Prairie Dust Films we enjoyed a dinner, offered interviews and participated in filming sessions. David Frankel, Tom Ballanco, and Johanna Schultz shared some great vegetarian foods. Hemp granola, hemp bread, hemp chips, hemp oil salad dressing, hemp ice cream, hemp sodas, and hemp protein powder were donated and enjoyed by all.

On Friday, August 22nd a Hemp Seminar in Hot Springs, South Dakota was presented — a hemp luncheon with speakers, a benefit auction, and demonstrations. Attendees were enthusiastic in supporting the many uses of industrial hemp. Joe American Horse, in full headdress, led with the opening prayer and song in Lakota language. Panel One began with Tom Cook and Alex White Plume who gave a historical overview of the hemp movement on Pine Ridge. Attorney Bruce Ellison spoke about the DEA case against the White Plumes. Tom Ballanco and David Frankel, also attorneys, shared their involvement with the tribal sovereignty issue, citing treaty breaches that will be used in the legal challenge. The tribal president, John Yellowbird Steele then spoke, offering his support, and a tribal representative from the Cheyenne River included his remarks upholding the right to grow hemp on the reservation. Gloria Castillo, co-producer of the seminar, ended the first panel with a clarification of the expanded meaning of sovereignty — freedom for all people.

Representing the newly formed Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, Arthur Hanks of Saskatchewan talked about the progress and set backs the Canadian hemp industry has had in the last five years. The expertise gained was offered to those who will grow hemp on the reservation in the future. David Bronner, HIA Food & Oil Chairman, gave a brief rundown on the phenomenal growth market for hemp foods and body care, the development of the Test Pledge Program, and introduced attorney Patrick Goggin who elaborated on the HIA vs DEA case pending in the Federal 9th Circuit Court. Prospects for processing hemp in neighboring North Dakota were presented by Robert Robinson of Modern Hemp. Bob Newland of the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Council spoke about legislative efforts and encouraging polls taken in the region, and his partner Jeremy Briggs announced the beginning of a new industry publication, Hemphasis Magazine.

The final panel at the seminar focused on applications of hemp fiber and seed. Shaun Crew of Hemp Oil Canada has a successful food and body care company and offered to send 500 lbs. of seed when the legalities for the cultivation of hemp have been established. He explained that it is not difficult to process seeds for oil, nut, meal, and flour. An investment of $60,000 usd would set up a facility. Craig Lee from Madison Hemp and Flax in Kentucky spoke about using hemp seed and meal for feeding beef and fish. The high protein and omega fat content is perfect for animal feed. University of Kentucky research results are available. Hemp fiber used for horse bedding has also been researched and a market targeted. Albert Lewis of Hempy’s, a clothing and accessories company, shared his experiences with managing growth in the textile sector. A lecture and demonstration was held outside as Agua Das from Original Sources showed how biofuel can be made from hemp fiber using gasification. A spinning wheel and hemp break were also demonstrated, showing a primary use for hemp.

Hemp products donated by HIA members were auctioned and raised $2900 for the White Plume Defense Fund. Thanks to all who contributed! And a special thanks to Carol Koski and Ron Holton for receiving the goodies and organizing the auction.

  • Marie & Teresa Mills — Navajo Hemp Rug
  • For Mother Earth — hemp jewelry
  • Living Seed Products, Merry Hempsters, and other Oregon companies — Hemp Lip Balm, Hemp Zap, Dolly Mama Doll, Hemp Chocolate Bars, Hemp Bag, Hemp jewelry, Hemp Candles, Naked Clothing hemp shirt and hoodie.
  • Hemp Trivia — Hemp Tshirt, Postcard set, Hemp Farmer Notepads, George Washington was a Hemp Farmer Posters, Presidents Rolling Papers.
  • Chic Eco — 2003 Directory
  • Hempcore — Hemp Skateboards
  • Hemp Hound — Dog collars
  • Smith Center — Organic Cotton Tshirts
  • Intl. Hemp Association — Journal of Industrial Hemp
  • Kashmir Gold — Goddess Kit: Evening purse, silk/hemp & lace handkerchief, rosebud, candle, lavender oil, and soap.
  • Paul Benhaim — Fields of Green music CD — hemp plastic tray.
  • Hemp Starzz — Lip balm, Uncle Betsey Tshirt and CD — High Hopes — We Want Hemp Now!
  • Minawear — Hemp shirt
  • Magellan — Race Around the World Game
  • Hempy’s — Shorts, hats, bags
  • Sativa Hemp Wear — Zipper purse, stickers
  • Pure Hemp — Cigarette Papers
  • Global Groove — Hemp Waist Belt
  • Candi Penn — Hemp Fabric from Thailand
  • Living Tree Paper Company — Circle of Life Poster signed by Julia Butterfly, 2004 Protest Poster Art Calendar, Movie Poster “Scorched” with Woody Harrelson.
  • Hempola — Temporary Tattoos
  • Co-op America — Community Lender Brochures
  • James Pollock — “Grow a Field of Hemp” Tshirts
  • Cool Hemp — Hemp Seedee (Canadian hemp songs & stories)
  • Santa Barbara Hemp Company — Hats and Tshirts
  • Original Sources — Hemp I Scream Sandwiches
  • Humbodlt Hemp Foods — “Oh Mega!” Organic Blue Corn Hemp Chips
  • Nature’s Path — “Hemp Plus” Granola Cereal
  • Hempzel Pretzel Company — Hempzels, Flour, and mustard.
  • Nutiva — Organic Hemp Protein Powder
  • French Meadow Bakery — Hemp Sprouted Bread
  • Hemp Oil Canada — Roasted Hempseed, Shelled Hempseed, Hemp Flour, Body care products.
  • Ruth’s Hemp Foods — Hemp Oil & Balsamic Salad Dressing
  • Vote Hemp — Brochures, VH Reports
  • HIA — 2003 Calendars, HIA Tshirts

Upon return to the reservation that night we were met with a grass fire, out of control with 50 mile an hour winds spreading it toward Kiza Park. The community fought the fire and it stopped just over the hill. The horses and buffalo were ok. The house and camp were ok. It was another awakening for us to the daily struggles of the Lakota people. They will endure…a spiritual, emotional, and physical model of a beautiful, truthful, loving way of life.

Thanks to all who helped make this a wonderfully successful event!

Respectfully submitted by Candi Penn, HIA Executive Director

2003 Convention Committee

  • Alex and Debra White Plume
  • Tom and Loretta Cook
  • Gloria Castillo
  • Ron Holton
  • Carol Koski
  • David Frankel
  • Craig Lee

Copyright © 2003, HIA. All rights reserved.