Saturday, February 28, 2009

Now....I love penguins

See that pic of my daughter with my siblings. See my evil little sister in the middle. That penguin hater! Who likes taking pics with her broom because she's a little witch...anyway.

I can say that because I am older, smarter and more brilliant..and quite simply a bad ass...well anyway she hates penguins. I don't know why! I am obsessed with why anyone would hate any of God's little precious creatures but to hate penguins is just pure evil. They have hard lives, I watched MArch of the Penguins, Happy Feet...why oh why hate them???

So I been on messenger with her and sending her penguin factoids. I never been one of those chicks that was all weird and obsessed with dolphins or turtles or something but just because of her I THINK I NOW LOVE PENGUINS.

Did you know penguins don't jump...they bounce?

Amazing...I want a penguin.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I used to eat dirt

I did.

My brother who stole toys from the neighborhood and crapped his pants in front of half the neighborhood was considered normal. I ate dirt, when I wasn't eating sunflower seeds and had my nose constantly stuck in a book. When I wasn't writing wild stories about things that didn't really exist. When I wasn't running from monsters that didn't really chase me. When I wasn't talking to the rabbits in their house. When I wasn't walking way out in the country and pretending to get lost. When I wasn't looking for treasure that I was sure Jesse James buried back in they day. When I wasn't pretending to be Laura Ingalls not of the TV series but of the books.

I used to eat dirt....and brown crayons.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What a cryin, low down, dirty shame

Isn’t it a Shame?

Imagine this, you are not from here but are gambling at the local casino. You hit a jackpot and take your honey to eat at the buffet. After stuffing your body and purse with food you make your way to the gift shop to buy your honey some of the beautiful local handmade artwork of the local tribe. When you get there you find that hardly ANY of the artwork in the gift shop is locally made. In fact most of it is from another tribe in the Southwest.
What a shame!
Did our tribe or our people that are employed at the local casino really make a trip to the southwest and buy all of their jewelry?
When I worked at The Heritage Center at Red Cloud School, many people came from many different tribes, from around the country, and the world even, to buy the local arts and crafts. As Lakota, we have a reputation for our art on every level, both traditional and contemporary. So it disappoints me to see the casino gift shop highlight the artwork of another tribe, that isn’t even local. It’s as if there are no artists among us when we all know there are.
How can we deny local artists and craftspeople of that sale? We have a plethora of local artists in many, many different mediums that there is no reason that any gift shop two days from this reservation should highlight the artwork of a tribe that is states away. There is no reason for a local gift shop to highlight the Southwest jewelry of a market that is already flooded.
I mean if we really think about it, and think of the many wonderful local artists who paint, carve, bead, quill, quilt, etc, why do we need to carry silverwork of another tribe? Why do most of the gift shops in the Black Hills carry southwest work? If we go to the Southwest, are we going to see our Lakota artwork featured?
The economy in this day and age is tough enough, but on this reservation it is always tough. I don’t need to go over statistics again for this reservation, don’t need to tell anyone how hard life is here. All you have to do to see how hard life is here for some people is step out your front door. Everyday is a struggle and a scheme for many.
So why is the featured art at our local casino from the Southwest? That is a slap in the face to all the local talent and creativity. All the money spent on that inventory could have been spent here on this reservation. Everyday someone here sits at their kitchen table beading, quilling, painting, carving, putting diamonds together for a starquilt, putting the ear hooks on a pair of earrings in the hopes that they can go out and sell whatever they made to buy diapers, a meal, put gas in their car, or propane in their tank for heat.
To all the local artists, I thank you for your creativity and heart you put into your work. Keep it up and speak out for what you believe in.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Day of The Wino

There is this wine, I think it is called muscatel. And I heard it is a dessert wine from Spain. For years, maybe even decades, it was considered the worst thin g that could ever happen to this reservation. Winos were laughed at and looked down upon for drinking the muscatel. It was considered illegal, well it still is.

Any alcohol is illegal here. But back in the day, when my gramps was alive, he drank wine sometimes. Mostly he drank beer. But he would sit down on "bullshit corner" with the other vets and old guys and have a nip of thier vino while talking about life in general, rez gossip and grandkids. They were harmless people, gentle strangers to all and old buddies to each other that met up in the middle of town to sit and talk about life. Maybe thier lives on a reservation were so hard or as a veteran it was so stressful they had to nip. Or maybe they nipped because they wanted to.

But back then they (the winos) were accepted in this society. They didn't harm anyone, had great stories, and stayed out of the way of everyone.

Nowadays the cops took that part of our society away. They are full force in getting alcohol off the streets of the rez, that they actually helped the drug dealers profit. Cocaine is a major problem here, along with meth and taluu, which is paint thinner.

It is easier on this reservation to be a coke dealer than to be a wino. Which is why we are a mess here today in .

Here on this reservation, it is easier for cops to bust the person who will drink a beer rather than take on a coke dealer, who may or may not be a cop or related to a cop or related to someone on tribal council. The old vets and old guys can't sit in peace on the corner anymore and bullshit. They have to resort to drinking awful awful shit they never would have before.

As Lakota, we were proud warriors, are still a proud people, as a functioning society... we are fucked.
(Don't expect this in the paper, they don't print me anymore. *fuckers*)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Only On The Rez

-Snow is a good thing because it covers the trash.
-Spring means forgotten trash and mud.
-Christmas is really tax season and Santa works for H&R Block.
-Jealousy and love is measured in broken windows and windshields.
-It don't count if your 3rd cousins or more.
-Panty Tree is full after the prom.
-The shoulder of the road on the way to the dump is called the "trash lane" so those hauling trash can drive slowly there.
-Stray dogs are legendary and have names, just no homes.
-Everyone that makes popovers sit in the same place and sell the same thing, thus I dubbed it Popover Wars.
-Someone will steal the cheese out of your fridge but leave your TV alone.
-Someone will steal your air conditioner out of your window while it is running and you are sitting by it.
-You can get "death by cream corn" when someone throws commod cans at you.

You all heard the term before, "Only on the Rez..." Almost everyday, so please if you live here or ever lived here or on any rez...please add to this phrase in the comments.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Without Grams

Without Grams
By: Dana Lone Hill

It has been awhile since I lost my Grams, and I am not used to it. I have a hard time adjusting, I cry, fight these feelings and try hard to forget my pain of life without her. I even talk to people, friends, relatives and ask them “How?”
How do I get over losing my grams? She’s gone…and how do I deal with it? You know what people tell me? They say it takes time; you will be alright, ok Dana. And then they tell me how it was to lose their Grandma and how they dealt with it. Then they cry after awhile and they can’t handle the pain of losing their grams, the woman that set the path in thier lives, the woman who taught them, like my gram taught me- to be strong and not take crap from anyone. And now all of a sudden, I have to go through the rest of my life without her. How do I do that? I realized after seeing, hearing, and lending my shoulder to more than a few, that no matter what my Grams wasn’t coming back here on Earth to be here for me. I realized how selfish I was to think she would stay here on Earth for me and only me forever.
No longer could I just pick up the phone and ask about important things or talk about things that mattered to me, in life, like I tried to do so many times in the last few months.
Yes, Grams I did vote for Barack.
How do you make creamed peas?
Is there school tomorrow?
Do you know how the weather will be?
Grandma, you know the Vikings rule.
Can you please tell me the secret to your potato salad?
I know you love the Cubs, but you know the Yankees rule,
How come you never told me Elvis was so cool?

I started thinking about all the seemingly stupid questions and statements I bothered her with and started thinking about how she put up with me. I love my grandmother truly and deeply but what can I do? I can’t wave a magic wand and bring her back. Then the other day during the Superbowl, I realized she didn’t leave me.
It was in the middle of frying chicken that I thought of how I called her one other time during the Super bowl from Minnesota and pleaded for her to teach me to make fried chicken.
I must have taught you well, she said, because I am making fried chicken too. We stayed on the phone for the next two hours burning up my phone bill and she taught me to fry chicken, her way. She also taught me potato salad that day, and although it is good, it is not the secret recipe that I think she took to heaven with her. I started thinking of all the other things she taught me in life, like my deep appreciation for sports, my soft spot for cats and dogs, my awesome sense of humor and my ability to write. I didn’t know she wrote until I saw an article she wrote for The Lakota Times way back when her mother and my great grandmother passed away, in her honor.
Her honoring her mother through writing for her inner strength made me realize that those we were raised by and grew up with don’t really leave us. They stay with us by all the inner strength they passed on, skills they passed on, and things they taught us about life…like a simple bowl of potato salad.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Legend of the $2 Shit

When my mom lived in South St. Paul MN, (or was it West, I get them confused) she lived about a block from Walgreens. One thing I never knew from growing up on the reservation is that a city can just turn your water off...for not paying your bill. I knew like lights and stuff can go off but WATER???? I guess for civilized folks thats easy to see, but water? lol. Now I know how my ancestors felt back in the day when they thought "How the hell do you sell land?"

So by the time my mom lived in South St Paul (or West), I was used to the concept of getting water turned off, being I was 32 I had to hustle around a time or two to pay the bill just to have the luxury of flushing the toilet, which brings me to my story of my brother Jesse.

When my mom's water got shut off, instead of waiting for her to pay the bill later in the day, he trucks it to Walgreens' buys two gallons of drinking water just so he can walk back to her house and take a shit to flush the toilet, thus became the Legend of the $2 Shit.

What I never understood was why didn't he just use the public restroom at Walgreen's, then again when men shit they like to take over 20 minutes and marinate in their own stink.

(pictured above is the reciept from the $2 shit that my mom saved, god I love my family!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Just an update

Finally bought a new computer and it is sweet.
I am apprenticing as a quiller....sweeter.
I will post a pic of all the quill colors I dyed in the last two days.

I have learning everything from plucking a porc to picking quills that are the right size....all that is left is the wrapping and damn if it isn't hard.

I believe I learned the right way though, from the beginning. The process is long and hard and time consuming.
In these steps.
Getting a dead porcupine, usually roadkill but I just purchased 5 pounds from Montana and there was hardly any hair at all in them.
Washing the quills with Dawn dishsoap to get the dirt and grease off.
Rinsing them then soaking them in fabric softener so they don't get staticky.
Next you lay them out and let them dry, always turning so they air dry.
After you boil your dye and dye the quills which is a time consuming process in itself because they quills have to constantly be watched and turned, in order for the right color.
After rinsing the color off they need to be dried again....then they are ready to be picked looking for the right size.
When that is done you must select a pattern and trace onto rawhide. The pattern is then cut very carefully with an Xacto blade.
You choose the colors for the pattern and proceed to wrap the item you just cut out. After the item is wrapped you then prepare it for sale, such as putting on earwire or jump rings ot necklace clasps or a leather tie.
Hu, and some people thought it was just a pair of earrings.
This is tradition that carried on into the contemporary age.
Pictured above is an earring and necklace set by Anita Big Crow Begay.

Here are the quills before I dyed all of them.
Picture 005

After I dyed them
Picture 034

Picture 035

Colors you never seen in quill work

Saturday, February 7, 2009


The man with the shiny pipe puffing out cherry tobacco smoke looked at the modern day warrior and said:

What is the belief of your people on heaven and hell?

The modern day warrior stood by the pool table in the polished area of this man's house that he just met at the bar. He wore a leather jacket, was smoking a cigarette, and held the bottle of rum the man gave him to swig on. He took a long drag of his smoke, a gulp of the rum and answered:

There is no heaven or hell. Our lives here on Earth are as bad as it gets. This is our hell, heaven is next.

The man with a collection of fossils encased in locked cases worth more than the young warrior's income, snorted:

Ha, no wonder your peoplewere bad ass warriors. I would ride into battle too if life here was hell!

He laughed as the modern warriors realized all of his ways of beliefs from generations back suddenly came to a halt, by this man, he met in a bar.

The man sharpens his pool cue and swigs the rest of his brandy:

But what if, what if hell is really night after night of twisted dreams and heaven is when we awake...and then, there is nothing else?