Monthly Archives: December 2013

He Fired Us Up

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Carter Camp has made his journey. He now walks on the path we call the Milky Way. His spirit travels to reunite with our relatives and ancestors.

 

Carter was a true activist. He traveled to South Dakota to assist our people with the Wounded Knee takeover in 1973. He stood by the Lakota and fought hard against tribal corruption.

 

A member of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma, Carter never hesitated to join activists in Lakota territory to assist the people in our times of struggle.

 

He recently joined many humans in the battle against the building of the Keystone XL pipeline.

 

Several years ago, a dirty politician struck an underhanded deal hoping to build a massive hog farm on Rosebud. Carter was one of the most outspoken warriors in his stand against this atrocity which would have devastated hundreds of acres of land. 

 

Carter was also one of Indian Country’s most eloquent spokesmen.

 

I always look forward to summer because it means we will all soon be gathering at Crow Dog’s Paradise for ceremony. Human beings from across Unci Maka come to Crazy Horse Canyon to sacrifice and renew the universe.

 

The Sun Dance People are my spiritual family. The bond I have with them is stronger than the one I have with many blood relatives. Prayer bonds humans together.

 

Spiritual bonds are often stronger than blood ties. It’s true when you hear them say “the family that prays together, stays together.”

 

A spiritual family is one who prays together. Ceremony keeps us together.

 

Carter would often speak publicly at Crow Dog’s Paradise. His speeches were inspiring. His powerful words made you want to get up and do it.

 

When Carter Camp spoke at ceremony, he made you proud to have the blood of your ancestors running through your veins.

 

He fired us up.

Last year he spoke about why many of the dancers were there. Maybe they were there to dance for a sick relative or for an incarcerated relative. There are many reasons people commit to the Sun Dance.

 

He talked about dancers who were are there to pray for others. He encouraged the Sun Dancers to look within and learn.

 

Carter encouraged the dancers to pray for themselves.

 

You learn a lot about yourself when you are standing on the altar of the Sun Dance circle. We enter the circle as children and grow over the years into the adults we are today. Many of us grew up together on the Sun Dance altar at Crow Dog’s Paradise.

 

My spiritual family is very sad. It will be very difficult to not be able to see Carter at Crow Dog’s Paradise next summer. Many of us will look for him at the Oklahoma Camp. We will search for him dancing in the circle or look to the south side hoping to catch a glimpse of him standing under the arbor.

 

Carter’s relatives and spiritual family are mourning.

 

Dance happy on the Milky Way path, Tiblo. We love you.

Be a good ancestor, our descendants are depending on you.

Christmas is a fallacy. Our winter ceremonies were replaced by the notion of a fat man in a red suit who could visit every house in the world in a matter of hours.

 

I write this on the sacred day known as Winter Solstice. The first day of Waniyetu was a time for our ancestors to offer their most powerful prayers. Yet, it seems as though prayer has been replaced by commercialism.

 

December also is a month which holds some of the most painful memories for the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people. On December 15, 1890 Tatanka Iyotake (Chief Sitting Bull) was murdered by Indian Police at his home.

 

December 26, 1862 was the day when 38 Dakota were hanged at Mankato, Minnesota. 2 more were executed in 1865.

 

Finally, the senseless murders of over 300 unarmed men, women and children on December 29, 1890 by the 7th Cavalry is an event branded into our cellular memory.   

 

How do we heal?

 

Today, there are horses and human beings who sacrifice during bitterly cold days and nights to pray for our survival– much like our people who sacrifice every summer in the sun dance.

 

Prayers will ensure the healing of the Seven Generations.

 

The Omaka Tokatakiya – Future Generations Ride originally began as the Big Foot Memorial Ride. This ride traces the route in which Si Tanka (Chief Big Foot) and his band walked after the murder of Tatanka Iyotake. It is held annually as a spiritual ride for the youth.

 

The Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride follows a route from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation along the Missouri River to Mankato, Minnesota. The day after Christmas execution of 38 Dakota was the largest mass hanging in the dark history of the United States of America. Although President Lincoln is remembered by many for abolishing slavery, he is known to the Dakota as the one who sent the 38+2 to the gallows.

 

In my lifetime I cannot easily forget these anniversaries of the atrocities committed upon our people during the month in which I was born. Our ancestors are the reason why we still have our language and ceremonies. Our descendants must also remember our culture. We have to help them come back into the circle of ceremony.

 

Our great grandparents, grandparents, parents, ourselves, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are what comprise the Seven Generations.  The concept of the Seventh Generation is here – now – in this very moment.

 

The Seventh Generation is us.

 

December is very emotional for us because we carry the memory of the murder of our ancestors in our DNA. It’s in our cellular memory. The way to transmute those dark memories is through prayer.

 

The human beings and horses sacrificing this week on spiritual rides have us all in their prayers.

 

Pray relatives. Pray at new moon and full moon. Pray at summer and winter solstice. Pray at spring and fall equinox. Pray at sunrise and sundown.

 

Be a good ancestor, our descendants are depending on you.

 

Lack of leadership and financial accountability lead to Probation at SGU

MISSION, SD – Sinte Gleska University (SGU) has been placed on Probation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) North Central Association, which oversees academic accreditation.

 

The action was effective October 31, 2013.

 

In a six page letter to SGU President Lionel Bordeaux, the HLC detailed several areas where the tribal university is out of compliance. Lack of leadership and financial accountability top the issues listed in the letter.

 

According to the November 12th letter, SGU’s Board of Regents did not hold a meeting for 30 months prior to the HLC visit in March 2013. The SGU Board also did not carry out duties specifically assigned to them through their By-Laws, “such as approving the budget, evaluating the chief executive officer, ensuring that a qualified chief financial officer was appointed or developing policies or strategies for resolving serious issues confronting the University related to student debt, monies due from the Tribe and other issues.”

 

Also, SGU “has not appropriately managed its financial resources: it has been operating with increasing deficits in the general fund since 2006, and, while changes in accounting practices will change the appearance of financial reports, University administrators do not seem to recognize or acknowledge that increasing deficits is not a sustainable practice.”

 

The letter also states SGU “lacks appropriate human resources to provide financial oversight and conduct timely accounting activities: it does not have competent and trained financial personnel to complete basic functions such as accounting for expenses and revenue in a timely fashion and preparing for audits, thus requiring the assistance of an accountant working remotely from Chicago to complete these basic functions; it does not have an experienced and qualified Chief Financial Officer to manage and oversee the accounting office, timely create a budget for each fiscal year, and oversee financial planning.”

 

According to the Public Disclosure Notice also issued by the HLC, SGU “is required to file a monitoring report no later than February 1, 2014, outlining how it plans to ensure compliance with the Commission’s Assumed Practices.”

 

SGU must also “file a Probation Report in March 2015 providing evidence that the University has resolved the concerns of the [HLC] Board identified in the Probation action and evidence that the University meets the Criteria for Accreditation, Core Components and Assumed Practices.”

 

Finally, SGU “will host a comprehensive evaluation in May 2015 to determine whether the concerns of the [HLC] Board identified in its action have been resolved and the Criteria for Accreditation have been met. At its meeting in October 2015, the [HLC] Board will review materials related to this evaluation and determine whether the University can be removed from Probation. If the University has not resolved the [HLC] Board’s concerns that led to the imposition of Probation and has not demonstrated that it is in compliance with all Criteria for Accreditation, other action may be appropriate.”

 

The HLC documents pertaining to SGU can be viewed by the public online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s no stopping me. I’ll always be a writer

The fall semester is quickly coming to an end for students attending colleges and universities. As you read this there are many Lakota/Dakota/Nakota and other tribal students reading college textbooks and going over their class notes in preparation for final exams. When you are a full-time college student, your work load is akin to that of a full-time job.

 

I have always encouraged people to return to college. It is never too late to expand your knowledge. After all, life is a learning process which can only be enhanced through applied studies.

 

Education is freedom. When you make a choice to drop out of high school you are severely limiting your opportunities. It used to be that a high school diploma could help you get most any job. Today it’s very different as people with college degrees are often given preference over job applicants with a high school diploma or GED.

 

Yet, it is very difficult to finish school. Many of our children and teenagers are extremely disillusioned with the educational process they are experiencing. And those students who are determined to learn all they can and complete high school in preparation for college admission are often overwhelmed with the social challenges they face every day in our local schools. Challenges such as bullying and physical assaults often serve to push students out.

 

I realize there are some of our people who equate education with assimilation. There are many of our own people who are jealous of their fellow tribal members who have attained a college degree. I remember when I was in college pursuing an undergraduate degree and a family member asked me if I was a “white girl” yet.

 

Comments like that just show how ignorant people really are.

 

When you work hard to earn a college degree, you will also grow as an individual. Much of that growth brings you strength to avoid taking personal the thrashing dished out by your family and fellow tribal members.

 

Consequently, I’ve learned one advantage of attending college is overcoming your own ignorance. Thus, education is freedom in more ways than one.

 

Next week I will finish my first semester as a graduate student. I am studying Mass Communication at South Dakota State University. I decided to return to school to pursue an advance degree in order to improve my skills as a journalist.

 

My columns and news articles are provided for my readers. Sometimes I post to my blog, which you can find online at www.sicangulakota.net

 

Being a writer isn’t something you can easily walk away from. There are times when I need a break, such as the one I recently took in order to adapt to the demand of full-time graduate studies.

 

Journalism works its way into your blood and once there it never leaves. I will continue to do my best in providing you with quality news updates and columns.

 

There’s no stopping me. I’ll always be a writer.

 

Wopila for your readership. I appreciate all of you!

Recall Petition at Rosebud falls short

ROSEBUD, SD – A recall petition seeking the removal of Cyril Scott as Rosebud Sioux Tribal President failed to obtain the number of signatures required to be valid.

 

The petition was the second attempt by tribal voters to initiate the process of recalling the tribal president. The petition alleged that President Scott had lost the confidence of the tribal members to lead the tribe by his actions toward tribal elders along with his hiring/firing practices and misuse of funds.

 

Article VII, Section 3 of the RST Constitution and By-Laws calls for “thirty (30) percent of the number of persons who voted in the last tribal election” to sign a recall petition in order for it to be valid. There were 865 signatures on the petition and only 428 were deemed valid, according to Tribal Secretary Julie Peneaux.

 

The voters list from the General Election held in August of 2012, where 2,538 ballots were cast, was used to determine the validity of signatures. The numbers from the 2012 General Election requires 761 valid signatures on any recall petition in order for it to be considered.

 

Of the 865 signatures on the petition, 428 were from registered voters who did vote and were thus determined as valid signers. 293 tribal members who signed the petition were registered voters who did not vote in the August 2012 election. Also, 111 signers of the petition were not registered tribal voters, 24 people signed twice, 1 person signed three times while still another person signed 4 times. In addition, there were 4 signatures which were illegible.

 

President Scott was elected in August 2012 to a three (3) year term, which ends in 2015.