Monthly Archives: October 2012

Russell Means: Patriot of the Lakota

“All European tradition, Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of all things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things come full circle, back to where they started. That’s revolution. . .

 

“You see the one thing I’ve always maintained is that I’m an American Indian. I’m not a Native American. I’m not politically correct. Everyone who’s born in the Western Hemisphere is a Native American. We are all Native Americans. And if you notice, I put American before my ethnicity. I’m not a hyphenated African-American or Irish-American or Jewish-American or Mexican-American.” Russell Means.

 

The Lakota Oyate lost a very special warrior last week. Death is transformation. Russell Means is now walking the sacred path of the Milky Way. I believe he is ecstatic at the reunion with ancestors who greeted him to help with his spiritual journey. Tasunke Witko is guiding him on the path. Russell will prepare a sacred place for us. He will help our spirit when it is our time to walk the Milky Way.

 

He will be remembered by many of his Oyate as a Patriot of the Lakota Nation. He was a true warrior who feared no challenge. He feared no man. He was Akicita. He was Tokala. He was Itancan. When he believed something needed to happen to improve the lives of all the Lakota people, he was the first warrior to take the steps to make the needed changes.

 

“Wounded Knee happened because Indian people wanted to survive as Indians and there wasn’t any way to survive, so we made a stand and made a statement, but now Indian people are beginning to rebound, rebound according to their [concept of] “Beauty.” And that’s really what’s necessary to understand: Indian people have to become free again.” Russell Means

 

I was a teenager when the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee took place. I clearly remember some of our own people acted like they were afraid of what was happening on the Pine Ridge Rez. Even though many of the adult members of my family didn’t really have any good things to say about the American Indian Movement (AIM) back then, I’m still very glad all those brave activists stood up for our rights.

 

Warriors like Russell Means helped my generation to become what we are today. Whether you love it or hate it, AIM is still very influential on all of us. If it wasn’t for AIM, people my age might not have ever found any pride in being Lakota. We might have all melted into that proverbial pot.

 

Russell Means was famous throughout the world. I will always remember him as an activist, an author, an actor and an extremely eloquent orator. He spoke up for all of us. I searched the internet for his quotes and found several. I include some here in the following paragraphs:

 

“One is expected to know things, to believe things. Knowing and believing are all in your head – there is nothing in your heart. If you cannot feel that the earth is your grandmother, then of course you will find it easy to rape her, to behave as if she is under your dominion. You will find it easy to believe that we humans are the dominant species, and to act as though the earth and everything on it are ours to do with as we please . . . if all human beings were taken away, life on earth would flourish.” (Where White Men Fear To Tread)

 

“We Indians do not teach that there is only one God. We know that everything has power, including the most inanimate, inconsequential things. Stones have power. A blade of grass has power. Trees and clouds and all our relatives in the insect and animal world have power. We believe we must respect that power by acknowledging its presence. By honoring the power of the spirits in that way, it becomes our power as well. It protects us.” (Where White Men Fear To Tread)

 

Wopila Russell Means! Many Lakota now realize it’s important to be proud of whom we are. The path you created with your courage will be followed by many young Lakota. You inspired us to teach our children there is no need to be ashamed of being Lakota. We will continue to appreciate all the teachings you left behind for us to carry in our lives. Thank you for dedicating your life to the Lakota and other tribal people of Mother Earth.

 

I was unable to attend the celebration of Russell’s life last week. I send my love and prayers to the Means Tiospaye. I want to express my appreciation to Little Wound School for the live stream of the services. I was grateful to be able to watch and listen to all the people who spoke about Russell’s life. I also appreciated all the songs that were sung in his honor.

“Russell was more than a human being. Russell was a spirit. Russell was a God. He was like the spirit of a tree, or the spirit of the wind or the spirit of the sun. A living God amongst us – that was Russell Means,” Dennis Banks

 

“Once you experience true freedom in your mind and in your heart and you tie the two together, there is no going back – there’s no going back. I’m blessed because, of course, Indigenous people know and understand reincarnation I certainly understand it, I’m coming back as lightening. So I’m free. And when I come back as lightening I’m going to do my job. So, if you live longer than me and you find out that lightening has struck the White House, you know who did it.” Russell Means.

 

Oyate Waciyanpi, we pray you have a beautiful journey.

 

 

Honoring the Life of Russell Means, “Oyate Wacinyapi”

REVISED STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 23, 2012…Porcupine, SD USA

Honoring the Life of Russell Means, “Oyate Wacinyapi”

The family of Russell Means invites you to join us in “Honoring the Life of Russell Means”.  The honoring will highlight his life, leadership and the eternal fire that he re-ignited throughout Indian Country.

October 24, 2012, begins at 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. MST, at Little Wound High School Gymnasium in Kyle, South Dakota USA, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Russell Means, a self-described “Oglala Freedom Fighter”, began his journey to the spirit world on October 22, 2012 at 4:44 am, with the Morning Star, at his home and ranch in Porcupine.

This Honoring will be the first of four opportunities for the people to honor his life.  The next three Honorings are tentatively scheduled as follows:  2nd Honoring at 40 year Anniversary of Wounded Knee ’73 Occupation (Feb 2013); 3rd Honoring at Wind Cave State Park, SD (June 2013); 4th Honoring on Russell’s birthday (Nov 10, 2013) at location to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family is encouraging monetary contributions to advance the visionary work of Russell Means.  Donations can be sent to:

TREATY Total Immersion Educational Endowment Fund

Administrative Office

P.O. Box 110

San José, NM 87565

Paypal contributions can be made at: www.treatyschool.org

 

There will be a designated media area at the Honoring on Wednesday at Little Wound School.  Press credentials required.

Contact: Natalie Hand, (605) 441-0605; Christine (505) 870-4553

Silent witnesses represent murdered women

Every single day there are women being abused in our communities. Children are also being hurt. Our little ones have very fragile minds, bodies and spirits.

 

Many believe that children don’t remember what happens to them after they have grown up. But an abused child remembers enough of how it felt to be hurt and will most likely become an adult who regularly inflicts pain upon others. When parents fight in front of their little ones they are committing violence against their own children.

 

In my opinion, emotional illnesses are a major root cause of violence. For instance, anger can be an emotional illness if it is not processed in a healthy manner. Anger which gets bottled up inside certain people is often expressed in violent acts. Many Lakota people are regular victims to violent acts on the Rez.

 

Have you ever wondered how many of these violent acts are due to the inner anger many people refuse to let go? I believe many of our people are incarcerated because they chose to swallow their anger instead of finding a constructive way to process feelings of rage. Unchecked anger will eventually come out in full force and often results in a crime violent enough to warrant a prison term.

 

I believe the most important awareness activity observed in October is that of Domestic Violence. There is rampant domestic violence across this land. If you think otherwise then you are in denial. Women, men, teenagers and children suffer from violent acts of physical, mental, sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse on a daily basis. This abuse often comes at the hands of close family members who live under the same roof.

 

Victims of domestic violence should seek help right away. Do not continue to risk your emotional, sexual, mental, spiritual or physical wellbeing to stay with your abuser. Abuse is not love. You are worth more than the abuser wants you to believe. Get away now! It is not worth putting your life or your children’s lives in danger by staying with a violent person.

 

In 2010 President Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act into law. This law was supposed to give our tribes more power to enforce existing tribal laws against violence and abuse. Also, this law was supposed to give our tribal court and police departments more power to arrest and sentence offenders to appropriate jail terms.

 

Some of you mistakenly think this law was based solely on statistics gleaned from off reservation sources. I’m not sure where you get your information but you are wrong. The level of violence committed within the borders of the Rez is staggering. There currently exists enough statistics right here at home to create several more laws aimed at protecting our people from violent acts.

 

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe received $25 million dollars in stimulus money to build a new jail. The Oglala Sioux Tribe also received $42 million in recovery act funding to construct a new justice center. I hear a lot of you saying we don’t need new jails and that the money would be put to better use with jobs along with more youth programs.

 

Of course, I agree more money for jobs, along with activities for the young people would be great. But until people learn some self-control, jails will always be there to lock up offenders who continue to violate the law and one another. Some say the federal government won’t be happy until all of our people are locked away in prison. The only way to close the jails and prisons down is to stop committing the crimes which will put you there.

 

Domestic and other forms of ugly violence are taking place every day on the Rez. Our tribal governments are responsible to some extent in providing public safety to our members. Rosebud has laws against domestic violence. The law and order code reads in part:

 

“It is the intent of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council that the official response to cases of domestic abuse shall be that violent behavior is not to be excused or tolerated, whether or not the abuser is intoxicated. Furthermore, it is the intent of the Tribal Council that criminal laws be enforced without regard to whether the persons involved are family members, were or are married, cohabiting, or involved in a relationship. It is also the intent of the Tribal Council that the Elders of this tribe be cherished and protected according to the traditions of the tribe.”

 

Many of you have seen the life sized red silhouettes on display at the Rosebud Hospital. There is also a red silhouette in the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council Chambers. These stark reminders of the violence that exists on the Rez were placed there by the members of the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, Inc. Those silent witnesses to domestic violence are all accompanied by captions.

 

Each one of these silent witnesses is placed for a Lakota woman who was an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and who was murdered by her husband or domestic partner. The silent witnesses at the Rosebud Hospital are in memory of Nida Mae Kills In Sight- Eagle Elk, Victoria “Vicki” Eagleman, Lavina Holy Eagle and Carol Ann Swan. The silent witness at the Rosebud Tribal office is in memory of Cheryl “Cowgirl” Tail Feathers.

 

I believe many of you would agree with me when I say perpetrators who succumb to their inner anger to the point where they kill the people they supposedly love deserve incarceration. How else are we to be safe in our own homes?  Many Lakota women who loved and stayed with an angry man were murdered by him.

 

Please learn to release your anger in a good way. Don’t take out your frustrations on your companion or children. Put down the alcohol and face each day in sobriety with the resolve to love your family. Our children need the strength of loving parents.

 

 

The cruel, violent bully needs your prayers

October is a month when we see Domestic Violence Awareness activities happening across the country. Do you know that October is also National Bullying Prevention Month? Domestic violence and bullying are acts committed by cruel hearted people. If you are a mean person who likes hurting others, then you definitely have some serious mental, emotional, spiritual and physical problems, in my opinion. You need help!

 

When we hear the term domestic violence we tend to think of incidents which happen in the home. The most common type of domestic violence that usually comes to mind is when a man verbally, mentally, emotionally or physically assaults his woman companion or his own children. Many women and children have been violently beaten, even murdered, at the hands of a man who professed to love them.

 

Violence starts in the home and then moves into the community; right? What we do not usually think about are the numerous acts of violence and bullying which happen every day in our tribal and public organizations. Countless acts of violence and bullying are being committed against many people, mostly women, while they are on the job or otherwise working in a public service capacity. This is not right.

 

To me, it doesn’t matter if the violent act is committed in the privacy of a home or in a public place. Violence against women and children is still violence. Again, too many women are being bullied while they are at work. This is blatant abuse and I do not believe we should have to put up with it. Are you being bullied while you are on the job? We need to start filing criminal charges against those violent bullies.

 

My recent experiences with violence and bullying made me wonder if the men who work in the public sector are also abused in the same way. I had to ask myself a question: if I was a man would I be subject to the same abusive treatment? I have to say that much of the public and cyber bullying I recently experienced was committed by men. Do the tough-acting men who brutalize women while we are at work also try to bully men? I highly doubt it. Men usually will not stand for that kind of treatment from other men.

 

The Lakota people are a matriarchal society and women are considered sacred beings. The women have always had an important voice in Lakota society. The women were consulted in every aspect of life, including the negotiation of the treaties we made with the federal government in the 19th century. The women owned, and still own, the home. We take care of the family. Our voices are crucial in the decision making process. We have always brought balance to our society. We are the backbone. Ladies, please remember that without us there would not be a Lakota society!

 

When alcohol was introduced into our society it altered everything. Maybe I should also say it continues to warp a lot of minds. In fact, I believe the main root cause of both the disease of the mind and crab in the bucket syndromes is alcohol.

 

The foreigners who brought the alcohol came from a male dominated society. They exerted their unwelcome influence over our people. They planted many seeds of doubt within the minds of our people. Doubt mixed with alcohol was not a very good combination for us. Those seeds have germinated over the past 520 years. Our people have never been the same.

 

Today we have tribal members who regularly overdose on alcohol and get all tough while under the influence. Only when they have guzzled enough of that horrid liquid drug to soak themselves with false booze courage, do they become brave enough to intimidate their fellow tribal members. They are caught up a dysfunctional illusion that by being bullies they are changing things. But they are not changing anything; they are only drunken bullies trying to force things to go their way.

 

You and I both know these people. When they are sober they won’t even say anything mean to your face. In fact, they might even act like they are your friend or colleague. But when they choose to overdose on cases of beer or gallons of vodka they are quick to spew a bunch of violent threats aimed at you. They will bravely attack you in cyberspace! They also might run from person to person trying to tear up your name. Remind you of anyone you know? Violence is violence and alcohol overdosing is no excuse.

 

Of course, it isn’t just the adults on the Rez who are terrorized by bullies. And you don’t have to be drunk to be a bully on my Rez. Our headstart, elementary middle and high school students are also subject to the cruelty of bullies every single day at school.

 

Sometimes a parent has to go into the school to put a stop to the bullying because the staff members are not really effective in keeping the peace between the students. And then when the parent shows up to help their student set things straight with the bullies, they are bullied by the administrator!  

 

Do you realize that our children learn how bully by imitating their parents? Next time a child is picking on your child, think about who the parents of that student are. Chances are they are people who bully others.

 

An aggressive child will grow into an adult bully. So the vicious cycle continues on and on and on. When I look at some of the adult bullies on our reservation and then think about whom their parents are, it makes sense that they grew up to be mean people.

 

I believe when you are a bully you are basically a violent person. I don’t think Lakota people are born mean or cruel or violent. Their parents make them that way. The cruel, violent bully needs your prayers.