April 5, 2011: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Naomi Archer (Strong Heart media liaison) 828-230-1404
Contact: Delbert High Hawk (Strong Heart warrior in the occupation) 605-441-4147
ELDER’S OCCUPATION DAY 33
UNEQUAL PROTECTION, ABUSE OF POWER BY OGLALA SIOUX TRIBE OFFICIALS REVEALED
Lakota Strong Heart Warrior Society Releases Graphic Table Demonstrating Abuse of Power, Civil Rights Violations, Gross Violations of Equal Protection Under the Law Based on Political Speech, Activity
Elder’s Occupation, Porcupine Elderly Meals Building, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD – Cante Tenza – the Strong Heart Warrior Society based in Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota has released a dramatic, multi-colored table which details the abuse of tribal government power and unequal application of justice in elder abuse charges based on political speech and association.
The informative table can be found at the “Lakota Oyate” Facebook page and will be uploaded to www.lakotaoyate.net.
The colorful graphic shows the disparities in treatment of elder abuse claims between three individuals. Oglala Sioux Tribal (OST) Council Representative Deborah Rooks-Cook, Porcupine Meals for the Elderly manager Winnifred Janis, and Duane Martin Sr., Cante Tenza warrior Itacan (Headsman) and Lead Representative for the traditional Oglala Judiciary Council –have all had allegations of elder abuse levied against them. But their cases are anything but similar.
On January 25, 2011 OST Council Representative Deborah Rooks-Cook physically pushed and verbally assaulted elders attending the OST Council meeting. She then threatened the elders with a gun. Finally, she rushed to the Oglala Judiciary office to have police officers arrest elders and their defenders. Despite multiple witnesses of obvious unlawful behavior, no action was taken against Rooks-Cook at the time. Finally, on March 29, 2011 –she was suspended from OST Council without pay, but has not been arrested or charged with elder abuse.
On March 4, 2011 a brave group of elderly and their advocates peacefully took over the Porcupine Meals for the Elderly building as a sit-in protest of elder abuse, neglect, profiteering in the meals program, and ultimately – corruption. Porcupine Meals for the Elderly manager Winnifred Janis was named in multiple allegations of elder abuse, serving rotten or inedible food, maintaining an unsanitary environment, acts of discrimination, and allowing illegal drug and alcohol activity at the meals building.
Despite multiple allegations of elder abuse and other illegal activities reported to OST Council representatives and officials – no action has been taken against Winnifred Janis. In fact, she has been housed at the Prairie Winds Casino Hotel at OST expense. Janis has also been active in retaliatory efforts against elderly whistle-blowers, and is working with OST Council Representative Beverly Tuttle to create a feaux-elderly meals site to diminish the claims of elder abuse and illegal activities and by holding a press conference to build support for her defense.
On March 11, 2011 Strong Heart Warrior headsman and elderly sit-in supporter Duane Martin Sr. was detained, arrested, and ultimately charged with three counts of elder abuse. Despite indirect abuse claims against Martin described as “emotional distress” and despite these allegations being levied by Winnifred Janis and two other women with personal, financial or other interest in removing the elderly sit-in from the Porcupine Building, Martin has been labeled as a “Threat to the Community” and is being denied due process, delay/denial of bond, equal protection under the law, and has been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment as a result of political/religious speech, assembly and association. He is facing unlawful retaliation as a whistle-blower of elderly abuse within the Porcupine Meals for the Elderly program according to both State of South Dakota and United States Federal law.
Martin is in Day 26 of his incarceration.
OST Officials including President John Yellow Bird Steele and Vice President Thomas Poor Bear are fully aware of the details in all three situations, yet the OST Judiciary and Public Safety (police) continue to engage in abuse of power, unequal protection under the law, as well as retaliation and threatening behavior towards the elderly whistle-blowers and their advocates.
The continuing refusal by OST to seriously address multiple allegations of unlawful activity including theft, misappropriation of Federal funds, and endangerment of the elderly by unlawful drug and alcohol activity in their meals program raises the question whether certain OST Council members and officials have something to hide.
A current Health and Human Services deadline is approaching for OST response to the elder’s allegations, and scrutiny by other Federal agencies may foreshadow additional investigations into abuse of OST Judiciary powers, discrimination against elderly whistle-blowers, and misuse of U.S. Federal grants and 638 contract funding.
The elders, who have reached Day 33 of their peaceful sit-in of the Porcupine Meals for the Elderly building, as well as other supporters are calling on the immediate release of Duane Martin Sr. and for all charges to be dropped. The elders have stated they will remain in the building until Martin is released.
Information on the elder-led protest occupation in Porcupine can be found at “Lakota Oyate” on Facebook or www.lakotaoyate.net.
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.
www.lakotaoyate.net | “Lakota Oyate” on Facebook