Protect and Preserve the Rights of Students at
Oglala Lakota College
Oglala Lakota Nation
The highest educational institution on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is being questioned by its students. Oglala Lakota College, the only accredited collegiate institution on the reservation is being cited by several of its students for various constitutional rights violations.
About four students - perhaps more - say they were banished or suspended from OLC for speaking against teacher & staff misconduct and behavior. The students say they had never received hearings for allegations against them, allegations which occurred as early as 1996.
Twyla Turney, a student of OLC in the Eagle Nest District (Wambli SD), said she was barred from classes in December 1997. Twyla now says that her educational aspirations have been on hold for over 1 year, a time frame which exceeds the policy prescribed 6 month suspension. Turney said OLC Board of Trustees Chair Tom Conroy told her she could not register for classes at ANY college center..
Gilbert Bad Wound of the Pine Ridge College center was denied permission to take classes at the PR College Center in the Fall semester 1998. OLC administrators gave no reason for denying him an education. Neither was he given a hearing. Gilbert had to get an OST court order to reinstate his admission to OLC.
Charlie and Lisa Smoke, a young couple of Kyle SD were barred from classes at OLC in the Fall Semester 1998. OLC President Tom Shortbull denied them a hearing. OST court then ordered OLC to reinstate Lisa and Charlie Smoke. OLC Vice President Devonna Lone Wolf and President Tom Shortbull have tried to deny the Smokes use of OLC Facilities, even after an OST court reinstated them pending a court hearing scheduled for October 1998. By the time a hearing is set, mid semester exams will be approaching.
In 1996 members of the Lakota Student Alliance were informed by OLC President Tom Shortbull that OLC board of trustees members were out to stop the LSA from protesting against bordertown racism. A few days before Shortbull provided oral information regarding his superiors, a written warning was issued to an LSA member telling him not to continue working with LSA.
The students have sought legal advice. Informed sources state that other students have serious grievances but are afraid they will be barred from classes if they speak out. OLC staff members have been pressured into resigning and otherwise dismissed from OLC without Due Process. Some have obtained legal counsel. Any students or OLC staff who experience discrimination should obtain legal counsel.
The Lakota Student Alliance Demands:
- We call for the reinstitution of rights accorded to students from the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.
- We call for the Implementation of a Student Bill of Rights into the OLC Policy. A bill of rights amendment currently does not exist in the policy.
- We call for the immediate resignation or termination of those officials violating the treaty and other rights of students.
The Fort Laramie Treaty Of 1868 [asserts that]:
"....the necessity of education is admitted, especially of such of them as are or may be settled on said...reservation, and they therefore pledge themselves to compel their children, male and female,...to attend school." (Article 7)
Rights of the Individual Student
(25 CFR 42) The Code of Federal Regulations governs most schools which operate under contract with the BIA (including federally funded Educational Institutions) Individual students shall be accorded the following rights:
The right to freedom of religion and culture.
25 CFR 42.4 Due Process Shall Include:
Local Agencies to contact if you feel your student rights have been violated include:Oglala Sioux Tribal Court
OST Prison / Civil Rights Office
Pine Ridge SD
Dakota Plains Legal Services
Pine Ridge SD
Office for Civil Rights
US Dept of Education
Washington DC 20202
Legal Rights Ctr (AIM)
Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868-Article 7, Apr 29, 1868. Treaty with the Sioux (Brule, Oglala, Mni Hwo Ju, Ihanktonwan, Hunkpapa, Sisapa, Itazipaco, Oohenumpa, Cuthead, and Isanti)
Code of Federal Regulations (25 CFR 42)
The Law of Schools, Students and Teachers, Kern & M.David Alexander, Nutshell Series, West Publishing Company, PO Box 64526, St Paul, MN 55164.
If you wish to assist the LSA in our efforts call or write to this address:Lakota Student Alliance
PO Box 225
Kyle, SD 57752
Lakota Student Alliance Website