indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Ivan Starr: The 'progress' that destroyed Indians destroys the globe

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: ivan starr, languages, native sun news, oglala sioux, south dakota
     

The following opinion was written by Ivan F. Starr. All content © Native Sun News.

The ‘progress’ that destroyed the Indians is now destroying the world
By Ivan F. Starr

Most people in this country hold the view that our Lakota ancestors were primitive and this includes some of the enrolled members of the new Oglala Sioux Tribe.

In other words, that “Indian” of olden times did not have the mental capacity to reason or rationalize. For this, my ancestors were feared and eventually slaughtered by the newcomer under the notion that they were less than human.

Actually, both of these people from the opposite hemispheres of the globe regarded each other in the same manner. They each observed a strange looking person who spoke a strange garbled language. In fact, we have a standing argument where Natives argue that the European language is backwards while the newcomer argues that the Lakota language is backwards.

One thing that can be considered in reverse is in sentence structure. Putting it in simple terms, if the English language is object, verb, subject, and then the Native language is subject, verb, and object. The problem is that this observation has turned into an unwavering argument that continues indefinitely which makes this a senseless squabble.

I am Lakota and learned my language during the first years of my life and was able to read and write English within one year of attending a parochial residential school. I am fortunate today to be able to speak, read, and write both languages fluently or enough to communicate effectively with both languages.

However, because my Lakota language is not as widely received and understood as the English language, I offer a couple of explanations that I hope will present a clearer view of Lakota thought and philosophy. I cannot do anything about the general biased view or perceptions but I can provide a tangible perception through my first language.

The first involves a cultural protocol or perception of the child in Lakota society. The second is about a life-long situation affecting everybody, both native and non-native, in the field of education from a Lakota point of view that originates from actual historical experience. In other words, for our Lakota ancestors, education was not what it means to the majority of people today.

But first, let’s take a quick peek at the Lakota word for child or children, Wakanyeja. I deciphered the word by breaking it into syllables. The base word is Kan. Wa – makes a noun more general (sometimes pluralizes). Kan – a vein, artery, sinew, tendon, cord, or string. Kanyeja or Kanheja – a child. Cekpikan – the umbilical cord. Kanyewapa – inwards; towards the center.

This interpretation falls in with the ancient protocol wherein the tiwahe (family) was the foundation of the tiospaye (extended family group). This refers directly to the nuclear family, meaning a self-reliant family with a male, female, and their children. Such a union contributed to the strength of the tiospaye and a number of such tiospaye contributed to the strength of the Oyate (nation).

When a man and woman decide to have a child (ren), that child became the mainstay of that family. In other words, children were the glue that held a family together. The parents had specific roles that served to protect and nurture the child who is, in essence, the center or core of the family unit, the lifeline of the tiospaye and the nation.

A taboo is a ban or inhibition devised and observed by a group for its own protection. Ancient taboos also played an important role in ancient Lakota society. The fact that many could not readily grasp intense philosophical concepts called for such a ban or taboo to steer them toward a desired action. Therefore, considering a child sacred is accurate in a worldly sense, not so much in a religious or mystical sense.

Now, let’s take a quick look at the concept of education in this country. Education can occur anywhere, whether it is on the open plains, a kitchen, on the job, catching a horse or burping a baby. It is a life-long process that begins at birth and is an integral part of our lives. Education involves both formal learning in schools and the whole universe of informal learning.

Schooling, on the other hand, is a specific formalized process that is limited to the young. Unfortunately, schooling is where the ancient cultures of Native America became obscure. This process was deliberate and meant to eliminate the “Indian” from the consciousness of the new society. Our ancestors were well aware of what was happening but had been rendered powerless.

Next, let’s peek at Native music. Songs were composed for nearly every part of their lives, such as lullabies, songs to commemorate deeds, songs of love to reinforce stringent courting standards, etc. Songs recorded history too, good and bad. One old song speaks of the young men who were responsible for retrieving their song and dance from federal prohibition by fighting in WWI.

Someone composed a song commemorating the genocidal process of the 1800s. Even the tune or melody elicits feeling of sadness and captures their desolation. I estimate this song to be approximately 100 to 150 years old. I present the words here for the sake of awareness. The language is old and quite different from the language we speak today. Its translation process took a very long time.

“Wayawapi ki bli (hi) ciyapo, wounspe ki ecela tka, nake (nu) la yaunpelo. Anpetu iyohila Wasicu ki tehiya unkaupelo. Wayawapi ki nagiksapapo, Oyate ki wacin niyanpelo."

Translation: "Readers (students), motivate yourself and work hard, Education is all that is left, yet you live carefree. Every day the Whiteman brings us hardship. Readers (students), be alert, the people (nation) are depending on you."

Our ancestors were looking at this deliberate eradication process squarely in the face, as one would say. They endured wars waged against them simply because they were in the way of the newcomer’s so-called progress. Let’s be mindful that this “progress” is now destroying the globe.

Anyway, they were forcibly herded from their ancestral lands to other unfamiliar territories where many died from exhaustion and hunger and left there on the path. They survived the senseless massacres of unarmed men, women and children, their relatives. They signed over 500 treaties with the new sovereign and honored each one while the newcomers defiled every single one of them.

While all this was happening, the newcomer looked upon them as primitively regressive and treated them accordingly. As we enter the 21st century, a majority of their descendants still hold the same views their so-called pioneer ancestors had. Some Native people today also hold views that speak of animosity toward the Wasicu.

All-in-all, we have come a long way in terms of time. For many though, time did not change much of anything.

(Ivan F. Star Comes Out, P.O. Box 147, Oglala, SD 57764; 605-867-2448; mato_nasula2@yahoo.com)


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

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Gathering scheduled in June at site of former BIA insane asylum (4/29)
Native Sun News: Tribal college student overcomes challenges (4/29)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ancestors are gone but language lives on (4/29)
Mike Rounds: Eliminate 'hateful' and 'paternalistic' federal laws (4/29)
Harlan McKosato: White privilege fuels Donald Trump's fanbase (4/29)
Indian Health Service faulted for lengthy waits for patient care (4/29)
Mescalero Apache woman to compete for Miss United States (4/29)
Environmental Protection Agency pays little to tribes for spill (4/29)
Measure to declare bison as official mammal ready for Obama (4/29)
John Wayne's negative views about tribes resurface in debate (4/29)
Chumash Tribe picks Kenneth Kahn as first new leader in years (4/29)
Mille Lacs Band announces upgrades as casino marks 25 years (4/29)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees warmer reception to casino bid (4/29)
Florida racks up legal bills in gaming fight with Seminole Tribe (4/29)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe sues Indian Health Service over shutdown (4/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves eight bills at meeting (4/28)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe to debut justice center (4/28)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne official fired from tribal job (4/28)
Native Sun News: Comments sought on Black Hills mine cleanup (4/28)
Editorial: Native Sun News endorses Hillary Clinton for president (4/28)
Cronkite News: EPA slammed for response to Gold King Mine spill (4/28)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump advisor accuses tribes of terror plot (4/28)
Alex Jacobs: Hillary Clinton must answer to role in Honduras coup (4/28)
Northwest tribes inch closer to reburial of Kennewick Man remains (4/28)
Santee Sioux Tribe hosts task force to address substance abuse (4/28)
Huge crowds flock to New Mexico for annual Gathering of Nations (4/28)
Muckleshoot Tribe to host $50K 'Gold Cup' for Indian relay racing (4/28)
Member of Puyallup Tribe develops 'Teepee' tribal directory app (4/28)
Man in long fight with Shingle Springs Band faces longer sentence (4/28)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe enters gaming agreement with Mohegan Tribe (4/28)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees casino as a path to self-sufficiency (4/28)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe announces another hire at casino (4/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe welcomes rejection of rival casino bid (4/28)
Senate passes measure to include Indian Country in tourism plans (4/27)
Amanda Blackhorse to deliver commencement speech at Haskell (4/27)
Native Sun News: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe aims to stop pipeline (4/27)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge artist gains national recognition (4/27)
Brandon Ecoffey: 'Bull Dawg' represents the Oglala Lakota Nation (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Tribes endorse Native candidates for US Congress (4/27)
John Thune: Tribal citizens suffer with Indian Health Service care (4/27)
Cronkite News: Tribes support more protections at Grand Canyon (4/27)
Gabe Galanda: A moral responsibility to stop tribal disenrollment (4/27)
Vernice Moncooyea Willis: Bernie Sanders deserves our support (4/27)
Jennifer Denetdale: University must stop celebrating genocide (4/27)
Eastern Cherokee group hails Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act (4/27)
Leader of Fort Peck Tribes blames baby's death on drug abuse (4/27)
Chippewa Cree Tribe and FBI investigate theft of drugs at clinic (4/27)
Former comptroller of Crow Tribe accused of embezzling $28K (4/27)
Congress set to pass bill to declare bison as national mammal (4/27)
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton moving closer to nominations (4/27)
Fond du Lac Band won't confirm plan for site adjacent to casino (4/27)
Graton Rancheria on track to complete $175M casino expansion (4/27)
Pokagon Band to debut casino expansion project by end of year (4/27)
Connecticut tribes delay decision on potential casino until 2017 (4/27)
Oregon Lottery official fired as Lewis and Clark ads come down (4/27)
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.