Lakota People’s Law Project – Keeping Lakota families intact

Our work with the First Nations people of South Dakota began in 2005 when Romero Institute staff went to the great plains to meet with members of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate—People of the Seven Council Fires—commonly known as the Great Sioux Nation, or the Lakota. 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, we have pursued the Lakota Child Rescue Project. We have worked with tribal councils, federal agencies, and other nonprofits to pressure South Dakota’s Department of Social Services to respect tribal rights and traditions—to keep Lakota families and communities intact.

Lakota People’s Law Project staff members were on the ground at the NoDAPL Water Protectors’ Oceti Sakowin Camp from its inception. Madonna Thunder Hawk, tribal liaison for LPLP, joined with other Grandmothers to launch the movement to protect the water for future generations. “Mni Wiconi—Water Is Life.”

Chase Iron Eyes, our lead attorney, became a leader and spokesman the NoDAPL movement, and was arrested and charged with felony trespassing and inciting a riot.

Today, our attorneys are working to defend water protectors who were wrongfully arrested for exercising their first amendment rights. Our Chief Counsel Daniel Sheehan heads a formitable legal defense team representing Chase Iron Eyes in his upcoming trial. Please visit Lakota People’s Law Project to learn more about our work, read our reports, and take action.

As they say in Lakota—pilamaya—we thank you.