“Nature of Acts

Genocidal acts committed against the Lakota Oyate generally include, but are not limited to:

  • the murder of Lakota people both past and present,
  • persistent and ongoing mental and physical harm of Lakota;
  • ongoing forcible transfer of Lakota children to non-Lakota and non-Native custody;
  • forced sterilization of Lakota women: and,
  • ongoing genocidal conditions of life, including radioactive pollution, leading to the destruction of the Lakota Oyate as a distinct, and separate national, ethnic, and religious group.”

Official Lakota Oyate Complaint of Genocide

Full text available below


Lakota Wagunpi Woashake
Ikicupi is Lakota Elders taking
back their strength to end the
genocide of the Lakota people
and renew matriarchal
Grandmother leadership on
Pine Ridge and across the
Lakota Nation. Stand Behind
the Lakota Grandmothers!

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye
Lakota Strong Heart Warriors
Independent Lakota Oyate
P.O. Box 512
Hill City, SD 57745
Phone: 605-517-1547
Lakota Oyate on Facebook

With support from:
Lakota Solidarity Project
P.O. Box 881
Asheville, NC 28802
Phone: 828-338-9781

Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary General
United Nations
Office of the United Nations
New York, NY 10017 USA

Navi Pillay
High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
United Nations
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland


To the Honorable Ban Ki-Moon:

This letter serves notice as a complaint, that the crime of genocide is being committed, in an ongoing manner, against the matriarchal Tetuwan Lakota Oyate of the Oceti Sakowin, an Indigenous First Nation people whose ancestral lands comprise a large area of the Northern Great Plains of Turtle Island, the continent known as North America.
Genocide is the worst crime possible, and the most serious of crimes under international law as evidenced by its status within the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Genocide is without ethical defense, and indeed those who knowingly protect genocidal activities are, in the least, morally complicit in these same crimes.







The 1948 International Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide clearly defines those acts, “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” and the Lakota Oyate are subject to these acts on a historic, ongoing, and daily basis.





Nature of Acts

Genocidal acts committed against the Lakota Oyate generally include, but are not limited to:

  • the murder of Lakota people both past and present,
  • persistent and ongoing mental and physical harm of Lakota;
  • ongoing forcible transfer of Lakota children to non-Lakota and non-Native custody;
  • forced sterilization of Lakota women: and,
  • ongoing genocidal conditions of life, including radioactive pollution, leading to the destruction of the Lakota Oyate as a distinct, and separate national, ethnic, and religious group.


While the historic genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Lakota Oyate and other Indigenous peoples in North America is well documented, genocidal acts continue in this period of time since the United States of America signed the 1948 Convention on Genocide in 1988.


Through the policies and practices of the U.S. Federal Government, and state governments including South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana, genocidal activities continue with the specific knowledge of government officials that such activities are eliminating the Lakota as a distinct people with natural and unceeded rights to sovereign territory as well as political, economic, and cultural self-determination. These governments also license and permit U.S. and foreign corporations to do business within sovereign Lakota territory resulting in the pillaging of natural resources without consent or compensation, devastation of the land, and pollution of vital sources of water necessary for life.

The Lakota language is the essential outward indicator of Lakota cultural, political, and social nationality and necessary for Lakota self-determination. Traditional language speakers are being destroyed through genocidal policies, ongoing assimilation, and enforced conditions of life.


In a single lifetime, the percentage of native Lakota speakers has dropped from around 75% to less than 14% today. The average Lakota speakers if 65 years old. There has been no new generation of native speakers for three decades. In fact, it is estimated only 6000-8000 fluent Lakota speakers remain.






Experts predict the Lakota have less than 20-30 years before the Lakota will cease to exist as a distinct and sovereign people. The systematic annihilation of the Lakota as a national, ethnic, and religious group is genocide.






Acts by the United States Government and other International bodies make invisible the Indigenous victims of genocide, like the Lakota, are also acts of genocide. These acts prevent the end of genocidal policies, and shield punishment of the crime of genocide by intentionally limiting its meaning to mass murder only, in flagrant violation of the founding principals of the 1948 Convention and International human rights law. Release of government documents also indicates the United States Department of Homeland Security considers Lakota groups who speak out to end genocide and renew sovereign status as domestic terrorists.




At the International level, marginalization of Indigenous peoples as “ethnic minorities” within the United Nations limits meaningful participation of a fully sovereign and self-determining Lakota government that can legitimately represent its sovereign interests as an equal member in national and international governing bodies, such as the United Nations General Assembly. The deliberate denial of political representation by a sovereign Lakota Oyate in international governing assemblies is itself an act of genocide.




The rights of Indigenous victims of historic and ongoing genocide are guaranteed by the 1985 Declaration on the Fundamental Principles of Justice for Victims of Crimes and Abuses of Power and the 2005 updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights which expressly mentions the rights of victims in the context of genocide.


The Lakota, as victims of genocide, must receive accountability and justice through an assertive International Community. As the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court affirms, “…the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level and by enhancing international cooperation.” The Statute further recalls, “…it is the duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes.”




According to international law, genocide is a crime for which no time limitation applies. Lakota who are descended from victims of genocide continue to be victimized today through the intergenerational trauma of mass-murder and assimilation, from historic policies and practices of the United States that have never been repealed, and by new forms of annihilation from government policies and corporate exploitation of sovereign Lakota lands.




While international law has ruled criminal responsibility cannot be inherited from one generation to the next, political and economic responsibility can be passed down. Descendants and ongoing victims of genocidal acts have outstanding rights to see the end of genocidal actions as well as reparations for the damage these acts have caused by the State from the time of their implementation.


For the Lakota Oyate, the assertion of such rights will result in the end of genocidal policies and practices, the return of stolen sovereign treaty territory, the remediation of exploited and polluted Lakota lands, and financial reparations for physical, emotional, and cultural destruction.




The natural rights of the Lakota Oyate to be free from genocidal acts and to pursue their prevention and punishment are further enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1969 Vienna Convention on Treaties, and most recently the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The assertion of these international instruments must be recognized.






  1.                          We demand immediate action by the United Nations and International Community to end the ongoing genocide of the Lakota Oyate (Nation), a sovereign Indigenous First Nation of North America (Turtle Island) who have existed on the continent since time immemorial.




  1.                         The Lakota Oyate, as represented by our customary matriarchal system, have the unassailable natural right to sovereign territory, to political self-determination, and to freely pursue economic, social, and cultural development without interference.




  1.                         The Lakota Oyate are still in active resistance to the colonial invasion and occupation of our sovereign ancestral territory by Euro-American settlers, the United States military, and corporations given standing by U.S. law.




  1.                         The Lakota Oyate are traditionally a matriarchal people, led by the Elder Grandmothers, and this matriarchal leadership has been forced underground by patriarchal systems of the United States Government.




  1.                         In the past, and continuing into the present, the Lakota Oyate are being deliberately inflicted with conditions of life intended to mentally and physically destroy our people and prevent them from preserving and developing their sovereign and self-determining culture.




  1.                         Genocidal conditions of life have created a minority of traditional and grassroots Lakota Oyate who are the remaining 6000-8000 Lakota language speakers, culture holders, and freedom fighters within a majority of Lakota forcefully assimilated into American lifestyles.




  1.                         While genocidal conditions of life exist against the majority of Lakota people, the traditional and grassroots Elders and Oyate face disproportionate levels of violence, abuse, neglect, enforced poverty, and deprivation of basic human needs as retaliation for their continued resistance to forced assimilation, racism, and systemic corruption.




  1.                         We hold accountable those who bring about these genocidal conditions of life on Lakota Elders and Oyate including:




  • United States Government policies and actions originating from the Office of the President, the U.S. Congress, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. State Department, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, and others:
  • The failed and corrupt United States tribal government system, represented by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Tribal Council (OST), that was illegally imposed by the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 without the consent of the Lakota people;
  • Policies of the U.S. state governments of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana;
  • The unregulated actions of U.S. and foreign Corporations on sovereign Lakota territory unceeded by Treaty agreements;
  • Missionary Christian churches, religious institutions, and non-profit groups that continue to spiritually colonize Lakota lands and people;
  • All other such persons, institutions, and criminal organizations that are complicit in the physical destruction, impoverishment, exploitation, or assimilation of the Lakota Oyate to the complete termination of sovereign Lakota lands, culture, and identity.




  1. We hold accountable the United Nations, International Court of Justice, and International Criminal Court for failing to uphold and enforce the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1969 Vienna Convention on Treaties, and the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.




  1. We demand an end to all policies and practices bringing about genocidal conditions of life against the Lakota Oyate, and by consequence, all Indigenous nations on Turtle Island.




  1. We demand the United States Government, state governments, and International governing bodies to meet with our delegations of traditional and grassroots Lakota Elders, to end genocidal policies and practices, and return stolen Lakota territory.




  1. We will assert out customary matriarchal system of sovereign and independent government led by the Grandmothers, so that the Lakota language, culture, and lifeway may be transferred to the future generations of our people.




  1. We draw upon the strength of our Ancestors to create a future for our children and grandchildren. Just as our ancestors refused to sign away our sovereign land and rights under conditions of starvation and abuse, we will continue to resist the slow, silent form of genocide inflicted upon us today.




A comprehensive and detailed complaint of genocide actions will be provided to the Office of the Secretary General and the High Commissioner of Human Rights in the coming days. We urge your immediate attention to this situation.






Lakota Oyate Delegation
Cante Tenza Okolakiciye
Representative: Zumila Wobaga
Representative: Canupa Gluha Mani




Barack Obama, President of the United States;
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, US State Dept
United States Senate Commission on Indian Affairs
United States Congressional Officials
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard
North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple
Montana Governor Steve Bullock
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead



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