Descendants of Turtle Island’s First Born

“Go with a good heart,” Elder, Lakota Sioux, directing me in my work defending Lakota against federal charges related to the Standing Rock dissent camps. 

I believe in following my heart.

I believe that “Love will build a bridge, between your world and mine. ” The Judds.

I believe it’s time.   

I believe that peace and harmony in communities can be found through the cultural consensus-based peace-making of indigenous people which begins with a cultural education system that focuses on building relationships.   

I believe that there will be peace in indigenous communities if they fully re-claim both their education and judicial systems. Historical trauma and ancestral memories combined with the Anglo destruction of the indigenous systems robbed the indigenous of their traditional life-way that sustained them and sustained Mother Earth.   

I believe that once the tribes take this step, the rest of the country and the world can follow leading to peace on Earth.  

I believe that it is my duty as a lawyer with training in the failed American system and experience with tribes to guide any individuals, organizations, or tribes who seek to follow this path. 

I am offering to help when an American lawyer is needed to facilitate your visions.  I seek to honor your right to self-government by supporting your work.  

  • How can this vision be attained?
    • Create groups or projects for peacemaking and for education that are based on tribal custom removed from any Anglo influence
    • Propose the projects to the tribal council
    • Implement the projects
  • Who can create the projects?
    •  Any Descendant of Turtle Island’s First Born
    • Any Tribe
    • Believe in yourself, believe in your people, believe in your Tribe
  • How can I help?
    • Teach me how your ancestors traditionally handled harm within the community and what you dream of creating
    • I will use my training and skills and relationships to help you attain your dream.
    • Drafting proposals
    • Drafting tribal codes,
    • Advocacy to tribal council
    • Advocacy to the United States government both for approval when the project seeks to take back work currently handled by the United States and for funding
    • From my time with the people of Standing Rock Tribe and from reading, I have learned that Lakota tradition called for peacemaking where offender, victim and relatives assisted in finding a resolution that helped the individual see the harm done and returned the individual to the group.
    • And I have learned that Lakota education is handed down by stories from ancestors/elders
  • Attorneys fees?
    • Yes, I have to feed my family including various creatures that have chosen my family as their family,  so there are attorneys’ fees.
    • Options for funding:
      • tribe support
      • federal funding if the project becomes an approved project pursuant to self-determination laws for education and courts
      • grants
      • borrow from extended family for your initial start-up expenses
  • Why should you hire me?
    • I have almost 30 years of experience in the American courts and in American government and more recently in working with tribal members. 
    • I have experience in self-directed education through my son who has been a learner at Abrome for about 5 years. 
    •  I am eager to assist you in creating communities that return to your roots including helping to create the projects, helping to seek tribal government approval of the projects, helping to seek funding and helping to draft amendments to tribal code to support your work.
  • Why do I seek to do this work?
    • For almost 30 years, I have been a cog in the wheel of the government system of oppression as a white woman and as a criminal defense/civil rights lawyer. My role within the system has been in the courtroom formally opposing prosecutors and city attorneys before judges –  first in the U.S. Navy with an additional duty as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, second in private practice in Mississippi and finally in private practice in Texas.   During this time, I have mitigated the damage caused by the system for some people, but that is all that I have done.
    • I have been complicit in the existing system pleading people guilty to charges. I have been complicit in the system in following its procedures including jury trials. I have been complicit in the system in seeking the assistance of white males within the white male supremacy instead of standing up to them and the system.
    • I have searched discovery and issued stacks of subpoenas looking for grounds for suppression of any evidence and discrepancies for use in cross-examination.   I have filed and argued motions, tried cases before juries, and begged for mercy to judges and juries.  Almost always for Black or brown or indigenous clients.  Almost always before white juries and before white male judges. None of this work advanced the cause of eliminating the harm that resulted in the criminal charges.  All of these clients suffered arrest, jail and many suffered prison time.
    • I have watched hundreds of cop video meticulously looking for discrepancies or any issue for use in cross-examination.   In all the videos I have watched in a long career, I have never had a video from cops that in truth benefited my client.
    • I have advocated for reforms to politicians and lawyers in positions of authority within the system, similar to many of those suggested by mass defense members as they discussed this resolution – video on always, cop has no control over video, video transfers immediately to station, double -checks of vehicles to make sure the video is running before taking the car on patrol.   None of these reforms will ever be effective because the power to control the video is always ultimately retained by the oppressors.
    • In 2008, 70 tribal juveniles were sent to federal prisons.  The average time that they served was 26 months.  This is just the most horrifying statistic.   Tribal adults are sent to jail or prison every day.
    • From my experience, I can say that the carceral system does not work.  It does not resolve the harm nor contribute to the healing of communities.   There is a system that works and I began to learn about it in 1990 in law school – peacemaking traditionally used by indigenous peoples worldwide.