This is an amazing report by the Lakota People’s Law Project about how the State of South Dakota is Attempting to Punish Lakota Child Welfare Advocates and Protect Child Abusers. You can read the entire story; Final Mette Case Special Report
On May 1st, The Aberdeen News of South Dakota reported that former South Dakota state attorney Brandon Taliaferro and court appointed child advocate Shirley Schwab were being charged by South Dakota State Attorney General Martin Jackley with witness tampering and subornation of perjury. Attorney General Jackley filed these charges in relation to the separate criminal prosecution of Aberdeen-based foster parents Richard and Gwendolyn Mette. Mr. Taliaferro is a well-known South Dakota Indian child advocate and, as a former Assistant State Attorney, he was in charge of prosecuting child abuse cases in Brown County. Mrs. Schwab is the widely respected court-appointed child advocate for Brown County. Richard Mette had been charged in 2011 by Mr. Taliaferro with a total of 23 felony counts of aggravated rape of a child and aggravated incest against two of four young Native American sisters who had been placed in his and his wife Gwendolyn Mette’s custody by the Department of Social Services (D.S.S.) over the protests of the children’s Lakota family. Gwendolyn Mette had been charged with 11 felony charges of aiding and abetting his crimes, and with neglect of the children.
Five Lakotas on Pine Ridge Indian land in South Dakota were arrested Monday after attempting to block two tarsands pipeline trucks from entering their land. According to the Lakota activist the six-hour standoff started when the trucks refused to turn around claiming they had “corporate rights that supersede any other law.”
Wanbli WiWohkpe (James Starkey) has been making a series of videos. This is one of them. James makes and plays his own traditional flutes often out of found objects.
Wanbli WiWohkpe grew up on the streets of Rapid City, an illegal squatter town built in the Sacred Homeland of the Lakota Nation.
Growing up amidst what was commonly called “The Feud”, Wanbli WiWohkpe was caught between two worlds: the wasicu world of academia, where he excelled and blossomed, and the world of the reality around him, where he was looked down upon for who he and his Family were.
Wanbli WiWohkpe saw the utter disrespect afforded the Indigenous Male. He was told constantly in school to eschew his kin, and to grab hold of the American Dream.
Through a series of events, Wanbli WiWohkpe chose instead to follow his older brother, Warren Rich, and the two became very close, almost as if they melded into one person. He learned to be strong, to be swift, and to be loyal.
The Youths ultimately became entangled in the system of incarceration perpetuated by the Invader/Occupier. The Youths grew into Men, and the violence continued and escalated. Knowing something was amiss and unable to articulate what, these Men learned to lash out upon others of their kind. A tragic spiral of lateral violence continued unabated until they were all again incarcerated by the illegal squatter government.
Wanbli WiWohkpe went to prison for 1st Degree Manslaughter in 1986.
In the subsequent years, Wanbli WiWohkpe has seen those closest to him as a Youth perish. Most escaped their oppression via suicide. None lashed out at the Invader/Occupier in the terrible ways other oppressed Nations do. None went amongst the Invader and exploded. None took the Occupier with them to their death.
Instead, being from a beautiful People not familiar with domestication, a People not wishing to inflict damage upon their tormenters; not wishing anything from their tormenters but for the torment to cease, they imploded.
They imploded and they continue to implode. The Invasion/Occupation continues unchecked, and the Lakota Nation, especially the Lakota Male, remains pauperized.
Our Lives were stolen by the Occupier. Every thing the Invader has is stolen.
Every bite of food, every warm bed, every happy home, every scrap of power, every nuance of anything enjoyed by the Invader is taken directly from the Health of the Indigenous. The Invader’s prosperity is taken directly from the Hearth and Home of the Lakota Nation. A Hearth and Home now non-existent as the Lakota People wander their own Homeland as homeless.
As the fortunate give thanks for the blessings of God and their American Dream, the Lakota Nation, the less fortunate, continue to simply exist as pesky and useless vermin in the Occupier’s world.
Through Lakol Wicohan, the Friendly Lifeways of the Lakota Nation, Wanbli WiWohkpe began to see. He began to understand the difference between his Nation and the Occupier. He committed himself to Sundance and Vision Quest, and now after completing 4 years of Sundancing and a 4 day Vision Quest, Wanbli WiWohkpe has made a true Relative with the Siyotanka, the Ancient Lakota Flute.
Wanbli WiWohkpe believes the Siyotanka is part of Lakota Man Power, a component of our Being that has been kept from us. To label the Siyotanka as a “courting flute” and to play it as feebly as “Native American Flute” players do, keeps us emasculated as Indigenous Males.
Look around, most “Native American Flute” makers/players are not Indigenous, and those famed Indigenous flute players often play a non-Indigenously made flute.
The Invader/Occupier is literally chopping off a part of us, emasculating us; thereby rendering us impotent. Wanbli WiWohkpe has learned directly from the Winged and Four Legged just how to play the Siyotanka, how to regain Lakota Masculinity, and how to Heal.
OyateUnderground Productions: World Class Representin’.