Our work began in 2005 when Romero Institute staff went to South Dakota to meet with members of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate—People of the Seven Council Fires—commonly known as the Great Sioux Nation.
The men told us of a long history of treaty violations, military defeats, and systemic corruption that has resulted in the loss of their most sacred lands. The women talked to us about the children and grandchildren and the epidemic of young ones being removed from their homes, families, and traditions—a problem so widespread that it has decimated the generation charged with carrying their culture forward.
The Lakota People’s Law Project (LPLP) was born from these discussions. Since opening our first office in South Dakota in 2006, the primary focus of our work has been the Lakota Child Rescue Project. The focus of this project is to set up Child and Family Service Programs outside the jurisdiction of South Dakota’s department of social services. We know that any genuine attempt at justice begins with returning the children.
We are now setting up a coalition calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to follow the work that Canada, South Africa and others have done. Please read our report and sign our petition here.