Breaking News: Lakota Meet with U.S. Dept. of Justice on Pine Ridge Corruption

Lakota Meet with the U.S. Dept. of Justice on Pine Ridge Corruption
Event Begins with March for Lakota Justice

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye – Strong Heart Warrior Society
Independent Lakota Nation
Contact: Canupa Gluha Mani at 605-517-1547

 WHAT: Grassroots Lakota of Pine Ridge Reservation meet with officials from the Department of Justice about the serial corruption and theft of U.S. funds. The event kicks off with an impassioned march from the deathsite of Lakota woman Mariah High Hawk to meetings at the Mother Butler Center.

WHEN: Friday afternoon. The Event is happening now.

WHO: Meetings with the Department of Justice with grassroots Lakota people from Pine Ridge Reservation, visitors from the Blackfoot Nation, led by the Lakota Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Independent Lakota Nation.

WHERE: March begins in the 1200 block of Silverleaf Avenue (where body was found) and continues to the Mother Butler Center for DOJ meetings.

WHY: Strong Heart has been vocal about ending the corruption and abuses on Pine Ridge Reservation. Their latest visit to Washington DC caught the ear of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee who are working with the Department of Justice to take action.

 The Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Independent Lakota Nation on behalf of the traditional and grassroots Lakota Oyate of Pine Ridge Reservation have submitted an official Notice of Complaint to the United States Government through the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and the Office of the President of the United States for its failure to uphold its Trust Obligations in regards to the Lakota people resulting in catastrophic living conditions experienced by many Lakota people:

“Specifically, U.S. Executive Branch officials, department and agency officials, Congressional representatives, and Justice officials have failed the Lakota People:

1. Systemically through the administration of misguided policy directives that undermine Lakota traditional political, social, and cultural institutions.

2. Individually through gross negligence and dereliction of duty in the administration of programs funded by 638 Contracts and the accounting of trust dollars intended to serve the grassroots Lakota communities and people.

3. Retroactively the U.S Government has failed to adequately respond to complaints and documentation provided by Strong Heart, Independent Lakota Nation, and other Lakota persons over many years and U.S. administrations via numerous phone calls, letters, in-person visits, press releases, and other media intended to educate and catalyze action to address the dire consequences of U.S. failures in Lakota communities.

As a result of these systemic and individual beauracatic failures, and the failure to act, catastrophic and genocidal conditions exist on Pine Ridge Reservation.

Further, the United States funded Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) Tribal Council and Government have failed traditional and grassroots Lakota Oyate at every level. This government was illegally imposed upon the Lakota Oyate in 1934 and remains an obstacle to Lakota well-being today.”

The complaint further states:

“On Pine Ridge, the U.S. tribal government system funded by U.S. tax dollars and overseen by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is a failure. Culturally incompatible with traditional matriarchal, family-based Lakota culture, the illegally installed Oglala Sioux Tribe government is controlled by non-traditional mixed-blood indians, most of whom are not Lakota language speakers.

The OST is run by corrupt politicians and criminal families and is riddled with corruption, embezzlement, fraud, and nepotism and these families commonly steal common lands and prey upon the trust benefits intended for the traditional and grassroots Lakota people.

Rarely mentioned beyond reservation boundaries, drug and alcohol gang members within OST embezzle money from U.S. 638 contracts that are desperately needed for the Lakota people. This money funds their drug trade and is used to bribe tribal council members, BIA officials, and law enforcement into protecting this corrupt system.

Like all parts of the OST, the Public Safety (Tribal Police) and Judiciary are ineffective and too often discriminatory against traditional and grassroots Lakota people. White or non-Lakota officers are culturally unprepared to serve Lakota communities and too often act from fear. Unprovoked police violence against traditional and grassroots Lakota is common. Investigative activities are poor, with too many incidents going unsolved, or known perpetrators not apprehended. Police collusion with drug and alcohol traffickers is well known.

The United States Government has failed to hold its tribal government creation accountable, side-stepping responsibility for this corrupt and genocidal system by falsely claiming tribal sovereignty rights on one hand, while working to undermine and ignore real Lakota sovereign rights that would protect territory as well as traditional Lakota cultural, political, and economic institutions. This has led to a persistence of AIM-GOON related discrimination and violence against traditional and grassroots people that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Discriminatory acts against Lakota elders and grassroots people by the OST in violation of International law, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, United States law including the Older Citizens Act, and Oglala Sioux constitutional law include but are not limited to:

  • Elder abuse (verbal and physical)
  • Neglect
  • Physical assault
  • Psychological abuse and threats
  • Denial of meals to the elderly
  • Failure to deliver meals to the elderly
  • Denial of healthy food to the elderly
  • Threats of arrest
  • False imprisonment and imprisonment for political retaliation
  • Discriminatory and retaliatory firings
  • Discrimination and corruption in Public Safety policing and Judiciary proceedings
  • Denial and systematic blacklisting from OST government services necessary for life including housing, winter heating, and funds for critical medical visits like dialysis.

Elders in their 70s, 80s, and 90s are threatened with arrest, assault, false imprisonment, and even murder. They face constant mental anguish for seeking a better life for their Lakota people.

At a February 2013 OST Tribal Council meeting regarding Elder benefits, one outspoken Grandmother was confronted by an OST security officer who demanded, ‘’You need to get off your blanket-asses [derogatory term for full-blood Lakota] and get with the program. There’s money for everyone!”

For traditional and grassroots Elders who refuse to get with ‘the program’ of mass corruption (Appendix 2 and 3), they cope with daily abuse, neglect, exploitation, and threats of violence. Money for their programs and services is misdirected and stolen. Too often their pleas fall on deaf ears or go unanswered by OST leaders and community members under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

When traditional elders or people do get into positions of authority, they are routinely driven out of their jobs or simply fired.

This abuse has led Elders and their warrior protectors into lengthy take-overs of tribal buildings to gain wider public attention and provoke action from the U.S. Government who is allegedly accountable for tax-dollars that are being misused.”

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.