We are all familiar with the saying “Women are Sacred.” The women of our tribe are the backbone of our society. Lakota women have always cared for our family and home. Our tribe wouldn’t exist if not for our women.
In modern Lakota society, some women work full-time jobs to be self-sufficient. Many are the sole financial providers of their household. As mothers and grandmothers, we work to feed our children and maintain a home for our family. Again, our tribe would not exist today if not for the women.
In our quest to provide a home with food and basic necessities for our family, many Lakota women also choose to pursue a college education. Lots of working women have registered for a full-time schedule of classes these last couple of weeks. These same women stay up late to study and earn a 4.0 GPA. They also don’t miss a day of work at their job.
Tribal officials continue to advise our young people to go to college because the tribe wants to hire educated people to make life better on our homelands. This isn’t true.
For example, a recent situation where an educated tribal citizen challenged a non-tribal citizen for a job would have been a done deal if the tribes’ personnel manual was followed. Instead, there are still tribal council representatives trying to manipulate the hiring process to the non-tribal citizen’s advantage.
Consequently, I’m not sure why tribal council representatives encourage our young high school graduates to go to college. It’s a fallacy to believe a college degree will help a qualified tribal citizen be hired for a job. And when you are a woman, there is no end to the abuse and discrimination we must suffer when we want to work for our tribe.
We’ve been told by elders the Lakota are a matriarchial society. When tribal citizens question whether or not we are a matriarchial society, they must remember Pte San Win (White Buffalo Calf Woman) who brought the Lakota people the Cannunpa. She provided the foundation of our spiritual way of life.
In today’s society, our women suffer much abuse. The concept of women as sacred is cast aside by colonized men and women. Physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual abuse are inflicted on the majority of our women and girls. The abuse we suffer is inflicted by both men and women.
Our women also suffer abuse in the tribal work place. The folks in charge of some tribal programs work to intimidate female employees to get their way. In addition, elected representatives will work to manipulate their colleagues for situations to be voted their way. The rights of women are violated when intimidation and manipulation are involved.
The tendency for our elected men and women to push educated Lakota women aside when it comes to tribal employment is alarming. It’s outright discrimination when qualified women are subjected to hiring processes not required of male applicants for tribal jobs.
In addition, tribal voters who watch the live broadcasts of the council meetings have witnessed the reps in attendance treating female council reps badly. Some of us believe reps are using their positions to campaign during public meetings.
As Lakota women, we must stand up for our rights as tribal citizens. We must also support our women representatives. We can’t allow the double standard we’ve seen in tribal government to continue. Our people need to remember our Lakota women are the backbone of society.
Thursday, August 27, 2020 is General Election Day. Voters must ask what the incumbents have done to improve the community during these past three years. Think of what has improved in your community and please vote accordingly.