Monthly Archives: August 2015

Lakota Adults Are Role Models

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According to Wikipedia, “Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.”

I began learning about emotional intelligence several years ago after being introduced to the concept at a workshop. I believe emotional intelligence goes hand in hand with emotional maturity. I’ve witnessed behavior from adults that shows their lack of both emotional intelligence and maturity. For instance, jealous people lack emotional intelligence, especially the ones who follow up on their feelings with violence.

A lack of emotional intelligence and emotional maturity can also be seen in adults who bully. They generally allow their negative emotions to control their behavior. They are quick to anger and often act without thinking. Their goal is to intentionally inflict harm on another person. The worst type of bully out there today is the cyberbully.

The cyberbully will inflict great emotional or mental pain upon others from his/her computer. There are many horrible tactics used by a cyberbully. I see a lot of these tactics used on social networking sites. A lot of people living on the Rez use Facebook to spread lies, gossip and hate. They also use Facebook accounts to hurt other people with malicious postings. When you are being attacked by a cyberbully on Facebook, there is usually nothing you can do. Cyberbullying is violence.

According to the website nobullying.com, “Bully behavior cannot be pinpointed to specific personalities, although many bullies suffer from internal struggles which often manifest into negativity towards others. Some of the common characteristics and personality traits a bully may have includes: uncontrollable anger and outbursts, the inability to control or direct emotions, low self-esteem, no confidence in self, no foreseeable future for oneself, and hopelessness.”

I witnessed an obvious act of cyberbullying on Facebook over the weekend. I would never have noticed what was going on if one of my female friends hadn’t pointed out what someone else was posting about her. She also shared screen shots of the Facebook posts, which contained indecent language.

My curiosity was piqued after I saw the screen shots. I visited the Facebook page of the adult woman who had posted the status update on her timeline. The language she used was obscene. The comments she made struck me as coming from an extremely angry person who lacked maturity.

I also read comments made by other adult women. I know some of these women personally. Some are employed with the tribe. I had no idea these women were capable of posting such filth. I wondered if they were intoxicated. The status update and comments under it were available for everyone who looked at the page to read, including the children of the woman they were referring to. Cyberbullying is conduct unbecoming to a Lakota woman.

The tribal council at Rosebud did discuss cyberbullying at an informal meeting they had recently. I believe the topic was discussed because of a Facebook post. However, I think there is a difference between sharing information with people on a social networking site and cyberbullying. We are all entitled to freedom of speech. Still, personal responsibility also comes with our right to freedom of speech.

After reading those horrible comments posted by several adult women, I hope the tribal council considers revising the personnel manual. There could be some standards put in place in terms of the public behavior of tribal employees on social networks. It doesn’t look right when tribal employees or tribal directors post denigrating information about other tribal employees. It’s blatant cyberbullying.

Some corporations have established standards which their employees have to follow, even after hours. It should be the same for tribal employees and directors. Our young people have a difficult time. And their lives are certainly not improved by tribal employees posting filth for the whole world to read on their Facebook pages. Tribal employees could be modeling positive behavior for our Lakota children, instead of publicly tearing each other apart on Facebook after work and on weekends.

Consequently, according to Ordinance 2007-09, which is the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual, “Tribal employees shall demonstrate the highest possible standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, and honesty in all public activities in order to inspire public confidence and trust in Tribal institutions. Such standards include, but are not limited to:
a. Dedication to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships.
b. Affirmation of the dignity and worth of the services rendered by the tribal government and maintain a constructive, creative and practical attitude toward community affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a public servant” (page 2).

I believe those tribal employees were not acting in the “highest possible standards of personal integrity” when they posted those vulgar words on Facebook. The RST Employee Assistance Program does offer free mediation services for tribal employees to work out their differences. However, many employees refuse to participate in a mediation session. Apparently, they would rather not solve their conflict with another person. This is another example of how our Lakota culture is being lost. That is, mediation was once a very effective way for the Lakota people to resolve their personal differences.

I was offended by the obscenity I read. The words those Lakota women used displayed an aspect of their inner minds. I was embarrassed for them. Still, people will vehemently defend their public right to behave, talk and post on social media any way they like after work and on weekends.

As Lakota women, we have a responsibility to our young people to be positive role models at all times. Tribal employees are still role models for our young Lakota people, even when they are not on the job.

Public Trust, Integrity and Law Enforcement Officers

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Journalists often face the risk of retaliation when we sit down to write a story or opinion. Yet, the main goal of a journalist is to inform the public. And sometimes the information we share involves issues that people don’t want anyone else to know about. I’ve always been candid in this column. I’m sure I’ve offended people by sharing information with readers.

Journalists are often accused of not telling both sides of the story. Yet, both sides of the story told in an objective manner is generally meant for news articles. This is an opinion editorial. I choose to share my opinion with readers because there are issues which I feel very strongly about. I also try to give readers something to think about. I am guaranteed my right to freedom of speech under the Constitution of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

There have been times when people will blame something I’ve written for the things that happen to them. For instance, a few years ago I was apparently at fault when a tribal council incumbent was not re-elected. Right before the tribal election, I wrote something highlighting the costs of tribal council travel. I believed it was information that needed to be shared with the tribal voters. Yet, I was presumed guilty of not telling both sides of the story. Such is the life when you are a journalist. We can’t please everyone.

I was asked to write about an incident which happened a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t witness what happened but I agreed to write something about it. Once again, I am risking retaliation from local people. Please remember that I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t write about issues that people need to know about.

The incident in question happened during Crow Dog’s sun dance. A young woman, who was supporting her immediate family, drove into town to get some supplies from home. As she drove into town, a police officer began following her. He followed her to her house. When she got out of the car, he asked her to come over to his patrol car. She was in a hurry because she was on a supply run. She had no idea of what was coming.

The police officer told her he had several warrants for her arrest. She asked him what she did but he said he didn’t know. All he knew was that she had several charges that would require her to pay $6,000 to bond out of jail. She was placed under arrest, handcuffed and transported to Rosebud Jail.

According to her account, the police officer denied knowing what she was being charged with. However, at some point she said he picked up some papers which were in his patrol unit the whole time and began reading off the alleged charges against her. The warrants had someone else’s name on them. She stated she wasn’t the person named on the warrants.

When she was booked into the jail, law enforcement officials realized they had made a mistake. She was definitely not the person named in the warrants. And even though she denied several times to the police officer that she wasn’t the person named on the warrants, he still arrested her. After being emotionally traumatized by the police officer who arrested her, she was released.

I believe police officers should positively confirm someone’s identity before making an arrest. This incident borders on harassment, especially since the family was praying at the sun dance. They all suffered unnecessary stress because of this incident. Their participation in the sun dance was rudely interrupted when they thought they had to leave the ceremony to find $6,000 in cash to bond their family member out of jail. There are few people living on the Rosebud Reservation who can actually afford to pay a $6,000 bond.

Those of you who pray or sing in Lakota ceremony know how important it is to stay focused. Several members of this woman’s immediate family were participants in the sun dance. They were either dancing or singing. This incident caused them unnecessary emotional trauma.

Maybe the police should consider leaving tribal people alone while they are in ceremony. I remember a while back when police officers would go to wakes or funerals to arrest grieving relatives. I believe the tribe did stop police officers from making arrests during those times. Perhaps a similar directive should be given to law enforcement, that is, maybe they could leave people alone while they are praying or supporting relatives at sun dance. Do the police go into local churches on a Sunday to execute warrants?

Another incident recently happened on the Pine Ridge Reservation where an on duty law enforcement officer crashed into a car. As a result of that crash, a woman lost her life and two other female passengers were seriously injured. Apparently, no charges are going to be filed, even though the crash took a life and forever changed other lives. I encourage the family to file a wrongful death suit against both the officer and the department.

Still another incident involves a local police officer who long refused to allow the mother of his children custody. The mother alleges her children were abused by this police officer and his wife. A lot of couples use their children against one another when they break up. And sometimes we see Tribal Court side with police officers, especially when he paints a bad picture of the mother. In the end, it’s the children who suffer the most.

I agreed to write this column because the people who were wronged come from families I have great respect for. Oftentimes, tribal members cannot get any justice when they are wronged. Sometimes the only way people will know what happened is if they read about it in the newspaper or on a social media site.

Our law enforcement officers must have integrity. When they lose public trust, it’s doubtful they will ever regain it.

Mni Wiconi – Water is Life

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Many human beings do not understand the sacredness of Water. It is the only element on Earth that can exist as liquid, solid, or vapor. Modern society has conditioned us to take our water for granted. You probably don’t give much thought to the water coming out of your tap. The only time you notice your water is when something happens to stop the flow.

Yet, there would be no life without water. Water is essential in Lakota ceremony. Water is medicine. The Lakota people who sun dance or hanbleceya understand how painful life is without water. As human beings, we should never take our water for granted.

We can heal ourselves with water. When water is transformed into medicine, it will have a healing effect on our bodies. The late Dr. Masaru Emoto was a Japanese Scientist who researched how the power of healing prayers and positive thought can change the molecular structure of water. Consequently, I remember attending a ceremony several years ago where a man shared a vision he once had about water. “Heal the water and everything else will follow,” he said.

Here on the Rosebud Reservation, a majority of our water is piped in from the Missouri River. Are you sending a less than positive thought to your water? All water is sacred. We should not think the river water is of inferior quality. Our prayers and thoughts affect all our water, whether it is inside of us or coming through pipes from the aquifer or the river. Think about it.

Leonardo de Vinci said “Water is the driving force of all nature.” I recommend you watch the amazing documentary “Water: The Great Mystery.” This video might change the way you view your water. Changing our thoughts and attitudes towards our precious water will make the difference between life and death.

The work of several scientists across the globe was compiled to produce this documentary film about water. They present the concept that water has memory. Water is imprinted with the energy from human emotions.

“We pollute water spiritually, and this happens on a huge scale,” Alois Gruber, an Austrian Researcher said. “The water adopts all of the hatred, all of the malice, the stress, the water is almost dead by the time it enters our body. Understanding the mysteries of water is critical to our survival. Examine water as you have never seen it before.”

I believe prayer is crucial to good water and health. “The vibrational frequency of prayer in any language uttered in any religion is 8 hertz, which corresponds to the frequency of the oscillations of the Earth’s magnetic field,” Gruber continued. “Therefore, a prayer pronounced with love creates a harmonic structure in water that is an ingredient in absolutely all foods.”

The late Dr. Masaru Emoto studied water for many years. He provided proof of what the Lakota people have known all along: human thoughts can change the molecular structure of water. Our prayer over water transforms it into medicine. He is famous for his work in determining how human thought and different genres of music can dramatically change the molecular structure of water.

One experiment he conducted involved three glass beakers containing about a cupful of rice covered with water. For one month he said to one of the rice filled beakers “thank you.” The second beaker of rice was told “you’re an idiot” while the third container of rice was totally ignored. The rice which was thanked every day was fermenting after a month and smelled good. The rice that was told every day “you’re an idiot” turned black. The rice which was neglected turned green with rot.

Dr. Emoto stated this “experiment was an important lesson, especially with regard to how we treat children. We should take care of them, give them attention and converse with them. Indifference does the greatest harm. Numerous experiments aimed at finding the word that cleanses water most powerfully have shown it is not just one word but a combination of two: Love and Gratitude.”

Dr. Vlail Kaznacheyev, a Russian scientist, also spoke about water in the video. He said “with holy water, when it’s poured over sick animals or a dying plant, they revive. Those are the facts.”
Water transformed through prayer is found in most Lakota ceremonies. The water of life is also found in the water buckets and drums used in our Native American Church. I have often wondered what the late Dr. Emoto would have found in the molecular structure of Water after it had been prayed over in a Lakota or Native American Church ceremony.

Water is our first medicine. Professionals in the medical field have often been astounded when a Lakota person makes a complete recovery after receiving medicine at ceremony. Many want to know what was in the medicine which brought the cure. They are often surprised when they learn the medicine was Water.

You will feel better and your health will improve when you learn how to have faith in your personal prayers. All it takes is the offering of a simple prayer to transform your water. Please make it a daily practice to gift your Water with a heartfelt prayer of love and gratitude. Express your gratitude with a prayer of love over your water each and every time you use or drink it.

There can be no life without water. Always give love and gratitude to your water.

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