Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 10, 2022

Bold Warrior Woman Olowan Sara Martinez Soars to Spirit World

Olowan photo by Keri Pickett

Red Warrior Camp Water Protector, who led shut down of predatory White Clay -- Olowan Sara Martinez Takes Flight
 to Spirit World

Olowan Sara Martinez
February 14, 1974 ~ August 5, 2022

Olowan was born on February 14,1974 to Angelo "Angel" Martinez and Victoria "Vicky" Thunder Hawk. Olowan made her journey to the Spirit World on August 5, 2022 at the Monument Health Hospital in Rapid City, SD.

Olowan is Oglala Lakota of the Tituwan band of the Ocheti Sakowin and O'otham, the original people of the Valley of the Sun, she makes her home in the Porcupine community, Oglala Lakota homelands in South Dakota.

Her Lakota name is Oyate Ikiya Najin Win.

Olowan's father Angelo "Angel" Martinez came to Lakota country with the (West Coast) American Indian Movement. Tragically, he passed away when Olowan was seven months old. From that time on, Olowan was raised by her father Steve Little Sky tiospaye and her mother's Thunderhawk tiospaye.

She is the ina to Dre, Mahpiya, & Wanahca; the sister to Kathryn Thunder Hawk; grandmother to Skylar Dawn Red Feather, Amor Thomas Red Feather, Theodore Aaron red Feather, and Gabriel Red Feather; and a part of a large tiospaye of loved ones as well as an integral part of the American Indian Movement tiospaye (extended family).

Olowan is a fierce force of powerful love for the people. She embodies all the original teachings and hopes of the American Indian Movement and the love and hopes a mother has for her children. She stands strong against all that would bring harm to the Ocheti Sakowin people as well as all people.

You can always find her standing in resistance to the systems that fail our indigenous peoples as well as the tools of the colonizers such as alcohol and meth. She is a strong voice of opposition to all that damages the Lakota people and the homes in our communities. Olowan was also a teacher at Ama Freedom School.

Olowan is motivated by a fire that burns bright with love and hope for her children and her people. When Olowan stands up - she inspires those around her to do the same.

She is a beautiful and strong Lakota woman and mother; she promotes healing of generational trauma and the end to the use of alcohol by all indigenous people. She is kind, generous, fierce, loving, full of fire and light.

Our world is a better place because of her.

Olowan was preceded in death by her parents, Angelo “Angel” Martinez and Victoria “Vicky” Thunder Hawk; sibling, Kwannah Thunder Hawk; and her grandparents on both sides Thunder Hawk and Martinez, Stephan “Steve” Little Skye, and Debra White Plume.

Pallbearers will be Nataani Means, Louie Brings Plenty, T.R. McKenzie, Robert Swimmer, Noah Morris, Mato White Plume, Red Dog, and Mashan Camp.

Women Warrior Guard-Davidica Little Spotted Horse, Alice Big Crow-Hunter, Rosebud White Plume, Rayette Provost, T.J. Afraid of Hawk, Wanbli Win Red Cloud, Darla Black, Dawn Dacora, Leta, Lee Ann Eastman, and Sasha Beaulieu.

Honorary pallbearers will be all AIM Family, All Sundancers, Water Protectors, Red Warriors, All Ocheti Sakowin Family, All Ohupe Tokala’s, and all nephews, nieces, friends & relatives.

Wake Services: Two night wake service starting at 12:00 PM, Friday, August 12, 2022

Funeral Services: 2:00 PM, Sunday, August 14, 2022 at the Porcupine School Gym in Porcupine, South Dakota.

Traditional Lakota Services: Doug Patton

Burial Services: Thunder Hawk Family Cemetery, Porcupine, South Dakota.
Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

Tribute: In Her Own Words, at Censored News

Olowan with Debra White Plume (center)

Shutting Down Predatory Liquor Stores in White Clay
August 2012

Facing off with police, and shutting down predatory liquor stores in the bordertown of White Clay, Nebraska, Olowan said, “For over 100 years the women of the Oglala Lakota nation have been dealing with an attack on the mind body and spirit of their relatives."

“The Oglala have been silenced through chemical warfare waged by the corporations who are out to exploit and make a profit off of the suffering and misery of our people. The time has come to end this suffering by any means necessary.”

Debra White Plume, Lakota, said, “A sober Indian is a dangerous Indian. We have to send a message to Nebraska and its citizens that we are not going to tolerate business as usual. This is the Women’s Day of Peace but that peace will soon be over."

Free Olowan! September 20, 2016 outside Morton County Corrections Facility and City Hall Building in Mandan, North Dakota. She has been incarcerated since September 13 and the direct action to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline for that day. We love you Olowan!

Free Olowan Rally, Mandan, North Dakota 2016

Red Warrior Camp Water Protector Olowan Sara Martinez
Jailed in North Dakota 2016

MANDAN, North Dakota -- 'Free Olowan!' was the message that sounded out at the Morton County Jail today, as water protectors sought the release of Lakota grandmother Olowan Sara Martinez.

While incarcerated in Morton Country Jail, Olowan Sara Martinez wrote this message yesterday. Sara Long, who was jailed with her until yesterday, shared Olowan's message from jail. Sara was charged while live video streaming the Dakota Access Pipeline destruction.

Olowan's message from jail in North Dakota, 2016

Anpetu waste' beautiful resistors, Olowan Miye. I would like to share with you my understanding of what is happening around me.

I must start by acknowledging my love for my ancestors, my children, and of course for Mni Sose. I also pray my words reach you in good strong health and spirits..
As I sit here in Morton County Jail I can see clearly that us sacred water protectors are the least of their problems.

Thru the tears stories and friendship shared with me by the beautiful women of the surrounding communities I know I was meant to be here and for that I have no regrets.

The heartache of a life tormented by abuse of mind body & spirit, the grief of love lost, death and abuse, and the anger of feeling helpless and hopeless is limitless to creed or color.

I have also come to understand that the threat to poison the Mni Sose aka the Missouri River is felt by all.

"Altho the sacredness of our first medicine must always be stressed it is always understood by those who choose to listen, and many are listening to Mitakuyapi, my relatives.

"I encourage all to keep up the battle to save sacred water thru all tactics being used. DO NOT GIVE UP!

"To the surrounding communities of Morton County, open your eyes, us sacred water protectors are thinking of your grandchildren's grandchildren whether you want to believe it or not.

"We are not getting paid to be here! Everything for everyone, nothing for ourselves.
#DeathtoMeth! #DeathtoDAPL! #AlcoholIsTheEnemy!

"Olowan Sara
"Liilii Red"

At the resistance gathering at Wounded Knee School in 2018, Olowan said:

"Our youth need to know that there is music in the world created by Indigenous people that carries the truth of their message of overcoming the genocide of the big world, the alcohol, drugs, and violence to women. It is a voice of resistance and of proudly and loudly reclaiming native identity and celebrating that decolonization."

Tribute while Olowan was jailed as a Water Protector in 2016

Olowan is an Oglala Lakota Mother and Grandmother. She is a long time Indigenous Land Defender, Water Protector, a born and raised Warrior. Her roots in resistance run deep and strong, far and wide, from Liberation Days to the Sounds of Resistance, she has worked to bring together the Women’s Peace March, to organize with Mothers Against Meth, to protect Indigenous women from industrial man camps and to stand in the way of resource extractive industry time and time again. Olowan is not only an Indigenous Land Defender and Water Protector, she is also working to actively protect her community from the oppressions tied to drugs and alcohol.

Olowan is a Sundancer, a Pipe Carrier, she is a spiritual woman, a mother to the movement, a teacher, a matriarch and a mentor to the youth. Her war cry has brought so many to these frontlines and many others. We don’t leave our Warriors behind and we will not let Olowan become another missing and murdered Indigenous woman, kidnapped by the state, we will not let her become another statistic, Indigenous women are the largest and fastest growing prison population.
Wishing you a good journey Olowan, and good reunion with our friend and sister  Debra. -- Brenda, Censored News

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