But sometimes in life there are those days when you think...hell yeah, I am a Lakota.
Certain events, people, and places make you feel this way.
Let me give you some examples.
Last week a group of people came into the store. They were from another tribe, in another state, and they went crazy. You know why?
Because they seen the artwork we sell. The Lakota artwork is like no other. You should have seen how this group went crazy. They had me running around the store like crazy, they didn't even look at price tags. They just knew the work was beautiful, well made, and gorgeous. I look for that when I purchase arts and crafts. I know people need the money and that is the main reason, but when you see the heart they put into their work, you can feel that pride.
That day, like everyday we sell artwork, I was proud of my people and proud to be Lakota.
Last Saturday my friend Ron and I went to Rapid to watch Ringwars 24. There was quite a few Lakotas fighting in it and themain event featured a young guy from the reservation. Everyone already knows who Dave "Bulldawg" Michaud is. I watched him win State in wrestling last year on KOLC.
I knew I was in for a night of fun, but I had no idea how much.
We started out watching the fights. The Civic Center was clearly divided,most white cheering for the white fighter and most Inidans cheering for their people. In this day and age, I was thinking "For real? It's still like this?" Then I remembered, "Oh yeah, this IS Rapid City." I semi grew up in Rapid, and tried to live there as an adult, but I refuse to stay in a city where you are detested for being who you are. I knew that back when I was in first grade, and the only Indian in my class at Robbinsdale Elementary and this kid named Greg used to call me a "dirty Indian" even though he was the one that smelled. I knew that when I struggled there working hard, and was passed for a promotion by my boss for a blond haired, blue eyed girl from Idaho whose only job experience was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken. She use to come ask em, what she was doing. I worked two jobs in Rapid, supporting my kids, and we was always behind. I felt hopeless and believed one of my bosses at the time, when she dubbed it "Rip-off City."
"You can never get ahead here," she told me. "You will always struggle. And to make it worse, you're Lakota, for some reason this city don't like your people, no matter what you do for them."
I left back in 2000. I appreciated the column Dave Rooks wrote about how anything pertaining to Lakota people published on the Jopurnal's website gets maimed and torn to shreds. It's the truth, as much as we try to fit in, as much as we live and work amongst people in Rapid, they will never accept us. There is always a divide there.
So last Saturday when Dave "Bulldawg" Michaud took that belt from the champ, and he walked around the ring with that Oglala Sioux Tribal flag, I swelled with pride. This young boy is representing our people, and he is so proud.
Hell yeah, it was a good day to be a Lakota.
Pilamayan Bulldawg, you represent your people with your heart. Pilamayan to the artists that represent us in their work with their heart.
You make us proud.
To be Lakota.