Racism, Corruption in Justice System Fuel Wyoming’s Removal of Lakota Children

Independent Lakota Nation
Strong Heart Warrior Society
International Indigenous Human Rights Office
Office of the Provisional Government

P.O. Box 512 Hill City, SD 57745, Unceeded lakota Territory

ILN Press
November 13, 2017   |   Original: English
Immediate Release: October 17, 2017
Contact: Canupa Gluha Mani 605-517-1547  Email: cantetenza13@gmail.com

Mitchell Family Latest Casualty in Wyoming’s War on Indians

Racism, Corruption in Justice System Fuel Wyoming’s Removal of Lakota Children

Lakota Territory – The International Indigenous Human Rights Office (IIHRO) of the Independent Lakota Nation (ILN) is alleging wide scale racism and corruption in State of Wyoming’s Justice system that is fueling the continuing removal of Lakota children and the illegal incarceration of Indigenous men and women that contributes to genocide.

The latest casualty is Stephen Mitchell, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe who was deprived due process and incarcerated under false charges of kidnapping by the State of Wyoming and colluding members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in order to remove his seven year old daughter into the custody of former girlfriend Dawn Ashley Preston.

Preston, who is white and non-Native, has a history of drug and alcohol abuse as well as documented abuse and negligence of their young daughter. She’s alleged to have told Stephen things like, “Come take this brat, I have no time for her!” and once kept the young girl buckled in a car seat for over 24 hours causing an extensive rash requiring medical care. She is also alleged to have kept the child locked in a room while gone from the house and left in the supervision of teens.

But Preston is white, from a family with connections to the corrupt good-old-boy network of Wyoming officials, judges, and those who protect them.

The Mitchell family, including 75 year old fluent Lakota speaking grandmother Rose Red Bear Mitchell, have kept extensive records of custody, care of the child, and checks of child support demanded by Preston for care she rarely gave.

“If she [Preston] had been a loving caring mother in the beginning, we would not be here today,” Rose Mitchell said.

Despite these extensive records and an October 2017 admission by Preston that Stephen had never kidnapped his daughter, Mitchell remains in jail for no apparent reason except that he’s Lakota, and the corrupt system wants him there. He has tried numerous times to present evidence and file protection orders for his daughter, but he’s been denied by the system at every turn and curiously given a $100,000 bond, labeled a “flight risk” with conditions put on his incarceration that remain unknown.

The Office of the Wyoming Ombudsman agreed to visit Mitchell today to check on his failing health. He is reported to have lost over 130 lbs while jailed.

A former attorney for Mitchell reportedly stated he had never seen a case such as this and that he felt like he could not speak up because judges had already decided before trial what they were going to do.

“The whole system is working together to keep my grandson in jail,” Rose Mitchell said.

The Strong Heart Warrior Society has also stepped in to demand justice in this case and provide security for Rose Mitchell who has custody of her granddaughter but continues to receive threats and see unfamiliar people stalking her house.

Preston, and her mother Cynthia Grant, are alleged to have threatened the Lakota grandmother multiple times and attempted to forcefully take the child who is also an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe at gunpoint.

“They told me they would follow me and when they found me I would ‘be sorry,’” Rose said.

Legally, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 (25 U.S. Code Chapter 25) stipulates the child’s welfare is served by continuing custody within the tribe and with parents or grandparents as she currently resides.

“We can’t relax and live a normal life,” Rose Mitchell shared sadly. “We have paperwork to prove all of this is true but no one will listen to us.”

Despite the clear legal guidelines of ICWA, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has been complacent if not complicit in the attempted removal of the Lakota child as have other corrupt programs on other Lakota reservations who have found ways to profit off of child removal.

The IIHRO strongly condemns any attempts to remove the child from Lakota custody and deprive the child of cultural identity which is guaranteed by International Law.

“This is nothing less than serial warfare through population management,” explained Canupa Gluha Mani of the Lakota Strong Heart Warrior Society. “Lakota have inherent rights and the purpose of intent by U.S. State government agencies to violate and destroy these inherent rights is a crime against humanity.”

The IIHRO is currently preparing a complaint for the United Nations based on the facts of the case as they have been presented. Evidence of racism, collusion, and corruption contributing to an Act of Genocide has been documented.

Canupa Gluha Mani said, “The interpretation of International law demands the enforcement of these laws as an instrument of a natural birth right, which is Lakota.

If the U.S. does not like it, we will see them in World Court,” he promised.

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The Independent Lakota Nation continues the inter-generational movement to assert Lakota independence and grows from past efforts by Lakota chiefs, elders, treaty councils, and more than 165 years of resistance to illegal settlement on unceeded Lakota territory.

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