Monthly Archives: December 2012

Singers are power, pure and simple.

Recently, I read a rant about women singers, specifically, women who sit at the big drum with a drumstick and sing. The man who ranted about those of us who sing apparently thinks we should not be singing because we have a moon time. Or that we should not be hitting the drum because we have a menstrual cycle.

 

This reminded me of a time when my friend and I organized classes which focused on traditional child birthing methods. A man came to the class and proclaimed that he probably knew more about traditional child birthing methods than any woman did. It was laughable. How can a man even think to speak on women’s issues when none of them even have the right equipment?

 

Back to the woman singer issue, I have been to pow-wows, sun dances and Native American Church meetings where I have witnessed women sitting at the drum, holding a drum stick and singing the songs. I saw nothing wrong with it. In fact, one of the most powerful sun dances I have ever been to is where I saw a woman singer at the drum. Her voice did not chase the spiritual powers away.

 

Perhaps you will disagree with me but I do not believe our Lakota culture is static. If it was so, then it would not have survived through all the efforts made to kill us. I do believe our culture has evolved and will continue to do so. The only thing which will halt this evolution is our own people who have a problem with the results of that evolution.

 

Singers are power, pure and simple. We are the medicine. Our voices doctor the people, the Earth and the Universe. The very first note we ever sang is still rippling through the ethers of the cosmos, giving a bit of medicine to everything it permeates. Sacred songs are power too and to me it does not matter whether they were composed 1,000 years ago or 1 month ago.

 

So if you have the desire to sing, then please do so. Women, young ladies and girls, do not let the arrogant opinions of close minded men stop you from taking your power and picking up that drum stick to sing your medicine. They have no right to judge you because of your menstrual cycle. We need all the healing songs we can get. Pray and sing your healing for those ignorant men who would only desire to see us continue to be subjugated as women.

Stalkers at the Rosebud Hospital

Recently, I witnessed an unhealthy incident which made me think again about how some human beings evolve while others do not. Remember, evolution isn’t just about the physical body; it also includes our emotional, mental and spiritual selves. I believe the evolution of our inner selves is a conscious choice. You either choose to evolve or you don’t.

 

I know a lady who has told me many times about how she is regularly stalked by another woman. Usually the stalker woman is accompanied by one or two other people. This group will follow the lady I know around in public places. Now there is no law against being in a public place. Still, there are times when the stalker woman seems to materialize shortly after the stalked lady does. So, does this mean that someone who works in a certain public place is telephoning/texting the stalker gang to come follow this lady around a specific area?

 

Specifically, the gang of stalkers appears out of nowhere when this lady is at the federal facility known as the Rosebud Hospital. Is there an Indian Health Service policy against stalking? Maybe I should call Dr. Yvette Roubideaux and ask her. And while I am at it, I think I will tell her about what goes on in terms of stalking at the Rosebud Hospital.

 

In any case, according to the Law and Order Code of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, stalking is a crime. So in essence, tribal members, or anyone for that matter, who choose to stalk other people in public or private are criminals. See the following for clarification.

 

“5-6-4 Stalking: Any person willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person or who makes a credible threat to another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury is guilty of Stalking. Stalking is a Class A crime. [History: Ordinance 97-03]

 

“5-6-5 Harasses – Defined: For the purposes of this chapter, “harasses” means a knowing and willful pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose, directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person and which serves no legitimate purpose. [History: Ordinance 97-03]

 

“5-6-6 A Credible Threat – Defined: For the purposes of this chapter “a credible threat” means a threat made with the intent and the apparent ability to carry out the threat. A credible threat need not be expressed verbally. [History: Ordinance 97-03]

 

“5-6-7 Stalking a Child Twelve or Younger: Any person who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses a child, twelve years of age or younger or who makes a credible threat to a child twelve years of age or younger with the intent to place that child in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury or to reasonably fear for the child’s safety is guilty of stalking.

 

“5-6-8 Order of Protection: Upon the filing of a complaint under this chapter, the victim shall immediately be issued an Order for Protection from the actor named in the complaint.”

 

Now, this lady I am referring to is often stalked when she has her children with her. These children are under the age of twelve years and they see these people who follow their mother around. I doubt the stalkers actually stop to take some time to think about what kind of distress they are subjecting these children to.

 

I also doubt that these stalkers realize they are committing a Class A crime because all of their attention is focused on following this woman around. Their personal energy is spent committing the act of criminal stalking. Obviously, they have no time to reflect upon their own unhealthy behavior.

 

People who stalk others are showing their children how to act. Essentially, they are teaching their children that it is okay to follow someone else around with the intent of harassing them. Remember, the RST Law and Order code states: “A credible threat need not be expressed verbally.” Children mimic everything we do. Don’t teach your child how to be a criminal stalker.

 

People could find more meaningful ways to spend their time. Is your whole life focused on someone else’s whereabouts? Do you sit in the privacy of your own home and constantly wonder where the object of your stalking is? Seems like a lot of wasted time and energy, don’t you think?

 

Consequently, the stalking also extends to this gang following the lady around in a vehicle. I don’t believe any evolved humans would behave like this. Stalking is actually the behavior of dangerous psychos. Anyway, I would not be one to waste the gasoline I pay a lot of money for by following another person around in a vehicle. Or maybe they don’t have to pay for the gasoline; perhaps a person with a job is buying the fuel.

 

In any case, personal evolution will not happen when your focus is on what another person is doing. The choice to evolve is a conscious one. Do you choose to think on a higher level or do you choose to focus on someone else’s life? Are your days/nights spent burning whole tanks of gasoline in order to follow someone around?

 

Finally, the Rosebud Hospital has a sign posted near the turn off from BIA 9 which reads “Rosebud Comprehensive Health Care Facility.” The word comprehensive means everything. It means all levels. If our hospital is really a comprehensive health care facility, shouldn’t the employees who work there also emulate comprehensive health? When the employees and administration condone unhealthy, even criminal, behavior – such as stalking – it really doesn’t surprise me that our health conditions are the way they are.

 

What good is a hospital staffed with unhealthy employees? Perhaps some training on what constitutes criminal stalking and privacy of patients is needed. Our people deserve better. Our women and children shouldn’t be stalked, especially at a health care facility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Um, excuse me but hasn’t the plan essentially always been to get the Black Hills back for the Lakota people?

I send kudos to the Rosebud, Crow Creek and Yankton Sioux Tribes along with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for recently closing the deal on the purchase of several tracts of land in the Black Hills area known as Pe Sla. There were many of us who were anxious over how this land acquisition was going to happen. This is a sacred site. There were many people concerned about what type of development would take place if this land wound up in the hands of an individual or a corporation who would only think about profit.

 

I also appreciate Chase Iron Eyes and all Last Real Indians activists for their tireless efforts in bringing about global awareness on this issue. Those of us who blog or use Facebook, Twitter and You Tube know these sites are an effective way to bring lightning fast attention to issues we are passionate about. Last Real Indians initially kicked off the fund raising efforts and collected a total of $900,000 to contribute toward the land purchase.

 

A big thank you is sent out to all of you who donated money. Even if you sent one dollar, please know your generosity came at a crucial time. It is not every day that we are provided with an opportunity to secure land in the sacred HeSapa.

 

And I especially want to acknowledge the Kindergarten students from Rosebud who made national headlines with their cash donation which they presented to the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council. Obviously, they were also concerned about the purchase of Pe Sla.

 

I went to a few meetings where the topic of this land purchase was discussed. To be honest, I really didn’t think our tribal leaders would unite long enough to secure the money and put this deal together. I appreciate the determination of the leaders who worked it all out. The Black Hills is an area which is very important to many of us.

 

On the other hand, there were many Lakota people who really didn’t care if the land was purchased at all. I did listen to numerous reasons as to why the tracts should not be bought. $9 million dollars is a lot of money to sacrifice. We are not faced with the best of economic conditions on the Rez. There were many tribal members who believed that this money could be better spent by funding social programs, building houses, paying utilities for elders and low income families, establishing youth programs, etc.

 

I also heard from Lakota naysayers who were against the whole idea. More than one expressed concern about how he or she believed the tribes did not have a concrete plan in place for how the land would be used. Um, excuse me but hasn’t the plan essentially always been to get the Black Hills back for the Lakota people? Anyway, it was quite enough for me that the people who donated and/or raised money were primarily concerned about the purchase of land which contained a site sacred to our people.

 

I cannot stress enough how Pe Sla is a very sacred area. The Black Hills have an essential place in Lakota Star Knowledge. This area is linked to our creation stories and our spirituality. For me, it is crucial to keep the area free of any development. I appreciate that we now have a say in what will happen there. I am sure there are lots of ideas about how to use the land in a way which will guarantee its return to a pristine condition.

 

Many of you believe we should not have to buy what is essentially already ours. There is a mountain of money sitting somewhere collecting interest because our people maintain the Black Hills are not for sale. I agree the land was taken from our people illegally in 1877. Still, I do not see any effort by the federal government to correct the theft of land. In their eyes, the money allocated to the Black Hills docket was the end of it. So in reality, the only way we are going to get any land back is to buy it when we have the opportunity.

 

Arguing over what is the right or wrong way to secure ownership of land in the Black Hills won’t get us anywhere. Holding on to the hope that the federal government will return land to us by refusing the Black Hills settlement money isn’t realistic either. I’m not advocating for an acceptance of the settlement because I realize refusing the money is all about principle, I just don’t believe the federal government will return any stolen land.

 

I have to also say wopila to Leonard and Margaret Reynolds. They willingly took the land off the auction block last summer in order to allow the interested tribes an opportunity to secure enough money to make the purchase. I thank them for their patience as they waited for the day of the sale. I also want to express my appreciation to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe for presenting a satin star quilt to the Reynolds couple on the day the deal was closed.

 

Finally, I have to say wopila to Leksi Leonard Crow Dog and all of the other spiritual people continually offer their prayers for the land. It was very appropriate to have spiritual leaders pray at the same sacred site our ancestors did. I appreciate all of our medicine people.

 

I would love to see the site left undisturbed for a time. It would be great if there was nothing done with the land except to enjoy that we can now have unlimited access to it. Pe Sla is a sacred site and should be treated as such.

 

Our ancestors were the epitome of environmental stewards. Thus, I believe they would view it as disrespectful to graze cattle on a sacred site. They would want many ceremonies to celebrate our reconnection with one of our most important sites in HeSapa.