The Right To Live As A Lakota


I am still seething mad about my dad’s dog being shot last night.  He was a good dog, he protected my dad’s house but he wasn’t mean.  My son and I just bonded with him last week.  He was clearly not an attack dog and my dad started chaining him up when his neighbors were scared of him and started calling the cops on him, even though all their dogs run free.

I am more mad than anything that a cop shot him.  It goes to show no matter what society you live in, cops believe they are above the law.  I try to teach my kids that cops are not bad, they are here to protect us then a cop goes and shoots my dad’s dog.  Not because he was doing his police man duties but because he is my dad’s neighbor and his badge makes him above the law.  His dogs could run the hills and his kids can shoot fireworks at houses but my dad’s dog has to be chained up.

My dad is trying to joke about it but I know he is so hurt, he was so close to Sica.  He said “Maybe the cop thought my dog was Big Foot.” Since the cop was on the episode of “Finding Big Foot” on Animal Planet trying to help the hosts find a creature known to many on the reservation as a spirit.

As Lakota we have our stories, we have our ways, we have our teachings.  We have beliefs that the four leggeds are wakan, or holy.  We are no better than them and we are to protect them as their spirits in turn protect us.  They provide us with food, shelter, and medicine.  It is only because of the magpie in The Great Race that we are the ones who hunt.  That is one of our stories.

We also honor the Earth.  That was always our way of life.  We do no cut sage or any medicine or take any food that grows on our Unci Maka without offering tobacco as a prayer and thanks and hope for the return of all things good from the plant world.  We should not litter our Grandmother Earth.  Not even a gum wrapper.

We honor and must protect our water.  Water is a living thing, Water is sacred, and we are made of water.  To poison our water is to poison ourselves.  It is to poison our children and grandchildren and future generations we won’t meet but will love.  Our people fought for us way back before we were born.  They didn’t know us but they loved us enough to know that the fight to save our way of life was right.

Our children…..our children…our children….suffer through such hard lives in poverty.  Many of us did.  Many of us know too well the feel of hunger pains or the trauma of a childhood  raised around alcohol and drugs.  Many of us fell to the same byways of addiction.  No, not every child on the rez was raised traumatically or around alcohol or even in poverty.  But a majority were and some were taken from their homes and raised in foster homes and some will never recover from those experiences.  Even though some children will have never gone through what others have one hundred percent of our children’s lives on the reservation will be affected by alcohol.  These are are wakanyeja.  Sacred gifts and we need to treat them like that.

We talk of being good relatives and then talk about each other, act stingy, or don’t help each other out.  It is this colonized behavior that is killing our way of life.  And I don’t mean having a cell phone, or ipod or ebt card, or commodity card, or driving a car.  When I say we need to decolonize that doesn’t mean throw all thing electrical and wireless away and sit in a tipi on the prairies hunting buffalo.  They took that lifestyle of living from us.  They took our ways in the Kill an Indian: Save the Man campaign.  We adjusted and we continue to adjust…to be Lakota with modern conveniences.

And as Indians, we adjusted and kept the ways of taking care of our own, our environment, our plant and animal relatives, our children, our elders, our women were held at a higher level ad never beaten….but slowly….like the days of roaming free… those ways are going away too.

We have every right to live our lives as Lakota.  We can have a pet dog, we should have to fear the tribe or the cops shooting it.  We should be able to enjoy our land without our own people trashing it.  We should have the right to have clean drinking water without having to fight for it, we should have the right to our plants, our Earth, our water, animals, and our children and elders and women deserve more respect than they have been getting.

I am tired of everyone treating each other so badly.  We don’t have to like each other but everyone has a right to be who they are….whether that be colonized or Lakota.  There is a difference.


7 thoughts on “The Right To Live As A Lakota

    • Your father has admirable forbearance. My beloved dachshund wa squashed to death by a speeding car with teenager driver. I cried & cried, berated my husband for his carelessness, to no avail. Bosco was gone. At that time my husband worked nights, so Bosco was my nighttime protector also. I slept soundly. There was a faithful bond between us. Never again have I owned a dog.. However, I hope your father will try again.
      And yes, most of us do indeed have colonized relatives and we, ourselves, have had to adapt to unavoidable “chunks” of colonization, yet our allegiance lies with those who have rested long in NDN graves.–danwenzeh.

  1. Never forget, and Never surrender. Sica will be remembered and Honored… there is no fathomable reason for his being shot.My heart bleeds for what your dad and you all are going thru with this horrific crime… You are right in how we are losing our way, bit by bit. Thankfully you help so many of us stay on course..

  2. I’ve always had a very negative view of cops, since my earliest memories. I can count the number of times a cop was actually decent towards me on one hand, and still have enough free fingers to hold something with. Hairy Ancient One or not, no cop can justify shooting animoosh (a dog).

  3. Cant believe the audacity of cops sometimes! No one can justify shooting a dog. If someone hurt one of mine, I would give ’em a long dirt nap

  4. I loved Sica like a brother, son, cousin, uncle and grandfather…he made me laugh, listened to my stories, gave me comfort, he was my protector when I was alone. He even once wiped me out when I got in his way to the truck after being let off the chain. But that was my fault, I was in his way and he didn’t want to miss the chance of running free. I mourned him like I have all my relatives, and tell stories of him to this day to keep his spirit with me. I have had other dogs, and I have had other dogs who have passed away also. And the same as my relatives I still remember them and how grateful I am to have had them in my life. And I pray they are running free in the spirit world happy.

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