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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

James Magaska Swan's photo.
 
 

Racist City, South Dakota

 
Racist City, South Dakota is starting to get the headlines because they are brutalizing American Indians/Lakota on the streets.  I wrote a few weeks ago about the young man who was in North Rapid City and the police Jump Squad showed up and the young Lakota was not going to get a beat down again with the fight and he killed two officers.  If you drive an older car with 65 plates which designates the Oglala Sioux County, you will be watched and checked over also known as racial profiling.  Most of the Lakota live on the North Side and usually the only time you see the guys in the Jump Squad outfits is in North Rapid. 
When the Old Chief of Police retired and the Mayer wanted a Mexican American the Council rejected him.  Then they put in the new guy.  Now during the LNI when thousands of American Indian families will come to Racist City, SD to spend their money and enjoy sporting and cultural events. There is a rally to protest the treatment or the police brutality, which occurs often in the Mississippi of the North.  Ok they did not want a Mexican Chief of Police which would have bridged many gaps.  I was debating a friend and we talked about the police who are trying to work their jobs.  But if you watch Rapid City Journal’s comments, there are lots of ignorant racist people in and around the Hills.  The council may or may not have had their reasons to stop the Mayor but I assure you there are many people who do not like the Indians in the Community. 
So the Rally Should happen under the United States Constituition and the Police are idiots and I believe the chief is just a puppet.  Heck the Central High School students might just join the rally.  It is all Cowboys and Indians but I assure it is not the cowboys who won the war; it was deceptive policies of the government and the killing of the food source.  Well we now have the WWW and they can stop the movement to make changes, look I do not like thugs and they need to be jailed.  But if you look at the County Jails around Racist City, SD there will be mostly Indians.  Get your head out of the sand!
There are many good people in Rapid City but I believe the police are bad because they go after Indians.  I have heard from ex-police who are Lakota and they realize even the higher ups have kept a blind eye to the treatment of American Indian Police Officers.  I am saddened when I have heard the treatment because I know when they go after the Indians on the Streets they do it with Racism.  When the Police should try to stop all the Drugs just toward Wyoming on I 90 every August they focus on the Indians.  The list can go on and on and but the facts are there and Rapid City is a Haven for Hatred.  
So yes the Lakota and Friends of Lakota should rally and we should bring International Attention to the Racist City County and the whole Town.  I like the Mayor Sam but he was fighting a beast and it is because the Land of Racist City is cursed because of the Innocents and the stealing of land, so yes Rally for Change and forget about what the White Racist City Police department wants to make happen.  We have Rights I hope you have the AP and any other news orgs that will cover the event.  It will be December 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm at the fifth street at the center or in front of the Holiday Inn!


Friday, December 5, 2014


Indian Giver and Indian Sell Out Out


 

                Ok I was researching what it means to be an Indian Giver. Of course I remember Seinfeld when Jerry was dating Kimberly Norris, who by the way is a friend of mine.  They were dealing with a cigar Indian and Kramer comes by the end of the episode and holds the cigar Indian/statue and does the war hoop. Jerry is caught telling his Indian Girl something about being an Indian Giver.  I loved seeing Kim doing the show and I had an opportunity to ask Kim how it was doing the show.  She told me Seinfeld wanted to get together in more ways than just coffee.  I do not know if you watched the episode but Kim is actually Indian and was doing great things in her day.

                So Indian giver Historically came from the 1700s when the gift was thought to be reciprocal and the White Man did not understand. When the White man came to America the Indian brought gifts and felt like the gift should have been returned.  Ok if you do not understand you probably did not get the gold watch in Johnny Depp Tonto’s when he stole the watch.  In the understanding birds cannot tell time neither does a ranger hold value to bird feed?  So we had cultural issues in the beginning and the white man does not understand generosity.  I liked the Lone Ranger after watching for the fifth time but it really makes sense now that I get it. 

                We can understand we have different cultures now but in the end we are far apart.   It is all about money with the Europeans and we need to understand this value.  Our Indigenous people allowed them to live because of who we are as human beings.  After that happened the Euros took advantage of the east coast tribes.  It is sad they did not know what would happened to the tribes  after the original settlers were brought back to life.  They did not know how to keep their people alive and the goodness of the eastern tribes help them.  But in the end there is no Indian Giver because the white people eventually brought death to the Indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere. 

                Sell Outs is something else when we look at Native America or the American Indian..  Sad we see the code talkers at the Game of the R Word game of the football game.  Shocking but the Sell Outs might just be the ones who sits with the Billionaire in the private box.  I even heard about something with Red Cloud Indian School but of course that is a Jesuit School, another story, but the idea of mascots is crazy but no smart Indian should be wooed by the Billionaire because they become Sell Outs. Wow the Navajo and the Cherokee were fooled by the DC team and probably given a nice room but it does not exchange for our dignity.

I use to not care because I know we have many issues on the Rez and what they do out there does not matter to me, but after understanding the history of REDSKIN I am 100% against the idea of being a Sell Out and it even reminds me of any Lakota leader who would even meet with the XL Pipeline.  No Lakota should ever meet with them because of the Oglala Aquifer knowing full well we support the people, against the pipeline.  There must be something else they can do whether it is a different route or way.  The Lakota would like to protect our water supply.  Water is life.

In the end we are not Indian Givers but the white man has always misunderstood us.  Lakota have not sold out and that includes my cousin Mel and how he lives his life.  We live, but there is no Sell out or Indian Giver you need know this fact.  Remember over 50% of the American Indian population live off the Reservation.  We need to understand people who live off the Rez are doing so because of housing and economic reasons. 

 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sell out or what


Indian Giver and Indian Sell Out Out


 

                Ok I was researching what it means to be an Indian Giver. Of course I remember Seinfeld when Jerry was dating Kimberly Norris, who by the way is a friend of mine.  They were dealing with a cigar Indian and Kramer comes by the end of the episode and holds the cigar Indian/statue and does the war hoop. Jerry is caught telling his Indian Girl something about being an Indian Giver.  I loved seeing Kim doing the show and I had an opportunity to ask Kim how it was doing the show.  She told me Seinfeld wanted to get together in more ways than just coffee.  I do not know if you watched the episode but Kim is actually Indian and was doing great things in her day.

                So Indian giver Historically came from the 1700s when the gift was thought to be reciprocal and the White Man did not understand. When the White man came to America the Indian brought gifts and felt like the gift should have been returned.  Ok if you do not understand you probably did not get the gold watch in Johnny Depp Tonto’s when he stole the watch.  In the understanding birds cannot tell time neither does a ranger hold value to bird feed?  So we had cultural issues in the beginning and the white man does not understand generosity.  I liked the Lone Ranger after watching for the fifth time but it really makes sense now that I get it. 

                We can understand we have different cultures now but in the end we are far apart.   It is all about money with the Europeans and we need to understand this value.  Our Indigenous people allowed them to live because of who we are as human beings.  After that happened the Euros took advantage of the east coast tribes.  It is sad they did not know what would happened to the tribes  after the original settlers were brought back to life.  They did not know how to keep their people alive and the goodness of the eastern tribes help them.  But in the end there is no Indian Giver because the white people eventually brought death to the Indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere. 

                Sell Outs is something else when we look at Native America or the American Indian..  Sad we see the code talkers at the Game of the R Word game of the football game.  Shocking but the Sell Outs might just be the ones who sits with the Billionaire in the private box.  I even heard about something with Red Cloud Indian School but of course that is a Jesuit School, another story, but the idea of mascots is crazy but no smart Indian should be wooed by the Billionaire because they become Sell Outs. Wow the Navajo and the Cherokee were fooled by the DC team and probably given a nice room but it does not exchange for our dignity.

I use to not care because I know we have many issues on the Rez and what they do out there does not matter to me  but after understanding the history of REDSKIN I am 100% against the idea of being a Sell Out and it even reminds me of any Lakota leader who would even meet with the XL Pipeline.  No Lakota should ever meet with them because of the Oglala Aquifer knowing full well we support the people against the pipeline.  There must be something else they can do whether it is a different route or way.  The Lakota would like to protect our water supply.

In the end we are not Indian Givers but the white man has always misunderstood us.  Lakota have not sold out and that includes my cousin Mel and how he lives his life.  We live, but there is no Sell out or Indian Giver you need know this fact.  `

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Race Issues Been Around A Long Time

  As you can see above there are many portraits of Jesus and people have tried to make him into themselves.  A few years ago I was thinking about a trip to DC and I visited an African American Church and found a post card of the Black Jesus.  Of course Jesus was born in Africa in a little place called Egypt but he was from Israel and most likely had darker skin than the Europeans.  Also, he probably did not have blue eyes.  When I thought about the Black Jesus I started to tell white folks they needed to embrace the Black Jesus, because Jesus was not white and it would help them to come to grips with their prejudices.  It was pretty awesome blowing the White People’s minds because they probably never thought about how their thinking affects others.   I have not been prejudice in most of my life in regards to race issues as I have seen people for people but sometimes I guess I do not like dumb people. 

                I wrote about there not being a White Savior for my Lakota people because just like in many cultures they do not like the darker skin.  Mexicans do not like to be called Indian because it is the lowest class of people in Mexico.  I cannot tell you how many times I have come across people who swear they are Spanish even though their skin is darker than mine.  It has happened because of the Imperialism and the colonization has wreaked hell upon the earth.  The greatest plague on the Western Hemisphere has been Europeans as they came and killed 100 million people who were made in the image of God.  The last 35 years I have seen how our Lakota people have treated the White Man and I am sorry to say to the people looking for the White Jesus or White Savior there is no such thing.  The White Man has his own culture and it is different from the ways Jesus walked.  Case in point is when Jesus said to sell all of your possessions and follow me.  The Rich Young ruler walked away because it was too difficult.

                Our Lakota people are generous to a fault and will help you with their last five dollars.  I have seen and they have compassion.  Wausila is a value in Lakota Culture that says we must be compassionate with others because it is our duty.   Our lives in many of our cultural ways do not need to change but we must seek to live in the 21st Century and it must be a choice of life.  When people begin to think there is no hope than death becomes real in our lives.  You will hear people talk about things not getting better it might be a sign of depression.  I assure you when the sun comes up there is hope in a better day.  We must strive to live today and not the past because the past will keep you from your future.  I have great friends around me and believe they are helping me to get through the difficult times.  Storms pass and the sunshine will be seen again and as the Winter Comes and the Spring brings life to the plants and the trees we can trust there will be better days ahead.

                I believe we must begin to talk about the racial inequality and seek justice in all areas of our lives.  The American Indians who are here today are survivors of one the worst genocides in the history of the world and I know they come from strength and power.  Truly said if you are waiting for White person to save you, it is because of the Colonization and the affect it has had on our people.  Look I am not against the White Man or Black Man, I am against Stupid and racial bigotry is wrong.  Heck some of my best friends our Non-Lakota.  So the picture below depicts the Jesus I appreciate because he truly is not White and Blue Eyed.  So the question I have for you, Can you handle the Black Jesus.  Note: If you would like read more please order a Book on Amazon, “Rez Ramblings”.
 
 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Racial Tensions in American

Ferguson, Missouri is a hotbed of racial tension because there are still racist actions in and around our cities.  When the civil rights movements were raging in the fifties through the seventies people were seeking equalities.  The above picture shows two things that I would point out; first the US Army sweat shirt was being worn because he was a soldier.  The African American people were fleeing the southern states because of the Jim Crow Laws.  These laws were set up mostly in Southern States for the segregation after the reconstruction of the South.  It was for the purpose of keep the Blacks separate but equal but when they moved north, guess what happened?  The White Folk started rioting and because the African Americans were taking jobs and moving into neighborhoods which were usually all white. 


                The Second thing about this picture is it mentions one riot in particular The Watts Riot of 1965 in Los Angeles.  I have the opportunity to be a part of history and it is interesting because I was born in August of 1965 and I was born in LA County and when the riots started my Father told my mom there were going to drive and see the riots.  So you could say as a 9 day old baby my parents took me to the riots.  Wow it is mind blowing when you think about the racial hatred and struggles we have been faced with. 

                Now when we think about what happens today you must seek to understand what it means to be a person who is not European descent or white in America.  I know I have been racially profiled many times and it is part of growing up in all areas of our society.  The conservative network FOX News is one of the worst outlets for news I have ever seen.  When you look for prejudice practices one must only look at hiring practices and bank loans where the minorities are struggling.  The education levels of the poorer districts struggle because of a lack of property taxes.  Look at one point most of the Black People were in the inner city and then were pushed out to places like Ferguson because gentrification where the minorities and poorer people can no longer stay in the older homes because people are coming in and remodeling and then the taxes go up.  So now we have a suburb of St Louis which is mostly Black with a mostly white police force and the police believe it is us against them. 

                So when you realized South Dakota or more exactly is western South Dakota is like the Mississippi Burning.  We as American Indians have more incarcerations in the surrounding county jails and we are only 10% of the population.  But because it hard to get a job, which builds dignity the Lakota people are mistreated and racially profiled.  A couple years ago a young Lakota man was stopped with his friends in North Rapid and a gun fight with three officers and the Lakota man happened and two police officers died along with the young man.  I was saddened and kept watch and tried to listen to the community.  I do not know all of the facts and would never act like I know them, but the paper painted the young man as a repeat offender with lots of problems.  I heard from the community the police previously brutalized him and he was not going to let that happen again.

                Rapid City does not recruit American Indians and it the mentality of Us against Them.  Back in September of 2014 some shots were heard and it took at least 30 officers in SWAT gear and a Humvee to look for a man who was not in the house.  What do you think happens to little children in Lakota Homes Inc. think when they have to see an army come into their communities?  One last comment about hiring practices in Rapid City.  I went to the store with the bull’s eye in red and white and looked around and I only found one Lakota on the floor and one Lakota in the Starbucks.  Wow, it is true but not always as there are some great places where you can find many Lakota working.  Open your eyes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Glimps of Og Nash or Oglala Nation


I was busy over the last weekend with guests from Minnesota and Colorado and we had the Oglala Nation Fair and Rodeo.  It was a great weekend as I got to joke around with some people and my friend Rich from Minnesota.  We were walking around the arbor and came across a very tall Indian Woman from Canada dressed in her Regalia; I looked up at her and said you are the tallest woman dancer I ever saw.  She just laughed and was very pleasant to visit and Rich is just a little shorter than me and I called him over.  He had to really look up to her and he looked astonished because of her height.  So some white people standing in a circle and asked them if they were having, uh let’s just say a pow wow?  You know as well as I do White Americans call a circle of friends talking a “Pow Wow”.  All the Indian people were engaged and walking around seeing friends and family.  Some were waiting in line for food and most of the people were watching the dancing going on in the center of the grounds. 

The funniest thing that happened was when I told two older White Americans from Wyoming my friend Rich needed Jesus.  He actually says he is kinda Christian, his words not mine.  But it was funny as Rich has a pony tail but he is Chinese.  They tried to tell me to move closer and gather in a prayer circle but I refused and told them I do not like to be touched.  I know but it gets me out of the laying on of hands.  Oh so the old guy is talking inches from his face and I could not hear what was being said but they then bowed their heads and the old guy prayed for Rich and probably the rest of the Heathens.  Rich was funny because he said he saw the light of what the White Christians were doing when they came to the Rez.  Here is the picture from my phone. 

 
 
Hanging out at the Oglala Nation Pow Wow is awesome because you run into family and friends and it truly is awesome.  My legs were tired and had aches through Tuesday but it is fun to eat bad food and just let yourself indulge a little bit.  I love the jokes about behaving because if you end up in Jail over the weekend you might end up cleaning up the Pow Wow Grounds and I drove down there Monday it was clean.  Then on Tuesday I saw some guys dressed in Jail Garb and they were still cleaning up the mess after a celebration on the main road across from Pizza Hut. 
 
I am sure everyone had a good time because it looked amazing and the cars were jammed packed and you could walk faster to the Pow Wow than drive.  I was able to see some relatives and that is always good.  Took a picture with the Her Many Horses who my relatives from my dad's family.  Love Tiospaye(Extended Family)
 
Champion Dancers


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Indian Boy in the City

As a young boy my earliest memories were of this area located just east of Downtown Denver.  Across the street to the right is a Safeway Supermarket and my life started here or at least my earliest memories.  I lived less than a block away from this church and yet I never really understood the importance it would have on my life.  I would walk by and hear the most beautiful music coming out of the open windows.  It was a black congregation and the music was heavenly as I would walk by the church on my way to the Supermarket. 
I would walk by this church often running errands for my mother to the store and I would hear the songs and be amazed.  I was attending classes to learn about God in the Catholic Nunnery and remember one day I was blowing bubbles as I listened to the stories.  Of course the Nun was not happy and came to the back of the room and scolded me.  It was all good and I paid closer attention but there seemed to be something missing in my formative years and the Nuns were not really doing a great job. 
I was picked to attend a field trip through the Nunnery and I said I would go with them.  I was taken to a Training/College place for priests and I was shown around the campus.  I saw the biggest books I have ever seen in my life and I was astounded because it seemed like a place of growing and learning and I really wanted to learn about God.  It was a passion of mine and I wanted to learn all I could but things were going to change in my young life. 
So here is how my life was changed for the rest of my life and I write for my grandchildren because I know they will wonder where they came from and how we lived early and in 2014.  As I was walking by the Anglican Methodist Episcopal Church, which is an African American Church and the name is confusing but the Black Folks could sing and I thought many times before, God must be in that church because people who sing like this have to know God.  So one day at the age of 8 years old I was walking by the church and looked up and basically told God I did not know him, I looked at the steeple and was very clear with God.  Eight years old and I realized I did not know the Creator and things were gonna changed.
Well it took four years after hearing about God and Jesus.  It was clear there was a message for me but it did not happen until I was 12 years old and I was in the Black Forest near Colorado Springs and I heard a message on John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosever believes in HIM would not parish and have everlasting life.  The guy speaking said is there anyone who would like to give their life to Jesus.  I raised my hand and this burley white man came up and prayed with me.  I gave my life to Jesus that night and it changed me. 
I eventually went back to the city and found myself floundering a bit but then our family moved to Pine Ridge and it was a sad day leaving the city.  I had no choice and was being removed from my surroundings.  I did not want to leave but I was only fourteen and things were going to change even faster for my life.  I arrived in Pine Ridge and met my relatives and was lost a bit since I prayed to receive Jesus.  But I came to a church called Pine Ridge Gospel Mission and found a home and started listening to the word of God and it was powerful as I sat and took in all that was said.
Eventually I felt a calling to attend Bible College and wound up in Minnesota but life was not even close to perfect, we face a sick baby and bad decisions and struggle even up to today but I assure you God never left and I have some great things happen in my life and I know God has me in his arms. 
My faith is mine and I trust the Father and what Jesus did on the cross. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Protesting the Oglala Sioux Tribe

 
Protesting peacefully across from the Oglala Sioux Tribal building on July 29, 2014.  It was organized to stop the South Unit development of creating a Tribal National Park and a reintroduction of Bison.  Many people are protesting the lease land because they feel the tribe is taking away their livelihood.  I thought the picture above was interesting as they were next to Subway and then you see a Tipi and about fifty people with chairs and having lunch.  

 A line was drawn when the tipi was set up and the protestors were told not to cross the line or they would be arrested and taken to jail.  While this protest was going on the Tribal Council was having a regular scheduled council meeting.

 The signs were made and set on both sides of the Tipi and people seemed to be enjoying the day.  The council meeting was on the radio so they were listening what was going on.  The council voted to table the issues of the South Unit and I expect the pro South Unit Development Tribal/National Park people will begin to make their case in front of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Jeff Whalen and Floyd Hand were visiting about the issues and were working on getting their documents ready to distribute.  Floyd is on the Treaty Council and it was great to see him out protesting.  Even though the line was drawn with construction paint.  Floyd was in his chair on the other side of the line.  Refusing to follow the directives of the council and wanting to be heard on his issues.  He eventually went into the Council Meeting. 

I must admit I do not have all of the issues right and I do have an opinion but I am really unsure of what is actually going on.  I know the Tribe voted to take away some leases from Ranchers near the badlands.  Some of the Families have been there for half a century and now the is a move to develop the South Unit and bring in tourists.  I heard today from a person for the Park that Oglala Members would be working and then you have people who believe the tribe is taking land away from people.  I have been to a couple of the meetings, one by the council and BIA but it seems like many people are confused on what is happening. 

Pine Ridge Reservation seems to always be a hotbed of activity and it is because people have a distrust in tribal government and this brings out the protestors.  I caught up with one counsel man early and asked him about the alcohol issue and even though it has been a year they still do not have it in place.  Personally I believe they need to stop taking people to jail for consumption.  As an Oglala Member if you drink a beer and the police stop you and see that you have been drinking, they will take you to jail for at least eight hours.  It seems like people are afraid and want to keep the things the way they are on the Pine Ridge.  Of course the people in the border towns are making lots of money and this is hurting our economy.  Pine Ridge is the last of the Nine Reservation to not sell alcohol within their borders.  People protest for lots of reasons but I would like to see people start protesting the joblessness we have on the Pine Ridge.  It is time to move and grow and build a sustainable economy for our children and our children's children. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Vision of Russell Means

I went to White Clay today and decided to pull out my camera and get some shots of people giving food and water to the Relatives on the streets.  This young brother wanted a picture with me and I have to say, I do not like to be in the photos because I like to be behind the camera.  We had some young Lakota youth with us and one of them was taking pictures with my camera and so I decided it would be ok and we took this shot.  Oh about Russell Means and his vision for me, he told me he wanted me to write, write, and write.  He sat me down in his living room and told me he wanted to see me write about the issues and continue the fight through different media.  So I have decided I needed to write since I have my computer back.  It makes it easier when you have your own computer.  I thought she took a great picture and it proves that the 7th Generation can calm the storms of pain our people have in their lives.  I saw it first had and when the youth would come up to the people they would soften.  Of course people raise money and try to use their pictures to enhance their own ministries or careers. 

 This is one of the most powerful pictures I have ever taken and it shows the generations.  She wants me to put together some photos she took and maybe she will become a great photographer but I already know she is great with the people.  He was so respectful and a great brother of mine and always greets me with a handshake and hug.  Our Youth can change the lives of people and they have the ability to make a difference.  I have seen some great things in my life but this captures the Future of Young Lakota People changing the world. 


I had the opportunity to meet a fine young Peruvian lady who has been in the United States since she was three years old.  She was praying with this Lakota woman who just lost her brother.  The Lakota Lady was seized with grief and this young lady prayed with her and it gives me great hope in the future as the young South American woman is Indigenous to the Americas.  You might ask me why I chose to take this picture, it is because I told our Youth that we must look for a picture that is special and different.  We as photographers are the artists and we must seek to help the world see what we see through our lenses. 

 My friend Jeff is sitting with the people and I let one of the girls take my camera and take this picture.  I am proud of the girls for being so willing to give out some food and water to our relatives in White Clay.  Jeff has been coming to Pine Ridge for a few years now and it feels like I have known him always.  He is a great friend and continues to work for our people. 

One of the Ladies on the streets asked me what I was doing with the photos.  I told her I they were my photos and I always try to stay respectful with them.  She told me the ministries in White Clay take pictures and get money for them.  I told her some day I would like to do a book on the faces of the Lakota people in Pine Ridge and I was hones.  I truly do not want to document the pain of our people but I do believe the youth have the key to helping the older ones find health and fullness. 

Indian or Native American plus

The Church Defined in the 21st Century and how does it effect the Lakota people as well as other Indigenous People around the world is what I will seek to develop and think about in this blog post, plus the people in the picture.  There are many incidents around the Globe throughout the History of the world but the People of the Western hemisphere have seen people who called themselves Christian but do horrible things toward the them.  Many people struggle to be politically correct and wonder what we as Indigenous people of American want to be called.  American Indian is what I prefer because I believe it is important to remember the United States made agreements with the Indians and had the Indian Affairs in the 1800s and now we have the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  So I will write Indian throughout my writing as well as Lakota. 
So the other day I saw a Jesuit Priest come into the Higher Ground Coffee House and I asked him if  he had reconciled what the church had done to the Indians.  He was shocked because he started to mutter and sputter but he was able to tell me it happened all around the world.  Of course it did but he was in Lakota Country and I wanted to know if he thought about the killing of the Southwest Indians by cutting off their heads if they did not swear allegiance to the Catholic Church.  He was able to pull himself together and went on to drink his latte.  I think I like to challenge priests because there were involved in the things done against the Indians by their Church throughout the European history of being in the Americas.
So the picture is of a Short Term Mission group which came to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and in this picture I see some at least two Indians a Korean, a few Black people and some white people.  Oh and also a Peruvian who is also Indigenous from the Americas. Now on the right is the saying Jesus is the Way, which is cool in my mind because I am a follower of Jesus and this means that I seek to follow his teachings.  Let me tell you how I got to this point and how easy it was to become a follower.  I gave my life to Christ when I was 12 years old and it was easy because I put my faith in what Jesus did for me.  He died for me and I accepted his gift.  Too Easy?  Your thinking there must be a catch right?  No it is simple, accept the gift of God for what his son did  on the cross, he died for my wrongdoings and things that kept me from God.  All of my sin not just some of it.
Now I want to explain something to you, these people in the photo are my family because we have our faith in common.  I can go anywhere in the world and find my family because the faith is powerful because it is God Moved.  You cannot stop it but here is the problem, some people maybe even a lot of people did some terrible things because they started with a wrong premise.  They followed people who were greedy for land and resource and this continues today with the Euro/Americans because they seek power and money.  This is not the teaching of Jesus, Jesus taught people if you want to be the most powerful, you must become the biggest servant.  So to get power you must first serve, this is not the American way so you must understand greed does not lead to heaven. 
Historically the churches came to the Indians and were the ones who would do the killing of the Indian and saving of the man.  They brought out rule books and told the Indians they could not be Indian any longer.  This was not the way of Jesus but it was the way of America.  And then they stole the land and resources.  I look at my friends who have had a history of coming to Pine Ridge for over thirty years and they are wonderful people, many of them may have issues but they seem to do well and have a great experience and remember the students they teach for a week.  Oh and yes they serve the people here help with projects and overall I believe they live as the first century church lived with things in common.  They share meals and work together as a family.  They become a tiospaye or extended family for a week and that is closer to how Jesus lived as well as the way of our Ancestors the Indians lived. 
It is important to understand that we have many things in common with the way Jesus lived and taught.  He thought about the poor as our Lakota people understand taking compassion on someone down is important.  He told a Rich young ruler to go and sell everything he had and it seemed at that moment that was too hard and the young man walked away. 
It is not rules and we are set free from bondage because Jesus no longer has us required to pay or give and offering.  A great friend of mine told me I need to define my faith, and it is difficult because I have severely swindled by many Euro/American people but I have been blessed by them as well.  I hope to see people as friends as the Lakota did you years ago.  It was told to me by a friend and brother that our people held an open hand of friendship until someone proved otherwise.  So now I will trust people are honorable until I see they are not I will speak the truth.  I love being an Indian and sharing my knowledge with people and I hope to attack the issues with solutions but the thing I love the most is being a follower of Jesus.  Who would not want the Creator of the Universe on his or her side.  So I will continue to share more and we can discuss what went wrong and where do we go from here as the American Indians.  Because We Live!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Kill the Food Source

As I share with people who come to Pine Ridge about what was done systematically to our people they really cannot understand.  We have a great company on the Pine Ridge Reservation and their product is healthy foods.  The Tanka Bar is a mix of fruit and bison and every where I go and I see the product I ask how it is selling.  I was at a Pizza Place and the owner was asking about the jerky and wanted to know what I thought.  I took a piece of the jerky and it was good but I don't like to mix my fruits with my proteins.  I come across photographs and when I think it is interesting I will save them and then share them on my blog.  A picture is worth a thousand words and when you see the skull pile you will understand they wanted to kill us off in a systematic way.  Just like when Hitler was marching the Jews to the ovens and gas chambers, the Americans were doing their genocide fifty years earlier.
Today I saw a man with a Jesuit Shirt on and so I asked him if he had reconciled the fact that the Catholic Church played a large role in the genocide of the American Indians.  He told me no, and I felt a guilt or shame  from him but he went on to say that he believed it happened all over the world.  I disagreed because  the Europeans wiped out 95% of the Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere, and what other continent has seen this type of distructions.  He also said disease killed a lot of people but when you see the food source of the Lakota and other plains tribes wiped out you can see it was a system to take the land and resource. 
We have compounded problems and I struggle because I do not believe the Mascot Issue is the topic we should be worried about for now.  If were able to take care of the issues we have today the Mascot Issue will take care of itself.  I am committed to keep sharing my thoughts about the issues I feel our important. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Water is Life

 
 

The Picture comes from Huffington Post and is a great photo and I thought I would use it because it has the capital building and an Indian, Cowboy, what looks like a hippy vest, not sure about all of those in the photo.  Mni Wiconi is an understanding that water is life.  The Government took the food source of the Lakota because they wanted us in Concentration Camps called Reservations.  Hitler's Germany did not  have anything on what America did to the Indigenous people of Turtle Island.  Both America and Canada have had gross treatments of the Indigenous people.  Now at the Risk of the Country's greatest water resource they seek to bring a pipeline through the Great Sioux Nation.  The Ogallala Aquifer is huge and a great source of fresh water for many people. It is good for people to come together and work to protect water and the earth.  Dallas Goldtooth was on MSNBC and show America his moccasins which was pretty funny.  I am developing an idea about a book about Indians and want to showcase some pictures of our people and I believe it will be at these types of events that we will be able to show America we are not Mascots. 
Recently the Owners of the Los Angeles Clippers who is really Rich showed an ugly side or Racist side  and it is really sad to see but in the end we have many people who only think of themselves.  I believe we must measure each other with our being and not the skin color.  There are good and bad in all ethnicities but we need to seek to understand we are the ones who need to be good to others.  I was reading this week and came across a chapter about our Mission in life.  It stated that our first mission is to know the God.  Second, is to give forgiveness and love, kindness, and so on...   We should all be this way to each by holding doors for each and allowing goodness to flow through us.   The last part of our mission in life should be what we love.  What brings us the most happiness while we are doing it.  Some people will live their whole lives doing something they hate.  But we as human beings need to seek what is good and lasting.  I enjoy writing, speaking, and cooking and I believe this will be my life.  Thank your reading my words and if you want to read the book, you can Find it on Amazon Rez Ramblings.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Doug Matthews My dad


                There are many issues we face and I am working to develop my balance.  We have had many years of struggle and as I go through my own life I understand that I must be responsible for my own life experiences.  My father Doug was the memorable teacher because I looked up to him even though he was not around much in my life.  I was walking by a little park on the Eastside of Downtown Denver and a man called out to me, “Hey Lee!”  I stopped and realized it was my dad; I must have been 13 at the time and was going to the Recreation Center on 20th Street.  I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was waiting for his wife.  She was working and he was just hanging out in the little park.  It was powerful to meet my father; he invited me to his apartment. 

                It seemed like I spent the whole summer visiting with him and hanging out sometimes Wally would come with me and we had a great time.  He would ask us what we wanted to eat and I am sure we ate lots of pizza.  Early in life I remember we caught some crawfish in dried up pond and we took them home and he boiled some water and ate them.  Wow, that was crazy; as I remember back and I heard stories he would eat turtles with my grandfather.  I have tried some things but for the most part I stay away from fish or things from the water.  My father ruined black-eyed peas for me as he burned them and I just cannot get the memory out of my head.  

                During one evening with my dad we sat at the breakfast counter and he told me he was going to teach me a game.  I was up for a game and so it began my greatest lesson in life.  He pulled out some dollar bills and he told I would be the “House” and we were going to play Blackjack.  Well I dealt the cards and I kept taking his money and it must have gone on for about an hour.  After he went broke, he leaned toward me and said, “The House always wins.”  He then told me to have fun with the money, I think I went to the movies are something but I know I was smiling as I left his place.  My dad was pretty cool and because of poverty issues I was not able to attend his burial.  Sometimes I think about my dad and realize he grew up in a different time.  I hope to tell my grandchildren about their great grandfather. 

                The Ukraine is blowing up as I write this column and people are preparing to die in what is another act of dominance in the world.  I have read history and have often thought the area is always a hotbed of activity.  East meet West and cultures clash in the Ukraine Region.  I wanted to share some opinion about the conflict because I feel it is important to inform others.  First of all the Black Sea Russian Fleet is docked there and they signed an agreement to lease the port.  Russia resigned the agreement until the year 2042 in exchanged for natural gas help in the Ukraine.  You might be asking me why I am writing about this and what difference it makes to our Lakota people.  Actually it has everything to do with us because if war breaks out and we see the Russian Army move through there is a good chance our soldiers will be there as well. 

                Crimea the Port Province is vital to the Putin’s war machine and he seems to have many ideas about keeping or even occupying the smaller countries from the old Soviet Bloc.  It would seem that we have a huge chess match being played with the huge countries.  The people from this area are struggling because of different cultures but it world greed that moves people.  Biblically speaking The Battle of Armageddon will be used in this area and the world is having pains as we think about these things.  Russia is moving to see what the rest of the world will do and my personal opinion is that these moves are being taken because of oil and natural gas pricing and our bread and milk prices will rise once again.  I hope people are mindful of these things as it is very serious.  I have been keeping a watch because it is interesting to me. 

                We will see the world change in our lives and people need to be ready for the changes.  I do not want to scare people but I want to inform people so they can understand a Little Geo-Political background and how it affects us.  I would like to thank John Hussman Jr. for keeping us up to date on Facebook.  These times will show the world how America will face another aggressor of the smaller countries.  Of course we have seen this over time but we are faced with the deadliest Governments in the history of the world.  I wanted to share with you about my father and what has been on my heart.  Pilimiya (Thank You)