A Brief Conversation: Decolonization

A Brief Conversation: Decolonization


Imagine people are wanting your flesh. Imagine that there’s an award for your skin, dead or alive. Did you know that in the 1800’s, there was an unspoken law stating that if three “Indians,” or Native Americans, were traveling together, they were considered a war party? And that they could be shot down and killed without any legal consequences?

Now, let's push this further: imagine they couldn’t carry your body as proof. As such, Americans thought to rip off the scalp of a Native person, believing it to be sufficient proof of the killing and perhaps meriting some reward--gold, maybe. The point is, R***skin is actually what they called the scalps that were ripped off. Separate the two words and set them in a sentence and you’re right, they are harmless. But the thing is, that word is a representation of a dehumanizing game.

Another name that has to change is, “Harney Peak.” Did you know that the man that this mountain was named after was a murderer? Did you know that he murdered our women and children? That’s another name that needs to change back to its original. The Lakota name for it is “Hihan Kaga Paha,” which means "where the owls dwell"; it’s one of our beloved sacred sites. Every year our people hike up Hihan Kaga Paha to make prayers, and it’s a serene, beautiful and rejuvenating ceremony.

Fast-forward through a slow and ruthless hundred years and imagine you’re being torn away from your mother’s arms. You're forced to go to a place where they slap your hands with rulers for speaking the only language you know as young as five years old. Pretend they cut your hair off, hair that was taught to be your soul.

Now we’re in the present. Pretend your aunt or aunty or woman relative is missing, along with hundreds of other indigenous women, and that no one is saying a word. This is confusing to you because women are sacred. All the while the word feminism is floating around. What is feminism to you, anyway? Your tribe is matriarchal. Balance is essential and validated between both men and women because both contributed towards society.

So what happened?

And then there’s the use of “illegal immigrants” and protecting our country in the GOP debate. I was so confused. This is our country, this is our home. Did you know that during World War II, approximately 25,000 Native Americans volunteered (more than any other ethnicity not drafted) to fight in the war because it was our home? And that many of these veterans returned to continue facing discrimination, despite their sacrifice?

I’m not illustrating these images to guilt trip our non-Natives or scare our Natives, but rather to think about these issues.

And then there’s this statistic: “Research by some scholars provides population estimates of the pre-contact Americas to be as high as 112 million in 1492.”(Denevan, 2012) And today, according to the U.S. Census there are 5.2 million Native Americans. That’s 4 percent of what we were!

Remember what our grandmothers would say: before we were born, we asked the Creator to come here. We wanted to live and to experience what it is like to be human. Remember that we crossed the stars, we chose this life and our parents and our environment because we knew we could handle it. A grandfather has also said that we are spiritual beings. Mithitha kuye le’ wokiksuye. Remember this, my relatives.

Unci also said, “Humor is survival.” Laugh. Have fun, free yourself and know that there are so many cool things out there! One, you get to answer fun questions to people who don’t know about you. Try to be nice though, you might be the only Native American they meet. Two, you get to show your school or college how to build a tipi during indigenous pride day (other tribes vary). Three, you get to dress traditionally on special occasions and be connected with your ancestors. Four, when it gets hard, think of everyone that’s standing behind you! We’re here for each other. No matter what tribe we’re from, we are together.

In the midst of it all, hope is always here. That’s why we’re still here. Tenacity and fortitude is happening. And what’s happening now is decolonization.

Native people are modern, and there are modern issues. We read, write, go to school, speak the mainstream language, and lift up our own language and culture. For example, Lakota is now a language to choose from in the iPhone settings (which I’m super excited about). Native people are in fashion, science, music, art, math, sports, are mothers, fathers, carrying the nation all while maintaining our way of life. It’s essential to be twice the scholar. This is the condition of our state of mind, and I’m very confident in us.
Cover Image Credit: http://www.jumpintoabook.com/2014/05/custers-last-battle-paul-goble/

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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8 Types Of People Fetuses Grow Into That 'Pro-Lifers' Don't Give 2.5 Shits About

It is easy to fight for the life of someone who isn't born, and then forget that you wanted them to be alive when you decide to hate their existence.


For those in support of the #AbortionBans happening all over the United States, please remember that the unborn will not always be a fetus — he or she may grow up to be just another person whose existence you don't support.

The fetus may grow up to be transgender — they may wear clothes you deem "not for them" and identify in a way you don't agree with, and their life will mean nothing to you when you call them a mentally unstable perv for trying to use the bathroom.

The fetus may grow up to be gay — they may find happiness and love in the arms of someone of the same gender, and their life will mean nothing to you when you call them "vile" and shield your children's eyes when they kiss their partner.

The fetus may grow up and go to school — to get shot by someone carrying a gun they should have never been able to acquire, and their life will mean nothing to you when your right to bear arms is on the line.

The fetus may be black — they may wear baggy pants and "look like a thug", and their life will mean nothing to you when you defend the police officer who had no reason to shoot.

The fetus may grow up to be a criminal — he might live on death row for a heinous crime, and his life will mean nothing to you when you fight for the use of lethal injection to end it.

The fetus may end up poor — living off of a minimum wage job and food stamps to survive, and their life will mean nothing to you when they ask for assistance and you call them a "freeloader" and refuse.

The fetus may end up addicted to drugs — an experimentation gone wrong that has led to a lifetime of getting high and their life will mean nothing to you when you see a report that they OD'd and you make a fuss about the availability of Narcan.

The fetus may one day need an abortion — from trauma or simply not being ready, and her life will mean nothing to you as you wave "murderer" and "God hates you" signs as she walks into the office for the procedure.

* * *

Do not tell me that you are pro-life when all of the above people could lose their lives in any way OUTSIDE of abortion and you wouldn't give 2.5 shits.

You fight for the baby to be born, but if he or she is gay or trans, you will berate them for who they are or not support them for who they love.

You fight for the baby to be born, but if he or she is poor or addicted, you will refuse the help they desperately need or consider their death a betterment of society.

You fight for the baby to be born, but when the used-to-be-classroom-of-fetuses is shot, you care more about your access to firearms than their lives.

It is easy to pretend you care about someone before they are even born, and easy to forget their birth was something you fought for when they are anything other than what you consider an ideal person.

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