Native Tribes lead the environmental effort to oppose pipelines

On October 15, Washington state tribal leaders testified before Canada’s Nation Energy Board in opposition to the impending expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Kinder Morgan Canada has proposed a $5.6 billion development of the pipeline which streamlines oil supply between Alberta’s tar sands and Vancouver, British Columbia. This expansion would increase the flow of oil from 300,000 barrels per day to 900,000. Some estimates assert the number of oil tankers running through Washington waters could increase by seven times the current amount to accommodate this change.

Washington Native tribes, along with neighboring Canadian tribes such as the Coast Salish, fear this advancement could have vastly negative impacts on their culture, as well as the environment at large.

Leonard Forsman, chairman of the Kitsap Peninsula’s Suquamish Tribe, states, “We’re concerned about the catastrophic impact that an oil spill can have on the ecosystem.”

According to Brian Cladoosby, president of the National Congress of American Indians, “We are salmon people and it is very, very important to us. It’s central to our culture.”

The likelihood of devastating oil spills would certainly increase along with tanker activity. Tribes of the Pacific Northwest who depend on fishing as a means of economic livelihood and cultural unification cannot afford oil run-over.

Lead of aboriginal engagement for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project Gary Youngman says, “We will continue to be committed to minimizing impact and protecting the marine environment.” He claims the company strongly values tribal communication and strives to move forward respectfully.

Testifying tribes are represented by Earthjustice lawyer Jan Hasselman. A final report of their testimony is expected to be released in January 2016 along with a formal recommendation to the Canadian government regarding which action to take.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline debate is far from its conclusion. Pacific Northwest tribes are adamant about reaching environmental justice and are taking the steps necessary to reach it.

These efforts mirror those of the Lakota people, who stand firmly against TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Just weeks ago, Nebraska’s “Harvest the Hope” concert brought in performers such as Willie Nelson and Neil Young to raise money and awareness for Native activists working against oil activity.

Natives are at the front line of environmentalists speaking out against threats in North America. We are inspired by the actions being taken by tribes across the country to preserve natural resources and the cultural significance that exists within it.

What are your thoughts on this pipeline expansion? Do you think there is any way to satisfy both parties?

Oglala Tribe mulling creation of Tribal National Park

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Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bryan Brewer published an update on efforts to establish a Tribal National Park within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the southwestern portion of South Dakota.

The roughly 133,000 acres of tribal land is currently being managed by the National Park Service, but there is a movement afoot to create the Badlands South Unit, essentially an extension of the current Badlands National Park, with the caveat being that this park will be jointly managed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the park service.

Oglala President Bryan Brewer recently penned an op-ed in Indian Country Today Media Network in support of federal legislation that would establish the cooperative management structure called the Tribal National Park Commission.

“The purposes of the (legislation) are to preserve, protect and interpret the cultural, historic, prehistoric, scientific and scenic values of the area, including the history, culture and heritage of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Lakota people,” Brewer said.

If passed the bill would authorize a memorial to honor Lakota World War II veterans, including the Codetalkers, and honor the Oglala families that were displaced from their homes in 1942.

In 1942, the United State War Department announced it was seizing the Northwest corner of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for an Aerial Gunnery Range and told the approximately 900 Native families to move out.

The dented landscape still shows vestiges of the practice bombing runs carried out by the U.S. Air Force during the war.

In the 1960s, the United States offered Lakota families the opportunity to purchase back some of the land, which many did. The government also authorized the ability to graze livestock on the land.

Since 1976, there has been an understanding that a cultural heritage center honoring the Lakota people would be constructed and the national park would be jointly managed, but a full-fledged agreement is still yet to be hammered out.

According to the Rapid City Journal, the Oglala Tribal Council agreed to issue a referendum, asking tribal members to vote on whether they would like to see the creation of the Tribal National Park.

Oglala President Bryan Brewer has maintained the park is an opportunity to both honor the long and illustrious culture of the Lakota Nation, restore Buffalo to its traditional pastureland and promote economic development in an area that continues to wrangle with a lack of economic opportunity.

“The Tribal National Park offers our Tribe the chance to honor our Lakota culture and heritage,” he said. “We have a chance to restore the buffalo and native species, promote economic development and create jobs through respectful tourism that honors the heritage of our Oglala Lakota Nation.”

Obama Announces 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference

On October 20, President Barack Obama announced the 2014 Tribal Nations Conference via an official press release.

This December 3rd event will mark the sixth White House Tribal Nations Conference held under the Obama Administration. Selected representatives from each of the 566 federally recognized Native American tribes will meet at Washington D.C.’s Capital Hilton hotel to discuss relevant issues with President Obama and members of the White House Council on Native American Affairs.

According to the announcement, Obama strives to “strengthen the government-to-government relationship with Indian country and to improve the lives of Native Americans.”

In June, the President paid a visit to North Dakota’s Standing Rock Indian Reservation during the annual Cannon Ball Flag Day Celebration. Obama’s appearance stands as the first presidential visit to a reservation since Clinton’s in 1999 and the third presidential visit to a reservation in all of our nation’s history.

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The focus of this visit, prospective educational and economic development, has been carried into current White House affairs. A tentative improvement plan pertaining to the Bureau of Indian Education’s control over 183 schools on Indian reservations is currently in place. If this plan goes through, tribes are said to gain greater sovereignty over the facilities on their land.

We are excited to see what progress is made at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference and will report more after it takes place. Tell us what you think of Obama’s efforts toward improved tribal relations. Has the President done enough? Too much?

Playing on cultural harmonies: South Dakota strives to foster understanding through music

The Argus Leader’s story about the Lakota Music Project on October 18 provides welcome good news from Indian County.

The newspaper’s coverage of South Dakota Symphony’s program to work with Lakota musicians offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the work of an inspiring organization striking down cultural boundaries through art. Descriptions of collaboration between classical musicians and Native instrumentalists in this South Dakota symphony offer hope that cultural coexistence is possible and differences can be overcome.

The Lakota Music Project is fueled by a harmonious sense of working in concert. While Lakota flute player Bryan Akipa (member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe) draws from sounds of nature and the feelings around him, the classically trained orchestra play off strict counts. Here, these differing processes are revered rather than repressed.

Lakota Music Project compositions are perfected through careful listening rather than working towards a goal of uniformity. As Akipa listens to oboist Jeff Paul’s original piece “Pentatonic Fantasy for Dakota Cedar Flute and Orchestra”, he formulates flute melodies to complement Paul’s music.

Pieces such as “Pentatonic Fantasy for Dakota Cedar Flute and Orchestra” are continuously rewritten and adapted to make room for Akipa’s style. This is a process of cooperation and mutual respect. The goal is to create a blend of unique sounds rather than diminishing distinctive styles to a muted common ground.

This fusion of sounds, influences, and cultures is a means of celebrating and embracing differences.

Director of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra Delta David Gier’s efforts to deeply enrich the community rather than merely entertain has proved successful. Mutual inspiration between classical and Native musicians streamlines into vibrant, engaging performances.

Although the Lakota People’s Law Project remains focused upon issues of legal justice, we are moved by positive cultural happenings such as the work of the Lakota Music Project.

Below is a video of the orchestra performing at Sinte Gleska University in 2009. Read Argus Leader’s full story here.

No More War Bonnets at Glastonbury Music Festival

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In response to a Change.org petition that garnered a mere 65 signatures, England’s Glastonbury Music Festival has banned the distribution of Native American headdresses at their upcoming 2015 event.

The voice behind the petition, Daniel W. Round of Stourbridge, United Kingdom, stated, “There has long been consensus among indigenous civil rights activists in North America about the wearing of headdresses by non-Natives – that it is an offensive and disrespectful form of cultural appropriation, that it homogenizes diverse indigenous peoples, and that it perpetuates damaging, archaic and racist stereotypes.”

The appearance of war bonnets has become commonplace in popular media. From music videos to viral Instagram photos, non-Native celebrities have driven a piece of incredible cultural significance into mainstream fashion.

Performers who appear at major music festivals such as Glastonbury are not exempt from this vast list of offenders.

Singer Pharrell Williams donned a war bonnet on Elle Magazine’s July 2014 cover. The blatant atrocity sparked a huge buzz on Twitter as “#NotHappy” trended. An official statement reading: “I respect and honour (sic) every kind of race, background and culture” was quickly released from the singer’s camp.

In August, he performed at Budweiser’s Made In America Music Festival.

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Pop singer Lana Del Rey, who wears a feathered headdress in her “Ride” music video, has headlined at music festivals such as Coachella, Austin City Limits, and Glastonbury 2014.

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The complacency of these pop culture icons certainly plays into the widespread acceptance of war bonnets into non-Native wardrobes.

Native American blogger Chelsea Vowel addresses this harmful ignorance on her blog:

“Unless you are a native male from a Plains nation who has earned a headdress, or you have been given permission to wear one (sort of like being presented with an honorary degree), then you will have a very difficult time making a case for how wearing one is anything other than disrespectful…Even if you have ‘native friends’ or are part native yourself, individual choices to “not be offended” do not trump our collective rights as peoples to define our symbols.”

Glastonbury Music Festival’s move places Indian headdresses beside alcohol, cigarettes, and candle flares on the list of products restricted to trade without official authorization.

In a social climate where cultural appropriation has been normalized, this ban is a minor accomplishment. However, the festival’s statement has the potential to motivate other music events, publications, and faces of pop culture to rethink their ties to politically incorrect “fashion”.

Daniel Round’s accomplishment as an activist goes to show that individuals are capable of bringing about vital changes in the realm of media representation. We encourage everyone to speak out against the appropriation they may encounter in their own lives and support others in doing the same.

Tell us your thoughts on Glastonbury’s step in the right direction and feel free to offer any insights you may have pertaining to future solutions to popularized appropriation!

“One big difference between dressing up as a Native American as opposed to a pirate or astronaut or cowboy is that the latter are occupations, not societies. You don’t try out for a job as an Indian. It’s your culture; it’s your way of life.” -N. Bruce Duthu, Dartmouth College Native American Studies Dept. Chair

Mike Rounds is steadfastly opposed to Indian rights

The Lakota People’s Law Office of Rapid City, South Dakota has been asked to provide information relating to the South Dakota citizens that a protest is being mounted at the site of Mike Rounds’ scheduled public press conference this Friday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The press conference will feature conservatives Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who are expected to give their endorsements to former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds for the South Dakota United States Senate Seat being vacated by ailing South Dakota U.S. Senator Tim Johnson.

Daniel Sheehan, the General Counsel for The Lakota People’s Law Office, wishes to inform the people of South Dakota that Michael Rounds’ record during his terms as State Senate Majority Leader and as the Governor of South Dakota graphically demonstrate that Rounds will not represent the interests of the Lakota people of South Dakota if he is elected to the U.S. Senate to replace Tim Johnson.

“Mike Rounds has been steadfastly opposed to the interests of Native peoples in South Dakota,” said Daniel Sheehan. “As State Senate Majority Leader and as the Governor of South Dakota, Michael Rounds first worked extremely closely with the most racially-insensitive administration in the history of South Dakota under then-Governor William Janklow and then headed up his own administration that carried on those same polices. His and William Janklow’s policies were responsible for removing over 7,000 Lakota children from their homes and tribes and forcibly placing those Indian children in non-Native foster care or adoptive settings in open defiance of the federal law.”

Mike Rounds was the State Senate Majority Leader from 1995 to 2000 working closely with his mentor Governor William Janklow who once said that the only way to deal with Indian activists is ‘to put a bullet in their heads.”

And then, as William Janklow’s hand-picked successor as Governor, from 2003 to 2011, Rounds  presided over a period when his and William Janklow’s South Dakota State Department of Social Services was seizing and forcibly removing from their homes and tribe an average of 742 Indian children every year, according to the United States Children’s Bureau.

Rounds appointed Debra Bowman, William Janklow’s “Special Executive Assistant”, to be the Director of the South Dakota State Department of Social Services and, together, Rounds and Bowman falsely claimed that the Federal Adoption & Safe Families Act trumped the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act and they continued to seize Lakota children at an alarming rate — even after the South Dakota Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2005 expressly declaring the Rounds Administration’s Indian child-placement policy to be unlawful.

Rounds and Bowman continued this unlawful policy by drafting and pushing through the Round’s-dominated State Legislature a specific statute granting to the DSS the non-reviewable discretion to refuse to place any children seized by the state with any “relative.”

Mike Rounds then appointed Marty Jackley (who, as the George W. Bush Administration United States Attorney had attempted to prosecute members of the 1973 American Indian Movement for a 35-year-old murder case) to be the South Dakota Attorney General in 2009… so Jackley could continue to pursue members of this Indian movement.

Marty Jackley then presided over the infamous “Mette Rape Scandal Case.”

“The Mette Rape Scandal is the most egregious case of a state cover-up of Indian child sexual abuse in South Dakota’s history,” Daniel Sheehan said. “Anyone associated with that horrendous dereliction of duty should not hold public office.”

The Mette Rape Scandal refers, of course, to the infamous case of Richard Mette, the 325- pound white man who repeatedly raped one, sexually abused two, and then physically abused the other Lakota Indian foster care children for a full decade who had been placed in his care by the Rounds DSS Administration.

Those Indian children cried out, repeatedly, to Rounds’ Department of Social Services, decrying this sexual and physical abuse, but they were steadfastly ignored until a medical doctor recognized the evidence of this abuse and alerted law enforcement authorities.

An Aberdeen Police Department search of Richard & Gwendolyn Mette’s home revealed a “virtual pornography store” and further incriminating evidence of outrageous sexual and physical abuse of these Indian children too outrageous to recount here.

Richard Mette was charged, by local law enforcement authorities in Aberdeen, South Dakota, with 23 felony counts of child sexual abuse and his wife, Wendy Mette, was charged with 11 felony counts predicated on her role as his willful accomplice.

Brandon Taliaferro, the former Brown County Deputy State’s Attorney, was the original State Prosecutor of Richard & Gwendolyn Mette and he vigorously pursued the case against them. However, he was ordered to “back off” that case, as its prosecution threatened to publicly embarrass the DSS at a time when they were under intense investigation by NPR National Public Radio which had just aired a scathing public criticism of the State of South Dakota’s Department of Social Services’ treatment of Indian families and children.

Taliaferro refused to do back down and he was summarily fired – and then he and the State Court-Appointed Child Advocate for these Indian children, Mrs. Shirley Schwab, were falsely charged by Rounds-appointed Attorney General Marty Jackley. The false charges included felony counts of “witness tampering” and “bribery”, that were summarily dismissed by long-time State Court Judge Gene Paul Kean when Marty Jackley’s office failed to present any credible evidence whatsoever to support those utterly false charges.

This led Judge Kean, from the bench, to publicly attribute that utterly false criminal prosecution to “Pierre”….meaning to Marty Jackley and the Governor’s Office.

Moreover, state prosecutors under Marty Jackley then dropped all eleven felony counts against Wendy Mette, then dismissed 22 of the 23 counts against Richard Mette…and attempted to accept a plea from Mette to “One count of spanking.”

But when Indian advocates vigorously protested Richard Mette was allowed, by Marty Jackley, to plea to one felony count (for which he received a sentence that will allow him out within just two years) and the DSS and Jackley then placed those Indian children back in The Mette home with Gwendolyn Mette!

“The Mette Rape Scandal Case epitomizes South Dakota State Attorney General Marty Jackley’s and former state governor Michael Rounds’s approach to Indian people and their issues,” Sheehan said. “Rather than care for the young Indian girls who were being horrendously sexually abused, the state intentionally shielded the white perpetrators of these despicable crimes and attempted to destroy the professional reputations and careers of the only loyal State employees who tried to protect these Indian children. Rounds’ administrators were clearly more interested in covering up clear evidence of the systemic racism displayed toward Indian people than they were in serving justice or upholding the public good.”

It is, of course, entirely up to the people of South Dakota as to whether they wish to be represented in the United States Senate by a person who has made these types of political appointments and who was virtually appointed to his office by one of the most flagrantly racist anti-Native American bigots in American history,” Sheehan concluded. “Our office is simply conveying to the people of South Dakota, at the express request of representatives of the press, what Michael Rounds record reflects concerning his policies and practices with regard to the issue of Indian Rights, which is the specific area of public policy expertise of our office. Our Lakota Peoples Law Office, as a federally-authorized 501(C)(3) public interest law office, takes no position whatsoever as to whether people should, or should not, vote for Michael Rounds as the person to replace Tim Johnson in the United States Senate to represent them in Washington, D.C. It is up to the people of South Dakota to decide what policies and programs they wish to see implemented by our Federal Government toward Indian people.

28th Annual Black Hills Powwow

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Last weekend marked Rapid City’s 28th annual Black Hills Powwow. Hundreds of Native dancers, singers, musicians, and artisans were brought together for the “Come Dance with Us” themed festivities.

Traditional performances, art shows, and sports tournaments made the powwow an event to be remembered. Many attendees view the event as the prime time to showcase their talents and celebrate their cultural identities. The prizes for competitions totaled over $85,000– the Northern Plains singing event alone awarded $27,000 to its winners .

Stephen Yellowhawk, board president of the Black Hills Powwow Association, said that, “It’s our dream to reach out to everyone, even if they’re not powwow dancers or singers, and make them feel welcome here in our community.” The powwow certainly accomplished just that— unifying Natives from across the United States and Canada, along with non-Native spectators, for three days of cultural celebration.

Joining that spirit of unification, Lakota People’s Law Project was happy to attend the powwow and meet with tribes who were recently approved for Title IV-E federal planning grants to begin the planning process.

The powwow kicked off on Friday with the Youth Day Symposium, which brought in over 4,000 Rapid City School District students to hear a speech from Olympic medalist and Pine Ridge native Billy Mills. The 1964 Olympic medalist spoke to the youth about the importance of diversity and perseverance.

Thirteen-year-old Sancha St. John admires Mills’ accomplishments, saying, “He’s inspiring us to do better and achieve more. He’s showing us how we can do good in life.”

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To find out more about Billy’s charity foundation, check out his initiative Running Strong for American Indian Youth.

The 28th Black Hills Powwow was a massive success, celebrating tradition, spirituality, and, above all else, community. We are both encouraged and excited to move forward with our efforts developing tribal child and family service programs with this renewed sense of unity and commitment!

Indigenous People’s Day?

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In a unanimous decision, Seattle has opted to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day this coming Monday (October 13th). The city will join Minneapolis, which voted in April, in their revamped recognition of North America’s roots.

As it stands, several states do not recognize Columbus Day at all. Hawaii recognizes the day as Discovery Day.

In South Dakota, the state started calling the holiday Native American Day in 1989.

The movement to either change or dispense with the holiday altogether has begun with indigenous populations in the United States. Native Americans have long viewed Columbus Day as [being] disrespectful to their long and rich heritage.

While evidence of mass genocide, sexual enslavement, and general racism certainly lends credence to the movement to change the holiday, the vilification of Columbus as a historical figure has [paused the discussion] given some pause.

Many Americans remains unsettled by the idea of completely reconstructing his holiday.

Jerry Newcombe of the Christian Post describes Christopher Columbus as being, “reviled by the politically correct elites in our culture” while Italian-Americans mourn over possible denouncement of the symbol of the explorer. The question stands- can any religious or cultural sentiment override immoral realities behind Columbus’s legacy?

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Indigenous peoples across the country retort with a resounding “no” as they demand increased representation in the celebration of early America. While Christopher Columbus did, of course, sail the ocean blue back in 1492, he was not met by a vast expanse of empty earth.

Rather, his ships were received by Native tribes with abundant traditions and complex cultures who called the land home long before the age of European exploration. If anything, Columbus can be credited with solidifying European awareness of the Americas. However, any holiday that recognizes North American history should undoubtedly acknowledge both sides of its “discovery”.

As we approach the federal holiday, it is vital to consider your personal relationship with the Columbus Day tradition. Do you view the holiday as a celebration of our country’s symbolic beginnings or a literal remembrance of Columbus as a revolutionary individual? Should indigenous Americans be honored separately from this figure or represented beside him? We are interested to hear the value you place on the second Monday of October and how you believe it should be celebrated.

New Development in Mette Rape Scandal

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There has been a development in the Mette Rape Scandal in South Dakota. The scandal involves the highest levels of the executive branch of the state government including South Dakota attorney general Marty Jackley. The Lakota People’ Law Project Chief Counsel Daniel Sheehan describes the scandal as, “the most egregious case of a state cover-up of child sex abuse in this nation’s history.”

The latest development involves Brandon Taliaferro, the former Brown County Deputy State’s attorney, who initially charged Richard Mette with 23 felony counts of child sex abuse and his wife Wendy with 11 counts for allegedly abetting the crimes.

After pursing the case that had to potential to cause embarrassment for the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Taliaferro was accused by prosecutors of tampering with witnesses and evidence, bribery and perjury.

The case never made it to trail because Judge Gene Paul Kean tossed the case out of court before it made it in front of a jury, while Kean lectured the prosecution about letting inter-office politics spill into the state’s judiciary system. As South Dakota Public Radio broadcaster Vicky Wicks revealed on Wednesday, Oct. 9, Taliferro was attempting to get his arrest record expunged so he can answer truthfully when asked if he has been arrested.

Read Wicks excellent and incisive article here:

http://listen.sdpb.org/post/sd-supreme-court-attorney-wants-arrest-expunged-inmate-appeals-lengthy-sentence

The Lakota People’s Law Project believes unequivocally that the Mette Rape Scandal emphasizes the corruption that is inherent in South Dakota’s Department of Social Services (DSS). The state clearly believes it can destroy the lives of young Native children and shield child rapists with impunity. Anyone who dare question their method of operations will be subject to retaliation and have their careers and reputations sullied.

For more background of the Mette Rape Scandal please read the following:

The young Lakota foster children under the care of Richard and Wendy Mette repeatedly told the DSS about the abusive acts Richard Mette committed for more than a decade from 2001-2011, but the state did not want to believe them.

It was not until a doctor noticed marks of abuse on one of the children and alerted the police, that something was finally done. Taliaferro, a young prosecutor in the Brown County State Attorney’s Office, brought 23 counts against Richard Mette and 11 felony counts against Wendy Mette for a prolonged series of crimes too despicable to recount here.

The state, which stood to suffer embarrassment due to the case, did not allow the Mette case to go to trial, instead dropping 22 of the counts against Richard Mette and all counts against Wendy.

Richard Mette got 15 years in prison and is eligible for parole in 6½ years, instead of what should have been a life sentence.

However, the state’s malice did not stop there.

Instead of rallying around the children and prosecuting Richard and Gwendolyn Mette to the fullest extent, the state of South Dakota pushed back against Taliaferro and Schwab. During the trial the children were removed from the Mette home and put under the care of their older and capable sister, but the state of South Dakota chose to put the Lakota children back in the care of Gwendolyn Mette.

Help us combat the racial bias and corruption in South Dakota.

Hospital abuse, another example of S.D. racial injustice

The Lakota People’s Law Project has spent the last eight years attempting to convince the general public about South Dakota’s egregiously racist attitude towards Native peoples.

This is not to say that every South Dakotan is a racist, but systemically, the institutions and mechanisms of power are established in such a manner to abet the repression of the Lakota people.

While our focus has remained primarily on the Department of Social Services and the other state agencies that have marshaled resources to protect it and shield it from scrutiny, the case of Vern Traversie further underscores racist attitudes toward Indian people.

Traversie is a 71-year-old blind Lakota man who underwent heart surgery at Rapid City Regional Hospital in Rapid City on August 26, 2011. His lawsuit was filed on July 16, 2012 by a team of lawyers that includes Lakota People’s Law Project Attorney Chase Iron Eyes.

In the suit, Traversie claims he was subject to abuse, denied pain medication and suffered “severe emotional trauma” during his time at the hospital.

After being released, Traversie’s relatives noted that he had several scars and flesh wounds across his abdomen, some of which appeared to form the letters “KKK.”LO-RES-FEA-Photo-Hate-Crime-Vern-Traversie-04_Facebook

In July 2012, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, who has been at the center of several controversial decisions relating to Indian relations in the state, declined to prosecute the hospital on Traversie’s behalf.

The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court, District of South Dakota, Western Division and will go to trial after the summary judgement filed by the hospital’s lawyers was denied by a federal judge.

From the perspective of the Lakota People’s Law Project, the incident provides yet another example of how the South Dakota justice system routinely fails to protect its Indian citizens and demonstrates how they are often left with expensive federal lawsuits as their only form of redress.

We will continue to follow the Traversie case.

For more information visit:
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/09/29/after-three-long-years-vern-traversie-gets-his-day-court-157096