- Ms. Leslie A. HaganNative American Issues Coordinator
- Courtney HoskinsAging Services Program Specialist
- Navi PillayU.N. High Commissioner For Human Rights
- John W. Yellow Bird SteelePres. Oglala Souix Tribe
Stop Elder Abuse On Pine Ridge Reservation!
Elder abuse on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation has reached epidemic proportions! This epidemic has shown itself within the Elderly Meals Program where elders have called on Native warrior societies to protect them and help bring about justice.
Shamefully, the Oglala Tribal Government has dismissed the abuse claims despite public revelations and stories from more than 23 elders describing physical assault, psychological abuse and threats, denial of meals to elder visitors and the home-bound. Unhealthy food is being served cold and undercooked to elderly suffering from diabetes and other health problems. Funds from the elder's program are missing and incredibly - drugs and alcohol have been sold from the building by staff relatives while elders were present!
Tribal government's denial of abuse allows harm against elders to continue. This threatens the safe transfer of cultural traditions between generations that preserve a soveriegn Lakota Oyate - people. This is a human rights violation. These human rights violations must be addressed now, before any more elders are harmed!
On March 4th, 2011, the Elderly Meals Program building was peacefully taken over and is now occupied by a stalwart group of elders and members of traditional Native warrior societies. These elders have asked for support.
Abuse and human rights violations of these elders MUST end and those responsible brought to justice!
For more information and updates please contact the Strong Heart Warrior Society as 'Lakota Oyate' on Facebook, or www.lakotaoyate.net.
- Native American Issues Coordinator
Ms. Leslie A. Hagan
- Aging Services Program Specialist
- U.N. High Commissioner For Human Rights
- Pres. Oglala Souix Tribe
John W. Yellow Bird Steele
Elder abuse on the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation has reached epidemic proportions.
In the Porcupine Elderly Meals Building, at least 23 elders have suffered a range of shocking abuses including physical assault, psychological abuse and threats, denial of meals, and unhealthy food served cold and undercooked to the elderly with diabetes and other illnesses.
Sadly, the tales of abuse don't stop there. Elders describe financial wrong doing by the center staff, selfish appropriation of center vehicles for personal use that prevents needed meals from reaching the home-bound, and incredibly, the illegal sale of drugs and alcohol from the building by center staff relatives while elders were present. Center staff who have objected to this behavior have been threatened or physically beaten.
Shamefully, the Oglala Tribal Government has dismissed the elders complaints as 'fighting over crumbs'. The Oglala Judiciary has been used to threaten and silence elders and their advocates through retaliatory restraining orders.
Porcupine District council representative, Scott Walker, has even said that he doesn't believe there Is any elder abuse! Tribal Government has resorted to blaming the victims, the helpless elders, accusing them of 'making up' tales of four years of elderly abuse.
The elder abuse is jeopardizing the very members of Lakota society who are recognized for their years of knowledge and experience, whose names will appear in the history books as those who carried Lakota language and tradition while resisting the cultural assimilation and genocide of their people.
Because of this, what is already a shocking level of abuse and neglect has become a human rights violation that threatens the traditional culture and ways of the Lakota Oglala people of Pine Ridge. These human rights violations must be addressed now, before it is too late.
That is why on March 4th, 2011, a group of determined and stalwart elders, along with traditional Native warrior societies, have peacefully taken over, and now occupy, the Elderly Meals program in Porcupine. These elders want justice. They want change. They need to be heard.
These elders have asked for your support. We must answer their plea!
Abuse of elders is against numerous local, state, national and international laws as well as Lakota customary law, and can not be tolerated in any society.
This abuse MUST end now and those responsible brought to justice!
With your help we can assure that these key members of traditional Lakota society are respected, nurtured and protected so they can have the chance to pass their knowledge and experience on to future generations.
In the, 'United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous People', what is described as the, "minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world" the U.N.recognized and reaffirmed that, "indigenous people are entitled, without discrimination, to all human rights recognized in International Law, and that indigenous peoples posses collective rights which are indispensable for their existence, well-being and integral development as peoples."
In fact, no less than twenty-two of the Declarations articles reaffirm the rights of the Lakota elders to pursuing remedy and justice in accordance with the customary law of the Lakota people.
According to, and utilizing, the sovereign and natural rights of the Lakota Oyate (people), the elders demand the following:
1) The firing of all staff who have abused elders and profiteered from the Elderly Meals program.
2) Construction of a new, sanitary building for the elders.
3) Restoration of hot, well balanced, and nutritious meals.
4) Expansion of elderly meals to those who are home-bound.
5) A full and transparent investigation into the abuses and corruption in the meals program, no matter where it leads, and accountability of those responsible.
We implore your involvement in helping these esteemed and valuable members of Lakota society, achieve their rights and freedom from abuse.
Pilamaye! Thank you!
For more information and updates please visit contact 'Lakota Oyate' on Facebook or www.lakotaoyate.net.
Rev. 'John Mark' Crowder started this petition with a single signature, and now has 768 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.