Sheena Between Lodges is seen in a photo shared on social media. The 32-year-old Lakota woman is recovering from a brutal beating and remains in critical condition in South Dakota.

Lakota woman remains in critical condition after brutal attack

Arrest made in beating of Sheena Between Lodges, 32
By Kevin Abourezk

A 32-year-old Lakota woman who was severely beaten a week ago in South Dakota came out of her coma Monday morning, according to her family.

Sheena Between Lodges’ condition, however, remains critical.

“She has come out of her coma as of this morning and has made neurological improvements,” the family said in a statement Monday. “The doctors are guardedly optimistic because of her severe traumatic brain injury. Her responses are limited to opening her eyes and moving her fingers.”

The family thanked those who had prayed for Between Lodges and those who have offered words of support.

“Sheena's condition can still change at any time, and as a family we still continue to be in prayer and support as she takes her road down the healing process,” the family said.

Meanwhile, Between Lodges’ boyfriend, Gilbert Lakota, has been arrested for outstanding warrants, according to the Oglala Sioux Tribe Public Safety Department. As of Monday, he remained incarcerated in the tribe’s jail near Pine Ridge, South Dakota, according to the jail.

The tribe’s police chief, Robert Ecoffey, was not available for comment Monday. He said last week that his department, along with the Office of Justice Services and the FBI, are investigating Between Lodges’ injuries.

Between Lodges is being treated at Regional Health Rapid City Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota. Her family has set up a GoFundMe account to help cover expenses.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe’s newly elected president, Julian Bear Runner, posted a statement about Between Lodges on Thursday night.

“I am deeply hurt by the recent horrific beating and hiding of an Oglala woman, Sheena Between Lodges,” he wrote. “I am calling for her assailant(s) to be brought to swift justice, their apprehension and arrest is required immediately to ensure public safety.”

Krystal Two Bulls, Between Lodges’ niece, said her family was told that Between Lodges – the mother of two young daughters – was injured the night of November 4 and was allowed to lay unconscious somewhere in Pine Ridge for nearly three days until someone finally called for help.

Two Bulls said her aunt had suffered abuse in the past and had often called her friends and family seeking help. However, Between Lodges refused to report her abuser to authorities, she said.

She said she hoped her aunt’s story might generate a discussion about the abuse of Native women.

Democracy Now! Video: Deb Haaland, One of Nation’s First Native Congresswomen, Calls for Probe of Missing Indigenous Women

It is a conversation taking place across the country.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs scheduled a business meeting on Wednesday to advance Savanna’s Act, named for Savanna Marie Greywind, a young citizen of the Spirit Lake Nation who was brutally murdered last year. The bill, S.1942, would require the Department of Justice to report, every year, on the "known statistics on missing and murdered Indian women in the United States."

The business meeting is the next step in the legislative process before it can be considered by the full Senate.

And the election of the country’s first two Native women to Congress last week is promising to shed more light on missing and murdered indigenous women. In New Mexico, Deb Haaland won in the 1st Congressional District, and in Kansas, Sharice Davids won the 3rd Congressional District seat.

On Thursday, Haaland told Democracy Now! that she plans to bring the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women to the forefront on Capitol Hill. "You know, that is an epidemic," she said on the program.

"That’s something that we need to work on," Haaland said. "I’ll go to Congress to make sure that we are paying attention to the issues that folks care about."

H.R.6545,, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018, also includes provisions to address the crisis. The bill has not seen any movement in the House. No Republicans have signed onto it either.

Democrats gained enough seats to take control of the chamber but they won't be in charge until the 116th Congress convenes in January 2019.

And leaders from two states, Nebraska and Washington,, have taken steps to begin tracking cases of missing Native women.

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