“With social ills and new age addictions plaguing Indigenous homelands and communities, and incarceration numbers reaching alarming rates; Iron House Nation was created to shed light and to bring a voice to the table of humanity.”

Maza Tipi Oyate

Our goal

The direction of Maza Tipi Oyate is to create prevention initiatives for youth: our children are sacred. We have forgotten the teachings of our ancestors and this is not only the teachings of Native American ancestors but of all people.

Together we want to motivate the youth, use our experiences to prevent them from being incarcerated and connect them with the positive influence of community leaders, educators, musicians, artists, lawyers and speakers to empower the future generations.

View Our Plan of Action

Mission Statement

With incarceration numbers reaching alarming rates, we know the Iron House will be the end result of many of our Indigenous youth. Those of us at Maza Tipi Oyate, hope by walking in the footsteps of our ancestors and reaching out to the world for help and unifying with the spirit of compassion, we can begin to mend our sacred hoop of life. The futures of Indigenous peoples and youth should not be as prisoners, and our homes should not be Prison Cells!

  • Total Native American Population in South Dakota 7%
  • Native Americans Incarcerated in South Dakota 21%

We need your help

To further this journey I am seeking people of true compassion and interest to help me advance my efforts.

I need people to be a part of this voice, to educate the public, use social media to start a discussion, develop an organizing strategy, fund raise for outreach projects, and pressure politicians and decision makers to create change.

Regardless of who you are, or where you come from, you can make a huge difference for the Indigenous Peoples that have been forgotten.

Get in touch with us if you’re willing to help change the present into a better future.

Work Together

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Write to us

Robert A. Horse #13466
Mike Durfee State Prison
1412 Wood Street
Springfield, SD 57062-2238

35 years and counting

35 years and counting

By Richie Richards Native Sun News Staff Writer SIOUX FALLS –– The law does not forgive a person who is in a blackout during the commitment of a crime in South Dakota, especially when the victim is viciously beaten to death. In 1983, George Blue Bird, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, beat a retired rancher, Herb Tech (83) to death in his home in Martin. After a long day of drinking in Martin, Blue Bird and his mother Lenora had gone to Herb Tech’s home. This is where mother and son’s version of the events of that fateful evening separate. Blue Bird claims he was struck by Tech with a wooden object when asked to leave his home and in his retaliation, although he claimed not to remember, is when Tech died during the fight that ensued. Originally charged along with Blue Bird, his mother Lenora, taking a plea deal, testified against her son. She claimed she witnessed her son punch and beat Tech until he lay lifeless. And that she returned with her son to check on Tech, when they noticed he was in fact dead, Blue Bird attempted to burn down the home to hide the evidence. The autopsy showed that Tech died of “blunt force trauma” to his head, chest and abdomen. Blue Bird was 24 at the time of his arrest. In an interview with Native Sun News in June, Blue Bird discussed his life as a young adult, free man. “I partied a lot. I used to like to do heroin and other drugs. I drank a lot too,” he said.... read more
Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor, With the much needed attention in the media on how the State of South Dakota violates the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), I would to remind readers how vital this struggle is to our tribes and future generations. Recently, a summit took place in Rapid City, SD, that shed light on this important issue. Judge William A. Throne conducted a presentation that gave us greater insights and statistics. Thorne’s presentation showed with 12 month’s of a study that was conducted: 54.4% of children were diagnosed with a mental disorder. 25.2% of that number was Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PSTD). That is twice the number of Vietnam Veterans. 16.8% are on public assistance. 33.2% live below the poverty line. 33% have no health insurance. I would like to offer readers another statistic that was not touched on, probably for political reasons: South Dakota houses 29% of Native American prisoners, which is the highest percentage of Native Americans incarcerated in the USA. Many readers need to know that the majority of them currently incarcerated were processed through abusive adoption homes, through discriminatory juvenile correctional facilities, and finally onto South Dakota’s prison system, Even here, the abuse continues through religious violations, discrimination, lack of educational opportunities. When I hear these stories and when I experience them firsthand, I think about our grandparents and their abusive experiences in Indian Boarding Schools. I wonder how much culture, language, and knowledge of our ancestors had been lost in these places? How much has been lost in Lakota, Dakota and Nakota behind these walls? Maybe if this summit took place a decade ago, would... read more