Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Owe Aku International Justice Project: Lakotas celebrate the struggle

By Owe Aku International Justice Project
Published at Censored News

Owe Aku International Justice Project is celebrating its first anniversary of working for the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council in international advocacy on behalf of the Lakota Nation. Lakota leaders have been going to the United Nations since 1977 and have always been active participants in fighting for the inherent human rights of Indigenous peoples and the territories from which we originate. Owe Aku International Justice Project reflects the ongoing effort and unwavering commitment brought to our work by Lakota leaders, elders, and communities.

Over the last year we have made advances in approaching the world family of nations in bringing settler nations, including the United States, closer to justice, especially with respect to accountability for their innumerable violations of human rights and genocide against Native nations. With the support of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, we have stood proudly in denouncing all who would diminish our sovereignty or pretend that the rights of white, christian nations somehow have precedent over all other inhabitants of our verdant Mother Earth. We are committed to the preservation of a way of life, not just expediency within a western model of “justice.” When necessary, regardless of the foe, we will stand on the traditions brought to us through our ancestors and do battle on behalf of our people.

With less than $8,000 this year we have helped sponsor three treaty gatherings on our national territory, we have attended a regional meeting of the Organization of American States in Ottawa, we were a presence in the Permanent Forum in New York, we helped sponsor a film forum on Indigenous environmental issues and we challenged several federal government policies designed to again deceive American citizens about the continuing cultural, environmental and physical assault on Lakota and Native communities. We have crafted policies and positions that reflect our connection to our communities and environment and we have not wavered in challenging those that would compromise our approach.

“Oyate tokeca ob tokan wowicasa sni ogna woope wowapi iyopteyapi.”

“Those approving things without the people’s knowledge are not a red star and they stand with the people of a different way and they pass letters of law in a sneaky way.” (Alexander White Plume, NaCha.)

Never has it been more apparent that the very basis of Lakota society, the tiyospaye (clan, extended family, community), is the most crucial aspect of any society that hopes to live in peace and harmony with the environment. This message is every bit as important as international law and being the connection between the two will always be our main objective. To achieve this we hope to show more clearly how we at Owe Aku and Owe Aku International Justice Project are enhancing the strength of our own communities, creating more environmentally sound infrastructure on our territory and addressing the trauma brought to us by the colonizers with their genocidal policies, diseases and unbridled abuse of natural resources for the benefit of a few select members of their “cultures.” We at Owe Aku International Justice Project pledge that our work in international forums will always be only as vital as our connection to the tiyospaye and to our homeland; “Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.”

It has been a good year and we can be proud of our modest gains and steady march forward. Now, as our second year begins, we look forward to more work designed to positively enhance more of our people’s lives and to sending out those voices of strength to be heard for seven generations. This is a Lakota project from a Lakota vision, but it is a universal need.
Bring back the way.

Kent Lebsock, Coordinator
Owe Aku International Justice Project for Lakota Treaty Justice and Advocacy

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