High Hawk Family Alleges Police Cover Up in Death of Daughter
Family Marches on Anniversary of Mariah High Hawk’s Death
Cante Tenza Okolakiciye – Strong Heart Warrior Society
Independent Lakota Nation
MEDIA ADVISORY: February 13, 2017 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Primary Contact: Delbert High Hawk 605-389-2354
Secondary Contact: Canupa Gluha Mani at 605-517-1547
Photo Gallery of Today’s Event Below
Rapid City, SD – A determined High Hawk family alleges a police cover-up in the death of Mariah High Hawk, a twenty-one year old Lakota woman found dead under suspicious circumstances a year ago in Rapid City.
On Monday morning, the High Hawk family with the Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Independent Lakota Nation held a prayer and protest gathering at the site of High Hawk’s death on Silverleaf Avenue.
The group then met with the Rapid City Police Department to demand an explanation for why Ms. High Hawk’s death was ruled caused by hypothermia, when she was found under a utility trailer with significant bruising on her head and shoulders. Neighbors also reported a disturbance in the early morning hours just before her death. An independent autopsy was requested by the family but not performed.
After Monday’s meeting with Rapid City and Pennington County, Mariah’s father Delbert High Hawk remained unpersuaded, “The police are still claiming hypothermia killed her, but she got beat up, bottom-line.”
City and County treatment of High Hawk’s death in the face of suspicious circumstances has angered Lakota and other Native people of the area who have seen deaths of their family and friends go unexplained or simply explained away despite contrary evidence or reports. Reports of police abuse on Native community members is also common.
Strong Heart Warrior Society headman Canupa Gluha Mani explained, “We don’t trust law enforcement. Over and over again they lie.”
Strong Heart argues finding justice is not just a problem in Rapid City and Pennington County, but a continuing struggle for Native people in all the neighboring reservations and border towns.
“We must continue to press for justice for our relatives found unexpectedly dead in all of these towns,” Canupa Gluha Mani said.
The High Hawk family and Strong Heart vow they will continue to seek justice for Mariah. The Rapid City Police say they are open to new evidence, but the family remains skeptical.
“We are not going to give up on this thing. We are going to get justice for my daughter,” High Hawk replied.
The Cante Tenza Okolakiciye or Strong Heart Warrior Society is a traditional Lakota warrior society as well as a modern day human rights movement to assert Lakota independence and enforce Indigenous rights for the Lakota and other Indigenous people of Turtle Island.