Before I start writing about what I want to, I want to recognize that it was my kids' grandma's birthday on Monday, July 14th. She was a wonderful woman, who I now know is the reason why I ended up living in Rushville, NE for almost two years. So my kids could get to know their grandma who was fiercely proud of her grandkids.
I always say I am not the brightest bead on a pair of moccasins. I never pretend to be. I am as fiercely proud of the fact that I am from the Pine Ridge Reservation as my kids' grandma was of her grandkids.
I was confused a while back when people were ready to "jump ship." People were talking, ready to give up the fact that they were born and raised here. People were quitting their jobs, saying they were gonna be enrolled in the Shakopee tribe. People had their money spent, showing me pictures of cars that they were gonna spend their money on. This is our people, they said. I was like, well if thats what you believe, then cool. My people are from here, like me.
I know that me, myself, and I, for one would not want to be anything but the Lakota I am. Money may sound good to some, may make them want to sell their pride, but money also makes you miserable. I know this is easy for me to say, because I am from one of the poorest counties in the country and our statistics are so bad, they compare to Haiti, a third world country. BUT, I am LAKOTA. This is my reservation and leaving it made me realize, I never want to be anything other than Lakota. In any lifetime.
Why try to be something you never grew up with? Something you never knew anything about? After the money is gone, IF it ever comes through, you will be left with peoplethat you don't know and they don't know you. Back on your reservation there will always be the people that were always a part of you, and people you pulled away from. People that will probably never be wealthy in materialistic things, but people that have heart, have pride, and have spirit.
My kids' grandma lived a hard life but had a beautiful spirit and her pride of being Lakota would shine like the sun on the reservation. I will never forget her and all she taught me about being Lakota. I never knew how much she taught me until she was gone.
I went for a couple of cruises throughout the rez this past weekend with some friends. I gave a friend a ride to his sons birthday party at the Knee. The sun was setting and washed the rez in an orange glow. It was an awesome and breathtaking sight to see a very sacred and historical spot washed in that summer glow. I rode with another friend, Bobby Sox, to Slim Buttes and back. The same deal, the sun was setting and it was beautiful. I thought of how in the past, how many people, Lakota people must have walked the same land. The same, sun was setting and this was their land. They walked it with pride knowing that nobody could take who they were away from them, no matter what.
No amount of money will take me from this reservation and make me want to be a part of another way of life that I am not. No amount of money will take my fierce Lakota pride from me. I am Lakota and this is my reservation. There is no place like home.
Rest in peace, Grandma KK.
*pic by my sis of my other sis*