2012-12-26 / Voices

Sicangu Scribe Scribblings

Sicangu/ Lakota

I send kudos this week to the Idle No More/Flash Mob Round Dances which are being organizing all over the world to send their voices and movement to the universe in the name of healing.

Love and prayers are also sent to Chief Theresa Spence who is beginning her third week of a fast in Victoria Island, Ottawa, Canada in defense of treaty rights. Imagine what would happen if all of our IRA leaders went to Washington, DC to fast in the name of treaty rights.

Congratulations to all of our young people who competed in the various events at the 36th Annual Lakota Nation Invitational. It always makes me feel good to see our people gather in HeSapa for this showcase of our talented youth. It would be even better if this celebration could be held on the Rez, in my opinion.

With all of the government settlement money recently received by the Lakota tribes, one plan could have been to build a facility to host to the activities of our youth. Still, our tribes couldn’t even unite to purchase land in HeSapa so I suppose it would be way too much to hope for our elected leaders to come together and plan the construction of a shared tribal facility.

LNI brings millions to Rapid City; these are mostly dollars taken out of our tribal coffers. So, until our tribes actually unite to take collective action for all of us, we will continue to willingly hand our money over to businesses who often do not appreciate us.

Furthermore, December is a difficult month for many Lakota-Dakota-Nakota people. Winters can be harsh and the poor conditions many of our people live in make survival much harder. Subzero temperatures and massive blizzards are common. Frozen water pipes due to the lack of heat in Rez houses are part of the winter wonderland reality. Families who have no income are faced with up to six months of scraping up enough money to pay for expenses to keep their homes heated and their children fed.

Add to those expenses the burden of Christmas spending. Some of our children must go without an elaborate holiday filled with an abundance of food and gifts because their parents barely have enough to pay the bills. I do want to thank all of the tribal and non-profit organizations who work every year to raise money to purchase food, toys and candy bags for our children who would otherwise go without these luxuries. Many of us on the Rez truly appreciate all the effort put into making sure our children get something for Christmas.

Even with all the Christmas season hoopla we see on our televisions and in the stores, many Lakota-Dakota- Nakota people do not view December as a month of holiday celebration. December is always hard because it holds many anniversaries for us. I believe in the memory capacity of our DNA. I don’t think our cells forget much. Our ancestors were traumatized beyond comprehension and we carry ancestral pain. This intergenerational trauma is why so many of us have unprocessed inner issues that cripple us as human beings.

On December 15, 1890 our Hunkpapa Chief Sitting Bull was murdered at his home on Standing Rock by local Indian Police. On December 26, 1862 there were 38 Dakota men executed in Mankato, MN by order of President Abraham Lincoln. On December 29, 1890 our Hunkpapa Chief Big Foot, along with most of his band, was murdered in the cold at Wounded Knee Creek. Residual of the horror which surrounded these painful events over a century ago is still carried in our cellular memory.

Some of our people have organized memorial rides held during the month of December to pray for healing. “One of the most successful and challenging rides remains the Big Foot Memorial Ride initiated in 1986, after one of the original founders had a dream to retrace the historical trail taken by Chief Big Foot and his band in the winter of 1890 which tragically ended in the Wounded Knee Massacre. This ride continues each December.

“The journey begins in Grand River near Mobridge, South Dakota, and winds its way 200 miles south to the Wounded Knee Memorial site in Pine Ridge. The two week ride, often in the sub-zero temperatures, challenges both horses and riders alike…Prayer ceremonies are also important aspects of the rides, and the long journey over the open land creates a greater sense of awareness and understanding of the Earth.” http:// sunkawakan.html.

Also, according to the Omaka Tokatakiya/Future Generations Ride Facebook Group: “the Omaka Tokatakiya is the name chosen as we move into the Future of tomorrow’s leaders, we changed the name from "Bigfoot Memorial Riders", we finished our time of morning for our Ancestors, and we feel that it's time to move on and Celebrate Life and a New Generation, with a Vision that our Children and Great Grandchildren will continue to live in good health, happiness, we have survived and will continue to carry the prayers that our elders of the Bigfoot Ride has made for us.”

Also, the Dakota 38 + 2 Facebook Group states: “On the 26th December 2008 a group of Dakota descendants will completea4yearmemorialhorseback ride to honor the 38 Dakota Warriors who were hung in Mankato MN in 1862. This was the largest mass hanging ever recorded in America. The ride also honors the two other Dakota, Medicine Bottle and Shakopee who were also hanged in 1864.” These riders brave a 330 mile trail that begins on December 10 the Lower Brule Indian Reservation and ends at the execution site in Mankato, MN on December 26.

I am grateful to all who are currently participating on these two memorial rides. They brave the harshest weather known on the Great Plains to pray for all of us to heal from the trauma we still carry from the murder of our ancestors. Mitakuye Oyasin. Vi Waln is Sicangu Lakota and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Her columns were awarded first place in the South Dakota Newspaper Association 2010 contest. She can be reached through email at:

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