The ones that matter most are the children.
– Lakota proverb
This blog has been something I have been meaning to write for a long time.
Let me take you way back to when I was just a child. My mom had taught me to hate “white people.” She taught me that they stole our land. See I was confused, because we didn’t owe any land. We were dirt poor, living off other people. Barely eating and my mom drunk all the time. She taught us that the “white man” took our heritage. I was again confused, because I was never introduced to any of that. It made me question if she knew or even tried to learn it.
What I did learn, my “lakota” mom abused me. My step dad raped me. What I did learn was that me being Lakota was a bad thing, because all I learned was the drugs, abandonment and the selling of children. What I did learn from being “Lakota” was to be rude, unkind, and disrespectful to anyone who was not “brown” skinned. I felt ashamed to be apart of a hurtful heritage.
After the years went on, I was taken away from my mom and into a “White” family. My real mother disowned us for a long time. She blamed them for everything. What I learned from her was…being lakota meant hatred, unkind words, abuse, drugs and never forgiving.
My new family taught me something valuable that I wanted whole life. How to be “Lakota.” They took me to powwows, studied the legends and myths and even learned the language. It was hard though. I still feel ashamed to be me.
When I tell people I am Native America, they ask me questions like “can you speak it?” Or “Can you dance?” I tell them no. They would laugh at me and say ” How do you not know?” I gave them some random made up reason, why? Because I did not have a proper answer. My mind was always blank. I felt ashamed to be apart of something that I knew nothing about. No matter how much I tried to be apart it, I would only see the hatred and struggle.
All over social media, I would see the hate towards others. I would see the drugs. I would see the abuse. It hurt me inside, it sadden me. I wanted to be that generation to change the way that the world viewed Native Americans. There is so much hate, why? Because right when the new generation is born, the hate is taught. It is taught through our past. Now, I am not saying it was good or we should forget. It should change the way we think, the way we want to grow our heritage, not hang on to something that only hurts us more. We will never forget those who were murdered or taken from their home, but it is time to use that hurt and change it. Change something that hurt us for generations. Be the change and make the change.
We all have our own views on what happened, because it was not properly taught, but altered in each generation. It was grown on hate, the drinking started, the rape started and the selling of children started. I was taught to respect my elders, but my elders never respect me. I felt ashamed to apart of a culture that treated children so badly.
As I got older, I visited medicine men, chiefs and went to many powwows. I wanted to figure out if I was seeing this all wrong. I quickly learned that being “Lakota” is hard. The traditional ways are dying off, everyone wants money. I was looking for an answer that I knew I would never find. At the powwows all I saw was something I wished I was apart of. The color of the dresses, the way the shawl dancers danced. The names of all the dances. I wished I knew that part of my heritage. I was afraid to ask the questions, because I always got treated badly for trying to learn something I wanted be apart of.
In many Lakota stories, they tell of the respect towards women and children. They tell of the courage the men had to protect their families. They tell of the hard working tribes that never gave on anything. Once history begin, that changed so many generations and the stories begin to change. The stories begin telling of hatred, struggle and pain. The stories of our ancestors was forgotten. The traditions were quickly forgotten. The depression started and it never stopped. The depression was given to each generation like a disease. The disease will never stop and there was no cure.
I was ashamed to be apart of a heritage that shared so much hate towards other people, when I learned that I can be my own person. Being Lakota made me who I am, I learned who I was by learning about how it REALLY was, not by those who have forgotten. I read the myths and legends to remind myself that I should never be ashamed my culture and heritage, no matter how many times I struggle to remember my own language or why people question me. I taught myself to be respectful and find peace. Our traditional ways have taught us many things that we have forgotten and I am digging everyday to remind myself that it should never be forgotten.