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Lakota Country Times

Prayer, song powerful to youth

align=left border=0 img src=clients/lakotacountrytimes/archie.jpg>I attended a treaty meeting over the weekend at Digmann Hall in St. Francis and was really quite impressed with the wealth of knowledge that many presenters seemed to have accumulated over time.

It cannot be an easy task to sort through all those court dockets and related materials. I think one probably would have to have some semblance of a legal background to be able to sift through all the related material surrounding the 1851 and 1868 treaties as well as Docket 74.

I am probably like a lot of Lakota people, in thinking that there seems to be several treaty organizations across Lakota country and one of these days I am going to get that straight and figure out who's who.

I probably need to touch base with Johnson Holy Rock again and this time, pay attention to what he is saying. "Toksa upiya anogoptan makinkte." Harvey Whitewoman, of Kyle, was helpful in that regard when he was at the Lakota Funds.

I do know that some treaty councils are independent and represent true "grass roots" people, while others are chartered by their respective IRA governments.

Beyond that, I probably also need to caucus, as they say, with my old friend, Victor Douville at SGU. I learn more things in passing when ever I drop in on him unannounced.

I appreciated the task undertaken by kola Archie Little as he emceed the meeting and despite a lack of attendance, he seemed to keep the afternoon session moving right along.

He made it known that I had not missed anything in the morning, as it did not really get started until lunch.

The roads had been horrendous from the day before when an arctic blast hit the Rosebud and everything was virtually a "white out."

As many Lakota speakers as were assembled that day, I was surprised to hear as much English spoken as I did. "Mis, weki omajula sni eyas, lehan ki'tankelis Lakota unsmiciciye. Lakota ominiceya yuhapi cansna wasicueyapi hantas hecetusni c'ele."
It was a perfect place for the young to hear Lakota and less English. Sam High Crane voiced his concern in Lakota that even when he returned from the service years ago, the young had started to lose their usage and understanding of Lakota.

Towards the end of the gathering, there was an informal appointment of a panel of "Naca" to represent the Sicangu, presumably to attend local meetings and to play a consultative role on others.

Archie Little, Mike One Star, Sr., Darryl Marcus were asked to volunteer, while highly regarded Sicangu elder, Webster Two Hawk, was being considered.

Archie Little asked me to serve on the committee and I agreed, but in the back of my mind I thought it would be better if I served in a technical capacity as a writer and researcher and someone with connections to the media.

Come Monday morning, I stopped in to see Archie Little and to drop off some copies of the Lakota Country Times at the St. Francis elderly center.

Archie then told me that the elders at the meeting said that I had to be a full-blood to serve on the "Naca" panel. I was not surprised at all to hear that and expressed my posture as being "okay" with that.

It was somewhat ironic as Don Moccasin had just given a relatively long talk to the group.

In Lakota, he said that he has several "takojas" and even though some were "wasiculas" or some other ethnicity it was his view that the group did not see along color lines.
It did not matter if one was white, or black, or red they could attend such meetings.
It is still okay with me as I have never been much of a follower among the Sicangu.
In the white world, I graduated from the best university they have to offer and was rewarded for my efforts. I learned to be functionally fluent in Lakota despite my beautiful French name. I slowly learned Lakota from some very tolerant and compassionate Lakota men like, Stanley Red Bird, Sr., John Around Him and Calvin Jumping Bull. I did not spend all that much time with them, but they were secure enough to reach out to me and teach me Lakota by simply being themselves.
As I often editorialize, I appreciate the support of my full-blood peers, like tahansi Ned, kola Pat and even tahansi Lionel who once encouraged me not to forget it while away to school.

Francis Whitebird and Howard Bad Hand, insa hena kolawa so they help to instruct me as I sometimes fumble through Lakota.

I never quite belonged to any one mold as I enjoy "thinking on my feet" and I can write like crazy. I could have relocated and made an enormous sum of "mazaska" but I chose to stay in my homeland.

I live in a trailer house like many here, but I am a proud 'a'te' and I want to be known as a mixed blood Lakota wicasa who made an inordinate impact on the life of a child.

The best part of the meeting was when the "Naca" were asked to form a circle around four Sicangu youth, while a prayer and a song was sang for them.

That had to be a powerful message for the adolescents who patiently sat waiting all afternoon.

Dr. Archie Beauvais (Sicangu) resides on the Rosebud with his son, Beaux. He earned a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) from Harvard University and is a 2006 Harvard AOCC Award recipient. A decorated Vietnam Veteran, he is functionally literate in Lakota and worked at Sinte Gleska University for 20 years as Dean/Chair of Tribal and Graduate Studies.

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