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. 

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