Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sincere prayer is not based in fear, it comes from love

“It’s a very intense time, personally and globally.” ~Doreen Virtue~

 

We are fortunate to be Lakota people. In today’s world there are so many events and people working to distract us from walking peacefully on our spiritual path. There is always something or someone put in front of you as a test.  

 

Those of us who embrace the spirituality which was handed down by our ancestors know how hard the tests can get. It seems as though the closer we get to the time of wiwang waci the more difficult life appears to be. There are days when the drama is non-stop. Lakota spirituality is a way of life and the true path has always been very narrow, it’s difficult to stay afoot.  

 

Many Lakota people have colonized minds. That is, we have been brainwashed into believing that the original instructions we were given are no longer valid. The White Buffalo Calf Woman shared teachings to show us how to live on Mother Earth and be good relatives to one another. The ceremonies she gifted our people with have kept us alive and spiritually connected to our universe for hundreds of thousands of years.

 

Still, the organized religions of this country continue to have many negative impacts upon our minds. The churches have successfully infiltrated our Lakota way of life. Many church leaders work very hard to convince our Lakota people that our prayers are offered to an entity which is not as good as their “God.”

 

Recently, there were some flyers printed up and distributed around the Rapid City area. The online pictures I saw of the posters denounced the Yuwipi way of prayer as some sort of dangerous, unhealthy cult. There were many derogatory things printed on these flyers, most of which is too ridiculous to share.

 

Also, those of you who actually saw the flyers know how ugly that picture looked! The image kind of resembled one of my starving brother-in-laws! Those posters were meant to spread fear through distorted information and paranoid misconceptions. Many (but not all) Christians and/or church leaders use words like “darkness,” “guilt,” “hell,” “demons,” and “devil,” to plant seeds of fear/doubt/terror.

 

Once again, misconceptions surrounding Lakota ceremonies are the focus. I didn’t think it was fair for the person or persons to actually print and distribute those flyers condemning our Lakota ceremonies. Someone has too much time on their hands, maybe they should get counseling instead of making obvious their private battle with acute mental illness by the public dissemination of absurd posters.

 

Or maybe they really believe all the propaganda put out by some local churches about how Lakota ceremony is “evil energy.” The organized religions have successfully instilled pure terror in many Lakota minds about our own spirituality. It’s pathetic. Personally, I am grateful that my spirit showed me the way out of the mind trap which organized religion wanted to keep me in; I refuse of be a prisoner of fear in my own mind because of how my Lakota ancestors have prayed since the beginning of time.

 

Those of us who saw the flyers will continue to attend ceremony and pray for those who created and distributed them. Hopefully, they will one day understand that what they did was very ignorant.

 

I don’t see any Lakota people printing and distributing ridiculous flyers about other ways of worship. What would happen if I created a bunch of strangely paranoid posters about a random church or organized religion, added a menacing image distortion of the Pope/Priest/Bishop/Pastor and spread them all over western South Dakota? The local media would most likely jump all over an incident like that.

 

I could print things like how the organized religions are still working very hard to demonize our sacred way of life. After all, it was the churches which instilled most of the fear surrounding Lakota ceremony, right? Many leaders in the organized religions still preach to the masses about how we should all fear our own Lakota spirituality.

 

When I was younger I once worked as a receptionist for a local religious organization. One of my duties was to announce visitors who came to see the priest in charge. One time a local medicine man was summoned to come and see the priest. Soon I could hear the priest’s voice get louder and louder in the office next to mine as he scolded the medicine man for having ceremony. I don’t even want to share what the priest said to the medicine man — I will say it was similar to what was printed on those flyers.

 

Still, even though he was chewed out wickedly by the priest for his spirituality, the medicine man came out of the room looking totally unfazed. He smiled at me and quietly left the building. He continued to have ceremonies for the people until he passed on several years ago.

 

That priest tried very hard to scare the medicine man by implying that “God” didn’t approve of Lakota spirituality. This is exactly what the person who created those ridiculous flyers tried to convey. They want people to be afraid of Lakota ceremony. Yet, ceremony is all about prayer. Sincere prayer is not based in fear, it comes from love; singing ceremonial songs is love in its purest form, in my opinion.

 

Furthermore, attending church services on Sunday never did cure me of any illness. On the other hand, Lakota Yuwipi men are totally awesome! I was humbled at the first Yuwipi ceremony I went to when I was doctored with a gourd and MY PAIN DISAPPEARED. I didn’t have to take pills anymore. My experiences at Yuwipi ceremonies have always been miraculous. It’s so amazing to sit in the same sacred space with the ancient spirits of ancestors who marked the spiritual path for us to walk.

 

Remember, two-hearted tricksters come in many forms — they could be human beings close to you. Ignorance is a disease. Pray for Wicozani.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I do not write about them, who will?

“Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away.” ~Donna Schoenrock

 

I don’t believe in defending myself. Why should I have to defend myself in the face of people who do not understand why I write the things I write? I have always been the type of person who does what I believe I need to do.

 

Also, I stopped second guessing myself a long time ago when I realized there was no point it in. When I make a choice to do something and if it turns out that it wasn’t something I really wanted, I’m always free to choose again. Life is too short to be stuck in a choice that you really aren’t happy with. Life is also too short to be second guessing yourself.

 

I have been writing these editorials for over four years now. I realize not everyone agrees with what I write here. Still, I put a lot of prayer into my work. Sometimes the words come out of nowhere and I have to run with them. Spirit guides us all; some of us listen while others don’t.

 

I believe there is a lot of confusion out there over what I write here every week. I walked into the world of journalism in 1998. I had a full time job which required me to send press releases to local media outlets for print which was a great way to learn journalism.

 

I have a college degree which helped me refine my skill. And even though I never took a single class in journalism (a fact which some of you have problems with) I believe I am an excellent writer. The amount of time I spent studying English helped me develop my writing skills. You can judge me for sounding like I am bragging about being good at something but it’s the truth.

 

And while we are on the subject of judgment, I have been accused of that too. Still, the most judgmental people I have seen on the Rez are some of you who practice Christianity or belong to those holy-roller cult groups who scream, cry or sing very loudly your devotion to Jesus Christ.

 

I’m also judged as being an “irresponsible journalist” by a former tribal official and was recently told to keep my opinions to myself. I was told to just write the “facts”. I haven’t written a news story for quite some time as I am now employed full-time by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. I write this editorial on Sundays only because many of you tell me you enjoy reading it.

 

Consequently, Merriam-Webster.com lists one definition of story as “a statement regarding the facts pertinent to a situation in question.” News articles, human interest stories and press releases usually fall into this category. A good writer or journalist will present the facts and will usually quote the exact words said by the speakers referred to in the story. A good writer will not interject a personal opinion into a well written news article.

 

Merriam-Webster.com also defines an editorial as “a newspaper or magazine article that gives the opinions of the editors or publishers; also: an expression of opinion that resembles such an article.”  This is the definition which my trademarked Sicangu Scribe Scribblings editorials fall under. Also, the opinions I write about here are my own. They do not always reflect the opinions of this newspaper, our Owner/Publisher or correspondents. I take full responsibility for my own opinions and I will continue to write them.

 

I do not believe it is right for humans to stifle one another. But it happens on the Rez every single day. Remember the crabs in a bucket syndrome? Those of us who speak out about the atrocities or injustices which are committed every day on our Rez are often accused of tearing up our own people and/or our own tribe. But writing about the dark human truths of the Rez and tearing up your own people or tribe are two different things. Can you honestly accuse me of tearing up my own people or tribe when all I am doing is writing truthfully about what happens on the Rez?

 

I will not allow my opinions to be stifled. There are topics which I have addressed that are quite sensitive. I believe every dark issue I have presented here in Sicangu Scribe Scribblings falls within areas affecting our precious children. Our people would do well to emulate our ancestors and consider the future of the coming seven generations. Alcoholism, aggravated sexual abuse of children, domestic violence, criminal stalking and unscrupulous tribal members, etc. are facts of life on the Rez. If I do not write about them, who will?

 

Furthermore, when you or your family engages in conduct unbecoming to the Lakota Oyate, you can be sure I will address it here. Oftentimes, I see members of a Tiospaye or family acting up or acting out in public and I write about it. It is then when I am attacked through hate emails or on social networking sites. Consequently, there have been a total of two times when people have actually confronted me to my face about an editorial I wrote. The truth always hurts and it is even more painful to those people who carry around distorted images of truth.

 

I will continue to write these editorials each week for you to read. Sicangu Scribe Scribblings is an inherent part of me. I want to thank all of my readers who have emailed me encouraging messages. I appreciate all of you who come up to me to shake my hand and comment over an editorial which has touched you. Relatives like you motivate me to write about life on the Rez every week. Wopila for your kind words, thoughts and prayers.