Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Call to Young Warriors, to all Young People

This came to a ONE Spirit friend today, and since the following permission appears at the end I thought it would be wonderful to share here on the blog. Please respect this permission if you choose to pass the article along to others. Thanks!

This article may be reprinted, reproduced, and/or re-distributed unedited with proper attribution and sourcing for non-profit, educational, news, or archival purposes.

A Call to Young Warriors, to all Young People

Lakota Spiritual Leader and Head Man, David Swallow, Speaks to Lakota Youth


by David Swallow,

Lakota Spiritual Leader and a Headman of the Lakota Nation

Edited and Published by Stephanie M. Schwartz,

Member, Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)

© December 27, 2008 Porcupine, South Dakota

Photo by Leslye Abbey © September, 2008 Porcupine, South Dakota

Young American Indians today suffer from many problems of the modern world. Alcohol and drug abuse, early pregnancies, gangs, and psychological disorders are everywhere on the Reservations. However, a lot of the development of these issues can be historically traced back to World War II or shortly before.

The 1924 Indian Citizenship Act created a special kind of dual citizenship which made American Indians into citizens of the United States (for the first time) as well as citizens of their own sovereign nations. Finally, Indians could vote. But also, for the first time, they could be drafted into the military.

The young Lakota Warriors looked at the military as a way to prove themselves as warriors. They believed it was an honorable extension of the traditional warrior ways.

So, young American Indians went off to World War II. After 100 years of forced boarding schools which resulted in generations of young Indians losing their sense of identity, family and traditions, the military became like the family they had never been allowed to have. They were grouped into companies which lived together and fought together and bonded with each other as a unit, as a family.

When the young warriors came home, they often became lost. With their military family no longer existing, gangs began to form to take their place. An example is the Hell’s Angels, the famous motorcycle gang, which was started in the late 1940’s. It is commonly believed to have been founded by ex-members of famous military fighting units of the same name.

Then, in 1953, long after Prohibition had ended, President Eisenhower made it legal to sell alcohol to American Indians for the first time. This changed the lives of all Indian people.

In his grandfathers’ day, the Lakota warrior came from a good family where he had been taught good behavior, good manners, respect for all life and good relationship with all living things. His parents never lied to him and he never lied to anyone. He was reliable and practiced honor and respect with a clean mind.

Even with all those qualities, he still had to qualify to be a member of a warrior society. He had to prove himself. It wasn’t just about fighting. But when he did fight, even then he practiced respect. He never mutilated another warrior.

The young warrior also never stole from his own people. He never beat-up or took advantage of his people. He never practiced sexual assaults on anyone.

The young warrior knew his real purpose was to protect his people and their lives. He knew his purpose was to protect the c’anunpa carriers, the sacred pipe carriers, and the holy men and spiritual leaders. He also listened to and learned from the holy men and spiritual leaders. He not only respected and protected life but he also learned to practice compassion. He acted with honor.

The young warrior knew that if he did all this, life would be beautiful and all would live in harmony.

But with the effects of alcohol, drugs, and the continuing policies of the Federal government towards the Plains Tribes, most of this has become lost and forgotten.

These policies aren’t so different from those practiced against other ethnic groups throughout history. The Irish, the Italians, the Jewish, the Gypsies, and many others all experienced what was called ethnic cleansing. But, for the American Indian, the policies still continue today.

These policies try to force us to live in ghetto housing called Cluster Housing. These policies have taken away our traditional foods that kept us healthy. These policies have created a private state prison system that makes money on incarcerating our young people rather than rehabilitating them. These policies have kept my children, my grandchildren and nephews and nieces, from learning how to survive and live from the land.

These policies and politics have created the “haves” and the “have-nots”, a two-level society of extremes on the reservation favoring corruption and nepotism in BIA and reservation government relationships.

We have no YMCA. Many have no job or any possibility of a job. We have no vocational training centers. We have no residential treatment centers for children and teens as an alternative to jail like they have in the cities.

Hope is hard to find. So belonging to a gang has become the only way for many of our young people to feel good, to feel needed and wanted.

Now, they say the Lakota are “Third World Welfare Recipients.” But worse is the fact that our young people steal from each other. Our people shoot and hurt each other. They practice deceit and abuse our girls. Elders now live in fear. The traditional values of the Lakota warrior no longer exist. They have become lost to alcohol and drugs and gangs.

So today, I am calling on all young Lakota warriors and young Lakota people. We need you to help save the future generations to come. Not me, not Grandpa, I don’t need saving. But your children and your grandchildren do.

Get back into your own traditional spirituality and traditional ways and values. Those hold the answers for you. Those will guide you and help you to know who you are more than any gang ever could. And it will be you who will bring the harmony back to our lives.

It will be you who will bring back hope to our People.

Ho he’cetu yelo. I have spoken these words.

David Swallow, Wowitan Yuha Mani

Porcupine, South Dakota - The Pine Ridge Reservation

This article may be reprinted, reproduced, and/or re-distributed unedited with proper attribution and sourcing for non-profit, educational, news, or archival purposes.

Stephanie M. Schwartz may be reached at SilvrDrach@Gmail.com

View other publications of Stephanie M. Schwartz at

Freelance Writer and Editor www.SilvrDrach.homestead.com

Member, Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)

President, Link Center Foundation www.linkcenterfoundation.org

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Ride

Greetings from the land of our Honorable Chiefs Crazy Horse, Big Foot, Sitting Bull, and all who have gone before us. Winter is upon us…the beauty of white crisp snow and brisk fresh air it brings renews my spirit. I pray for our elderly who have an enormous amount of knowledge and pray our generation and our younger generations learn from their teachings.

The Si Tanka Wokiksuye (Big Foot Ride) is happening this week. I took my nephew to participate in the Ride. The journey our relatives are taking is in remembrance and honor of those who followed the same path. My nephew has really struggled the past few years and he is on this journey to pray not only for himself and all his relatives but to feel the spiritual connection between himself and tasunka (horse) as they will ride as one. Cyrus loves horses and he said when he rides it makes him feel free and feel good about himself, that is a real plus considering the issues he deals with especially for child his age. The everyday struggles with alcoholism and drug use is overwhelming for a 13 year old. My prayers are with our people as they make this journey.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

Mona Brave

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Coffee: Wakalyapi (wah-kahl-yah-pee)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Soup: Wahapi (wah-hahn-pee)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Coat: Akataha Ogle (ah-kah-dah-hahn oh-glay)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Scarf: Nakputaka (nah-kpue-dah-kah)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

John DuBray in Norway

This is from Kari in Norway who attended the Alternative Fair with John.

If someone has been waiting for my report about John DuBray's visit in Oslo, I wanted to wait until I got news about what happened after I left that Sunday afternoon. John spent a week in Norway so there were many things I wasn't part in. I spent 24 hours there with him at the fair and it was a meeting between 2 people not used to the big city. It was a meeting I will never forget and I felt I met a true, honest friend.

A lot of people wanted to talk with him. One that was really special was a little boy. His mother brought him over and said the little one thought he had been an Indian in an earlier life. She told him about a horse they had, about sickness in the family. John gave the little boy a gift and after they let, this boy came back to John over and over again. You can see him and his mother in one of the pictures. People also came to John with presents and some with money to help his people.

Well, I went back home on Sunday. John stayed until Wednesday and he was on the Norwegian radio and even on a TV show where he talked about the reservation. And now, they want to go to Pine Ridge to make a documentary and John was asked to be in it. That was wonderful news! I found that many Norwegians have no idea about the conditions on the reservation.

After the fair closed Saturday evening, we went to get a bite to eat. John stated something there as we were walking in the streets. Maybe he knew what we Norwegians always have said.... that everything is so big in America?? I am still smiling. His words were: "Your cars are so small". I hope our roads will cross again.

A message from Mona

Good Morning,

I greet all of you with a warm handshake. I write from the land of the Lakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. We have had a spell of arctic air and it is freezing cold (-18 yesterday). We warmed up a degree today - yeah!!

My children are sponsored by Shelly and Carol.... they have been a great help to our family.

I am the mother of one biological son, an adopted son and the mother to three nephews and one niece. I love the children so much. I knew Tunkashila (grandfather) would bless me with lots of children. We struggle at times but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I feel blessed to have warmth during these cold days. The other day, we took wood out to a family and they were burning old rummage clothes, so I know we are blessed to have warmth during these cold days.

May Tunkashila bless the program and its people for all the help they provide throughout Lakota Country!!!!

Doksa Ake!!


1934 Indian Reorganization Act

On June 18, 1934, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act (48 Stat. 984). Section 16 of the act allowed one or more tribes or bands residing on the same reservation to consolidate and reorganize as a single "tribe" by adopting constitutions and bylaws.

In 1934, four historic Sioux bands were residing on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, the Minneconjou, Blackfeet, Two Kettle, and No Bows. These four historic Sioux bands consolidated and reorganized under section 16 of the IRA as the "Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe."

In 1934, the historic Oglala band was residing on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The band also consisted of members from other Sioux bands who were incorporated into the tribe (such as Chief Lip's band, whose members were Hunkpapa and Brule Sioux). The historic Oglala band and the members of other Sioux bands residing on the Pine Ridge Reservation consolidated and reorganized under section 16 of the IRA as the "Oglala Sioux Tribe."

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Identical: Wajila (wahn-zjee-lah)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Cut: Wakse (wah-kshay)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Before: Sni hani (shnee-hah-nee)

Monday, December 15, 2008

How The Name Sioux Came About.

Dakota, Nakota and Lakota. The people of these nations are often called "Sioux", a term that dates back to the seventeenth century when the people were living in the Great Lakes area. The Ojibwa called the Lakota and Dakota "Nadouwesou" meaning "adders." This term, shortened and corrupted by French traders, resulted in retention of the last syllable as "Sioux." There are various Sioux divisions and each has important cultural, linguistic, territorial and political distinctions.

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Word)


Chubby: Wohota (woh-hoh-dah)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Beer: Mnipiga (mnee-pee-ghah)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lakota Daily Word

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Oak: Utahu (ue-dah-hue)

Friday, December 12, 2008

South Dakota Declared a Disaster Area By President!

December 12, 2008


President Bush has declared a disaster in South Dakota after a blizzard in early November caused millions of dollars of damage in 13 West River counties.

Gov. Mike Rounds has said a preliminary assessment by the state and by FEMA showed nearly $5 million in emergency costs and damages.

Lakota Word of the day, 12-12-08

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)


Cider: Mnisa (mnee-shah)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Daily Lakota Word 12-11-08

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words)
Theirs: Tawapi (dah-wah-pee)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lakota Words

Hi Everyone,

I'm going to try and maintain a daily Lakota word, and description for all to learn. Please don't hate me if days go by without a new word.

Edward Broken Feather

Daily Lakhota Wico Iye (Words) 12/10/2008

Chicken: Kokoyahala (koh-koh-yah-ghahn-lah)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baseball & Hot Dogs

This came from the latest One Spirt Newsletter:

A Baseball Story

Darrin Merrival – A Pine Ridge High School Baseball Coach
John Selvaggio – A Hot Dog Vendor from New York
Matthew Mazzuco – A Student at Branford High School in Connecticut

What do all these three people have in common? They all share the same hope of keeping the dream of Baseball alive for the young people living on Pine Ridge Reservation.

Darrin Merrival coaches the Pine Ridge High School Baseball team in South Dakota. Darrin really enjoys coaching the young men on the team and they have all come along way since he first began coaching. In the beginning, Darrin’s team went two years without a win. Now, they are competing with almost every team they play.

As soon as the high school season is over Darrin coaches a little league team in the summer. The summer baseball league is sponsored by Oglala Sioux Child Care program. Darrin stated, “I am really proud of the young men that played for me this summer. I can still remember all of the smiles on those young men. That is what keeps me going.” Darrin is also a math teacher at the Pine Ridge High School.

The baseball season starts in March but Darrin is concerned about the amount of baseball equipment and funds they will have to keep the young men playing.

Darrin stated, “My dream is to someday have our own Little League field and High School field. Currently we play on a softball field which is too big for Little League and too small for High School. Oglala Sioux Child Care program sponsors the younger division, but they can't build a field they can only maintain it. I hope there is someone out there that reads this that can help us financially. We can do the labor, we just don't have the financial resources. Our Reservation is currently the second poorest county in the nation. There is not a lot of things for our youth to do. I remember a few years ago when our team went to All-Stars and only a few of them had cleats. My nephew talked to one of the young men that played against us and he said "Those guys are pretty good, but most of them don't even have cleats". This year Brad Conroy of Oglala Sioux Child Care program child care got us a deal ($30) and every young man had cleats for the season.”

John Selvaggio is from Long Island, New York. John owns a hot dog stand from which he solicits donations for Pine Ridge. John’s passion is to help get the young men the sports equipment they need. John displays a sign in front of the stand asking for baseball equipment to be donated to the youth in Pine Ridge. John took a trip with his family this past summer to Pine Ridge to deliver the equipment that he had collected to Darrin in person. John, his wife, daughter, and father-in-law came to Darrin’s father’s buffalo ranch and stayed the night in their mobile home. The next day Darrin gave them a tour of his father's ranch. A couple days later, Darrin took all of the equipment to the field and let the youth pick and choose what they wanted and was all put to good use. John stated that as soon as they returned from the trip he received the news that another 20 bats, 15 mitts and 4 sets of catchers gear were collected. John is looking forward to another visit next year to deliver the equipment.

Darrin is also patiently awaiting another arrival of equipment from Matt Mazzuco. Matt, a senior at Branford High School in Connecticut, ran a baseball camp and collected gear as payment for the camp.

Matt Mazzucco remembered when one of his high school teachers collected items that were donated to the Pine Ridge Reservation through the One Spirit “Christmas Gift Box Program”. He decided that he too wanted to help the reservation, but with a specific focus in mind. Matt, who plays baseball, wanted to benefit the athletic programs on the reservation. Most athletic programs typically lack adequate equipment, which often discourages kids from participating. Consequently, Matt organized a baseball clinic for 9- to 13-year-olds at the Connecticut SportsPlex. The clinic featured players from a minor league baseball team that taught the game's fundamentals. There was no admission to attend, but players should bring donations of baseball equipment that will be given to the reservation."When I researched the reservation, I was amazed at the level of poverty that can occur in this country so I wanted to do a project that would make a difference and that I could look back on with pride," says Matt, who's doing this project in conjunction with Eagle Scouts. "As someone who's played baseball since I was five, I feel it's a great game that everyone deserves a chance to play. It makes me feel good that I have the opportunity to make an impact on several kids' lives and give them a chance to play baseball.”Darrin and his team are very grateful for the equipment he teams has received from both John and Matt and they will continue to need support to keep their baseball team running. Aside from their need for equipment such as gloves, cleats and bats, Darrin and his team face the frustration of the lack of finances to pay for the field and for transportation. Several times Darrin and his team were not able to make it to their game because they did not have any way to transport the team to the location.

If you would like to participate in keeping baseball alive on the reservation or to donate any baseball equipment, please contact Jeri Baker at jbaker@nativeprogress.org.