August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lakota occupation underway at Porcupine elderly meals program

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
Lakota Oyate: "In any other community, if elders were being physically threatened and abused, they were being defrauded, thousands of dollars stolen from the their program, drugs being sold in front of their eyes, and officials lying to them, this would be a front page story. If its on Pine Ridge - its not even worth mentioning."
UPDATE Sunday, March 6, 2011: ‎ACTION ALERT: The occupation is hard on the elders. We need supportive words from elders, activists, and people from other Nations to give prayers and encouragement for the Pine Ridge elders to hang in there & don't give in until the demands are met. Send us a Facebook message, email them to, or call Duane Martin Sr. at 605-454-0449. Pilamaye! Thank you!
Strong Heart Internet Radio News at
Previous articles at Censored News from Strongheart Warrior Society meals occupation:
Ensuring Fair and Balanced Media for Justice in a Hostile Media World: A Guide for Journalists, Editors, Activists, Supporters and Solidarity Advocates Working for the Elders and Oyate on Pine Ridge

Believe it or not the words "fair" and "balanced" are not just buzz
words useful in television 'news' advertising but when applied in an
honest way are the bedrocks of good journalism.

But because their meanings have been distorted, many people have begun
to equate "equal time" with being fair and balanced - when nothing
could be further from the truth.

In reality, fairness and balance means bringing accuracy, honesty, and
a balance of power (not time) to news coverage of a situation.

In the ongoing situation on Pine Ridge with the occupation of the
Porcupine elderly meals building by Lakota elders and warriors, the
people face a tribal government and its lackeys that have (for
decades) profiteered from the destruction of Lakota sovereignty and
culture at the behest of its big brothers, the Indian Reorganization
Act (IRA) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) system. When threatened,
these institutions have historically enforced their power through the
FBI, US Marshals, US military, and now Homeland Security.

The people face an illegally imposed government that is responsible
for, and complicit in, the corruption and disappearance of MILLIONS of
US tax dollars at the expense of poor and traditional people. The
misery on Pine Ridge that is reflected in its epidemic rates of
suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic abuse against women and
children, and now elder abuse is a direct result of the physical and
emotional impoverishment of the Lakota people from decades of
corruption and colonial enforcement.

And the people face a tribal government and corrupt BIA system that
uses ANY and all means - including using tribal police and the
judicial system as their personal enforcers - to punish those who
protest and object. These conditions led to the 1973 Occupation of
Wounded Knee as well as takeovers of the Red Cloud Building in 2000
and 2009. It is necessary to point out that Pine Ridge is still the
capital of unsolved murders precisely because violent means are still
being used to retaliate against those seeking truth, justice and
sovereignty. The press releases and news reports the elders and Strong
Heart Warrior Society have issued in the last few months explain this
all to clear.

But because of the historical disparities that the traditional and
poor people of Pine Ridge have faced - their struggles, pleas,
resistance, and news have been marginalized both from Native press,
white “progressive” media, and from a larger corporate 'news' culture
that has no interest in the real lives or struggles of Native
peoples. This is what the Lakota people face in getting out the
truths of their lives, struggles, and experiences.

To make a long story short - in this case "fairness" means giving
those in power, who are accused of corruption and abuses, a chance to
explain their actions, but as reporters (or other listeners) not
taking their words as absolute truth simply because they are in
positions of implied authority.

People in positions of authority and leadership must face the same
accountability regardless of who they are, or where they are from. In
fact, they must face more scrutiny because they are in power, and have
greater means to hide their wrong doings and denounce those who oppose
them. In many cases, where governments and corporations hold a vested
financial and state interest in suppressing struggles for liberation,
active disinformation and propaganda campaigns may be used to obscure
the truth. This is, and has been, the role of investigative
journalism to uncover these abuses.

Balance does not mean equal time, or an equal balance of time given to
hearing one viewpoint versus another. Balance should always be about
getting to the truth.

The elders, the traditional people, the poor people - have had their
voices silenced for too long. That the tribal government has proven by
its actions that they think they can just lie, lie, lie to everyone
and not face any accountability is an example of just how out of
balance the power dynamic in this situation has become. Balance means
providing the time and space to let the words of the oyate - the
people- speak truth to power in a way that balances out the historical
disparities and brings about justice.

Balance means allowing a sustained flow of accurate information to be
expressed so that the truth can be accurately determined.

Too many people outside Pine Ridge Reservation do not understand what
is going on. They think the "tribal council" is the legitimate
government of the Lakota people and have no understanding of Lakota
customary law and culture which predates colonial systems by thousands
of years. They see the tribal president and vice president and other
tribal officials as reliable authority figures. In many cases,
institutional and endemic racism prevents non-Native people from being
able to decipher the truth from romanticized fiction in Indian Country
which perpetuates injustice.

By working together as grassroots activists for media accountability,
we can ensure the media doesn't perpetuate these myths and the
people's truth is revealed. By doing so, we create a favorable
environment for justice to be delivered. Once justice emerges as a
culture on Pine Ridge, true sovereignty for the Lakota people will
follow right behind. Hoka Hey!

Strong Heart Warrior Society
March 2011
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, domestic and child 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.

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye - Strong Heart Warrior Society
March 4, 2011

by Strong Heart Warrior Society
PORCUPINE, PINE RIDGE INDIAN NATION, S. Dak. -- The Porcupine Elderly Meals Building has been peacefully taken and is now occupied. Oglala President John Steele and Vice President Leonard Poor Bear have finally promised a full hearing for the elders and have said the tribal police will not attempt to take back the building. Despite this, the occupation will not leave until ALL demands are met and we are prepared for retaliation on the center at any time.

We need URGENT solidarity action to support this occupation for its full length:

1. We need people with a good heart who can participate alcohol and drug free to join us in the occupation in support of the elders and warriors. If you can't come - maybe you know someone who can. We need bodies.

2. We need food, bottled water, and other temporary supplies to support those occupying the building.

3. We expect the utilities to be cut off to the building at any time. We have generators but we need gas to run the generators and to also shuttle elders and supporters between locations.

4. Despite the promises of President Steele and Vice President Poor Bear - we need you to keep calling them and letting them know people are watching and expecting them to keep their word. Tell them you support all the occupation demands including the construction of a new sanitary, elderly building and a full investigation into corruption no matter where it leads. President John Yellow Bird Steele (605) 441-6350 Vice-President Thomas Poor Bear (605) 441-6365 You can also try to reach them at (605) 867-5821 extension 268 via tribal council secretary Rhonda Two Eagle. Send council emails through Rhonda at:

5. Keeping spreading the word - you are making a difference:

* Spread this news across Indian Country to your friends and relations.
* Contact Native, local, and progressive media and tell them to cover this story. Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera English and Free Speech TV are three good outlets to target as are local TV stations. Be respectful but insistent. We need coverage.

If you have supplies, debit cards, or want to join the occupation, please call Duane Martin Sr. at 605-454-0449. If you cannot reach Duane after a reasonable time, please email us at the "Lakota Oyate" facebook page or We will provide another on-the-ground contact number on Saturday morning.
Wowasakeikcupi - We are taking back the way.

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