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Debra White Plume, Defender of Her Tribe, Is Dead at 66

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She married Alex White Plume in 1988, and the couple settled down in a modest home alongside the banks of Wounded Knee Creek. There they reared their 9 youngsters and raised horses and a small herd of buffalo, which they stored for religious and cultural functions.

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The White Plumes gained information media consideration in 1998 for planting industrial hemp, one of many few crops that might develop on the reservation, with out Drug Enforcement Administration approval. (The crop is a species of hashish.) Mr. White Plume reasoned that as a result of the reservation was sovereign Lakota territory, federal legal guidelines prohibiting hemp farming didn’t apply. The courts, nevertheless, disagreed and ordered the vegetation destroyed. (Congress legalized production in 2018.)

Ms. White Plume seems briefly within the Michael Apted documentary “Incident at Oglala” (1992), concerning the murders of two F.B.I. brokers in 1975 and the conviction of the Native American activist Leonard Peltier within the killings. And he or she is featured within the documentaries “Standing Silent Nation” (2006), about hemp farming, and “Crying Earth Rise Up” (2015), concerning the risks of uranium mining.

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Along with her husband, Ms. White Plume is survived by their youngsters — Johnny Joe White Plume, Lance Martin, Wacinhin Ska Win Rosebud White Plume, Jessica White Plume, Wiwang Waci Win Camp, Vic Camp, Posh Camp, Dallas White Plume and Sam Tall — in addition to many grandchildren.

She devoted her final years to Ama’s Freedom College, which she based. A college with out partitions, it teaches conventional Lakota tradition outdoors the common college system. (Ama means reminiscence within the Lakota language.)

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If Ms. White Plume had mellowed over time, it was solely a little bit, and her targets remained the identical. Talking through the Standing Rock protests, she mentioned:

“I fought with cops earlier than. I’ve been shot at by police. I’ve been shot by police. We obtained it on with police on Pine Ridge again within the day, so I perceive that rage. However once we’re collectively to guard sacred water, let’s do it with dignity, let’s do it with coaching, let’s do it with unity.”

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