Sunday, May 11, 2008

Listen To Me

*Chief Sitting Bull. Tabloka Iyotakan (beaded)

I read the news last week online.

I usually avoid Rapid City Journal online, because I get too fired up when I see anonymous commenters say anything online that pertains to Indians. But a friend called and told me to look it up. Like I said before, I am not the brightest bead on a pair of moccasins and I won't pretend I know more than the average ina just because I write for this paper. I could easily sit here with a thesaurus and change my writing to words I don't even understand, but then who would understand it? No one would read it and my point would be lost. My strong point when I write is not how political I can get, or how well I write technically, or sometimes, even if I have a point. My strong point is how real I am. I write to you all like this is my personal journal, but I write for you.

So, instead of writing to you and explaining what the deal is with the Black Hills,because the average hoksila probably knows more facts and numbers than me...I am breaking it down this way, just sit back, read, and listen.

I know who we are, as Lakotas. I know what we stand for and fought for. These are my people and I am proud to say that because if given a choice and if reincarnation is true, I will only be Lakota.

I always remember that old song about Craxy Horse that says "when you see the Black Hills, remember me." And I admit everytime I pass Red Shirt table and get closer to Rapid, as soon as the Black Hills appear on the horizon, I think of Crazy Horse and what he lived and died for. That is our people, our ancestors, and he gave us this pride inside us that shows on the outside.

So once again, without explaining the gaboobabillions amount of money owed to us and without naming the names I saw in the paper of people saying they need that money because they are raising children, I will break it down this way.

I wasn't there when Custer was defeated in Little Big Hornor when our people were massacred in revenge at Wounded Knee. I wasn't there in the 73 stand-off. But I am here now. I am alive now and we still, to this day have not accepted payment for the Sacred Paha Sapa. I want my kids to know this and to realize why. It was our ancestors that fought and died for those Black Hills. It was our people that won't sign the hills away for help in raising our kids. It is our people that suffer in poverty on this reservation because we are that defiant.

We could easily tap into that money, but for what a moments of greed? A new car? No. We are Lakota and we don't sell ouit. So to the lawyers who are trying to be bottom feeders off the tribes that weren't even there in any of the battles and struggles for the Black Hills, behave. The Paha Sapa will always belong to Lakotas and will always be stolen.

I drove through the Black Hills last weekend. I thought long and hard about everything I read in the past two weeks. As my friend and I drove through Custer State Park and I saw the buffalo, the prairie dogs, the eagles, the deer, the antelope, the rabbits, the magpies, the turkeys, and the squirrels all be able to live together. I thought of how amazinbg that in a protected state park, that would be amazing to some tourists, when long ago, that was just life. As Lakotas we honored that life, we honored the Black Hills, and we honored our ancestors.

Today I write this in honor of the life of the people, plants, and animals, in honor of the sacred Paha Sapa, and in honor of our ancestors. The Black Hills are not for sale, it would be nice if other Sioux tribes would recognize that.

And to the anonymous commenters of the Rapid City Journal online, maybe you do live there amongst the beauty and tourist traps, and maybe you pay taxes and maybe you have to comment anonymously because you feel like you paid for that land and it is yours. And also because you know Custer wore arrows shirts, you won't print your name,but you are living on stolen land, the governmant recognizes that, but it was never for sale.

There was a song by Pink Floyd playing on my way through the Black Hills as I was in awe at the beauty of the stolen land, it is called "Wish You Were Here." It reminded me of my ancestors and how I wished they were here, to see what some of the other Sioux tribes are trying to do. I will leave you with the lyrics, just remember, it was our ancestors that lived and died for those Hills. when you see them, remember Crazy Horse, and remember your people. The Black Hills are not for sale.

"Wish You Were Here"

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

“He Sapa Kin waken yelo, oheniya kik suyapo.” Translation: “Always remember the Black Hills are sacred.” -RST Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux

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