I am a Lakota woman. Native American, Indian, NDN, whatever. However. I was born on the Pine Ridge reservation and grew up rich with the Lakota culture. I am proud of who I am and where I am from. I’m sure that is obvious.
I believe in the progressive, forward movement of all of our Native people from Canada to South America. I believe we are making changes, waking people up about our causes and issues and thing that we need to change or have changed.
See a few years ago I was a different person. I thought, why do people care about mascots? Why do they care about such piddly little things when in Indian country we have so much more pressing issues. I was quick to put down another Indian’s fight. I was quick to be negative.
But I’m only halfway set in my ways. Not as old as my kids think and I am ok to admit that I don’t and never will know everything. That admission opens me up and allows me to keep learning. And with that new attitude I also opened myself to be accepting. There are causes today I will actively fight for that a few years ago, I didn’t think needed attention.
I am more willing today to be supportive of others causes and fights. Especially that of a Native brother or sister. I mean, maybe we don’t agree on what they are fighting for, but I would support them for doing something for the future of our people and I would accept. Who is to say we as Indigenous people cannot fight for ALL of our rights, causes, issues, etc?
That support and acceptance shows unity in our Red Nations and that is the kind of strength we need to advance.
So when I posted a Lakotas For Obama shirt, someone was quick to ask me if I forgot Russell Means so quick since he didn’t like Obama. First off, who could forget Russell? Not any Native and then some. He made an impact by fighting the good fight for our people to gain understanding in a world that pushes us in the past.
The lesson I learned from Russell’s life and legacy, always stand up for myself and my beliefs. Don’t let anyone tell me what I should and shouldn’t believe in. Be strong, be proud of being where I am from, and it is ok to be opinionated.
I could never forget Russell Means.
Everyone that influenced me in my life made me who I am, but I will never stop becoming who I am until I stop breathing. There are always discussions that get deep as to “how Indian are we”, that I don’t even think we should be needing to even discuss.
We are all here for a reason and the Creator blessed us by making us Indian. My belief is he choose the strongest of souls to be Native Americans because he knew we have so Many Fights and battles ahead of us to show the world who we are. I go through this journey as a Lakota and if I come back, I would hope to come back as a Lakota again. I could not imagine another lifestyle, another way. I support my fellow Indigenous people around the world in whatever they need to do for their people. Whatever purpose we are here for.
I believe in what I choose to believe in. For someone to say something like, but you are Native, you’re not supposed to like this or that is kind of the same as stereotyping. I am already balancing being a mother of four with being an artist, writer, etc. I was born Lakota. There is no way I can be “more” Lakota. And you can’t label me, stereotype me, or tell me how to be. I am an individual. I am not a cookie cutter NDN who follows a set of rules. I will fight for what I believe in, I support others Natives in their fights, and I may like things other Indians do not.
Or Johnny Depp.
Sue me. (Just kidding, don’t I’m broke.)
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