Cante Tenza Okolakiciye – Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Independent Lakota Nation
MEDIA RELEASE: June 25, 2015 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Canupa Gluha Mani at 605-517-1547
Strong Heart Condemn Threats and Lies to Lakota Elders, Rainbow Members to Blame
Updated Thursday June 25 6:49pm MST; Pine Ridge, SD – The Rainbow Gathering in the Black Hills is creating havoc on the Pine Ridge Reservation, enflaming division among groups of Lakota and resulting in verbal threats and lies intended to confuse and frighten Lakota elders. Elders are the foundation for Lakota sovereignty and independence and critical to the survival of the Lakota Nation.
On June 24th a press release was sent by the Lakota Strong Heart Warrior Society on behalf of the Grandmother Khahtela Society since many traditional elders do not use the computer. The press release strongly condemned the actions of a group of Lakota youth and others whose public support of the Black Hills Rainbow Gathering has included public statements that are neglectful and derogatory to the health, welfare, and social standing of Lakota elders and the Lakota Nation itself.
But it wasn’t long before grandmothers began receiving a number of calls that misstated the press release in order to cause confusion. Some calls even involved death threats to at least one grandmother and her family. One caller identified themselves as a member of the Rainbow Family.
The Strong Heart Warrior Society strongly condemns efforts to confuse, denounce or intimidate traditional and grassroots elders who are acting for the good of the nation. This includes those people mentioned in the original release as well as others who may be acting on their behalf.
“Stop confusing and threatening our elders,” Strong Heart headman Canupa Gluha Mani said. “I’m standing up now to take all of this for the grandmothers – you call me if you have something to say to our elders!” Canupa Gluha Mani’s phone number is 605-517-1547.
Threats and intimidation of Lakota elders by people claiming to respect them one moment, but then neglecting and denouncing them in the next, causes emotional distress and deep pain for traditional and grassroots elders who already see their roles diminished and are abused by the illegal Oglala Sioux Tribe form of government. The destruction of the Tiyóspaye, or traditional Lakota extended family unit by colonization and the boarding school era, as well as the division between those that use and sell drugs and the largely anti-drug elders also contributes to this abuse.
The presence and defiant efforts of the Rainbow Family to prove their legitimacy for gathering in the Black Hills is enflaming the dynamics on Pine Ridge that harm elders. Despite this, Rainbow members continue to seek ways to interact with Lakota youth openly sharing drugs while using social media and phone calls to publicly dismissing, ridiculing Lakota elders and traditional representatives who have clearly communicated the Rainbow Family is not welcome in Lakota Territory.
We express our deepest apologies to Lakota grandmothers and their families who have faced death threats and abuse because of this stance against the gathering and the apparent networking of drug business that is occurring as a result.