indian ridge

Alternatives to ‘Sioux’

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:

Isanti Oyate (Santee — Dakota Dialect)

  • Ble Wakantunwan (Mdewakanton*) - Spirit Lake
  • Wahpetunwan (Wahpeton) - Leaf Village
  • Wahpe Kute Tunwan (Wahpekute) - Leaf Archers
  • Sinsin Tunwan (Sisseton) - Swamp Village

Wiciyela Oyate (Yankton/Yanktonais — Dakota Dialect ; commonly mislabeled as Nakota* Dialect)

  • Ihanktunwan - End of Horn Village
  • Ihanktunwanna - Little End of Horn Village

Tinte Oyate (Tetons — Lakota Dialect)

  • Tinte Ta Tunwan (Tintatunwan Oceti Sakowin) - Plains Nation

Within the Tinte Ta Tunwan / Tintatunwan Oceti Sakown (#7), there are another seven subdivisions:

Tintatunwan Oceti Sakowin - Lakota

  • Oglala - Scatters Their Own (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation)
  • Sicangu - Burnt Thighs (Rosebud Reservation, Lower Brule Reservation)
  • Hwohwoju (Mnikiwoju/Mniconjou) - Swamp Plant  (Cheyenne River Reservation)
  • Itazipcola (Itazipco) - No Bow  (Cheyenne River Reservation)
  • Owohe Nunpa (Oohenunpa) - Two Paunch Boiler (Cheyenne River Reservation)
  • Sihasapa - Black Feet (Cheyenne River Reservation, Standing Rock Reservation)
  • Hunkpapa - End of Horn (Standing Rock Reservation)


*modern terminology
*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.

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The occupation and blockade of Wounded Knee began as a demonstration for Lakota rights organized by members of the AIM. For the Lakota people, the community has great significance. In 1890, Wounded Knee was the site of a major clash between the Lakota and the United States Army, an event many consider to be the end of the Indian Wars.

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“Songs” is not a generalized representation of Pine Ridge. There simply are not enough films made about this place and these people. As a result, the ones that are made often end up being used to generalize the community – something our mainstream media has done in its appropriation of Native Americans for a long time. This needs to change. My hope is for the audiences to leave the theater feeling that they have gotten to know a group of very complex characters and to have a glimpse into just how diverse and vivacious the Lakota people of Pine Ridge really are, instead of the two dimensional stereotypes we often see represented in today’s dominant culture.

-Chloe Zhao about her movie Songs My Brothers Taught Me

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Fine Arts students from Oglala Lakota College recently put on an Art Show at the Suzie Cappa Art Center in Rapid City, SD. The concept of the show is Misconceptions of the Reservation. Each artist demonstrates their interpretation of this in their own art forms. These photos by Angel White Eyes are of people from the Pine Ridge Reservation who overcome the statistics and break the mold of preconceived notions of people living on Pine Ridge. The show will be up until the end of July.

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December 29th 1890: Wounded Knee Massacre

On this day in 1890, hundreds of Native Americans were killed by United States government forces at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Tensions between the federal government and the indigenous peoples of America had led to frequent bouts of warfare ever since the country was first colonised by Europeans. These wars became particularly intense during the latter half of the nineteenth century, and despite several key victories for Native Americans - most famously at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 - the federal government increasingly pushed native peoples onto reservations. The government were particularly alarmed by the growing Ghost Dance movement, which was a spiritual movement which prophesised the imminent defeat of the white man and the resumption of the traditional Indian way of life. The movement factored into mounting tensions at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which were exacerbated by the murder of Sioux chief Sitting Bull on December 15th 1890. The situation came to a head fourteen days later, when the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry surrounded a group of Ghost Dancers, under the leadership of Lakota Sioux chief Big Foot, near Wounded Knee Creek in the reservation. During this confrontation, a shot was fired, and the fighting descended into a massacre of Native Americans by the well-equipped army. It is estimated that around 200 people died - nearly half of whom were women and children - though some historians place the number much higher. Only 25 U.S. soldiers were killed, and 20 of the survivors were awarded the Medal of Honor. The Wounded Knee massacre was a pivotal moment in the history of indigenous relations in North America, as it marks the last major confrontation of the Indian wars. The incident also provides a poignant symbol around which Native American activist groups have rallied, providing the title for Dee Brown’s famous history Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970), and becoming the focal point of the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973.

10 upcoming 2016 releases by and/or about POC

American Honey
Directed by: Andrea Arnold
What it’s about: A wild teenager (played by newcomer Sasha Lane) who joins in with a group of similarly crazy kids who travel around the U.S. working for a multi level marketing scheme. This is also known for being the movie that Shia Labeouf cut his hand on. If the description isn’t enough to convince you then you should be convinced to watch it by Arnold’s talent alone. She’s an Oscar winning director who’s best known for Fish Tank and two of her previous films have played at Cannes. Crossing my fingers this one makes it there too.
Release date: Undetermined as of yet but A24 says they’re dropping this in the fall (so maybe they have an Oscar push in mind?)

The Fits
Directed by:
Anna Rose Holmer
What it’s about: An 11 year old tomboy named Toni who falls in with a dance troupe while she’s supposed to be boxing at the gym. But things start to go awry when the girls in the dance troupe succumb to violent fainting fits. The film already got rave review at Venice last year and is getting positive review at Sundance.
Release date: Undetermined so far but indie distributor Oscillope bought it before its festival premiere so the good news is this will be hitting theatres in limited release in 2016. Follow @TheFitsFilm for updates.

The Invitation
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
What it’s about: A man attends a dinner party thrown by his ex-wife and her new husband and slowly suspects that they have sinister intentions towards him. The low-key thriller stars Tom Hardy look-alike Logan Marshall-Green along with Michiel Huisman and Emayatzy Corinealdi. It has a mostly white cast but Kusama remains one of the few Asian-American women to have a strong and continuous career as a film director.
Release date: March 25, 2016

Equity
Directed by: Meera Menon
What it’s about: A female wall street trader played by Anna Gunn who is mired in a world of corruption, greed and scandal. Billed as the first wall street movie centered about a woman this has a predominantly (possibly entirely?) white cast however director Meera Menon is Indian-American.
Release date: No official date yet but this was picked up by Sony Picture Classics before its official Sundance premiere.

Loving
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
What it’s about: Real life couple Mildred and Richard Loving who married when interracial marriage was still illegal in their state and became plaintiffs in Loving vs. Virgina, the court case that made interracial marriage legal within the whole of the U.S. Ruth Negga plays Mildred with Joel Edgerton as Richard.
Release date: None yet, but this will probably head to festivals sometimes this year looking for a distributor.

Miles Ahead
Directed by: Don Cheadle
What it’s about: A passion project for Cheadle the movie examines the life of Miles Davis as he is interviewed by a Rolling Stone reporter, played by Ewan McGregor, in the 1970s. This one got mixed reviews when it played at festivals but by all acounts Cheadle’s performance is awards worthy.
Release date: April 1, 2016

Moana
Directed by:
John Musker and Ron Clements
What it’s about: Ayoung woman who sets off on an adventure helped by a famed demi-God. The nice thing about this one is that not only is it about polynesians but the main vocal cast (which includes Dwayne Johnson) also are of polynesian ancestry.
Release date: November 23, 2016

The Queen of Katwe
Directed by:
Mira Nair
What it’s about: A biopic based on Ugandan prodigy Phiona Mutesi who grew up in a slum and then turned her life around after her teacher taught her how to play chess. It’s also going to be Lupita Nyong'o’s first live-action role post-Oscar and also stars David Oyelowo.
Release date: Undetermined but this is owned by Disney so it will likely get a wide release sometime this year.

Race
Directed by: Stephen Hopkins
What it’s about: A biopic on Olympian athlete Jesse Owens during his time at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany. Owens is played by relative newcomer Stephan James, and the rest of the cast includes William Hurt, Jeremy “I’m a sexist creep” Irons, and Carice van Houten.
Release date: February 19, 2016

Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Directed by: Chloe Zhao
What it’s about: Set in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation the film, about a young girl who goes looking for a father figure after her father drinks himself to death and her older brother starts making plans to leave for a better life, played at Sundance in 2015. This got great reviews but it struggled to find distribution until director Zhao announced she would self-distribute in 2016. The even better news? Indie distributor Kino Lober stepped up to give it a proper release!
Release date: March 2, 2016. Follow @songsthemovie for more info. 

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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.

Today in history: December 29, 1890 - The US 7th Cavalry carries out the Wounded Knee Massacre near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  As many as 300 Lakota Sioux men, women, and children were killed, many shot in the back while trying to flee. Their bodies were left to freeze in a mass grave. Twenty-five troopers also died, and 39 were wounded (6 later died). In 2008 a petition was started demanding that the US reclaim the twenty Medals of Honor that were given to the 7th Calvary for their role in the Massacre at Wounded Knee, to remove any recognition the US military bestows to its entities for the massacre, and to obtain the return of personal items taken from Lakota people at the 1890 Massacre.  In 1973, the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied Wounded Knee, noting its historic significance - a 71-day standoff ensued with federal law enforcement officials.  (Image: We Remember Wounded Knee 1890-1973 poster by Bruce Carter) Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)

On December 28th, 1890, Maj. Samuel M. Whitside's battalion of the 7th Calvary intercepted the Lakota. Ill with pneumonia, Unpan Glešká (“Spotted Elk”) and his band surrendered peacefully before being taken into custody by the 7th Calvary and escorted to a campsite near Wounded Knee Creek, in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

The night before the massacre, Col. James W. Forsyth arrived at Wounded Knee Creek and ordered his men to position four Hotchkiss cannons around the area in which the Lakota had been forced to camp.

On the morning of 29 December 1890, Forsyth’s soldiers entered the camp and demanded that the Lakota give up their weapons. In the ensuing confrontation, a firearm was discharged. It was later believed to have been by a deaf man, Black Coyote, who presumably did not hear the command to put down his rifle. A large gun fight quickly ensued. The US forces killed over 153 Lakota, mostly non-combatants (women and children); Spotted Elk was among those slain.

This is the treatment Indigenous peoples of this continent faced through atrocities committed by the United States army, politicians, settlers, pioneers, and with approval by the president of the U.S. These are the effects of colonization and genocide that predate any history book and committed in the name of Manifest Destiny, religious freedom, democracy, and independence. 

NEVER FORGET WOUNDED KNEE.
NEVER FORGET THE TRAIL OF TEARS.
NEVER FORGET THE LONG WALK OF THE NAVAJO
NEVER FORGET THAT WE ARE SURVIVORS AND WE ARE MANY.

NEVER FORGET WE ARE STILL PASSIONATE, INTELLIGENT, RESILIENT, AND READY TO TAKE CARE OF THE LAND, WATER, SKY & EARTH WHEN WESTERN CIVILIZATION AND CAPITALISM HAS BEEN RIPPED ASUNDER.

R.I.S.E.:
RADICAL
INDIGENOUS
SURVIVANCE &
EMPOWERMENT

http://burymyart.tumblr.com
http://facebook.com/RISEindigenous

abcnews.go.com
Why Sanders Is Going All Out for Native Americans
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By ABC News

Bernie Sanders took his motorcade down a remote highway to visit the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in rural South Dakota, one of the poorest in the country where an estimated 70 percent of high school students will drop out before graduating.

Before addressing the packed gym Thursday, the Democratic presidential candidate met privately with leaders from tribes in the area. They draped him in a traditional white-and-blue quilted blanket and exchanged gifts.

Jane Sanders, the senator’s wife, had brought a pewter and glass tealight from Vermont, and by the end of the day, Sanders’ staff was carrying moccasins, blankets and a bundle of sweetgrass handed to him as a gift from someone in the crowd.

From Minnesota to California, Sanders has met privately with Native American leaders from dozens of tribes in the past four months and spoken publicly, at each of his campaign stops, about the hardships their communities face.

His effort has not gone unnoticed, especially in the remaining primary states out West, where “Natives for Bernie” has become a visible and vocal part of the senator’s coalition.

Walter C. Fleming, head of the Department of Native American studies at Montana State University in Bozeman, said he was not surprised Sanders is advocating for such issues on the trail. “Sanders is picking up a lot of support more recently, probably owing a lot to the visits that he is making, particularly out West,” said Fleming, who belongs to the Kickapoo tribe in Kansas. “Jewish people, generally, have always been interested in causes about equal treatment and justice.”

Sanders himself echoed the sentiment when asked about the origins of his interest in the issue.

“It comes from, I think, a political life of trying to do my best to protect the least amongst us,” Sanders told ABC News after his visit to Pine Ridge. “I try to get an understanding of the reality of American life, and I’ve learned a lot in this campaign.”

‘At Least We Matter to Somebody Out There’

(Continue Reading)

Get ready for a rant...

So I’ve been following a company called Native American Natural Foods LLC, and everything they do is awesome. They are run on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, creating jobs on the reservation while all the proceeds of selling their products goes back to the Lakota. Their main product (which is delicious) is the Tanka bar. It’s made of buffalo and cranberry in the original flavor.

Now…

The flip-side of this is thunderbird energetica. I’ve posted about them before, but I’ll mention why I don’t like them. Two white folks from Texas decided to make a new kind of natural granola bar with a trendy name. They appropriate everything possible from Natives, including having bar flavors like “almond cookie pow-wow.” This particular bars description includes talk of powerful spirit animals and ingredients blessed by a shaman. If that isn’t enough, I just came across their sister company, Epic bar. Epic Bar uses, well, let’s see, Bison and cranberry, but it’s okay because they put bacon in it too. This is the description on their site for the bar: “This unique, modern-day take on a Plains Indian staple food known as pemmican is sure to exceed your energy demands.” When called out on their complete and utter ignorance and appropriation, they use the same canned response native folks always hear: “…but we’re honoring you dude.”

Now if you are going to whole foods and you want to buy a good buffalo bar that helps support the Lakota by creating jobs and boosting their economy, then buy Tanka Bars. If you want to buy a piece of trash that makes a mockery of all native tribes, buy Thunderbird or Epic.

So what I’m saying is DON’T BUY THUNDERBIRD OR EPIC.

BUY TANKA.