Strong Heart Warrior Society: Oglala Tribal Council Snubs Elders Again

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye – Strong Heart Warrior Society
Free & Independent Lakota Nation
Box 512, Hill City, South Dakota 57745 605-454-0449 or
MEDIA RELEASE Feb 13, 2011

PINE RIDGE, South Dakota – The ongoing effort to get accountability for a series of physical and psychological abuses against Lakota elders on Pine Ridge continues to be stalled by Oglala tribal officials who fear investigations into years of graft and corruption within tribal government.

Following the most recent revelation of elder abuse in the Porcupine Elderly Meals Program, elders have met regularly with the traditional Strong Heart Warrior Society in order to explore ways to get accountability. Even tribal officials that have voiced support for the elders are now back tracking, likely out of fear of retaliation by corrupt families and officials.

Porcupine District President Virgil Bush and Porcupine Representative Scott Weston announced a hearing for the elders on February 21st – but the hearing never happened even though elders had gathered to attend. The meeting has reportedly been delayed to February 28th though activists are skeptical.

“Tribal government has always eroded its position,’’ explained Strong Heart Warrior headsman Duane Martin Sr.. “You cannot tell community members you are upholding policies and procedures but then deny elders due process.”

The truth depth of corruption within the Oglala Tribal Council, as well as its cultural separation from traditional elders and the Lakota people, is becoming clear to those even outside of Pine Ridge.

“So we have become our own worst enemies, we don’t listen to what our elders have to teach us,” added Martin.

Pine Ridge elders, many of whom count Lakota as their primary language, have made complaints and filed grievances to the best of their ability. But the tribal council is playing a cat and mouse game of delay and denial, saying the elders fate lies solely at their discretion. Elders and activists point out that Council member Deborah Rooks-Cook still remains in her council position despite her admission she pushed and threatened elders with a gun at a secret council meeting.

The Strong Heart Warrior Society points out the corruption in the tribal government is a reflection of the distrust, dishonesty, and cultural genocide that has been brought to Pine Ridge and other reservations by white colonization and Christianity. Nearly ¾ of the Lakota people have lost their language, and the traditional language is on the verge of extinction in Pine Ridge. Few bother listening to the traditional elders – which is part of the cultural system that keeps elders healthy, engaged, and valued.

“We never take the opportunity to listen to the elders anymore – to hear them,” Martin said. “They get upset and angry – into stress modes  – then they get sick, some of them die.”

The Strong Heart Warrior Society is calling upon all people who support Lakota elders, Lakota sovereignty, and accountability to send letters to tribal council officials as well as to the U.S. Department of Justice and President Obama demanding a full-fledged investigation into the corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs supported Oglala Tribal Government.

“The laws of the Oglala Tribal Council don’t belong to our people, but to White America. Only by taking on traditional Lakota customary law can our people be truly sovereign and free.”


Posted on February 25, 2011, in Indigenous Struggles. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. when our own people turn on our elderly we loose out in the end because they white american will swallow them up as well. when you let the outsiders mistreat and abuse native elders you are only going to get it back like a boomarang and they will be the ones under the white controll
    i wish we had a aim office here in buffalo ny where i am how about placing this story in newspapers and asking for donations for the elderly also the lotto if in your state a lot of that money is for the elderly and they have the right to apply for that help to get their bills paid and food on their tables and health care when you pull a gun on seniors for what is rightfully theirs that woman is going to be sent to the lake of fire after all we are all related and i hope my parents are not on the pine ridge rez i was stolen at 3 days old yes by a white man out of the hospital
    any information on that would be great because i will send my parents what the need and do my best to help others as well by taking it to the state capital myself get a group together do inside powows get donations and take that trip to washington and carry signs and ask that obama talk to the native people under this regime after all he said he would help did he not well put those words in his mouth and tell him to do something we do not want to loose our language for future generations. would like to hear your reply ahokola

  2. Thomas Cheyenne

    Elderly abuse is the issue on the Pine Ridge Lakota Nation,Pine Ridge, South Dakota. As a Oglala Lakota, a full blood grass root is going to look into the matter and look at every proceedings with the abuse of the elders, and let it be known we ! the Lakota grassroots movement will see that all action needed to solve the abuse of our Lakota Elders is taken seriously with the eyes of our own people and the world.We are the Movement that will see our Elders are respected.And also during this time in helping our elders,I like to let the Grassroots and outsiders know. The American Indian Movement Grassroots will be there to show action towards the help needed for the grassroots elderly.
    Second, Everyone needs to know as a grassroot Lakota I don’t want to be known as a United Urban warrior well I lived on the home town of our treaty land of the Fort Laramie 1868 & 1851. I don’t speak with pictures but rather the action thats needed.

  1. Pingback: Urgent Solidarity Action Needed to Support Elder’s Occupations of Porcupine Elderly Meals Building! « The Speed of Dreams

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