Saturday, August 17, 2013

In Ancient times,

In Ancient times, older women were the keepers of primal Mysteries and were revered for their special wisdom.

It's Time to give our Elders back the credits and respect they deserve  

Clad in purple, surrounded by memorabilia, Linda Sanda stood in her Urbandale, Iowa, dining room and talked about turning 50. About 40 close friends, co-workers and family members came to mark the occasion. But there were no mocking black balloons or teasing "You're Over the Hill'' banners.

This was a Croning Ceremony, designed to invoke Spiritual reflection, dignity and wisdom. An Ancient Rite de Passage to Honor older women, Croning Ceremonies had become nearly extinct. But they are making a comeback. And they're going mainstream.

With the oldest baby boomers turning 50 this year, many women are evaluating what it means to stand on the threshold of old age. For some women, Croning Ceremonies serve as an ideal way to make a statement about that passage. "I see so many people fighting the aging process,'' says Sandra Bury, another Des Moines-area woman who went through the Ritual. "I wanted to celebrate that to become old is a gift. I didn't want to be afraid of it.''

The rising interest in Croning Ceremonies also reflects a larger movement to reassert the value of older women, according to the book:
Woman of Ages, Celebrating Ourselves.

In Ancient Times, she says, old women were known as Crones. They held Power and enjoyed status as "the Healers, the Mediators, the Wise of the Communities.'' Gradually, that Power and recognition were lost. In modern times, the old woman has become nearly invisible, pushed aside and forgotten.
"We don't listen to her. We shut her up,'' Only a few groups - blacks, Native Americans, Asians - Honor old women.

To recapture the value of becoming a Crone, the Feminist Spiritual Community of Portland, Maine, began holding Crone Rituals in the early 1980s. "Since the patriarchy isn't going to value old women, we celebrate ourselves. It's becoming quite widespread,'' says Ward, now 67 and a member of the Portland group. She had her Croning Ceremony in 1990. More recently, the Crones Council was formed, drawing women from all over the USA. Last year, about 300 women attended Crones Council III in Scottsdale, Ariz., says Ann Kreilkamp, 53, a member of the council and editor of The Crone Chronicles - A Journal of Conscious Aging. As a result, crone groups are forming all over the country. Circulation of Kreilkamp's journal also testifies to the growing interest. Started six years ago with 100 copies sent to friends, The Crone Chronicles now has 10,000 subscribers. The quarterly journal, published in Kelly, Wyo., dedicates itself to "re-activating the archetype of the Crone within contemporary Western culture.'' The magazine typically prints one Crone Ritual every issue, she adds. But nothing about the Ceremony is prescribed. Many women write their own, though books of Crone Rituals are now available. And there is no preferred setting. The Rituals can be done at home, in a church or outdoors. They can last 10 minutes or go on for days and include lavish feasting. Women often wear purple, the color associated with old age and wisdom.

There is also no set time to hold a Crone Ceremony. Some women wait until after menopause or when they turn 56 - a significant point in the astrological world. In all cases, the Rite de Passage carries individual meaning. For Linda Sanda, the ceremony acknowledged the troubled waters she had crossed in her life. For Sandra Bury, 61, who had hercroning at 56, it was a celebration of old age. For Maureen Barton-Wicks, 53, of Des Moines, it was a way to publicly commit her life to God and acknowledge her Wisdom.

"I wanted to say to the world, `I'm proud of who I am, and I claim the Crone in me,' '' Barton-Wicks says.

For these three women, preparation was intense. Each spent months reading, writing and reviewing events in her life. Bury, a Des Moines school counselor, says the power of the Croning Ceremony was more in writing it than going through it. For Barton-Wicks, reliving various events "was horrendous,'' she recalls. What's more, it was hard work. She revised her Ceremony seven times before she was satisfied. Barton-Wicks had her Coning during the regular Sunday service at her church. No meal or celebration followed. "To me, it's a Sacred Ceremony. It's not a birthday party. That was enough for me,'' she says. Bury's ceremony, held at the church with a few relatives and friends, took about 15 minutes and didn't cost anything. A former harp teacher, Bury wrote a chant that everyone sang. She brought objects from home that had been important in her life.

Sanda, who directs community education programs for the West Des Moines public schools, wanted a celebration in addition to a Ceremony. She sent invitations and had a buffet supper in her home. She had been a nun for 13 years, and she says she struggled for years with feelings of inadequacy, uncertainty about her relationship with God and the desire to marry and have children. Now she's married to a former priest and the mother of two. She says the Croning Ceremony felt like a coming out after years of trauma.

What does a woman gain from a Croning Ceremony?

Five years after Bury had hers, she feels vigorous and joyful about her age. "Right now, I'm thinking about what my next careers will be. I hear people talk about feeling burned out. But I'm just getting started,'' she says. Two years after Barton-Wicks' ceremony, she is studying to be a minister. "I'm allowing myself to be led by spirit, rather than ego. And today, I appreciate my fears. They're only trying to protect me,'' she says. As a bonus, she says, "I no longer feel life is too short or I am too old.''

Since Sanda's Ceremony a year ago, life has been richer and more joyful. "I've had some real healing experiences. I still get mad at things. I have a teen-age son who's challenging. But I know he can teach me.'' And what's even more important, she says: "Instead of feeling as though I'm fighting life, I feel as though I'm one with life.''


A life-long resident of Sasakwa, Seminole County, Oklahoma, Tony Palmer was a highly decorated veteran of World War II and one of the few renowned Native American “Code Talkers”. He joined the army in late 1942 with two other Seminoles - William Melton of Wewoka and Richmond Harjo of Konawa. During the Southern Philippines Campaign of 1944, they used their native Maskoki tongue to outwit Japanese forces. He once stated that he wondered what the Japanese thought when they heard him speaking his Seminole dialect relaying the message, “It is good to climb and see.”
Mr. Palmer was awarded many medals for valor and good conduct, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal and the Philippine Liberation Medal. Palmer was a proud member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, serving as a representative for the Fushacchee (FUS HVCCE/Bird Creek) Band. He was a respected elder of Spring Baptist Church and accomplished musician on the guitar, piano, drums and violin. He retired as a skilled carpenter, plumber and electrician. Tony Palmer passed away in 2008 at the age of ninety after a lifetime of service to his people and his country.

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 17

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 17
"If a child hasn't been given spiritual values within the family setting, they have no familiarity with the values that are necessary for the just and peaceful functioning in society."
--Eunice Baumann-Nelson, Ph.D, PENOBSCOT
When we are born, we start with a beautiful empty mind ready to be given our beliefs, attitudes, habits and expectations. Most of our true learning comes from watching the actions of others. As we watch our family or relatives, whatever their actions and values are, so will be the children's values and acts. If we see our families living a just and peaceful way of life, so then will the children. If we see our family shouting, arguing, and hateful, so will it be for the children. The cycle of life - baby, youth, adult and Elder is all connected. If the older ones have good values, it will be connected to the children.
Oh my Creator, if there are values I have missed, it is not too late. I can get them from You. Teach me today Your spiritual values. Respect, trust, giving, honesty, wisdom - teach me these.

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

On This Day: In 1862 the Dakota Wars began. On August 17 one young Dakota with a hunting party of three others killed five settlers while on a hunting expedition. That night a council of Dakota decided to organize a coordinated attack on settlements throughout the Minnesota River valley to try to drive whites out of their traditional lands and to get the government to enforce the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux and the Treaty of Mendota. Over the next several months, continued battles between the Dakota against settlers and later, the United States Army, ended with the surrender of most of the Dakota bands. By late December 1862, soldiers had taken captive more than a thousand Dakota, who were interned in jails in Minnesota. After trials and sentencing, 38 Dakota were hanged on December 26, 1862, in the largest one-day execution in American history. In April 1863 the rest of the Dakota were expelled from Minnesota to Nebraska and South Dakota. The United States Congress abolished their reservations.

Hemp, the Perfect Protein

A Picture is worth A Thousand Words..........

Friday, August 16, 2013

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 16

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 16
"The best teachers have shown me that things have to be done bit by bit. Nothing that means anything happens quickly - we only think it does."
--Joseph Bruchac, ABENAKI
There are no short cuts. Every tree must grow according to the growth plan of the Creator. Every flower must grow according to the plan of God. The moon must make its trip around the earth according to God's plan. Every human being must grow according to the plan of the Creator. Sometimes we look at ourselves and we think we are not growing but we are always growing. Because we cannot see it with our mind does not mean it is not happening. We must be patient with ourselves and let the Creator direct our growth.
My Creator, let me be patient. Let me realize that You are in charge of all things. Let me realize that I must grow my roots a little at a time to become strong.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Native American Warriors

Walking the Red Road


"Grandfather, the flowering stick you gave me and the nations sacred hoop that I have given to the people. Hear me, you who have the power to make grow! Give the people that they may be as blossoms on your holy tree, and make it flourish deep in Mother Earth and make it full of leaves and singing birds." 
- Black Elk

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 15

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 15
"There are many people who could claim and learn from their Indian ancestry, but because of the fear their parents and grandparents knew, because of past and present prejudice against Indian people, that part of their heritage is clouded or denied."
--Joseph Bruchac, ABENAKI
There were many injustices done to Native people. Sometimes I wonder; why am I connected to the past injustices done to Indian people? Why am I so angry about the past? The Elders say our ancestors are alive within each of us. Therefore, I may experience anger and resentment inside of me because of the injustice done to them. The way I get rid of these past feelings is to forgive. It may be necessary to even learn to forgive the unforgivable.
Great Spirit, teach me the path of forgiveness; teach me the courage to forgive; teach me to let go. Give to me a forgiving heart.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 14

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 14
"It's time Indians tell the world what we know... about nature and about God. So I'm going to tell you what I know and who I am. You guys better listen. You have a lot to learn.
--Mathew King, LAKOTA
A long time ago the Creator came to Turtle Island and said to the Red People - "You will be the keepers of the Mother Earth. Among you I will give the wisdom about nature, about the interconnectedness of all things, about balance and about living in harmony. You Red People will see the secrets of nature. You will live in hardship and the blessing of this is you will stay close to the Creator. The day will come when you will need to share the secrets with the other people of the earth because they will stray from their spiritual ways. The time to start sharing is today."
Oh Great Spirit, today I am ready for You to use me as a channel of Your peace. Let my walk today be visible so the people will say "There goes a Man of God." I want to know what He knows. If they ask, I will tell them to go out into the wilderness and pray for You to guide them.

Navajo Code Talkers

Navajo Code Talkers Day will be celebrated Aug. 14 at the Veterans’ Memorial Park in Window Rock.
Members of the Young Marine of the Marine Corps League will set up flags for the Parade of Colors, which will start at 9 a.m. at the Navajo Nation Museum.
For the parade, families and friends are invited to create a float in honor of their Navajo Code Talker. Young Marines will march alongside each float.
The parade will end at the Veterans' Memorial Park, where invocation and posting the colors will be at 10 a.m.
The event will continue with presentations and speeches from code talker historian Zonnie Gorman, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, New Mexico Cabinet Secretary Timothy Hale, Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize, Council Delegate Jonathan Nez, and Code Talkers Peter McDonald Sr. and Bill Toledo.
Lunch will be at noon along with entertainment from Lil Miss Navajo Central Rachelle James and Sister Nations Honor Guard.
Throughout the day the Young Marines will monitor the park, take care of the code talkers then help clean up after the event is over.
President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Navajo Code Talkers Day on Aug. 14, 1982.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 13

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 13
"A bit of sunshine, a drop of rain, a puff of life from the Great Spirit as He gently breathed upon that spot, created the Native Americans. They were well formed and agile, copper colored and proud.
--Harriet Starleaf Gumbs, SHINNECOCK
We are made in the image of the Great Spirit. A long time ago He breathed life into our ancestors. He made the Indian strong. He created a Warrior. Our ancestors created more warriors. We have been tested throughout the seasons and we are still here, stronger than ever. It is good to be Indian. We are proud of ourselves and our ancestors. Mostly we are proud the Great Spirit has never forsaken us, and continues to guide us.
My Creator, let me live my life today in a way that would make my ancestors proud. Let me remember each month that I am here to serve You. Today let me conduct my life in a way that also would make You proud.

Quote of the Day - I still have a full deck ~ I just shuffle slower now...

I still have a Full Deck  ***** I just shuffle slow now......

Training tpis

Training Tip: Safely Introduce Your Horse To Trail Riding: Common Mistakes To Avoid

By Clinton Anderson13. August 2013 00:06

If you want your horse to be an all-around broke mount, it's important to ride him outside the confines of an arena. Riding outside the arena will expose your horse to a brand new environment filled with strange objects, and most importantly, allow you to put some steady miles under his feet. Here are two common mistakes to avoid.

#1 Putting the horse on autopilot.
The biggest mistake people make when first taking a horse outside is not paying attention. They put the horse on a big, loose rein and then forget all about him. Then when he spooks, they get dumped on their head because they weren't prepared to stop him. Stay aware while you're up in the saddle and keep your eyes open for objects your horse might potentially spook at. If he does do something silly, you'll be ready to do a One Rein Stop and remain in control of the situation. If you go down the trail letting your horse do whatever he wants, he'll be looking for objects to spook at. Give him a job to do and put his feet to work so that he has to pay attention to you. Horses can only think about one thing at a time. The horse will either be paying attention to you or trying to find something to spook at.

#2 Babysitting the horse.
Other people try to babysit their horse the entire ride by constantly hanging onto the horse's mouth with two reins and not getting out of the walk. They try to protect the horse from scary objects, but their plan always backfires on them. The more you pull back on two reins and say, "Don't worry, Precious," the more worried your horse is going to get because he feels trapped and claustrophobic. Put him on a loose rein and get his feet moving. Give him a job to do.

Training Tip of the Week: Trail riding tip: Stop your horse from following too closely behind other horses.

By Clinton Anderson25. September 2012 00:05

Because horses are prey animals, it’s natural for them to want to stay close together when on the trail. Horses believe in the concept of safety in numbers and your horse feels that the closer he is to the horse in front of him, the safer he is. With that being said, a horse that follows too closely behind another horse is putting himself and his rider in a dangerous situation. The horse in front is likely to get cranky and kick out, which means you or your horse could get struck with a well-placed hind hoof.

Rather than thinking of how you can get your horse to stay back off the horse in front of him, think of how you can make it uncomfortable for him to get too close to the other horse. You’ll accomplish that by letting him commit to the mistake (in this case following too closely behind) and then putting his feet to work by doing a series of serpentines and circles until he’s paying attention to you. Then you’ll put him on a loose rein and go back to following the horse from a safe distance. Horses are basically lazy creatures; they’d always rather choose the option with the least amount of work involved. After a few repetitions of having to move his feet and sweat, your horse is going to want no part of getting too close to the other horse because he knows if he does, he’ll just have to work hard.

Training Tip of the Week: Stopping a horse from kicking in the trailer.

By Clinton Anderson28. August 2012 00:05

Remember that horses are prey animals and when made to go in tight, narrow spaces - like a trailer - it's natural for them to feel trapped and claustrophobic. When a horse feels trapped and claustrophobic, and his ability to run and move his feet is taken away from him, his only other option he feels he has is to fight - kick, bite, strike or do whatever he can to survive the situation. Because the horse goes on the trailer relatively easy, most owners who have a horse that kicks in the trailer think, "It can't be a trailer loading problem, he goes on. It has to be a kicking issue." Just because your horse goes on the trailer, doesn't mean he's comfortable there. You have to teach him to crave the trailer - thinking that it's the best place in the world to be. In order to do that, you're going to work his feet outside the trailer and let him rest inside the trailer. 

You can do the Sending Exercise (sending the horse between you and the trailer from one side of your body to the other) or Lunging for Respect (lunging the horse in a circle around you and asking him to change directions every so often). It doesn't really matter what you do with him outside of the trailer as long as you make his feet hustle and change directions). After several minutes, let him rest inside the trailer. If he starts to kick, immediately back him out and put his feet to work again. You can even load him in the trailer and drive around your property and as soon as he starts kicking, stop, unload him and make him hustle his feet. If you're consistent, it won't take long for him to realize that standing still and being in the trailer is a good thing because if he kicks, there's nothing but hard work waiting for him outside. With repetition, he'll learn to stand still, not kick and relax. Remember, he is kicking because he really doesn't want to be in the trailer. If you can get the horse to think the trailer is the greatest place in the world to be, he will no longer want to cause any problems in the trailer.

Training Tip of the Week: Trail riding tip: Stop your horse from following too closely behind other horses.

By Clinton Anderson25. September 2012 00:05

Because horses are prey animals, it’s natural for them to want to stay close together when on the trail. Horses believe in the concept of safety in numbers and your horse feels that the closer he is to the horse in front of him, the safer he is. With that being said, a horse that follows too closely behind another horse is putting himself and his rider in a dangerous situation. The horse in front is likely to get cranky and kick out, which means you or your horse could get struck with a well-placed hind hoof.

Rather than thinking of how you can get your horse to stay back off the horse in front of him, think of how you can make it uncomfortable for him to get too close to the other horse. You’ll accomplish that by letting him commit to the mistake (in this case following too closely behind) and then putting his feet to work by doing a series of serpentines and circles until he’s paying attention to you. Then you’ll put him on a loose rein and go back to following the horse from a safe distance. Horses are basically lazy creatures; they’d always rather choose the option with the least amount of work involved. After a few repetitions of having to move his feet and sweat, your horse is going to want no part of getting too close to the other horse because he knows if he does, he’ll just have to work hard.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 12

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 12
"With one mind we address our acknowledgement, respect, and gratefulness to the sacred Cycle of Life. We, as humans, must remember to be humble and acknowledge the gifts we use so freely in our daily lives."
--Audrey Shenandoah, ONONDAGA
The sacred Cycle of life - the baby, the youth, the adult, the Elder. Let us respect all directions, the four directions of the Grandfathers; let us respect their power. Let us remember we belong to the earth, the earth does not belong to us. Help us to be respectful to all the gifts You have given us.
Oh Great Spirit, help me this day to be humble. Let me not attack anything in deed or in my thoughts. Let my thoughts focus on the beauty You have created in all things.

Benefits of Butter

The 20 Health Benefits of REAL BUTTER:
1. Butter is rich in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.
2. Contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida.
3. Contains lecithin, essential for cholesterol metabolism.
4. Contains anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage.
5. Has anti-oxidants that protect against weakening arteries.
6. Is a great source of Vitamins E and K.
7. Is a very rich source of the vital mineral Selenium.
8. Saturated fats in butter have strong Anti-Tumor and Anti-Cancer properties.
9. Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
10. Vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium.
11. Protects against tooth decay.
12. Is your only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints.
13. Anti-stiffness factor in butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.
14. Is a source of Activator X, which helps your body absorb minerals.
15. Is a source of iodine in highly absorbable form.
16. May promote fertility in women.
17. Is a source of quick energy, and is not stored in our bodies adipose tissue.
18. Cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children's brain and nervous system development.
19. Contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.
20. Protects against gastrointestinal infections in the very young or the elderly.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pine Ridge Sun Dance Dilemma: Part 2

Pine Ridge Sun Dance Dilemma: Affordable Food or Affordable Booze

August 10, 2013
If you missed Part 1, clickhere.
The sharpened sticks were carved from the shinbone of a buffalo to ensure that they will not break during the piercing ceremony. Men have performed this ritual for centuries to create a metaphoric balance with the women. Because women have pain in birth, the men must endure pain with the tree. Two small incisions are made on the chest or back and the sticks are threaded through the wound. Some dancers opt to forgo the incisions and have the sticks pushed through their flesh, an inch or so deep. The pain does not register on a dancer’s face, even after a rope is tied to the two sticks protruding from his chest, and then anchored to the tree. Through prayer and great concentration the dancer—without the use of his hands—leans back on the rope until his flesh gives way and he tears free. The women trill and the men whoop as the dancer returns to his place around the circle.
A man is pierced in his back, and his rope is tied to seven buffalo skulls, which he pulls around the arena. With great effort he breaks free at the end of his cycle. Just then a young man with his back pierced is pulled halfway up the tree by a rope; he breaks free and falls several feet to the ground. He staggers to his knees, pauses, then gets up and with an unconcerned limp runs back to his place along the line.
The tree shudders with each painful sacrifice, and blood dries on the ground as the people dance on.
The proposed Oglala Sioux Tribe Alcoholic Beverage Code is designed to appease the masses ( On page 13 of the 14-page document, under the "Profits" heading, you find that the tribe promises that all profits from this venture would be used for just four things. The first will be two full-service detoxification centers that will be built on the eastern and western ends of Pine Ridge.
The second is to design programs to provide treatment, counseling and related services to individuals and families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation suffering the negative consequences of substance abuse. The third is to create programs to benefit Oglala youth. And last but not least, there are to be District allocations.
The BIA projects the revenue derived from liquor sales at copy0 million annually. All that money made from selling alcohol would be used for some sort of suicidal business plan, where success would also rid the business of its customers and revenue.
There is a fork 10 feet up the Sun Dance tree, with one branch pointing north and the other pointing south. The north is the province of man, and the south that of the Buffalo People, our former renewable resource. The two-prong fork also is a metaphor of choice and the duality of man. In all Lakota philosophy there are always opposites, but they are not in opposition. Men or women, up or down, yes or no. This is also, of course, how we live our lives, by making choices both good and bad.
The tree at the center of the Sun Dance ceremony was in a sense sacrificed for this ceremony when it was cut down and placed here. It represents both life and death, a beginning and an end. Likewise, the Sun Dancer sacrifices blood, food and water for the good health and spiritual nourishment of the people.
Proponents of the referendum say alcohol is here already, and we are being hypocritical when we claim to be a dry reservation. Others argue that hundreds of people will die from alcohol abuse if it is allowed onto the reservation, but hundreds are dying now from it, so it seems prohibition does not work.
Opponents argue that pouring the proverbial gasoline on the fire will certainly help the alcoholic to an early grave, but the drunk will not go down easy. The real victims of this plan will not be the alcoholics who made the choice to drink; the real victims will be the children born into that world. Those who oppose the referendum want the tribe to enforce laws already on the books by banishing the drunks, sexual offenders, law-breakers and making our streets safe. “Many lives will be lost and the blood will be on the councils’ hands” a distraught opponent laments. “We are poor in money and this will just make us poor in spirit.”
There is a lot of excitement as the Sun Dancers leave the arena on the fourth and final day. One more Inipi, then the dancers are free to drink, eat and wash their bodies. One more Inipi of purifying steam that softens the brittle, clotted wounds and moistens the matted hair.
As the cool air rushes to embrace them, the dancers emerge from the womb and are now back among the living. Laughter erupts as relatives rush forward with ice cold drinks, bits of food and loving embraces.
Another year, another pledge fulfilled, and life is good once again.
When armchair quarterbacks look at the challenges faced by the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation they claim that untapped millions lurk in strip-mining, fracking and casinos. But these solutions are not viable; there are no minerals to strip, no oil to frack. Though we do have two casinos (both in the middle of nowhere), they barely generate enough revenue to cover operations and are mostly patronized by tribal members. There is rumor of a plan to offer smaller gaming venues in the districts, but casinos don’t attract new money, they just reallocate existing financial resources that should be spent on clothing, shelter or food. So it seems that if alcohol is sold here as well, many people will enter a vicious cycle of gambling and alcoholism. A desperate future.
The four-day ceremony has ended, but the Sun Dancers are not done just yet. They all must return in four days to attend a special Inipi service and call their souls back from the spirit world. The mind
of the dancers are still reeling from the experience as the real world slowly creeps back in and they become aware that there are really two worlds--a world that will last forever, and this world, that is doomed to die. The Oglala Lakota are, like many tribes in the Americas, trying to find our place in this modern society. We struggle with poverty in the shadow of our denied inheritance. Rumors of our past societies are relegated to the anthropologist’s library, where we search for clues our ancestors may have left for us. This search will eventually lead back to the beginning, back to basics and back to traditional language and our religion.
Pine Ridge is a place where distance is a factor in almost all transactions. A simple visit to the doctor can mean a 120-plus mile round trip, and going 100 miles to save money on groceries is negated by the rising cost of gasoline, and if it snows… forget it. There is something very wrong with the notion that the tribal government is acting in the best interests of the people when it decides to sell alcohol at bargain prices on the reservation while people can’t buy a pound of hamburger in their home districts.
Diabetes is a plague most Indians have come to accept as a fact of their lives. Being overweight strains the body and as we age those strains develop into serious health problems that strain the budget of the Indian Health Service. Poor diets and the high cost of healthy food are problems everyone faces. Our tribal members need healthy, affordable food, and the tribal government should be looking at this as the perfect profitable venture. Millions of dollars are spent on alcohol, but millions more are spent off-reservation on food. Whiteclay’s Arrowhead Foods did more than copy million in business without ever selling a drop of alcohol. The tribe could open small grocery stores that offered affordable, locally grown vegetables, fowl, beef and buffalo. If the stores were portable, on truck beds, the poor would be able to feed their families with just a short walk down their street. That would certainly spur the local economy, while alcohol sales will only benefit the rich. So if there is a war cry on Pine Ridge it should be “Affordable food, not affordable booze.”
It seems the council has forgotten the poor, even as they drive past them each day on their way to work. The bureaucrats need to reflect on their lives and remember what it was like to be hungry and what it felt like to lose a loved one to alcohol.
The Sun Dance described here is unique, in that it is practiced in a form directly related to the Sun Dance chief’s personal vision. But there are many Sun Dances held on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation—some say 40 or more—and they are all unique in their form of celebration. To be Lakota is to be religious. Not all Lakota people are Sun Dancers—we are of all the religions of the world.
Similarly not all Oglalas abuse alcohol; there are many on the Pine Ridge working hard toward a better future.
I’m neither a holy man nor a leader in my tribe, nor do I aspire to such lofty roles. I’m Ikce Wicasa, 'a common man', and I can only do what is right for me. I know that Oglala is translated to mean "to scatter their own," and that basically sums up our philosophical political mantra. If a group within the tribe didn't like what was going on with one band they just left and went to a different band.
After a couple of thousands of years of this political osmosis you end up with a tribe has a headstrong mindset, with many shared political views that are by nature radical.
Many years ago our ancestors were forced onto a tiny parcel of land called the Pine Ridge Reservation in hopes of surviving in this new hostile Eurocentric society. One of the many decisions our ancestors made about saving the future generations of Oglalas was to not allow alcohol to be sold within our borders. Maybe they could see a future for our people that we can't or won't see for ourselves. It was a radical decision in the land of the free.
I find it intriguing that all people in power on both sides of this debate say the same thing: 'If the referendum passes it will happen because the youth want alcohol, and they out-number the older generation at the polls.’
Whether you believe that the youth want alcohol is not the point—what is fascinating is that the youth have the power at the polls and the tribal government fears them. That means our youth have the power to change their world, but they just don't know it. They are the ones who grew up in a world of alcohol abuse, so they know first-hand the nightmares and death associated with that lifestyle.
Regardless of how the vote goes on this referendum, the youth need to remember that they will have to raise their children in a world they helped build. If the youth of Pine Ridge were to unite in a common goal, they could change the very foundations of our world. They have the tools of the computer age, in which social media could play a powerful role, just like what is happening all over the world. What Pine Ridge really needs is a "Lakota Spring."
Our world is a Sun Dance of hunger and thirst, so it should be fitting that we sacrifice as well. If we, as individual tribal members, made just one sacrifice for the good of our people, to quit drinking alcohol, then all the Whiteclays of our world would go away. We could then pick ourselves up and build something from these ruins, something our great-grandchildren could be proud of.
Ironically, this referendum is coming on the start of a new moon, the beginning of the Lakota calendar. We will either remember this year as our turning point, or our downfall. We, the people of Pine Ridge, do not all worship or communicate with our creator in the same way, but the one thing we do share is this: at some point in our lives we were all hungry and we all had our hearts broken by alcohol.
Mitakuye oyasinfor all my relatives in this world and the next. For more on the election process, clickhere.
Council representatives voting in favor of the referendum included Lydia Bear Killer, Craig Dillon, Barbara Dull Knife, Larry Eagle Bull, Paul Little, Stanley Little White Man, Irv Provost, Robin Tapio and Kevin Yellow Bird Steele;
Those opposing the referendum included James Cross, Charles Cummings, Dani LeBeau, Dan Rodriguez, Jacqui Siers, Garfield Steele and Bernie Shot With Arrow, with Jim Meeks not voting.
Contact your representative today,here.
Marty Two Bulls Sr. is an Oglala Lakota, and member of the Pine Ridge Sioux Tribe. His father is the Rev. Robert Two Bulls, his grandfather was the late Peter Two Bulls Sr. and his mother was the late Delores LaBelle Ten Fingers-Two Bulls.


10 Do's and Don'ts

10 Pow Wow Do's and Don'ts

August 10, 2013
There will invariably be things you should and shouldn’t do in certain settings. That said, here are just a few tips to help you along the pow wow trail.

1.Do: Wear a roach.
2.Don't: Smoke one. 
3.Do: Paint your face. 
Photo courtesy Smithsonian
Photo courtesy Smithsonian
4.Don't: Mimic this one.
5.Do: Eat fry bread. 
Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Photo courtesy Wikipedia
6.Don't: Over do it.
7.Do: Wear buckskin.
Photo courtesy Flickr.
Photo courtesy Flickr.
8.Don't: Wear this.
9.Do: Cheer on the dancers.
10.Don't: Come prepared to cheer like this.

Photo courtesy