Somebody asked me recently how I live in the city but maintain being deeply devoted to being Lakota?
I stumbled across my words, thought about it while everyone was looking at me at the dinner table. I remembered though my mom told me never to answer a question right away because then that means you didn’t even think about the answer. That is something she was taught by her grandmother.
Then I knew.
Although we Lakota live our life a certain way, we were raised differently than other cultures. We don’t look people in the eyes when speaking unless we’re going to throw down, it is a sign of disrespect. I had to tell my counselor that one time, “I am not lying because I don’t look you in the eyes, I was just raised that way.”
We won’t argue with elders. Or anyone older than us, even if we feel we are right and they are wrong. We let them have their way. And also the meme I found on facebook, If an Elder is Standing, You Better Not Be Sitting. We also make sure children and elders eat first. All these little things we learn from our elders were passed on for generations.
There are many things and ways I was raised that can define who I am. Going back for ceremony doesn’t make me more Lakota, my blood quantum doesn’t make me more Lakota or less, how many words or songs I know doesn’t make me more Lakota.
Because I make some kick ass frybread, and know how to make wasna doesn’t make me more Lakota. Beading and doing quillwork doesn’t make me more Lakota.
I am Lakota, not by choice, but because I was blessed. I don’t try in anyway to be “more” Lakota or less. I just simply am Lakota because it was the way I was raised. It is who I am, not really who I try to be or that I have to be devoted to it.
I was born Lakota, I will die Lakota, and for that reason, I am thankful every single day.