Lakota Warrior Society Declares Elder Abuse State of Emergency on Pine Ridge Reservation
MEDIA RELEASE: January 29, 2016 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Canupa Gluha Mani at 605-517-1547
Contact: Ana Oian Amets at 631-626-5842
Pine Ridge, SD and Washington DC – The Lakota Cante Tenza or Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Independent Lakota Nation has declared an Elder Abuse State of Emergency for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in response to the crisis of abuse and neglect of grassroots Lakota elders by the Oglala Sioux Tribe Government (OST) on Pine Ridge. Many of the elders facing the brunt of abuse are the living professors of Lakota language and cultural knowledge, putting the cultural survival of the Lakota people at grave risk.
“We are issuing an Elder Abuse State of Emergency because the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Federal Government have failed to uphold and enforce the protections of the Older Citizens Act better known as the Older Americans Act of 1965, said Canupa Gluha Mani, headman for the Cante Tenza warrior society. “By willfully failing to protect against clear evidence of elder abuse, both the Federal Government and the tribal government are conspiring the commit murder against Lakota elders.”
Elder abuse on Pine Ridge by OST officials includes:
- Systemic neglect
- Verbal abuse and physical abuse
- Criminalization of elders
- Threats of police force
- Threats of forced removal to state facility
- Theft of U.S. trust monies/settlements
- Theft of funds from elder programs
- Political retaliation/blacklisting of elders
- Abuses of the Elderly Meals Program
- Violation of Indian Preference laws
- Failure to prosecute OST ethics violations
- Failure to prosecute violations of OST laws against elder abuse
- Systematic denial of customary elder input (customary Lakota practices) into government programs and activities that impact the Lakota Oyate (people).
The elder abuse crisis is most visible in OST programs that are supposed to serve grassroots elders, and towards elders labeled as “troublemakers” by corrupt OST officials. but too often are used for fraud and political manipulation by corrupt OST officials. This system of abuse has been allowed to continue by U.S. Health and Human Services agency bureaucrats and U.S. Congressional representatives who have turned a blind eye to the use of U.S. tax dollars to fund illegal and inhuman abuses of Pine Ridge elders.
Cante Tenza’s Friday declaration is intended to bring awareness and action to the elder abuse crisis which has been going on for years. Many of these same elders were forced to occupy the Porcupine Elderly Meals building in Porcupine Community of Pine Ridge for 34 days in 2011 as an act of prayerful protest against the conditions they face.
“Lakota elders are being impacted daily by the abuse of dietary needs and preferences within the Elderly Meals program,” Canupa Gluha Mani said.
In preparation for the Elder Abuse State of Emergency declaration, Cante Tenza delivered a letter from Pine Ridge Porcupine District elders to U.S. officials followed by the release of two powerful graphic tools to raise awareness on the elder abuse crisis – The Elder Abuse Power and Control Wheel and The Cycle of Elder Abuse Flowchart. A screening of the groundbreaking Lakota documentary film Red Cry was also held.
Canupa Gluha Mani added, “The Free and Independent Lakota Nation, the Strong Heart Warrior Society, with assistance from the Lakota Solidarity Project will make sure the United Nations and International Community see how the heinous behavior still affects Indigenous people in Indian Country at the hands of the United States and its puppet tribal governments. ”
The Independent Lakota Nation represents the free and independent grassroots Lakota Oyate (people) who continue more than 165 years of resistance to colonial settlement on Lakota territory – land that has never been ceded by our people. We claim our sovereign powers and jurisdiction within our traditional free of interference by the United States Government, state governments, or any other foreign entities. Wowakan He Glihuniyalo: Our Sacred Way of Life Comes Home!