Lakota Elders, Warrior Societies, Now Occupy Porcupine Elderly Meals Center on Pine Ridge–Will Stay Until Demands are Met

Madison, Wisconsin isn’t the only place with an ongoing protest in America. As things have “frozen up” on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the Lakota Elders have been dealing with mounting issues of “abuse” on several levels. They’ve taken all they’re going to take and are appealing for news coverage of the corruption that has lead to the conditions they are experiencing.
The Lakota Elders on Pine Ridge have issues, MAJOR ISSUES involving food, housing, sanitary conditions, threats, intimidation, eviction and more. Apparently their patience has reached the point of taking protest action. Do note that this situation involves longstanding cultural conflicts.  The posting of this media release presents an introduction only to the situation.   
 
Here is a Media Release.
 
 
Cante Tenza Okolakiciye – Strong Heart Warrior Society
Free & Independent Lakota Nation
Box 512, Hill City, South Dakota 57745  |               605-454-0449        or
              605-517-1547         | lakotaoyate.net
MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release:  March 4, 2011
Contact:  Duane Martin Sr.                    605-517-1547        or               605-454-0449       

LAKOTA ELDERS, WARRIOR SOCIETIES, NOW OCCUPY PORCUPINE ELDERLY MEALS
CENTER – WILL STAY UNTIL DEMANDS ARE MET

Audio interviews of elders and warriors can be found at http://audioboo.fm/CanteTenza

Porcupine Elderly Meals Building, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD – After
four years of abuses and calls for remedy from the Bureau of Indian
Affairs(BIA) Oglala Tribal Government, Lakota elders with support from
the Strong Heart Warrior Society, United Urban Warrior Society, and
Rapid City AIM- Grassroots have peacefully taken over, and now occupy,
the Elderly Meals Building in the Porcupine Community of Pine Ridge
Reservation.

The occupation occurred as a result of human rights and civil rights
abuses, including physical assault, of Lakota elders at the center,
the illegal selling of drugs and alcohol from the building by center
staff, refusal of Oglala tribal government officials to take action,
and the use of the tribal judicial office to attack and penalize
elders and advocates who spoke out against abuse, graft, and
corruption occurring in the elderly meals program and throughout
complicit tribal government officials.

The elders and warrior societies are demanding the removal of all
current center staff, the construction of a new, sanitary building,
restoration of healthy meals, expansion of elderly meals to those home-
bound, and an investigation into the graft and corruption in the
program and those complicit tribal officials.

Respected Lakota elders including Lorraine White Face Eagle Elk,
Cecilia Martin, Elizabeth Young Bear, and Enoch Brings Plenty issued
the following statement:

“The former president and the cook have discriminated against the
elders at the Porcupine Elderly Meals Center. Elders are demanding
them to be removed immediately.

The Elders will be leading this occupation with the support and
protection of three warrior societies – the Strong Heart Warrior
Society, United Urban Warrior Society, and Grassroots AIM.

I, Enoch Brings Plenty, as president of the Meals for the Elderly
Program at Porcupine, will try my best to please the Elders in my
district as best as I can -to bring back honesty, trust and integrity.
This is why these three warrior societies are here with us.  They are
going to teach our children how to protect and remain free with the
elders of our oyate. Hoka hey!”

In support of the elder’s statement, the Strong Heart Warrior Society
said, “The elders have exhausted all legal remedies that they possibly
can and now they face the critical mass. So it is now their urgency to
request these warrior societies to step up and give them that
opportunity to regain control for what is rightfully theirs.”

The Oglala Tribal Council, which has been at the center of controversy
for years over graft and corruption in their ranks, continues to
publicly state there is no problem with Pine Ridge Reservation elders.
Activists have noted numerous incidents of retaliation and dirty
tricks in order to penalize elders and advocates from speaking out and
making these abuses public.

The occupation is planned until the demands are met.  While State and
Federal officials have been slow to respond to this crisis, the South
Dakota Governor’s Office is now aware of the situation, as is the U.S.
Justice Department.
###

The Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation in southwestern South Dakota
is the size of the state of Connecticut. Due to decades of abuse,
corruption and colonial enforcement, Pine Ridge faces epidemic rates
of suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, elder abuse, and poverty.  Life
expectancy for Lakota men is below 40 years of age.  Nearly ¾ of the
Lakota people have lost their language, and the traditional language
is on the verge of extinction in Pine Ridge. The reservation has one
of the highest rates of unsolved murders. These unsolved deaths are
widely attributed to violent retaliation against those seeking an end
to corruption and assertion of traditional Lakota sovereignty.

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye also known as the Strong Heart Warrior Society
of the Lakota Nation is an ancient Lakota warrior society as well as a
broad-based civil rights movement that works to protect, enforce and
restore treaty rights, civil rights, and sovereignty of Native people
and their communities across Turtle Island. In addition to activist
efforts to protect the land and people, each year Cante Tenza collects
and freely distributes shoes, winter coats, school supplies, food, and
other support to Oglala Lakota elders, children and families.
www.lakotaoyate.net  | “Lakota Oyate” on Facebook
 
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6 Comments

  1. ryeder said,

    March 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Excellent writing. Let’s see who else picks up on this abuse.

  2. March 5, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Ryder, I take no credit for the writing of the Media Statement. Please do share this situation with whoever might be interested. These Traditional Elders are requesting this get into the Press in order to have some impact upon the Tribal Council and others.

  3. Melissa said,

    March 6, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I don’t understand this on a soul-level. “Cultural differences.” My God, aren’t we ever going to reach a point where we can embrace one another’s difference?. “Do as you will, so long as you harm no one.” I admit to an enormous ignorance on the whole “reservation” topic, but I can remember as a child being completely bewildered that Native Americans (of course back then we called them Indians) were being made to stay on reservation land and turned into pariahs. Nothing much as changed since my childhood, it seems; it has only become worse. People can argue the points back and forth, the who was here first and who owns the land and blahblahblah….but the point is that NONE of us owns it. We are borrowing it for the cosmic eye-blink that we’ll be here, and then we’re gone. Good Lord, people, if we can teach children to play nice, why can’t we teach adults? Why is it so hard to respect one another? Most of us have experienced some type of prejudice towards us. Don’t we remember how it made us feel? How hard is this, really? (And I’m fully prepared to have someone call me a naive tree-hugger.)

    • March 6, 2011 at 11:46 pm

      Hi Melissa, you WONDERFUL tree-hugger! I’ve used “cultural differences” as a sort of umbrella to denote a complex set of longstanding “internal” conflicts that are the result of how Indigenous people dealt with the imposition of the dominant white culture upon them. Some longstanding areas of conflict range from historical treaty signers vs non-treaty signers, mixed bloods versus full bloods, progressive versus non-progressive Indians aka those who accept white cultural demands versus those who do not/did not accept white culture, non-traditionals versus traditional culture people. These are just a few of the areas of division and “cultural differences” that involve fundamental values and world views. Mutual respect might help with communication if all parties decide to find ways to move forward.

  4. lgambill said,

    July 17, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    thank you for posting this information and links Eva.
    I still believe it will take more evolution than revolution for the Lakota to continue on the long trail into the future. Awakened beings in residence will do so much more than posturing vacationers with, one eye scanning for cameras. Thanks again for your advocacy.


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