Monthly Archives: November 2012

Our ancestors were highly evolved spiritual beings

As human beings we are all born with the ability to evolve. You might associate evolution only with physical attributes. After all, the discussion surrounding evolution normally involves how animals have physically adapted over the eons. I believe a human being has the inherent ability to also evolve on emotional, mental and spiritual levels.

 

Our ancestors were highly evolved spiritual beings. I would even venture to say our Lakota ancestors were at an important pinnacle of their spiritual existence when that lost Italian washed ashore. Sadly, we have been on a gradual descent from that spiritual pinnacle ever since. Each generation seems to depend on the one behind it to save us all.

 

Even so, we still have our way of life. Lakota still go to ceremonies which are conducted to ensure the renewal of seasons so our children can continue living on our Earth Mother. But even though we still have all of this, there was much which was lost or forgotten under the wasicu influence. My late Grandmother used to stay that the ceremonies we see today are merely a shadow of what our ancestors once had in terms of spirituality. I believed her.

 

Still, sometimes when we are in prayer or in ceremony we are offered a glimpse of what our spirituality was like before the coming of the wasicu. I have learned those spiritually revealing moments are offered to the human beings who have learned how to become open to their own personal evolution. Some Lakota people have special abilities which are intensified when we are in ceremony. Individual clairvoyance, clairaudience, premonitions and other supernatural or psychic gifts are often magnified when we participate in a powerful ceremony.

 

When you have done the work to process the negative things which keep you stuck, you have a much better chance of opening your inner self to the many dimensions of human evolution. Those things which can hold you back are dark emotions, judgment, prejudices and the like.

 

Personal flashes of evolution are amazing. Have you ever had moments when an extremely profound thought suddenly comes into your mind? Sometimes, I would wonder why I never saw clearly some basic truths of life sooner. Now I realize that I could not have attained the ability of entertaining higher level thoughts unless I had undergone some processing out of certain things which no longer served me. Anger, hate, bitterness, resentment, victimhood, drug addiction, alcohol overdosing and similar behaviors, will only work to further imprison the mind, emotions and spirit. Thus, you will continue to functioning at a very low level of spiritual awareness. When I clung to my own inner darkness, I made a conscious choice to remain locked out of my own evolution. Does that make sense?

 

Our ancestors were very strong on all levels. They were physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepared for most anything. They were not prepared, however, for the level of destruction brought by the wasicu. The wasicu taught us how to engage in many negative things. The wasicu influence has been effective in shutting down many of our Lakota people to their own innate ability to evolve as spiritual beings. We are locked out of our own individual power and even though we have the key we do not know how to use it to unlock our own spiritual gifts.

 

Still, it will do absolutely no good to our descendants if we continue to blame all of our problems on the wasicu. The wasicu also brought many things which improved our lives. But, the negative things which they pushed upon our ancestors hundreds of years ago are regrettably the same issues which many of our people choose to carry on in their lives today. As an individual human being, you will never evolve if you continue to engage in the substances, emotions and behaviors which keep the key just out of your reach.

 

I know of many instances where my own people overdose on alcohol and then when their inhibitions are all washed away in the drink, they will attack members of their own family. Human beings who cannot find their way past a bottle of booze will probably not find their way to their own innate keys to evolve as a spiritual being.

 

It’s pretty sad when you have Lakota grandmothers who are my age or older regularly overdosing on alcohol any chance they get. I know of one woman on the Rosebud Rez who is a little bit older than me who recently began receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). She received a decent check from SSI which was probably a retroactive payment.

 

And not too long ago, this grandma showed up at her community center highly intoxicated. She proceeded to harass the people who were working there over items which were being distributed to all the members of the community. Law enforcement officials were called but they failed to respond in a timely manner so the workers at the community center finally had to shut the place down because she refused to leave. Sadly, Unci made a public spectacle of herself through her indulgence in alcohol.

 

When people drink enough alcohol, they become very belligerent. Booze enables them to summon enough false courage which they will use to attack innocent members of their community. Sometimes, these vicious attacks are not done face-to-face. Some people who overdose on alcohol will drunkenly babble malicious rumors about others. They will also engage in cyber bullying. They will even invent horrible gossip stories about their own family members or in-laws.

 

This is not the life our highly evolved, spiritual ancestors envisioned. This is one example of how alcohol has robbed many of us of our ability to evolve as spiritual beings. When the Takoja see their Unci having a rough life affected by her own alcohol overdosing, it’s a dismal picture.

 

I always pray for the Takoja to evolve into highly spiritual humans just like our ancestors were.

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Just A Rez Chick

I watch and read the reports on Palestine. The land of Palestine, being fought over. One side with all the latest in weaponry supplied and supported by the most powerful country in the world, the other firing homemade rockets, which is actually more than when they used to throw rocks or send in suicide bombers. Yet so much turmoil and death. Every death on one side being reported by mainstream media and deaths on the other side being downplayed.

It makes one nation of people stand out as the heroes, defending their own with tanks and technology. And the other nation misunderstood by many.

In a way, it is almost like my very own people. When our people fought with bows and arrows compared to cannons and guns. For over five hundred years the Natives of this land have fought, put their lives on the line, had their women and…

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What does “Drink like an Indian” mean anyway?

I saw an advertisement on Facebook over the weekend promoting McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon in Washington, DC. The image had pilgrim and Indian caricatures at the top. Slogans underneath the pictures read “Party like a pilgrim” and “Drink like an Indian.”

 

Isn’t that stereotypical? You would think that the people who live in the nation’s capital would be more educated about something like this. But no, we see some of the most ignorant things about tribal people coming out of urban areas nowadays. I am tired of explaining why I am offended by images like this. Should I just give up and keep quiet? Maybe I should just join the other tribal people who aren’t offended by things which demean our people.

 

What really irks me is how some people think perhaps they should be living up to things like this. Our children are so susceptible; what if one sees this image and believes that because they are Indian they are supposed to drink? What does “Drink like an Indian” mean anyway?

 

We never know what goes through the minds of non-Indians when they come up with crap like this. Do the people who see this image assume that Indians are all heavy drinkers or light drinkers or social drinkers? Can someone please clarify for me exactly what “Drink like an Indian” means? Which Indian are they talking about? I am sure if you ask different Indians what the slogan means you will get a variety of answers.

 

Now it’s a hard fact that there are scores of Indian people, living in both the cities and on the Rez, who regularly drink unbelievable amounts of alcohol in a single night. There are also common instances of alcohol overdosing done over an entire weekend. Sometimes the drinking continues non-stop for several days. Which one of these scenarios is meant by the phrase “Drink like an Indian?”

 

Still, we also have tribal members who do not drink at all. Some have never, ever tasted alcohol their whole entire life. Others will drink a glass of wine or a beer once or twice a year. So, was the ad referring to the Indians who rarely or never drink alcohol at all?

 

I would like answers to my questions about what is meant when slogans promoting bars and alcohol make reference to tribal people. I don’t know what experience the person who made up the slogan had with Indian people to begin with and I will probably never know. After all, who knows what was going through the mind of the person who designed the ad in the first place. Maybe the person who made up this slogan doesn’t even know exactly what they meant by it either. Sometimes ignorance will often cause people to say or write things which don’t even make sense.

 

Thursday is designated as Thanksgiving, a national holiday in the United States. As most of us already know, Thanksgiving would not be observed if it were not for the tribal people of this continent. It was the tribes of the east coast who motivated the pilgrims to give thanks because without them, the newcomers would have surely starved.

 

Last month the country celebrated Columbus. He was the Italian whose boat mistakenly washed up on the shore of what he assumed was India. He is the one who began the rush which changed our way of life forever.

 

Sometimes I like to imagine what would have happened if his ship had instead sunk deep into the sea before he made it ashore. Would the insidious, albeit legal, devastating drug we know as alcohol have been introduced into tribal societies if we had never been “discovered?” If Columbus had indeed perished at sea we may not have been “discovered” for a very long time, if at all. There would be no Manifest Destiny.

 

Personally, I believe it would be great to live a life where my fellow tribal members and I are not stereotyped based upon the irresponsible behavior of a few who seem hopelessly addicted to that awful liquid drug. But the reality is when our fellow tribal members make the personal choice to overdose on alcohol they are setting the stereotypical standard by which the rest of us are judged.

 

I believe it would be awesome if we could shift the stereotypical standard associated with Indians to one where we are looked upon as a sober people. How do we reach the point where sobriety is our stereotype? It would be great to be stereotyped for something positive for a change. There would be no offensive ads depicting Indians overdosing on alcohol.

 

Today, I still have very high hopes for our young people to break these stereotypical images which much of mainstream America associates with Indian people. We have young people now taking steps to change these images. They are living drug-free lives. They attend school every day and study hard so they can become educated.

 

In closing, this week I am grateful for all of our young people. I have to acknowledge and send kudos to all of our young people who attended and participated in the 5th Annual Tusweca Tiospaye Lakota-Dakota-Nakota Language Summit held in Rapid City, SD last week. Tusweca Tiospaye unites the Oceti Sakowin every year with this summit for the purpose of revitalizing the Lakota-Dakota-Nakota language.

 

Many of our young people have a burning desire to become fluent Lakota speakers. They work hard every day of their lives to do just that. They have often voiced their desire to see a younger generation of fluent Lakota speakers. Many of them also work with their younger siblings to help them become Lakota speakers and would appreciate any help a fluent speaker can offer.

 

These are the Takoja who are entrusted with carrying on our Lakota way of life. I would love to see the day we when we are stereotyped for having an entire generation who speak fluent Lakota.

There’s no honor in fake feather headdresses…

The Lakota have many, many ancestors who were Akicita. They are the primary reason why our sons and daughters still feel the pull to join the military. The warrior spirit is in our DNA. While the country is remembering our veterans this week, I know that many Lakota people remember our veterans and active duty soldiers every single day in their prayers.

 

I remember going to a ceremony and the medicine man named every Lakota veteran who walked in the spirit world. He also remembered deceased veterans from many other tribes, each one by name, in the ceremony. The ceremonial roll call he offered reminded me that only spiritual power could give him the ability to remember that many names. I could feel the presence of those warrior spirits in the fire, it was awesome.

 

He also remembered the ancient Akicita. He spoke the names of Tasunke Witko and Iyotanka Tatanka, along with many others, in his eulogy for our veterans. If not for these first warriors, the Lakota would surely not be here today. We would have long been melted into the proverbial pot.

 

Our ancestors were the first warriors. The old school black and white pictures we see nowadays depict many of them proudly wearing their sacred eagle feather headdresses. Those headdresses were worn for a reason. Each eagle feather was bestowed upon our combat warriors mainly because of a brave deed done in battle.

 

The Akicita and Itancan who are immortalized in those old pictures wearing the sacred eagle feather headdress, some which trailed down to the ground, were our fiercest defenders. The put their lives on the line by standing in the front when the attacks were launched upon our villages; they earned those Wiyaka with their unwavering protection of the lives of elders, women and children.

 

When I see a black and white picture of a Lakota man wearing an eagle feather headdress which reaches clear to the ground, I know he was a brave man who feared nothing. He feared nothing. The headdress tells me that. The eagle feathers were not just passed around for show, they were earned. Oftentimes they were given after much blood, sweat and tears were shed.

 

The eagle feather headdress is sacred. If you are Lakota or a member of any other Indian tribe then you already know this. Elders continue to remind us about how the sacred eagle feather headdress is an extremely important symbol to our warrior societies. The headdress represents an Akicita and perhaps an Itancan.

 

Many of us are taught that not everyone can wear the eagle feather. It is disrespectful to create those imitation headdresses from artificial feathers, in my opinion. I also believe it is disrespectful to both the sacred eagle and our ancestors for just anyone to wear a headdress, even when it is fashioned from artificial feathers.

 

Consequently, Halloween is a trying time. It is the time of year when people dress up in imitation of something else. I say it is a trying time because there are Halloween costumes which depict American Indian people. There are the Indian princess, Indian warrior and Indian chief costumes being sold online and in Halloween stores. By the way, do any of you know where did the Indian princess concept originated from? When someone says they are descended from an Indian princess, I always have to resist the urge to ask who the Indian king was.

 

In addition, I try not to get caught up in the sports mascot issue where our people are depicted as caricatures of some team pet, such as, Indians, Redskins, Fighting Sioux, etc. I just think to myself how absolutely ridiculous they look with their imitation war paint, feathers and plastic tomahawks. It would be bliss to be so utterly ignorant!

 

I also try not to take offense when I see wasicu women dressed up in the same type of imitation garb, complete with the fake feather headdress. Do they realize how ludicrous they actually appear? Apparently they do not. Again, ignorance is bliss for some people.

 

Victoria’s Secret recently ran a video where a wasicu woman, dressed only in underwear, donned the fake feather headdress and turquoise jewelry to stroll down the runway. I didn’t like it, not at all. There was no honoring my Akicita in the image I saw. There was no honoring our brave ancestors who fought and died for our people, our land and the right to wear the sacred eagle feather headdress.

 

Our ancestors fought and defeated the United States Army on the Little Big Horn Battlefield. We are the only people to have captured the enemy flag, which was left lying on the ground after Custer and his troop were annihilated. We still have this flag! Our Lakota Akicita are known throughout the world for their courage. Our people still sing songs honoring the victory of 1876.

 

Our warriors are the only people on this planet who have earned the right to wear the sacred eagle feather headdress. It is a symbol of everything we as Lakota people still stand for. So yes, I take offense when I see some wasicu woman wearing only underwear and a fake feather headdress. There is no honoring my ancestors with stunts like this.

 

But again, ignorance is bliss for some wasicu. In their arrogance they maintain they honor the Lakota and other tribal people when they don those silly costumes. Their ignorance allows them to remain blind to how ridiculous they really look when they try to imitate the way our people dress. Sometimes we grow weary of this endless fight to educate them on how we feel and choose to remain silent as some wasicu have no ears to hear.

 

This week we acknowledge our Lakota Akicita with pride for their courage, bravery and sacrifice. Our brave warrior soldiers are the reason we have the sacred eagle feather headdress, don’t let the wasicu fool you with imitations.