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Best of the West Award

"Local Woman wins True West Magazine Award"

"White Face Among Best of the West"

Rapid City-- The editors of True West magazine have given one of their Best of the West awards to Charmaine White Face. The award, the Best Living Indian Rights Crusader for 2010, was given to Ms. White Face for her writing and her work with Defenders of the Black Hills.

The magazine stated: "She is a voice for the Black Hills--and it’s a task Charmaine White Face has gladly undertaken for more than two decades, as a columnist for several newspapers and an activist. She formed Defenders of the Black Hills in 2002, working to end logging, mining and exploitative tourism of this area, which is sacred to her Oglala Sioux tribe. Her work has received international recognition, and she hopes that will help return the Black Hills to its rightful owners--the American Indians."

Ms. White Face was informed of the award through a letter. "I am totally flabbergasted," she laughed, "I didn’t even know a disabled grandma could receive such an award."

The activities of Defenders of the Black Hills have been to increase the awarness of the public to environmental issues in the Black Hills and the surrounding area. Ms. White Face’s writing as a newspaper columnist also tried to educate people to the Fort Laramie Treaty for which she has been a staunch advocate at the United Nations. She was appointed to the position of Spokesperson for the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council in 1994.

"My work has not just been for Indian people," White Face said, "but for all the people in the United States. If the Constitution, the foundation of the country is weakened, then the whole structure will fall." This theme was stated consistently in her newspaper columns over the years as she continually referred to Article VI of the Constitution which states that ‘treaties are the supreme law of the land.’

Although educated as a scientist at Black Hills State University and the University of North Dakota, White Face worked as a teacher and administrator before she began writing in the mid 1980s. More than 500 pieces have been published including a non-fiction book entitled "Testimony for the Innocent." She is currently working on finishing a collection of her writings.

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Mission Statement

"Defenders of the Black Hills is a group of volunteers without racial or tribal boundaries whose mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the environment of the 1851 and 1868 Treaty Territories, Treaties made between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation."

Speaking about radioactive fallout, the late President John F. Kennedy said,

"Even then, the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby who may be born long after we are gone, should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent."

July 26, 1963 upon signing the ban on above ground nuclear tests