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Lakota Country Times

Conveniences of today

align=left img src=clients/lakotacountrytimes/dana.jpg>I have been picking chokecherries for the past couple of days. I wanted wasna and realized the only way I could get any is if I make it myself. I really don't know how, I mean I remember helping out my friend's grandma Fannie Nelson when we were children. We would grind and dry the choke cherry patties for her. So this year is my first attempt at making wasna.

As I was picking the chokecherries with my daughter and grinding them, I realized something. That this was their first experience with something like this. They had never picked chokecherries, or anything of the sort. Of course my daughter is only three but my sister is 19. It felt kind of good to be able to give them that memory, maybe someday they can continue it with someone of a younger generation.

I also realized something else. It was 100 plus degrees when I was picking chokecherries with my daughter. She wanted to go back to her grandma's house, probably to escape the heat. So I walked her back and cooled off before I went to pick more. I realized then, the convenience of today. I thought of our ancestors who didn't have that convenience, especially of the Lakota woman.

The role of the Lakota women was so important back then. I mean it is just as important today as many women I know are the providers of the household, raising grandkids and such. But I can't imagine how it was to live back in the day when the woman put the tipi up, took it down, packed up camp, butchered the buffalo, tanned the hides, prepared the food, and so on.

I mean look at the convenience of today. I used a grinder for my chokecherries, whereareas back in the day they would have used two rocks. For a life that was much simpler, things were a lot harder.

A couple of months ago my dad, uncle, and two sons were trying to put up a tipi, to no avail. My grandma and I watched them try....and try....and try.

Everytime they failed, we would laugh. My dad got mad at us and said, "You women are the ones that are supposed to do this. That's how come us men, don't know how."

"How come so many wasicu's know how then?" I asked.

"Call Black Hills Tent & Awning." He said "Tell them I need a wasicu to put my tipi up."

We all laughed and eventually one of his friends came over and helped get the tipi up in half hour.

The convenience of being a Lakota today can make some things simpler, so much so that some other things are harder. Either way, it's great being a Lakota today, isn't it?

Dana Badmilk is a 35 year old self employed artist who recently moved back to the Pine Ridge Reservation. She lives there with her husband and four children. She can be read at her blog here http://danasvoice.

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