I could get all statistical about the legalization of alcohol on the Pine Ridge reservation. I could talk about how it is right or how it is wrong until I am blue in the face and forget to breathe. I could sit on the fence without a yard and throw my two cents all over the place, or I could just completely be quiet about it. I probably did almost all of those things all summer. Truthfully, it is a shock it passed. Let us pray together for the future of our children.
But I am tired of the referendum vote and tired of being disappointed, life goes on and as some people say I shouldn’t even care because I don’t live down there. Well I have a son down there. I have family down there and to not care would make me heartless.
What I do care about is the only time our reservation is in the news is almost always over alcohol, almost always over poverty, almost always over despair.
It is as if the people don’t exist.
The lovely grandmothers whom we all respect with our whole hearts so much for being such life givers in more way than one that it is rare to meet anyone on the reservation who does not fear their grandmother because no matter how tiny she may be in her elder years, she walks with a great deal of pride and is stronger than many many men.
The Lakota will fight for everything they believe in, to the end, to loss of freedom, some to loss of life. Those are the kind of people that hardly get mentioned. Those are the people are ancestors were. So many Lakota women went through so much in life, had hard lives, they are strong, and stand up for their beliefs.
Pine Ridge is a lovely place, steeped deep in culture. You will be offered coffee, you will see children who knew the songs since they were three years old, children who automatically feel the beat of a drum and either start to sing or dance.
There is nothing fake about our culture. You will not feel the tourist like atmosphere of a souvenir shop.
The art is genuine, the songs are sung with heart, we still have our ceremonies and traditions, the drum beats echo that we are still here. We are still the same people we were blessed to be born.
We are more than a vote.
We are Lakota.