I am a Lakota Woman and I know My Place

Vi Waln

The Lakota people have always been a matriarchal society. The Lakota men who understand what a matriarchal society involves, were raised to show respect for women. In Lakota culture, women are the givers of life and are considered sacred beings.

As women, we have always had an important voice in Lakota society. Our women were consulted in every aspect of life, including the negotiation of the treaties we negotiated with the federal government in the 19th century. Our voices are crucial in the decision making process.

Our women own the home. We take care of the family. Many of us are now the sole breadwinners for our families.

As women, we have always brought necessary balance to our society. We are the backbone. Ladies, please remember that without us there would not be a Lakota society. In fact, without women, there would be no society at all.

America has always been a male dominated society. Since 1492, males have exerted unsolicited and unwelcome influence over our people. They’ve planted many seeds of doubt within the minds of our people. Those seeds have germinated over the past 525 years.

Many of our Lakota men have succumbed to the notion of male dominance. Some of them laugh when we remind them of the sacredness of women. Others disrespect women to the point of assaulting them physically, sexually, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. In fact, there are Lakota men who made the choice to spend their lives in prison when they murdered their female companion.

However, there are still a great number of Lakota men who show respect for themselves and the women in their lives. These are the men who treat women as equal partners in relationships or marriages. They don’t view themselves as being above the woman.

Consequently, America has elected a very disrespectful man to its highest office. I didn’t watch the inauguration last week. However, I did see several pictures and videos on social media since he was sworn in. I didn’t like what I saw.

This man treated his wife very disrespectfully. The men and women who embrace the notion of a male-dominated society probably saw nothing wrong with his behavior. The pictures and video you may have viewed on the internet, actually portrayed the former President and First Lady as showing more respect for the incoming First Lady than her own husband did.

Consequently, many people look to America’s President as a role model for the rest of society. The behavior many people witnessed on his inauguration day didn’t demonstrate actions of a positive role model. The behavior some of us witnessed is typical of men who believe women should be subservient to them.

Actions like this are what influence our men to behave as wasicu. Just because you see a wasicu man behave badly toward women, it doesn’t give you license to treat Lakota women in the same manner. Remember, it’s the wasicu thought process that places men above women. If you are a Lakota man, you must treat women with respect. This means you do things as equal partners in a relationship. Lakota women have never given up their roles. We are not subservient like many of the wasicu women are.

You all know that the majority of Lakota women are the ones supporting most of the Lakota Oyate. I don’t write this to make anyone feel bad, I write it because it’s the truth. Lakota women must be treated as the sacred beings they are. We are the doorway for the coming generations.

If you believe Lakota women were put on earth to be your servants or your punching bags, you might need to find a treatment program to cleanse your thought process. Or maybe some good hot sweats will help your mind. Just because the wasicu act a certain way doesn’t mean you can act the same way.

Many Lakota women have a very hard time in this life. They work full-time jobs, often at minimum wage to feed a houseful of people. Many raise a family all alone. A lot of them put up with relatives who are alcoholics or drug addicts. The women who are raising rebellious teenagers all alone are often stressed out or worried sick about them.

This new administration is going to be a test for all Indigenous people. Please don’t make it any harder by treating us the same way those wasicu treat their women. Respect yourself by respecting us.

As a Lakota woman, I know my place and it is to speak up for my Sisters, along with all the other Lakota people who have no voice. Wopila for your readership, it is greatly appreciated.

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Published by Vi Waln


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