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. 

Published by Vi Waln


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