Ahoicipe (ah-hoh-ee-chee-pay, the Lakota word for pride) intends to explore the role of traditional identity in the daily struggle of Native Americans, examining how they use pride of their original culture and traditions in dealing with their dismal objective conditions. While their cultural practices and language have been almost vanished by the various attempts at “assimilation”, the tribal peoples suffer a sort of forced segregation at the very bottom of American society: on every indicator, from the 88% unemployment to the worlds second lowest life expectancy, the reservations stand as Third World islands in the biggest economy on Earth. My project, however, would like to depart from the gritty depiction of these issues common in other works on the subject. By portraying American Indians in a positive light and exploring how they rediscover and use pride as a tool for survival and advancement, I would like to highlight inspiring stories of confident women and men rediscovering and using pride as a tool for empowerment.
My friend is running a filmmaking camp for Native American children at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She needs $7000 to run it and she is not even close at the moment. It would be really cool if people could help her out by donating or just reblogging this.
Before there was fry bread, there were sage, white pine, chokecherries and wild buffalo.
Before Europeans unloaded wheat and sugar cane and introduced beef to Turtle Island, Natives hunted and fished. They planted potatoes, squash and corn, and they flavored their food with purslane, rose hips and dandelion.
That traditional diet, or what Chef Sean Sherman calls the “pre-colonization diet,” is the bedrock for a new restaurant set to open this fall in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. Sherman, who is Oglala Lakota, plans to use only indigenous foods in the restaurant, which he has appropriately named The Sioux Chef.
“I’m not using any European ingredients,” he said. “Everyone knows what meat was here, but I was interested in the other things—how they dried corn and squash; how they ground things into flour; and all the beans, berries, wildflowers and tree fruits. There are plenty of flavors to play with.”
But appearing in an Oscar-award-winning film was one of the least interesting things David Bald Eagle ever did.
Bald Eagle died last Friday at 97. In his long, extraordinary life, he was a champion dancer — both ballroom and Lakota styles — a touring musician, a rodeo cowboy, a tribal chief, an actor, a stunt double, a war hero.
He danced with Marilyn Monroe. He drove race cars. He parachuted into the front lines at Normandy. He played professional baseball. He was a leader not just of his tribe, but of the United Native Nations. He was an advocate for Native people.
And he was a bridge between the past and present — a man who, in his childhood, heard stories from survivors of the Battle of Little Bighorn.
The South Dakota Dept. of Social Services placed 7 Lakota foster children into foster care with a non-Native, known molester.
In what appears to be a common situation, the state of South Dakota placed 7 Lakota children into a foster family with a known molester, Richard Mette, and his enabling wife, Wendy Mette, from 2000 to 2013. The DSS knew of the accusations against Mr. Mette, but still placed Lakota foster children with him.
The state ignored MULTIPLE complaints of sexual and physical abuse, and pleas for help from the children.
1. In 2001, the state ignored the foster boys’ complaints of molestation, and simply made the Mette adoptive parents sign a contract pledging to discontinue any illegal behavior.
2. In 2007, one of the girls told the police how she was sexually molested by Mr. Mette. She reported that Mrs. Mette knew about the molestations. Again, the DSS defended the Mette foster parents, and allowed the children to stay in the home.
3. Afterwards, Kelly, the older foster sister who had aged out of the Mette foster family, was getting reports from her younger siblings that the sexual and physical abuse was increasing and intensifying. She reported this to the South Dakota DSS, who ignored it and said they did not believe the children.
Yankton Doctor sees bruises and reports abuse. In October 2010, the only boy among the Mette foster siblings at that time went to see a doctor at the Human Services Center in Yankton, S.D. The child, covered with bruises, disclosed abuse occurring in his adoptive home. He also detailed how Richard Mette, the adoptive father, was molesting the girls. The doctor contacted the authorities at once.
Brandon Taliaferro, the Assistant State’s Attorney responsible for criminal child abuse cases in Brown County, immediately began an investigation.
The police search the Mette house and find more evidence of sexual abuse, including enough pornography to “pack a store”, including “family incest” porn.
The children revealed they had been subjected to physical abuse, sexual molestation and threats of being beaten if they did not comply with the molestation or if they told anyone. In addition, the children explained that they were often given a choice between “b***jobs or beatings”.
The children say they were forced to watch incest porn with Mr. Mette. The children were told that the porn, with titles like “Family Heat”, is how families are supposed to act.
The disgusted police charged Mr. Mette with 23 counts of child rape and incest, and Mrs. Mette with 11 counts of physical abuse and enabling.
The State prosecutor, however, first attempted to drop all charges, and charged sexual predator Mr. Mette with only one count of “spanking”.
When the State was not allowed to do this, they decided to charge Mr. Mette with only one count of rape of a child under 10. The other 22 charges of aggravated child rape and incest were dropped.
The State then dropped all charges against Mrs. Mette, who the children said knew about and enabled the abuse.
Children are now back with Mrs. Mette, where they can’t sue the State DSS. As the state’s DCI agent explained, South Dakota fears that they will face an expensive lawsuit by the seven Lakota foster children whose complaints of sexual abuse were ignored by the state for 10 years. Since they are now minors in the custody of Wendy Mette, the person who enabled the abuse, they cannot sue the state without her permission and support.
What can we do?
Please call Tony West, the Associate Attorney General of the United States, and let him know that the federal Department of Justice needs to Free the Mette Children immediately! (202) 514-9500
As you may know, the word ‘Sioux’ is considered to be a slur amongst members of the Oceti Sakowin. It is not our word for ourselves, but rather a name given to us by another nation and perpetuated by the Europeans / Euro-Americans.
You also may have noticed that our official tribe names often contain the word ‘Sioux’ (‘Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe’ for example.) The reason for this is entirely legal. When our treaties were drafted, they were written as an agreement between the US Government and the ‘Sioux Nation.’ For this reason, we cannot fully abandon the name. However, when we’ve had opportunities, we’ve dropped the name in places we can (’Oglala Lakota County,’ for example, a name chosen by the rezidents.)
Simply put, members of the Oceti Sakowin generally don’t refer to themselves as ‘Sioux’ and, if we can’t change it legally, at least we can continue to assert our identity on our terms. So, if you choose to respect that, here’s a quick Oceti Sakowin education guide:
Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires)
Oceti Sakowin (encompasses all language dialects) is the simplest and broadest replacement for ‘Sioux.’ You can use this term if you aren’t aware of the specific language group to which ‘Sioux’ refers. Within the Oceti Sakowin are three main groups, which are further divided into seven subgroups:
(Mnikiwoju/Mniconjou) - Swamp Plant (Cheyenne River Reservation)
(Itazipco) - No Bow (Cheyenne River Reservation)
- Two Paunch Boiler (Cheyenne River Reservation)
Sihasapa - Black Feet (Cheyenne River Reservation, Standing Rock Reservation)
Hunkpapa - End of Horn (Standing Rock Reservation)
*In the past, the term Nakota has been applied to the Yankton, but this is a mistake. The Yankton speak Dakota. Nakota speakers are Assiniboine / Hohe and Stoney, who broke off from the Yankton at a time so long ago their language is now nearly unrecognizable to Lakota and Dakota speakers.
A cop holds a taser to the neck of a Lakota man who was attempting to block two Budweiser trucks from entering White Clay, Nebraska.
Many of the people of the Pine Ridge reservation have been focusing a lot lately on shutting down the town of White Clay, Nebraska, just off the reservation. Existing only to sell beer and liquor, largely to people suffering from alcoholism, White Clay profits from addiction and death. Alcoholism causes rampant social problems on Pine Ridge and elsewhere, such as abuse of children and deaths from drunk driving.
People gathered at the Zero Tolerance Camp at the edge of the reservation, bordering White Clay. Here, people have been camping out to maintain a continued presence, and holding weekly blockades to stop trucks from bringing in alcohol. On Monday, people joined together to stop the beer trucks from delivering.
Things escalated quickly after the arrival of President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Bryan V. Brewer, Sr. As the beer trucks arrived, he marched in the center of the crowd as it moved down the street into White Clay. Police approached him and, after a brief interaction, arrested him with no explanation of what he was being charged with. The crowd surrounded the cop car for several minutes before allowing it to drive away as Brewer motioned for them to step aside.
As people marched to block the beer trucks, police held tasers to people’s hearts and necks, violently pulled people’s hair, wrestled people to the ground, and forcefully pushed people. Crowds gathered around, screaming to let them go. We saw how, in White Clay, brutality was the first resort of the police although the Lakota people had no recourse other than direct action to stop White Clay from plaguing their people. But people held their ground, and the two Budweiser trucks that had come into White Clay never made their deliveries that day. Together, we all let out a massive cheer when the trucks finally drove away.
An Indian reservation in North Dakota is the site of the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years. Indigenous people from across the US are living in camps on the Standing Rock reservation as they protest the construction of a new oil pipeline. As a result, a new community has emerged. The BBC’s Charlie Northcott went to North Dakota to meet the protesters and discover what goes on in camp.
Peter Francis, of the Sioux people, has spent a week hauling iron pots between a holding tank and an open fire to maintain a continuous flow of boiling water for tea and cooking. He is staying in the Red Warrior Camp, one of two enormous gatherings of Native American people near the Cannonball River, in the US state of North Dakota. He stands, united, in protest against an oil pipeline. “This is about water,” he said, referring to the protest. “Water is the life of our people. Without it, we cannot exist.”
The Red Warrior Camp is situated in a remote corner of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers. The multi-billion dollar oil pipeline the campers are opposing is slated to pass beneath the Missouri, just north of Standing Rock. The protesters say the pipeline will despoil a number of sacred sites in the area, including the flooded forest pictured here, which used to be a burial ground. The bleached trees are said to be the skeletons of Lakota Dakota spirits.
Life in the camps is often quiet. Whole families have based themselves there, having driven from as far afield as Maine and Arizona - hundreds of miles across America. Hours are spent around camp fires, sharing stories and food. Traditional Native American staples are on the menu, including sweet corn, peppers, beans and fry bread, which is eaten sweet and savoury.
A cohort of young men patrol the Red Warrior Camp calling themselves “spirit riders.” They spend most of their time running errands and delivering messages. They are excellent riders, often going bareback, sometimes without reins, occasionally galloping in the nearby floodplain. The Sioux people have a long history of horsemanship, defeating the US army repeatedly in pitched horse battles in the 1800s - most famously at the Battle of Little Bighorn, where the invading General Custer was killed.
Hawste Wakiyan Wicasa believes the Native American standoff with Dakota Access is the last Great Indian War. “This is the first time the seven bands of the Sioux have come together since Little Bighorn,” he said. “Now, we have no weapons, only prayers.” Mr Wicasa says he prays every morning and every night in the sweat lodge pictured behind him. “We are here for what our ancestors fought and died for. We have endured 250 years of betrayal by the white man.”
The company behind the oil pipeline, Dakota Access LLC, says it will create thousands of jobs and generate over $40m (£30.5m) in tax revenue for the state of North Dakota. Seven counties will be traversed in total, in addition to the states of Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota. The pipeline will follow the line of the power cables visible in the backdrop of this picture, as seen from the outer edge of the Red Warrior Camp.
Amihan, 19, pictured here with a friend she made in the Sacred Stone Camp, drove from Ohio to participate in the protest. Many protesters have been living in the camps for weeks, but some are just passing through. Standing Rock has seen hundreds of young indigenous people and activists visit, eager to take part in the historic gathering. Over 80 different tribes have a presence in the area.
On most days, demonstrations take place along the road leading to the Dakota Access pipeline construction site. Participants wave flags representing different tribal nations. In some cases, they obstruct trucks and diggers approaching the pipeline. Over 20 Native American protesters have been arrested in the month of August, including the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, David Archambault II.
Pancho, pictured here, is from the Standing Rock Reservation. He has been protesting against the pipeline since April, and worries the camps are becoming overcrowded and that local supplies are overstretched. “We know this place can’t handle many more people,” he said, standing in the Sacred Stone Camp. “Resources are stretched. Our community does not have a lot of money.”
Clyde Bellecourt is one of the founders of the American Indian Movement, a significant civil rights group in the 1960s and 70s. In all his days fighting for Native American rights, he says he has never seen anything like the camps. “I am 80 years old,” he said. “I’ve been jailed, I’ve been shot. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. This is what I fought for.”
At the centre of the Red Warrior Camp is a microphone, and at night, a blazing fire. Anyone can stand up and speak or sing. Here, Dallas Goldtooth, an organiser for the Indigenous Environmental Network, delivers a speech about camp logistics. “The porta potties [toilets] are the most expensive things here,” he said, to a chorus of laughter. “Please do your stuff neatly.”
For children, the protest camps are a playground of excitement. Dogs run wild, horses are available to be ridden. The two camps are close to the river, which offers relief in the humidity of summer.
Govinda Dalton is one of an older generation of environmental activists living in the camp. He runs Spirit Resistance Radio 87.9 out of his white van. Social media use by young Native Americans has been the driving force behind the growth of the protest, led by hashtags like #waterislife, #NoDakotaAccess and #nodapl. Instagram and Facebook have been the most popular mediums, but Twitter is also being used. “This is what it’s about man,” said Mr Dalton.
Sacred ceremonies, many of them private and closed to outsiders, are part of the everyday life of the camp. Each tribe brings its own set of customs, but many find common ground with songs, chanting and pipe-smoking rituals. Here Chloe Piepho says a prayer to Mni Wiconi, the sacred waters of life, in the Lakota Sioux language.
Johnelle, pictured front, is always in a rush. She is the emergency response coordinator for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. She runs a logistics team, with finance, medical and media officers. Looking out for the lives of thousands of visitors has been a challenge, but she relishes it. “If we find out there is something people need,” she said, “whether it be food, soap or medical supplies, we will find it for them.”
The human rights organisation Amnesty International, pictured here interviewing Ladonna Brave Bull, is investigating whether Native American liberties have been infringed. Local law enforcement have blocked a major road to and from the Red Warrior Camp, citing the interest of public safety. Residents of the camp say the blockage prevents them from picking up basic supplies from their nearest city, Bismark.
Security, cleaning and cooking are all handled by volunteers in the two protest camps. Some of have been told to keep track of the media, who are scantly trusted. “We don’t bother them,” said Xavier Long Feather, a 17-year-old volunteer on the security team. “But it’s good to keep watch, to see who is here.”
On 9 September, a major decision will be made regarding the Red Warrior Camp and its protesters. A judicial court will decide whether the Dakota Access pipeline should proceed, or be halted for further environmental and archaeological assessments. “This is the biggest gathering of its kind in history,” said Keith Swift Bird, on the camps. “We will stand our ground if we have to."
The plans for a neo-Nazi paradise in Leith, North Dakota, are running into a few speedbumps, it seems. As we noted a while back, white supremacist Craig Paul Cobb has been buying up a passel of abandoned properties in the town of 19, hoping to get enough like-minded bigots to move in and take it over. The existing residents are not one bit happy about it. Nor are other North Dakotans, including the Lakota and Dakota grandmothers pictured above, who according to the Last Real Indians blog “captured and burned” a Nazi flag from the town while a group of several hundred Native Americans and others protested the neo-Nazi presence in Leith last Saturday. We advise the White Power Rangers to recognize when they’re beaten, and to not piss off the grannies any futher.
Songs My Brothers Taught Me (Chloé Zhao, USA, 2015)
This complex portrait of modern-day life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation explores the bond between a brother and his younger sister, who find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home. Cast: John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Taysha Fuller, Travis Lone Hill, Eléonore Hendricks.
When most Lakota children wake up to for their 18th birthdays, it is
more of dreaded date than a celebration. This is the time when those in
foster care will exit the state system and be sent into the world with
very little preparation or tools to be successful. By age 20, over 60%
are homeless, in prison, or dead. Many Lakota foster children
have also been prescribed a cocktail of psychiatric medication to
“control” them, unfortunately, this leads to much more severe problems
later in life. It becomes a struggle to get off of these drugs and make
sense of their fractured world without family or community for support.
Sadly, this problem is not new. Lakota children have been taken from
their families for more than 130 years. It began in the 1880s under a
U.S. Government policy of forced assimilation: children as young as five
years old were removed from their homes, shipped to boarding schools,
and instructed in the ways of white culture with the official motto:
“Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” Today, a generation of children is once
again losing its connection to its culture through state-sanctioned
kidnapping under the auspices of the South Dakota Department of Social
Services. Every year South Dakota blatantly violates the Indian Child
Welfare Act by removing over 740 Native children from their families and
community and putting into non-Native foster care.
The Lakota People’s Law Project and the Lakota tribes of South Dakota have been working on achieving the permanent solution to the corruption of South Dakota’s Department of Social Services by rerouting federal money from the state and getting it directly to the tribes. For this to happen the Lakota tribes will have to overcome many hurdles and organize their own foster care and other family planning programs.
Although we have worked on this struggle for over 8 years, we are finally breaking through and creating the system that will prevent Lakota children from being kidnapped by the state of South Dakota and taken from their communities. 8 of the 9 Lakota tribes have applied for federal funding to assist them in planning for the installation of these programs and the Department of Justice, in conjunction with the ACLU, has just released an amicus brief supporting the Lakota children and condemning the practices of South Dakota. The full brief can be read here: https://turtletalk.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/122-1amicusbriefoftheunitedstates8-14-2014.pdf
Please help make this solution a reality by donating to help the Lakota children remain with their families!
April 2 2016 - Warriors from several tribes have built a camp in the path of the planned Dakota access pipeline to block its’construction. The pipeline would endanger the Missouri river and the communities and ecosystems connected to it. [video]