August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, March 6, 2011

ACTION ALERT: Police threaten to arrest Strong Hearts at elderly occupation

Photo: President Steele speaking to occupation
(Sunday, March 6, 2011, 8 pm) This is an EMERGENCY BULLETIN for action requested by Lakota Oyate! The police are threatening to enter the building and arrest the elders and STRONG HEART! An anonymous woman called the police and said that the people in the building where stealing food. A police officer showed up, and out of good faith, Duane let the officer enter. Duane then showed him the letter that President Steele signed stating that they would investigate the elders' complaints. The police officer said that the letter was forged, and he was going to go back and check. He then stated that they would enter the building and remove Strong Heart and the elders. PLEASE ACT NOW!
Flood the police lines and let them know that if they make a move on the building, the whole world is going to come to Pine Ridge to back the elders. Also, if they make a move, they are going to be exposed through every method Strong Heart and its allies have! Call President Steele and tell him to tell the police to back off! Please spread this widely! We will not tolerate abuse of elders any longer!
President John Yellow Bird Steele (605) 441/6350
Tribal Police (605) 867-5141
Vice-President Thomas Poor Bear (605) 441/6365
Troy “Scott” Weston Porcupine District Representative 605-454-6238
Lakota Elders Cry for Justice, Invite Truth Tour of Elderly Meals Building
by 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 RELEASE For Immediate Release: March 7, 2011 Contact: Duane Martin Sr. 605-517-1547 or 605-454-0449
Audio interviews of elders and warriors can be found at
Porcupine Elderly Meals Building, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD – Four days into the elder-led occupation of the Porcupine Elderly Meals Building, bodies are tired from sleeping on the hard floor, but spirits are strong.
The 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.
However, as late as Saturday afternoon, members of the Oglala tribal government were still blaming the victims. Scott Weston told an occupation supporter that he did not believe there was any elder abuse occurring. When confronted with stories of abuse, Weston said he “didn’t know” about the incidents described.
“We have a lot of stories and complaints of elder abuse for four years,” explained Lorraine White Face Eagle Elk, 68. “Scott Weston believes we are fighting over crumbs, but we are here for elderly abuse – to stop abuse.”
Newly elected elderly president Enoch Brings Plenty, 69, added,” Its definitely abuse. Most of the elders know about this. Most of the elderly can express their actions to this. I don’t know why Scott Weston is saying that. This is reality. Reality is here – abuse.”
Elders and their advocates have compiled stories from 23 different elders in the district, and each story paints a similar picture of psychological or physical abuse by the disposed center staff led by Winifred Janis.
Eagle Elk said,” Elder abuse is a very serious charge, but it happened here in Porcupine every single day.”
In response to the flagrant disregard and continued victimization of elders by Oglala Tribal Government representatives, occupation participants are inviting journalists, state and federal government officials, and elder advocates on an Elder’s Truth Tour to visit the facility to see and listen first hand to the stories of abuse. The Elder’s Truth Tour is scheduled for Wednesday March 9th in Porcupine.
“We invite everyone who believes in their elders and believes in stopping elder abuse to come to Porcupine and see what is happening here,” offered Duane Martin Sr., headsman of the Strong Heart Warrior Society that is working with others to protect the elders during the occupation. “We need for this tour to be beneficially intoned to what’s circulating here with the elders – and that is stopping abuse.”
Monday also marks the next phase of the occupation as the center will be reopened under oversight of the elder’s themselves to begin serving hot meals to other elderly people in the district as well as providing a safe and inviting space for elders to come and socialize.
Because of the abusive conditions and illegal activities at the center, elder use of the building had fallen dramatically. The reopening of the center in this temporary form will last until the elder’s demands are met.
Journalists, officials and advocates who would like to participate in the Elder’s Truth Tour can contact Duane Martin Sr. at 605-454-0449 (on the ground) or Naomi Archer at 828-230-1404 (offsite liaison).
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.
“We’ve been everywhere- the councils, treaty people, the district superintendent – we keep trying, and we aren’t going to give up until we get help,” said Eagle Elk.
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
Previous posts from the Strongheart Warrior Society, on elderly meals program occupation:

Meet Native Youth Long Walker Ellyn Carlson

Ellyn Carlson is on the Longest Walk 3, northern route
Censored News
Photo: Ellyn speaks to Nez Perce students in Lapwai, Idaho/Photo Long Walk northern route
Ellyn tells Censored News
"I'm 20 years old, I come from Tacoma, Washington. This is my first Longest Walk participation. I was asked to join back around November by Treeza Fernandez during a Native American Student Union club meeting at Tacoma Community College. I honestly hadn't heard too much about it up until then. I was sponsored by Treeza. I am going in her place, as she was injured in the past and it has disallowed her to be able to join again.
I am Okanagan, Spokane, and San Poel. I was raised in the city, and have grown up immersed in the variety of different cultures within the Pacific Northwest. I went to Tacoma School of the Arts during my high school years, where it taught me the importance of keeping an open mind and learning more about worldly issues. I participated in this walk because I feel like there are often ignored issues within our country that are consistently being swept under rugs. I want to learn more about my heritage, I want to travel and become a better person; someone who is able to see with eyes unclouded. My own family and friends are not only affected by diabetes, but by other illnesses. I do this to pray for them. I sacrifice five months and miles for them.
Not only all of that, but the excitement of seeing where forces beyond my power are able to take me, it's become something I live by.
My perspective and outlook on life is changing. It's weird because somehow I feel like I expected this would happen, but I just wasn't sure of the impact. It's a little complicated. Being part of something like this just makes you feel more alive, you know?"
-- Ellyn Carlson, on the Longest Walk 3 in Missoula, Montana, March 6, 2011

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