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We advocate for and protect the rights of children living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. This is an area of 3.468 square miles and has a population of almost 40,000 people.

The Oglala Lakota Children's Justice Center (LAKOTA WAKANYEJA O'WAKIYA TIPI) was formerly known as the Oglala Lakota CASA program which has been on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation since 1999 representing the best interests of Lakota children that have been Physically or Sexually abused. Since inception, we have been diligently working to ensure the safety and well being of our Lakota Children by providing a voice for them within the Juvenile Justice System. 


Our name change came as a result of our need to move forward in a more progressive manner to provide much needed services to our Lakota children. Through a larger, more comprehensive and encompassing model for children's advocacy, we plan to provide short term emergency safety through transitional processes with collaborative placemnt agencies and ongoing traditional therapy through ceremony.


On the Pine Ridge Reservation and in compliance with the 2007 OST Child and Family Code (Wakanyeja Na Tiwahe Ta Woope), we continue meaningful collaboration with all Social Service Agencies providing services to the children and families. 

This includes providing to the Lakota Child and family the opportunity to know their Heritage and Culture through ceremony. 

Inipi or 'Sweat Lodge' was conducted for children who have been removed from their homes.  Some of these children had previously no knowledge of who they are or where they come from.  This includes a member whose direct ancestor is responsible for the training of such men as Crazy Horse.  As well as for a young lady who was sexually assaulted at age 12, and has been attempting Suicide.  Both these Tribal members have been greatly helped through Traditional Methods of Healing.  By using ceremony and applying Traditional knowledge for healing purposes, we have been able to prevent these children from being diagnosed with clinical psychosis and brought back to the Reservation where they have completed high school and are thriving in the world today.


We continue to provide the following goals and aspirations for the children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: 

  • To conduct culturally appropriate investigations, thereby assisting the Social Service Network to include Law Enforcement, Child Protection Agency (OST-CPS), and the court system.


  • To systemically increase prosecution rates of perpetrators within the parameters of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Jurisdiction with improved Child Protection Team (CPT) Protocol, Chain of Evidence and Protection of the Children.


  • To continue to strengthen the Case Management Services of Child Abuse Victims, to include culturally appropriate methods of advocacy for their Holistic needs.


  • To increase Community Awareness and Education through public forum discussions, training on Child Abuse, and Mandatory Reporting requirements/procedures. 


  • To advocate for better laws that will hold offenders accountable.


We will use the lessons from our historical past, and contemporary methods combined with our traditional customs, language, and ceremonies to provide comprehensive and holistic advocacy for every Wakanyeja and their Tiospaye (Children and Families).  We will take our Wakanyeja in crises and help them heal and reunite with their Tiospaye. 


In fulfillment of this mission, the Oglala Lakota Children's Justice Center defines its primary purposes as the following:


  • To utilize all available resources to provide for advocacy and to be a voice for the abused and neglected Wakanyeja in the Judicial systems for aftercare.


  • To help provide for the safety of our Wakanyeja during times of crises and help them bring stability back into their lives.


  • To continue to serve as a model for other State and Federal Programs providing services to Native American children in their Ancestral Homelands.


  • To listen, to hear, and to speak for Wakanyeja who have not been heard.


  • To help create a better way of life for our Wakanyeja in crisis, and help them reclaim their heritage, identity, and self-esteem.


  • To work to change and to adapt professional and program standards to the unique cultural needs of Lakota Wakanyeja.


  • To utilize traditional Tiospaye concepts in advocating for our Wakanyeja and in program operations.


  • To help locate and reclaim our Wakanyeja who have been removed from their Tiwahe and Tiospaye through unnatural practices.


  • To promote in our practices the language, customs, beliefs, and ceremonies of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires).


  • To expand and refine program services and operations as needed to meet the growing and changing needs of the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Our Volunteers

We appreciate our team of trained volunteers.


We welcome new volunteers and are careful to find the best fit for your talents and our needs.

Collaborative Efforts

For something as important as protecting the welfare of our children, no organization can stand alone. Oglala Lakota Children's Justice Center works closely with the following organizations to ensure the best possible outcome for each child:

  • NOVO Foundation, New York, New York

  • Barbara Schneider Foundation

  • National Children’s Alliance, Washington D.C.

  • Tribal Children’s Protection Team, Pine Ridge, South Dakota

  • Community Conversations and the Transformation of Our Nation, (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

  • Indian Health Services Healing for Sexual Assault Victims, Pine Ridge, South Dakota

  • Therapeutic Learning Program, Seattle, Washington

  • Oglala Sioux Tribal Court

  • Oglala Sioux Tribal Child Protection Services?ICWA

  • Oglala Sioux Tribal Department of Public Safety

  • Indian Health Services (IHS) Mental Health/Medical Examiners

  • Four Directions Clinic (SART)

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Criminal Investigations

  • OST Emergency Youth Shelter

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)

  • CAC of South Dakota (Children's Advocacy Center)

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