August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lakota Occupation: Tribal officials 'no show' for elderly

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 Facebook “Lakota Oyate” Twitter

Oglala Tribal Government Retaliates Against Warrior Leader, Elder
Arrested Illegally Without Being Told Charges, Jail Refusing to
Release Charges to Advocates

MEDIA RELEASE For Immediate Release: 7:30am mst March 11, 2011
Contact: Naomi Archer (Strong Heart media liaison) 828-230-1404

Porcupine Elderly Meals Building, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD – At 7:30
pm Thursday evening, Strong Heart Warrior Society leader Duane Martin
Sr. was detained and arrested by Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Tribal Police
on unknown charges. He is currently being held at Pine Ridge Jail.

Martin and the Strong Heart Warrior Society were asked by a group of
elders to lead the occupation of the Porcupine Elderly Meals Building
to protest years of elderly abuse and neglect, and protect the elders
from further harm. The occupation is in its eight day and has created
a firestorm as allegations of abuse and financial corruption are
coming to light as the occupation continues.

Martin was not told charges he was being detained for, nor why he was
being arrested. His last phone calls with supporters occurred just
before intake and no information has been released since then. Mr.
Martin appears to be unable to communicate with legal assistance or
other advocates outside of the jail. Callers and visitors to the jail
have also been denied information.

Reports are Martin is “unbondable” and advocates are looking to the
tribal prosecutor’s office for a hearing time and date. It is widely
believed the Oglala Tribal Government intends to hold the warrior
society leader over the weekend hoping to force an end to the

Calls to the residence of Oglala Tribal President John Yellow Bird
Steele have been fruitless, though an unnamed person at his number
claimed Martin was in Minnesota with the tribal president. This
comment has created suspicion that Martin is being “hidden” from

Strong Heart is deeply concerned that Martin's civil rights are being
denied and the detainment and charges are acts of political
retaliation for his protection of the elders and the occupation. The
denial of information about what charges Martin is being held under
have led to concerns they are trumped up or simply false.

Occupation members believe Martin’s arrest is a retaliatory move by
the tribal government. The peaceful occupation in its eighth day has
been protesting elder abuse and corruption in the Oglala Tribal
Government’s elderly meals program and has reported numerous
allegations of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, and human rights
violations related to the suppression of traditional Lakota

To date, the Oglala Tribal Government has publicly denied any
allegations of elder abuse and has actively worked to suppress the
story in the media. However, on March 8, 2010, the Oglala Sioux Tribe
received a letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services asking for a response to the numerous allegations of elder
abuse and neglect, and requests a specific action plan to address
these abuses.

The arrest is also on shaky legal ground due to Martin’s treaty

In 2007, Martin publicly withdrew from the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Oglala Sioux Tribe that illegally exists under stewardship status to
the United States Government in violation of the 1948 United Nations
Declaration of Human Rights, the 1969 Vienna Convention on Treaties,
and the 2007 United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights. He,
along with over 250 individuals, have renounced their relationship
with the tribal government and are asserting sovereign status as a
free Lakota Nation under traditional Lakota customary law and the Fort
Laramie Treaty of 1868.

Martin is considered an official diplomat of the free and sovereign
Lakota Nation based on traditional Lakota customary law and culture.
Martin’s status, as well as a sovereign Lakota Oyate (people), is
recognized by the League of Indigenous Nations of North America and
the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, an
intergovernmental organization of States founded in 1975 with over 130
parliamentary and diplomatic delegations in more than 130 Nations.

Information on the elder-led protest occupation in Porcupine can be
found at “Lakota Oyate” on Facebook or


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. “Lakota Oyate” on Facebook

Lakota Oyate: "Elder abuse is against the law, period. But the conspiratorial denial of the elders claims perpetuates abuse and constitutes a human rights violation against the Lakota People who depend on elders to communicate knowledge, traditions, language and culture to future generations. We are pursuing the rights violations against the elders with full vigor."
Photo: Strong Heart Warrior Society
Cante Tenza Okolakiciye - Strong Heart Warrior Society
ACTION ALERT! YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED RIGHT NOW! PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY! Special thanks to all the people who have collected this information and expressed solidarity with the elders and warriors in the occupation. Hoka Hey!
March 7, 2011
Support Calls, Support, Supplies Needed as Occupation Plans for Long-term Stay
Oglala Tribal official's promised 10:00am meeting with the elders of the Porcupine Elderly Building occupation did not materialize. The continuing rebuff of the Elder's stories of abuse and need for accountability outrageously constitutes further abuse against them. We will not stand for this!
Please call Courtney Hoskins, Aging Services Program Specialist Administration on Aging, Denver, CO 80294 303-844-7819
Kindly, but firmly, ask her when the AOA is going to visit the Porcupine Elderly Meals building. Let her know the Elders are asking for the AOA to not just send forms, but to come visit as soon as possible. Stress to her that the occupation will continue until action is taken and their demands are met. With AOA confirmation, their demands can get a stronger hearing and quicker resolution.
PARTICIPATE! The Elder's Occupation needs more warriors and witnesses to come to Porcupine and participate. If you are a strong hearted person who can participate in the struggle alcohol and drug free - then please make an effort and come. We need you!
SUPPLIES! The Elder's Occupation is preparing for long term stay. We need
Blankets, Bedding, Warm Clothing
Non Perishable and healthy food including Peanut Butter, Rice, Instant Potatoes , Grits, Flour, Dry Beans (Any Variety) Oatmeal, Powder Milk, Tuna Helpers with cans of Tuna, Pasta, Pasta Sauce (Hunt’s in a Can is great) Cans of Salmon, Canned Vegetables, Bullion Cubes.
You can send supplies to: Strong Heart Warrior Society c/o Duane Martin Sr
Box 512 Hill City, S.D. 57745
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 Facebook “Lakota Oyate” Twitter
@CanteTenza Strong Heart Internet Radio News at
MEDIA ADVISORY For Immediate Release: March 7, 2011 Contact: Duane Martin Sr. 605-517-1547 or 605-454-0449 (onsite contact) Naomi Archer 828-230-1404 (offsite liaison)
Wednesday Gathering to Show Off Conditions of Center, Interview Elders
About Abuses
Audio interviews of elders and warriors can be found at
WHO: Lakota elders and warrior society members invite journalists,
government officials, elder advocates and the oyate to attend.

WHAT: Elder’s Truth Tour For Justice Against Elder Abuse –
Opportunity for elder interviews, observe conditions of elderly meal
building, and learn a deeper understanding of the conditions on Pine
Ridge which led to this abuse and the retaliation against elders for
its revelation.

WHERE: Porcupine Elderly Meals Building, Porcupine Community, South

WHEN: 12:00 noon, Wednesday March 9, 2011

MORE: The elder-led occupation, which began with a peaceful takeover
of the building on Friday, resulted from the flagrant dismissal of
elder complaints by the Oglala Tribal Government despite public
revelations and stories from elders describing physical threats and
assault, psychological abuse, denial of meals, and food that was
served cold and undercooked. Allegations also include financial wrong
doing by center staff, appropriation of center vehicles for personal
use that prevented meals from being delivered to homebound elders, and
the illegal sale of drugs and alcohol from the building by center
staff relatives.

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
homebound, and investigation into the graft and corruption in the
program no matter where it leads. The occupation will continue until
these demands are met.

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