Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bronco Burrito VS Patriot Brady Head to Head AFC Super Burrito Bowl

I have been working on selling the book Rez Ramblings and seeking to get the message out there and I thought I should Blog about the Book.  I have been in contact with some German friends and developing a network of people I believe can help me to get the Book out there in the world.  I have sold a couple of the books in Great Britain or England.  I have sought to start working on the Facebook and now here on the blog.

On Friday December 14, 2012 7am to 9am or until we sell out, we will have a throwdown at the Higher Ground Coffee House.  It is a breakfast burrito throw down with Arlo Iron Cloud.  Apparently, Arlo believes he has a better burrito than my Bronco Burrito which is a super burrito.  He has no idea about the challenge and how he will become famous or maybe he will beat me.  I traveled around the Midwest looking for a breakfast burrito because it important to start your day with breakfast.  I was in Rapid City and at the Local Christian Coffee House and I saw they had a breakfast burrito and I ordered the 5 dollar huge burrito.  It was very big, but it was also bland and I actually was upset I bought a five dollar burrito and had to throw it away.  There is nothing worse than an nasty old burrito to start your day.  Of course I am a guy who wants to have spice in my life.  I am sure people enjoy bland food but I have grown to love the herbs and spices God has given us.  The great spice race in the last part of the 15 Century brought changes to the world.  Europeans grew five Inches because they could now hold down their proteins.  The Chinese actually stayed the same height. 

Back to the Burrito throw down, I think it will be a great way to raise some awareness and some positive atmosphere on the Rez.  People can try to make a burrito but until they actually sell their burrito successfully and make some Money, I dont know if you can really enter into a contest.  But I am willing to put the Bronco Manning against the Patriot Brady and see how it goes over. 

Book update, the book is selling and has been purchased in Australia and England respectfully.  I have the book in four stores, Sioux Nation Shopping Center, Red Cloud School's Heretage Center, Oglala Lakota College Bookstore, and Prairie Edge Trading Post in Rapid City.  I am looking foward to seeing how the sales go as we move toward summer.  I am even impressed with the sales on Amazon and it is going to be great to see as people are reading the book as this blog is written. 

I had my new German friend ask me to write about the blog and tell people what it is.  I like to believe the Blog is the true stories of the 21st Century American Indian.  I take everyday stories and share from the heart, we have many people who romantisize the American Indian but it is important to know we are human and we struggle like the rest of the Humans.  One Race One Heart. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Land of the Red Man Oklahoma

I am visiting my daughter who chose to live in Tulsa, Oklahoma and I have to say it is a nice little city.  Yes there are people here who are hurting just as any other city in America.  But it is a nice little city with lots of people and traffic.  That is the difficult thing because you see so many people and you wonder how they are getting along.  Last night I had a oppurtunity to watch a 7th grade boys basketball game and it was fun to watch.  As I was entering the gym I thought I would pull out the elder card.  I just heard Russell Means say our population is hit with a 43.5 year life expectancy rate and that is severely low.  So me being 47 makes me an elder.  Suffice to say I did not get the elder discount.  So I told the lady taking money, what about an Indian Discount and showed her my card.  She quickly responded with, You need to hold on to that you can get your kids free college.  Well my children are older now and they will not have to use my Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood to get into College.  Besides they have their own CDIB card.  Oh to be in the Land of the Red Man, Oklahoma is where you do not know exacly who is Indian. 

I finished the conversation with, you should buy my book and she reminded me she was a teacher and would have to wait for it to come to the library.   I am always trying to sell my book because I believe it is a book of stories that must be told.  Rez Ramblings >>>https://www.createspace.com/3941671

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Protect Our Good Red Road

Protect Our Good Red Road

by Debra White Plume, writing from the banks of Wounded Knee Creek

“As long as the water flows and the sweet grass grows” are words Red Nations people take seriously, like in Treaty Making. We have learned the so-called United States is a trickster. They are settler invaders who occupy our lands across Turtle Island. As Lakota people, we know who we are and where we come from. We went deep under ground for generations, and emerged through Wind Cave in the sacred Black Hills, a place that is located in the middle of this land, to live on Mother Earth again.

We call the Black Hills He Sapa. In our Lakota language, we call He Sapa “The Heart of Everything That Is”, it is sacred land. To make a long story short, our Lakota Nation fought the US military for decades for our freedom and territory, we made Treaty with them in 1851 and 1868 after they begged for Peace. We retained a land base including the He Sapa. After the US made bounty on the Buffalo Nation and almost wiped them out as part of the Scorched Earth Policy to get us off the land (in violation of the Treaties), we came in to be counted. We were each given an Indian Number, and assigned to Prisoner of War Camps. Pine Ridge Reservation was POW Camp 344. We, the Oglala Band of the Lakota Nation, live the closest of the Tetuwan Oyate to the He Sapa, the other Lakota and Dakota Bands located nearby.

When our ancestors came in off the land they had a star map and a land map they had preserved through decades of warfare with the US. The Star Map shows constellations, the Earth Map shows land where our people are to be when the stars are in a certain position, and what ceremony we are to have in that place at that time.  As traditional Lakota people, we are schooled in this way from the womb, so by adulthood, we know this deep in our spirits, hearts, and minds. We teach it on to the next generation, and to those who grew up assimilated and colonized but want to reclaim their Lakota identity. We are to hold our ceremonies at a certain place on Mother Earth when the stars travel to their special place in the sky during the seasons, when done this way by the Lakota people, we call this the Good Red Road. This is what Lakota people are talking about when we say we are walking the Good Red Road, we are traveling through He Sapa in ceremony just as the Stars are traveling through the sky.  We also say “He Sapa is the Heart of Our Home, He Sapa is the Home of our Heart”, so our ancestors fought for it, and so do we. Love is a very powerful force!

One part of the Good Red Road is a prairie area called Pe Sla, in Treaty Territory that the US stole when gold was discovered. Unilaterally approving laws in violation of the Treaty, the US made land available to settlers through gradual encroachment. The Reynolds family began obtaining parcels of land on Pe Sla 136 years ago. Local legend has it they tried to mine for gold there, but found none, no one did, so they bought out the other settlers, one by one. Now the descendants of the early settlers want to sell the land through auction on August 26 in Rapid City. Every bone in my body tells me this is wrong. Not just illegal, but wrong. It tears at my heart to think part of our Good Red Road is being auctioned. Pe Sla is a place that fills your heart with love and joy, and when you go there, you just want to cry, and the healing tears fall, the power there is so strong. It is a place where generations of Lakota have sent their voices to the Universe. We want our generations to be able to go there, too. All of our Lakota way, belongs to our children’s children, and so on. We are keeping care of the Lakota way, for them, to carry on. So we are in a dilemma. 

Certain circumstances can prevail upon a person to behave in a manner that is fundamentally contrary to one’s belief system, instincts, and historical frame of reference. To even sporadically arrive at this conclusion is shocking! Talk about a paradigm shift!

Such is the situation when faced with a very real possibility that sacred ancestral land, that in living memory has not been available to the people, is suddenly obtainable!  Imagine that YOU must get permission from those who withhold it, when you want to pray in ceremony, how would that make you feel? Deprived of your ancestral identity, who will you be? Our Lakota ceremonies are who we are. Without our ceremonies, we cease to be Lakota. We must have access to our sacred places that collectively make up the Good Red Road, for us, here on earth.

While paying money for Pe Sla in the paradigm of western thought is repugnant, knowing what may happen if it developers buy it is more horrendous. The lesser of two evils is to purchase that land to get it off the auction block. The worst scenario is to do nothing, and risk the land passing into hands of a big Fat Taker who will wring every red cent out of it that he can, carelessly destroying the land. While the land purchase is not a happy option, it is seen by some as realistic, the temptation is there to go for it. Buy the land, get it back, even if it is already ours. Take care of it like a good relative! 

One does not easily get comfortable with the decision. Inner conflict rises, you know that feeling of uneasiness, like a distracted thought, just out of reach? Doubts rise, begin to spread, just as that first glimmer of chance that “yes, we can get that land back!” brought elation. If we could see what it looks like, the going back and forth between the conflicting paradigms, intellectually and emotionally, I imagine the image would look like waves in the ocean, rising, falling, going this way and that way, as we change our minds, is it right or wrong to buy this land? Many people suffer this.

 Meanwhile, a group of people has committed to the land purchase option and they are taking action. They are the steady rock of firm belief that this is the route to take, they are leading the way for people to accept the purchase option and have spurred a collective action to raise funds and awareness. This group is called the Last Real Indians, an organization of professional, educated, dedicated Red Nations people. While most Tetuwan Oyate have identity based on ancestral freedom and way of life, it is also possible, and often necessary, to be able to successfully navigate life in the western world's processes on an ‘as needed basis’, without relinquishing ones' ancient ways.

Such rationale supports the immediate option that requires about $10 million, maybe more, and it is a peaceful option. Will it hurt our stance that the land is our Territory by Treaty? Legal minds say no, because it is not Traditional Government doing this work, raising funds, or bidding at the auction; it is Tribal Councils, individuals, organizations that operate in the framework of the US.

A discussion in Indian Country reflects the belief that it is ludicrous that land purchase is the ONLY immediate option, when most Red Nations people believe that it is ALSO an option for the US government to honor the Ft Laramie Treaties, and relinquish its’ illegal and immoral “title” to the land.  After all, the Treaties are legally binding international documents. The US does not make treaties with ethnic minorities now, does it? It makes treaties with other Nations and its Constitution states that treaties are the supreme law of the land. The US Supreme Court in 1980 ruled that the illegal taking of the He Sapa was the “ripest, rankest case of land theft in its history” then awarded millions of dollars to compensate the Lakota Nation, who refuse the money. Other Governments all over the earth are returning stolen lands and territories to indigenous people. What is preventing the US from taking such action?

The United Nations Special Rappateour, Mr James Anaya, acknowledges how the return of the Black Hills to the Great Sioux Nation would be a way for the US to begin reconciliation with the Lakota Nation, stating: that's a situation where indigenous people have seen over time, encroachment on to their land, and they've lost vast territories. there have been clear instances of broken treaty promises. It's undisputed that the Black Hills was guaranteed them by treaty and that treaty was outright violated by the United States, That has been recognised by the US supreme court," he said. he reserves recommendations on a plan for land restoration until his final report to the UN human rights council in September.  “I'm talking about restoring to indigenous peoples what they're entitled to and have a legitimate claim to in a way that is not devisive but restorative. That's the idea behind reconciliation," he said.

As folks everywhere prepare to go to the auction, it is important to know where they are going.  While the richest gold mine in the history of the world was in the He Sapa, it has closed, mined out. Alot of the settlers who came here back in the day were gold miners, people who were FAT TAKERS, our term for selfish greedy people. They saw us, along with the 7th Calvary who grew tired of fighting us, (we are known incorrectly as the Great Sioux Nation) as folks who should be rubbed out. Indeed, many US leaders said so! Dig deep into history to find those old quotes. Mt Rushmore is carved into a mountain in our sacred He Sapa, four faces of American Presidents, a major attraction in a state dependent on tourist dollars. Crazy Horse, carved into granite, is a desecration that attracts major tourist revenue, and is commonly viewed as a twisted Fat Taker gesture to “honor” a great War Chief who gave his life to protect the Lakota people, lifeway, land. Tourist attractions are protected by SD law, while Lakota are prohibited from sacred lands so tourists can free roam to spend dollars. James Anaya of the UN knows what he’s talking about!

Rapid City (RC) is the site of the auction to sell 2,000 acres of Pe Sla. RC was the site of a US Civil Rights Hearing years ago to examine many violent crimes against the Lakota by whites; RC is known for the dozen deaths of Lakota men who “drown” in Rapid Creek, while it is rare for Lakota men to drown in their homelands, for some reason, they drown in RC; RC is known for shoot-outs between the RC Police and Lakota men, sometimes the police die, sometimes the Lakota die. Sometimes both die. Who said the ‘wild west’ was over?

There was recently a march there of Lakota people demanding justice for a blind elder who came out of heart surgery with KKK burned or cut into his torso; indeed, a town nearby still displays photographs of their last KKK Rally in full regalia, held in my childhood. SD social services is under investigation for high rates of Lakota children taken from their families and placed in non-Lakota homes that all get a pretty penny from the state, while Lakota relatives are ignored, overlooked, and never receive one red cent, anyway. RC is where a big trial was held for a white attorney who was guilty of taking pornographic photographs of his foster Lakota daughters. SD was the second place in the US to pass the “show me your papers” law targeted at immigrants from “Mexico”.

So in RC, where Human Rights and Civil Rights hearings have to be held, we can think that there will be nicey-nice doings at the Pe Sla auction, yes we actually have many friends and allies among the white people in SD! Yet, SD history shows wherever there might be more than 3 Lakota people, there is intensified police presence, like state troopers, US Marshalls, FBI, and Homeland Security. Like at the US State Dept Hearing in Pierre, SD recently regarding TransCanada’s proposed oil pipeline. They expected many Lakota to testify on behalf of sacred water and earth, therefore, against the Keystone XL Pipeline, so police presence was intense!

A comment in an area newspaper this week says: "The US stole all that land fair and square. They stole pretty much the whole of this nation. It is one's right as a European to steal anything under the notion of manifest destiny. Make those Indians pay something to get back what was stolen from them. After all giving back stolen goods is not in the best interests of the thieves.”

            While the purchase option is controversial, it is an immediate solution to a BIG problem: access to sacred places that are part of our identity. It is achievable, to make the fast purchase now, and to keep working to get the Ft Laramie Treaties upheld, a struggle that has been going on since 1868 and that we have not abandoned.

Lakota elder Leonard Little Finger when asked by a reporter about the possibility of being outbid at the auction said, “if someone else buys Pe Sla and won’t let the Lakota go there to pray, we’ll still go and if they shoot us or disallow us, there’ll be others that come.”  We have the inherent right to be who we are, so do our children’s children, no government should have the power and support of its people to deliberately take our people’s identity away, to break apart our Good Red Road.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

World Class Dancers

Her Many Horses' Young Men and they are great dancers.  I was standing in the Oglala Lakota Nation Pow Wow Arena and a blur went by me and I looked and I saw a dancer floating across the arena.  Wow it is great to have some relatives who are World Class Dancers.  I started dancing as a boy but the streets took me.  I grew up looking to make a buck and create some delinquency if you know what I mean.  I have had many things I have been passionate about but these guys can dance.
I am always dropping names like the Her Many Horses and am proud to call them blood relatives. 
Lakota like many people are a part of their mother's family.  I grew up without knowing my relatives but then when I turned thirty I began to come to know them.  Grandma Emily Her Many Horses called my one day and told me she was proud of me.  She just lived a couple of blocks away.  I met my uncle Mike and John and then I met Grace Her Many Horses who is the chief of police on the Rosebud Reservation. 
I was eating in a restaurant in Chadron, Nebraska one day and I noticed a high school choir eating and they were from Todd County High School.  I knew I had relatives there and asked if any of them knew the Her Many Horses and one young lady raised her hand and said she was a Her Many Horses it turned out she was Emmy Her Many Horse and I ended up getting so excited I bought their choir lunch.  Ah, to find your relatives! Stay close to your family because you don't choose relatives when they are blood. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Indian Defined

Being Indian has always been in my blood.  When I traveled to India I was confronted with the idea of being Indian and how I was going to address myself.  Of course it was easy because the people of India were referring to me as a Red Indian.  I liked it but I feared for the people who cannot stand the names Red Skins, Indians or Fighting Sioux.  I went with the Red Indian because it described the continent I was from and made things easier than telling people I came from the Oglala Sioux or Oglala Lakota.  I really do not mind telling people information but sometimes it is easier to go along with their ideas.  I have been told my whole life I was Indian, sometimes it sounds like NDN.  I am trying to remember being called and Injun.  I am not sure but I use to root for John Wayne as a child but that may be I did not want the fake Injuns from killing the Duke.  It is hilarious to see a many people dressed up as Indians and if they were more like the Dances with Wolves Indians it would have been easier to wish for the death of the evil John Wayne characters. 

                Being Indian is easy because you just need to be yourself.  Unfortunately the United States has made it difficult to get a clear picture of who the American Indian is in real life.  I was told today I needed not be dependent on others and it was in my best interest to provide for myself.  I believe this is a root cause of a lot of destruction.  I worked in Minnesota and sometimes would have three or four jobs as I worked through college.  I had a job offer in 1994 and they brought me into their company and then came up with an offer, it was fifty thousand to start.  I was truly impressed with the offer but I had plans to return to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  I felt a calling on my life and I was sure I would not leave if I accepted a good job offer.  I was also being groomed for upper management in the corporation I was working for but I knew I would have to leave my employment.   I just turned thirty and I was full of life and it was a great time to come back to the Reservation with hope and determination.  I went from a upper middle class city to the poorest place in America.  Shannon County is the poorest place because of the population and the lack of trust in the Government.  Over the past forty years it has been in the top places of poverty. 

                So our little family moved back to poverty with the idea of serving the people.  At first it was surreal because we did not really work outside of our church.  We struggled through the first year and then my wife went to work as a teacher.  She did not for seven years and in the mean time I worked and we got along.  Since 1995 we have built a small coffee house and it has been successful for the most part but it has been very busy work.  We worked in tandem as we are really different in personality and tastes.  I like diet soda and she likes coffee.  I sometimes drink tea but mostly I drink diet soda but I have become a cook and my wife has always been the baker.  I have been able to thrive in both worlds but of course I need to be able to rely on myself.  It may be the personal responsibility I seem to hold because of my politics.  I have seen the results of the dependency created by the Government. 

                So the Indian has always been reliant on other Indians.  It is a good way of life if people reciprocate and everyone pulls their weight.  Having an understanding of the city life I have seen people rely on each other.  I was playing basketball in South Minneapolis one afternoon and I was playing pretty good that day and I finished up and there was an Indian who walked up to me and said, “You are a Matthews aren’t you?”  I told him I was and he told me he was my cousin from Pine Ridge.  He took me across the street and introduced me to a bunch of his friends.  He was bragging about me playing ball and I was smiling.  I met a household of Indians being Indians.  They were living in a big house and relying on each other.  I do not know how that worked out but I have seen others live the same way.  Being Indian is easy and I have always chosen to be more Indian than American.  But alas I am an American Indian by some people’s view.  When you travel Indians always find each other because we have similar lifeways and contexts.  I believe it is good to be Indian and that is how I will live.      

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Deep Green Resistence at the March For Justice 2012

I hope people enjoy the video and maybe get to see some of the relatives.  It was a hot day and I got a little sunburned and then I had to come back and do my janitor work. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pine Ridge Christianity

I love the old churches across the Pine Ridge and Rosebud.  My heart aches as I realize our people were systematically torn from their families and roots.  When you see a church in the middle of no where you should know there was a Tiospaye or Extended family living there at one time.  Pine Ridge Agency or Reservation was established in 1889 for the Oglala Lakota led by Red Cloud.  Chief Red Cloud was the great Lakota War Leader and was a prominent Statesman in his later years.  He along with other leaders took a trip to the East coast and witnessed the masses of people.  Some people believe because Crazy Horse never visited the East he did not have a strong view of the future.  Crazy Horse was remembered for his love of Lakota life.  Changes were coming to the Lakota in the late 19th Century and Red Cloud was understanding change was coming rather quickly and he chose to invite the Black Robes or Catholic Jesuit Priests to come to Pine Ridge.  The above church is located North of Manderson where the people of Crazy Horse settled.  This community was nestled along the White River and just south of the Badlands.  Our lives are full of change and when the Pine Ridge was established in 1989 it would seem our leaders wanted to keep the people safe.

I have been known to ask some difficult questions and I was thinking about what happen in the Southwest, tribes of American Indians were forced to swear allegiance to the pope or be killed.  I asked with all that has happened in the Americas with the original people, how can the Catholic Church reconcile the evil that was perpetuated against the American Indian?  One young priest did not have an answer but assured me they were doing a better job.  Another older priest told me they made a lot of mistakes and that is life.  He then went on to tell me the Jesuit High School was being turned over to the Oglala people.  It is true they have many Oglala Lakota staff members and the Superintendant of the schools is Lakota.  Today you can see the school developing a new religion with a Catholic/Lakota approach to lifeways.  They are involved in syncretism or the mixture of the ways, it is something that is calculating and systematic.  My view of the church comes from deep thought and reflection as I have looked at history and have seen what was done to our people in the name of Jesus.  It was wrong and now I believe is still missing the point of the faith in Jesus. 

Jesus was a servant, the church wanted to be served.  Jesus sought to heal people and the Church sought to control people.  The life of Jesus cannot be condemned because what the church has done around the world.  When I think through the issues we are faced with on the Pine Ridge Agency I understand many of the problems have come through the Black Robes and other like minded groups or churches that came to "Kill the Indian and Save the Man".  My life has seen many changes and I am thankful for the liberties I have in America.  I know people do not like for others to blame for their own situations but I have come to an understanding we need a new approach to life and future.

Churches have been in a downward spiral since the seventies.  No longer was it illegal to practice the spiritual ways of the grandfathers.  People could now engage in the ceremonies of old and it started to happen.  I have lived through these changes and now have seen the effect of what the Christians have done across our Reservation.  Did you know the largest market we have coming into the Reservations are the church groups.  WE as Lakota people do not have tourists but Christian Tour Companies.  I have seen these groups come for sometime and there is little affect on the local people because the companies bringing them live in other states and are gaining.  Remember the Life of Jesus.  I am appalled at the idea of bringing young people from other states to work the summers here in a place that has 80% unemployment. 

I have come to a place in my life where I believe the American Indian Christian needs to look within to establish how Jesus will change the Reservation.  I was told recently by two individuals one a Lakota Spiritualist and another a Lakota Christian I am wrong in my approach.  I am seeking to understand how the church has failed in Pine Ridge and you can see from all of the dying churches.  I have been here since 1995 serving as a non paid Pastor.  I have to work to make sure I have some money but our Church has not had enough money to pay for a pastor.  I think it makes me rest with God more because I have to live on faith.  If you have read this far I want to thank you for reading my Ramblings.  I have started to work on some photos and even a website.  I hope my book comes out as I think it would be good to read about every day life in and around the Rez.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Russell Means Activist turned Actor

While visiting Russell Means the Activist turned Actor, I was allowed to ask many questions and it was a great honor.  My views of Mr. Means has moved to a lack of understanding or ignorance,  then to a full understanding and admiration for this Warrior.  Of course he is an elder and is a walking history book.  His knowledge of the past is very powerful and I believe one of the greatest American Indians to walk this earth. 
I was able to meet and become friends with Russell over the past ten years.  I was curious to understand the Man behind the "AIM Look".  He could walk in a room and it would be full of emotions.  He would litterally scare the life out of "White" Folk.   The Book Where White Men Fear to Tread is a great book of knowledge and stories.  He gave me a book and I asked him to write in the book to my dear friend, but he actually put,  "To my Young Friend".  Kola' is a very powerful word in Lakota and I appreciated the way Mr. Means considered me a friend.  Once when I asked him about him and the others ransacking the Wounded Knee buildings, he told me it was the feds that tore things down.  There is a cross in the back of the cemetary and I remember being told my Grandfather Gilbert Matthews put the cross back up with his friend.  It still stands today and is a powerful memory to know my relatives have been a strong part of the history of Wounded Knee.  I assumed the American Indian Movement tore down the cross but now I believe what Russell told me.  Afterall you need witness to make sure you get the truth, he was the key person in the takeover at Wounded Knee.  I did not develop a strong opinion on what was done at Wounded Knee but I realize now the Liberation of Wounded Knee has had a profound affect on the rest of American Indian life. 
I have been a strong advocate of Russell Means in the past few years because, that is what friends do.  Oh back to the "AIM Look", it has been a great way to impact the world.  The look has been around and it has scared people and made its point throughout the world. Russell told me the 60s and 70s did not know what to do with "Angry" Indians.  They took the world by storm and their War Cry was heard around the world.  It must have been a magnificent time to be alive.
This reminds me of Tony Fast Horse who would become Robert Grey Eagle.  Tony was studying at Tabor College a Christian College in Hilsboro, Kansas.  Tony came home at some point and told me he got off the bus and ran right into a Rally in Gordon, Nebraska.  Well it must caught his ear as he left Tabor College and joined the Movement.  He went on to get his law degree and returned much later and stood before a group of teenagers at the Gospel Fellowship and proclaimed to be a Christian.  Powerful words for a man who in his youth took up the cause of civil rights for Indians and became a lawyer and then returned to his roots of being a Christian.  I am proud to know these men and it is a little ironic because Robert Grey Eagle planned to become a minister and serve the Gospel Fellowship in Pine Ridge.  I am now the pastor of the church and have served almost two decades.  Ah, to be alive in the aftermath of the civil rights movement is powerful because it is the old ones who can tell you great stories of what took place in the early seventies and before.  These guys laid thier lives down so I could be free to have my faith.  So everytime you pass a canupa(pipe) or pierce and seek visions along with purification ceremonies know these men were willing to lay down their lives for the People.
 It was pretty cool one day when Russell came to the Higher Ground and was having a muffin and a Rattle Snake Brew coffee.  We had great discussion at the coffee house,  I was asking him a question about the past, he told me to read the book, my reply was I wanted him to share with me. I wanted to hear the stories first hand because it is more powerful listening to a friend relive his life.  I could listen to him for hours and just like good friends that is what would happen.  Time would stop and we would dream of a better world for the Lakota people. 
I asked one question that I will always remember, I asked him why did AIM choose him.  He told me in a very powerful manner, He said it was because he was intelligent, educated, and he spoke well.  I believe he is all of those things still, but now he has the wisdom of an elder.  I asked him when he was still in his sixties if he thought himself to be an elder.  He still had the warrior spirit and I know he wanted to keep fighting but alas, he told me what he wanted for the future.  He wanted for "US" the younger ones to continue the fight with what is rightfully our birthright, FREEDOM! Don't you just love Braveheart?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Crow Dog the Holy Man

         Land is seen as what the Lakota refer to as Unci Maka or Grandmother Earth.  Lakota have known they come from the earth rather than the earth is meant to master.  In thinking about the idea of land ownership it reminds me of my traveling to a nearby town looking for some fencing.  The lady helping me told me, I should know what I needed because I was a man.  Of course my reply was, we didn’t need fences until your people came to our area.  If you look at the land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation you can see how only a few benifitted from land ownership.  People have interests that have been passed down because of a lack of understanding of American value of private property.  Some people have been able to buy land from other tribal members but there is a lot of land that was taken out of trust and now Non-Indian people own that land.  It is purely a difference between two cultures, one believes it can own the land and the other understands the land is where we come from and where we will return.

                When the first settlers came to America they came searching for a new way of life.  The old world was a place the few held the land in ownership.  Share cropping was a way of life and people who did not own the land did not have the oppurtunity to advance.  So when the oppurtunity came to come to America and risk their lives, they jumped at the oppurtunity because it was a chance for a new beginning.  White slavery was how the United States started but it was called indentured servitude but in the end they were simply involved in human trafficking.  Most of them worked for around six years and then were given the oppurtunity to own land as well.  They were offered one hundred acres in the new world.  This practice was only stopped as it became cheaper to own African slaves and this was a very lucritive business as ship loads were brought from the Africa.

                When the Lakota fought for the hunting rights of their people it was not to own the land as much as it was to be allowed to live life.  Indian suffrage came in the twentieth century and it was almost a quarter century before that took place.  I suppose it is easier to say 1924 was the point of American Indian Citizenship.  1879 with the Standing Bear trial we as American Indians became human.  Our rights as human being were violated because they did not consider us human.  So we must question the intentions of the United States when they signed the 1868 treaty.  Why would you have to make a treaty with an animal, or why would you consider keeping such a treaty?  When you start to see what was done to the Lakota Nation you need realize we must fight for our existence. 

                Leonard Crow Dog the famous Holy Man from the Sicangu came to Wounded Knee and stopped in the Higher Ground Coffee House to have lunch.  I had some Chicken Fried Rice and he told me it was very good.  It was pretty awesome to hear the beautiful Lakota language spoken in public.  I wanted to be clear with Crow Dog and he was speaking to me freely in English, and I told him, “You know I am a Christian right?”  He said he knew and he was ok with it.  He told me he spoke at the World Council of Churches.  It was so nice to be able to share some ideas with the Wicasa Wankan or Holy Man.  My views are we need to fight for the Great Sioux Nation and we have use the system to overcome the United States of America.  I told Crow Dog out of respect it is him and others like him who need to pull us together and develop the United Tribes of Lakota.  My good friend Russell Means has the right idea about his Republic of Lakota, he also told me we were the only people who did not ask for citizenship in 1924.  They made us citizens but we should consider ourselves citizens of the Lakota. 

                So our lawyers and leaders need to work on behalf of the Lakota.  Here is an idea, this country was founded on the rights of land ownership and the protection of that land.  Freedom and Land are the highest values and we need to take our rightful place in the Great Sioux Nation, which is Land Lords.  We need to get paid for the squaters on our land. Any question can be sent to blunthorn@gmail.com

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blunt Horn At Wounded Knee

Writing a blog takes time and focus and it is a diffiult task if your emotions have gotten the best of you.  I can attribute my imbalance to many things but in the end it is my own issues that I need to overcome.  I must remember my grandparents and the struggles they walked through in the past.  I have thought of John Blunt Horn who was is my great great grandfather.  He lived as an Ikce Wicasa or a Common Man and did not do anything of valor or anything that would make anything other than just a man.  He fought in the battles against the United States and other tribes.  He Wetoka was what his family called him.  A few years ago I was sitting with my mother and she told me I should take the name of Blunt Horn.  In my youth and ignorance I did not realize what she was saying until after she crossed over to the next world.  She was wanting me to have a Lakota name and in her own way was sharing her thoughts about me.  It is such an honor for me to be able to take the name of He Wotoka, he was more than a
man and it was how he seemed to be satisfied with his own life.  While doing extensive research about the Lakota culture as well as the history, I came across the James R. Walker books.  Walker wrote from a medical perspective and used the Lakota people for sources.  John Blunt Horn was living his life as a Lakota and was a lay leader in the Episcopol church.  I was not the first follower of Christ in my family.  John Blunt Horn my great great grandfather rang a bell for the people who lost their lives to the 7th Cavalry on December 29, 1890.  On the current gravesite sat the big guns and women and children were found miles aways as they were hunted down like animals.  It is sad to note, many of Big Foot's people were Christian had put their faith in Jesus.  It is difficult to not be upset with the way America has treated our ancestors. 
My life has not been easy but it clear our people have lived more difficult lives.  I have taken the name of Blunt Horn because of my mother and my uncle's approval.  It an honor to begin the Spring time with an understanding of my history and culture. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lakota people have lived on the plains for a long time but it has never been more difficult than it has been in the 21st Century.  We have seen our lives hindered with suicide and early death due to alcohol related incidences.  But there is hope and hope is the key to life as we know it in this new century.  Many people come to Pine Ridge with their own value system and try to fix or in the very least they seek to understand what has happened to a once strong Nation.  Lakota people fought the United States to a standstill, and won many key battles.  It was the naivety of our ancestors of dealing with the so called Western Civilization.  It is sad the United States did not seek to keep their word or agreement.  The 1868 Fort Laramie was a way to stop the wars with the American Indian.  Of course the Indians were duped as the United States has always been ready to take more land and resources.   Capitalism is based on more or greed and it has gone throughout the world seeking new lands to devour.  I was asked the question of how will the last seventeen years effect the next two decades of my life?
It is a great question to be asked how will you learn from the past and implement some changes in the future.  I know I am imperfect and working on the Pine Ridge Reservation has been difficult but I have also learned if you have enough heart and you dream you can attain the dreams.  In the past few years I have realized the American way of life is not the road I must travel but in order to help people attain their dreams I need to be smart about my steps.  I dream of an organization that will bring hope and life to our people.  Our children or young people who have very few boundaries need to believe they can walk in two worlds.  I know young people who walk in respect but others are struggling because they have lost parental supervision.
When I was growing up as a young person I would never think to disrespect adults, but I was very aware of making sure I was safe.  When you use an American lens of what is normal the Reservation would seem to be upside down or inside out.  You have over a century of a dismantling of a culture that is Anti-American.  Instead of seeking a piece of the pie, you have people trying to give it up because someone is hungry.   Think about that piece of information because people here take care of their families even if it is the last bit of money they have in their pockets.  I know people who give you the last ten dollars.  Before I sat down to write this blog I decided I wanted a drink of soda, so I took out some garbage and went downtown with a refill.  The refill would cost me 79 cents.  I had a few dollars in my pocket and when I went to the counter I saw a young man with a whole bunch of change.  Nickles and dimes and a roll of pennies were counted by my daughter in law.  I felt so bad for this young man that I pulled out all of my dollar bills and it came up to be ten dollars.  I put it on the counter and told him to put that in his tank too.  Daughter in-law says that was nice of you, she then went on to tell me when she gets a car she hopes I can help her out.  I smiled and paid for my soda and snack with my bank card, which came up to $2.07.  Now as an American I could have said he should have worked for the ten dollars and as a Lakota I remember people helping me out.  I never went back to the people who gave me money and begged for more.  It was just a Lakota way of generosity and I did not plan on doing it but it is important to be who we are in regards to our way of life. 
Being a Christian I have come across many generous people and have believed for sometime God would meet my needs.  I believe it is being a follower of Jesus as an Oglala Lakota that makes me who the Creator wanted me to be in this life.  Our lives our full of people who are generous.  I was given a hundred thousand dollars one time.  It was by a Norwegian man and I loved him as a father or uncle and we had a great relationship.  I believe we as Lakota need to rise up to the occasion and be all that we can be in this World which is full of bad economy.  I hope you understand we do have lots of work to do but we can be who the Creator wants us to be. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mobile app

Now I am intrigued with this app because I can now blog on my I phone. I have been dealing with my issues and seeking wholeness. I have found myself to be human and I now realize it is part of life. When I was a boy I would dream of a better life and believe the life I seek as a man is to be whole. This is my first post in some time because of my emotional spiral. I plan to work hard on dealing my issues to resolve them. As a descendant of great people I believe I have greater respect for my parents. I hope to be able to help myself and then help others. Specifically my Lakota people.