The Native American community have had their land taken away from them by the American government, and their natural practices have been thwarted because of this. Their natural ways of living off the land, of using horses for transport and hemp to make strong fibrous material has been outlawed, just to keep in line with the National modes of practice as a controlling force towards their community. Consequently, there have been many suicides, the rate of poverty is high and many natives turn to alcohol as a last resort. I feel that we could set an example for the American national community by showing a simpler, more direct way to live in the midst of our modern day capitalism and consumerist ways. Many people are wanting to return to this natural way of life, and I feel it would be most honorable if Barack Obama were to regard this community as an indigenous community worthy of their freedom and natural human rights.
On the night she heard of Jumping Eagle’s suicide, Martinez said, she could feel the victim’s pain—as if the body of the dying girl had briefly broken its bounds and inhabited her own. “I know why a lot of young girls try to kill themselves on the rez,” Martinez said. “We’re all in constant danger of losing ourselves, losing our identities. It’s a daily struggle for each and every one of us to be fully Lakota. And sometimes we lose the struggle, and then the men take out their feeling of worthlessness on the women, the women take out their feelings of worthlessness on themselves, and everyone takes out their feelings of worthlessness on the children.”
“We’re in dire distress, but we don’t need anyone to come and save the Indian. When we honor our customs, and when we perform ceremonies, and when we listen to our ancestors, then we have everything we need to heal ourselves within ourselves.”
Although reduced in their scope, government seizures of land from Indian reservations continued through the first decade of the 20th century (hatched areas above). In 1980 the Supreme Court ordered the U.S. government to pay for its appropriation of the Black Hills. With interest, the amount is now more than a billion dollars, but the Sioux won’t touch it.
They want their land back.The original land in 1851 measures 5 times of what is available to the Sioux nowadays. On Pine Ridge and five other reservations, the Sioux own five million acres of their original treaty land. Through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, tribes can arrange leases of reservation land, used mainly for grazing. Some leases go to Indians, others to outsiders. Because of the way land was originally allotted, the Sioux have been left with the least productive tracts.
Please join me to petition for the recommunion of the original land, for the sole purpose of use by the Native Sioux Indians! Allow them to live in peace and work on the land to gain profit for themselves, allow them to be a distinct unit, but still accepted, part and parcel of the wider community.
Please see The recent National Geographic article: Life After Wounded Knee: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/08/pine-ridge/fuller-text
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