On my rez, daylight saving time is most commonly known as “time change.” Many people use the phrase “spring forward, fall back” to remember which way to turn the hands on their clocks. We perform this ritual of moving the hands on our clocks twice each year. I always wonder why.
Maybe I should be saying that we fast forward the settings on our digital clocks because most all timepieces are digital nowadays. In any case, it seems really useless to me to be moving the clocks forward or backward. Some of you might believe the practice gives us an extra hour of daylight. I believe the practice is a total illusion. Are we really that gullible to the illusion of it all?
If you believe that moving your clock forward or backward gives you more time then you are definitely caught up in the illusion of it. The sun will continue to rise and set each day whether we move the hands on our clock or not.
We are told to move the hands of our clocks before going to sleep on the night before the time is slated to change. How many of you forgot to do this last Saturday? The time change always happens at the mysterious hour of 2:00 am on Sunday mornings.
Have you ever tried to explain to a child why the time has to be changed? Oftentimes children see through the illusions the adults are caught up in. In any case, if you forget to move the hour of your clock forward or backward you woke up on Sunday morning either an hour behind or ahead. Some of you totally forgot to mess with the clock until you realized you were an hour late for work on Monday morning.
Seems as though we all barely get our sleep patterns straightened out and then it is time to change the clocks again. But I suppose we are bound by the often pointless laws or customs, such as daylight saving time, of our tribe, state, country, region or continent. Many countries of the world have never observed daylight saving time. Some countries used to observe daylight saving time but must have realized the illusion of it all because they don’t move their clocks around anymore.
Two states do not move their clocks forward or backward at all. People living in the states of Arizona and Hawaii enjoy waking up at the same time all year round. They are not subject to daylight saving time. At one time I lived in Arizona. I thought it was great to not have to live under the illusion of “losing” or “gaining” an hour in the spring and fall.
I guess I should say that the only part of Arizona which actually observes daylight saving time is the Navajo Reservation. I suppose the tribe suffers less confusion by observing the time change rules throughout their lands simply because of the fact that their reservation extends across three states. It is probably easier for everyone to be on the same time.
Another thing I do not believe is that time change saves energy. If daylight saving time really saved energy everyone on the reservation would have electricity, propane, wood and coal all year long. Each month of the year every household in Indian country would all be able to afford the outrageous prices charged for electricity and heating or cooling costs. If daylight saving time were so efficient there would not be one house on any rez sitting in the dark because someone couldn’t afford to pay the electricity bill.
In fact, daylight saving time can actually increase energy consumption. For instance
, “A 2008 study examined billing data in Indiana before and after it adopted DST in 2006, and concluded that DST increased overall residential electricity consumption by 1% to 4%, due mostly to extra afternoon cooling and extra morning heating; the main increases came in the fall. The overall annual cost of DST to Indiana households was estimated to be $9 million, with an additional $1.7–5.5 million for social costs due to increased pollution.”
The lifestyles of our ancestors were not determined by a clock. The people once moved according to the seasons and the stars. Daylight was taken advantage of in terms of gathering food and fuel. I believe our ancestors used the time they had wisely because they did not enjoy all the energy consuming conveniences that we now have. They had to consume their own energy to make sure the lives of their families continued.
Another illusion I believe we get caught up in is the concept of “Indian time.” Some people use this phrase in a derogatory manner. For instance, when an event or person is running late people might say they are on Indian time. To me, Indian time is when something happens according to when everything has been prepared for it to take place.
For example, we don’t see ceremony running on a clock or daylight saving time. Ceremony is conducted in a timeless space and manner. The creation of sacred energy is not complete until all the prayers have been offered. We don’t hear spirit say “okay I am only here for sixty minutes and then I have to leave or I will be late for the next ceremony.”
I doubt I can change the fact that most of the North American continent observes daylight saving time. I do question whether the ritual of moving clocks forward or backward every six months serves any real purpose. Those of you who have children in school or work full time will know what I mean when I say daylight saving time is disruptive.
Why must we always follow blindly along with the rest of the country? Our all knowing, all powerful tribal councils should change daylight saving time to Indian Time and stop the wasicu illusion of “losing” or “gaining” an hour every six months.
Vi Waln is Sicangu Lakota and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
Her columns were awarded first place in the South Dakota Newspaper Association
2010 contest. She is Editor of the Lakota Country Times and can be reached
through email at email@example.com.
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