indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Sunny Clifford: Connecting with Lakota language and heritage
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Filed Under: Opinion
More on: native american heritage month, oglala sioux, sunny clifford
 
"You know you come from a nation of oppression when a month has to be dedicated to your heritage. It’s the only way the rest of the country will remember how their freedom came to be, if they can see through the majesty of feathers, beads, and face paint. And with that note I want to share my experience with my identity struggle as a Lakota growing up on an Indian reservation (where I still live). My mom raised me as an English-speaking Catholic. We lived off the reservation for a few years, tried to make it in American society, but eventually made our way back to the rez. We lived in California before we moved back, and I came home from school one day telling my mom how we played Indians and cowboys. She sat me down and told me I was an Indian and that I was born on a reservation and that’s where we were from. I was in the first grade and I had no idea. She told me I was an Oglala Lakota and she told me we had our own language and land. I couldn’t grasp the concept of an area of land being set aside for one group of people to live on. I did grasp the concept of language and immediately began hounding her about it. She taught me a few words, but wouldn’t teach me how to speak Lakota, that decision is her own accord. I’m sure she felt she had valid reasons for not teaching me, the result of oppression and colonization as I later learned.

We moved back to the reservation shortly after that time. I didn’t know what I was in for as a kid, but I was excited to be around other Indians. The kids weren’t nice on the reservation and it wasn’t easy for me to make friends like it was in California. I was obviously different in my mannerisms than the other kids. I grew up being called a white girl even though my skin isn’t translucent nor are my eyes colored. I was also called church girl because I attended Sunday services at the local Catholic Church and somehow everyone knew about it. I also attended bible school during the summer months because there isn’t much to do on the reservation. Bible school was a little bit more accepted, although I attended way past the age requirement and was ridiculed for that."

Get the Story:
Sunny Clifford: What Native American Heritage Month Means to Me (Indian Country Today 11/19)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Indian children exploited for fundraisers (11/28)
House to consider bill to reauthorize Indian housing programs (11/28)
First Nations Development Institute awards grants to colleges (11/28)
Migizi Pensoneau: Sen. Tester betrays our people on Keystone (11/28)
Ned Blackhawk: Remember the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 (11/28)
Steven Newcomb: Leadership and the liberation of our nations (11/28)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Native Hawaiians working for sovereignty (11/28)
Hechinger Report: Tribal colleges see lower graduation rates (11/28)
Native women ask city in New York to find new name for park (11/28)
North Dakota tribe puts oil refinery on pause to review plans (11/28)
Al Jazeera: NMAI highlights jewelry of talented Navajo family (11/28)
African-American lawmakers seek probe into Pamunkey Tribe (11/28)
Colorado River Indian Tribes report armed robbery at casino (11/28)
Wyandotte Nation to debut part of $30M expansion at casino (11/28)
Mashantucket Tribe seeks to expand sale of alcohol at casino (11/28)
Mohegan Tribe still pushing for commercial casino in New York (11/28)
Native Sun News: Urban Indian organization seeks new center (11/26)
Tentative schedule for White House Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
White House invites youth to DC for Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
Leslie Wheelock: Touting nation-to-nation trading and tourism (11/26)
Kevin Abourezk: A mystery of Indian agents with same name (11/26)
Michael Allen: My ancestor took part in Sand Creek Massacre (11/26)
Dean Suagee: EPA's Clean Power Plan affects Indian Country (11/26)
Mark Rogers: Finding something to be thankful for this holiday (11/26)
Former convicted leader of Crow Tribe seeks to clear his name (11/26)
Blackfeet Nation denies political motive in arrest of ex-leader (11/26)
Appeal set in dispute over Navajo Nation presidential hopeful (11/26)
Judge allows NFL team lawsuit against young Native activists (11/26)
NPR: Alaska Natives put traditional spin on Thanksgiving meal (11/26)
Column: Group helps rescue dogs from Pine Ridge Reservation (11/26)
First Nation offers reward for information about missing man (11/26)
First Nations face loss of funds over failure to submit salaries (11/26)
Santa Ysabel Band responds to state lawsuit over online bingo (11/26)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation to meet over liquor sales at casino (11/26)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe could lose casino's liquor license (11/26)
Mashantucket Tribe looks to shift revenues away from gaming (11/26)
Agua Caliente Band selects planner to revamp land near casino (11/26)
Washington gaming panel cuts jobs as non-Indian revenue falls (11/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe to issue IDs at tournament (11/25)
James Giago Davies: Polygamy and shunning in Lakota culture (11/25)
Ben Shelly: There's a lot to be thankful for on the Navajo Nation (11/25)
Cara Cowan Watts: Share the blessings of the Cherokee Nation (11/25)
Joe Sexton: BIA's 'ugly' land policies stuck in the 19th century (11/25)
Jenny Durkan: Cop who killed Native man wasn't charged either (11/25)
Oklahoma claims Citizen Potawatomi Nation must collect taxes (11/25)
more headlines...


Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.