August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Porcupine: Elderly occupiers removed by police in the night

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye - Strong Heart Warrior Society, Free and 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
April 6, 2011
Contacts: Naomi Archer (Strong Heart media liaison) 828-230-1404
Doris Respects Nothing (elder’s legal advocate) 605-407-9654
Lorraine White Face Eagle Elk (elder) 605-441-0086



OST President, Tribal Attorney Had Guaranteed Protection, Order Comes From Kyle Judge
By Strong Heart Warrior Society
Censored News

BREAKING NEWS Elder’s Occupation, Porcupine Elderly Meals Building,

Pine Ridge, SD – At 2:30am, under the cover of night, Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) Public Safety police removed the Elder’s Occupation at the Porcupine Meals for the Elderly building by threat of overwhelming force. No arrests were made, and the young warriors defending the building did not resist the large number of police who arrived.

The peaceful elderly sit-in and prayer vigil seeking remedy for elder abuse, neglect, and fraud began on March 4th and is in its 34th day.

Elder Lorraine White Face Eagle Elk had stepped away from the building for a short time, and when she tried to re-enter was told she would be arrested. Other elders had returned home last night in order to get a good nights sleep before today’s continuing legal motions involving their occupation and the false imprisonment of Duane Martin Sr.

“Tribal Attorney Mario Gonzalez said the elders [sit-in] were protected by the Older Americans Act on the council floor [March 31],” explained Doris Respects Nothing, legal advocate for the elders. “Someone has overstepped their authority.”

OST President John Yellow-Bird Steele had also assured elders that no action would be taken against them.

Abusive retaliation against elders participating in Federally funded elder programming is prohibited by The Older American’s Act. The American with Disabilities Act expressly protects the whistle-blowers of discrimination, and the False Claims Act protects whistle-blowers of fraud involving Federal money. Elders claim that over one million dollars in U.S. grant or contract funds may be missing from the Elderly Meals Program.

The court order that removed the occupation reportedly came from Judge Fred Cedar Face in Kyle, South Dakota, apparently avoiding a Pine Ridge Judiciary that is facing an increasing level of outside scrutiny for delaying action on the elder’s complaints of abuse and fraud as well as the politically motivated prosecution of whistle-blower and elder advocate Duane Martin Sr. The order was also served in the early morning hours, outside of normal court procedure.

“What was so bad that they had to do it in the illegal hours of the night,” Respects Nothing questioned. “It should have been served in the daylight.”

The court order removing the sit-in also references a code that no protest can occur within 100 feet of any tribal building. Elders say their action is not a protest, but a prayer vigil and sit-in to get relief for their claims. Traditional Lakota ceremony, prayers, honoring of the sacred canupa (pipe), as well as hosting the Longest Walk prayer run over the recent weekend are all examples of the religious nature of their sit-in.

Also, according to the 2007 United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous people have right to full access of their lands and resources, as well as traditional social customs and judiciary practices.

Chief of Police Pat Mills reportedly told those being removed from the elderly meals site last night the police would have come in the daytime, but it would have been, “more of a problem.” Advocates point out police action in the middle of the day when more elders were present would indeed have been a problem as each act to threaten or physically remove an elderly whistle-blower would be a crime under both OST Law and Order Code and Federal law.

For months leading up to the peaceful sit-in, elders repeatedly sought relief from OST Tribal Council, officials, and Porcupine District officials for their abuse claims, but to no avail.

“We tried to have meetings with them, but when we went [to the meals building] the doors were locked,” shared duly elected Porcupine Elderly Meals president Enoch Brings Plenty. “ They called the police on us and chased some of them elderly away from there.”

Additional actions seeking remedy from multiple claims of elder abuse, neglect, fraud, and discrimination were rebuffed by OST tribal officials, and legal retaliation from the OST Judiciary was used.

Continued neglect and retaliation from OST and Porcupine officials resulted in the peaceful sit-in which began on March 4, 2011 and is currently in its 34th day.

“There has been discrimination against the elders – they have been abused,” added Brings Plenty. “The elders have every right to be in the building. Tribal council recognized that, that’s why we are here.”

Legal advocates for the elders will be seeking an immediate dismissal of Judge Cedar Face’s order in Pine Ridge court today so the sit-in can continue without police intervention. The elders have stated they will continue their prayer vigil for as long as necessary until they get relief for the claims of abuse and fraud and until elder advocate Duane Martin Sr. is released.

Information on the elder-led sit-in and vigil in Porcupine can be found at “Lakota Oyate” on Facebook or

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

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