indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Dynamic Homes
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...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Film company aims to bring Native stories to life (9/2)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Native candidate joins rival in governor's race (9/2)
Jeromy Sullivan: Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe cleans up homelands (9/2)
Walt Lamar: Tribes face problems dealing with legalized marijuana (9/2)
Jennie Stockle: Fans mock Cherokee people with Trail of Tears sign (9/2)
DaShanne Stokes: State-recognized tribes need eagle feathers too (9/2)
BIA holds final meetings on reforms to federal recognition process (9/2)
Comanche Nation recognizing Code Talkers with new gravestones (9/2)
Police in Manitoba seek information on two missing Native sisters (9/2)
Indian studies professor denied position over remarks about Israel (9/2)
Alaska Natives excluded from secret military intelligence program (9/2)
Opinion: Decision calls Indian payday lender's arbitration a 'sham' (9/2)
Judge schedules hearing in Gun Lake Tribe's gaming land litigation (9/2)
Poarch Creeks see revenues increase as gaming operation grows (9/2)
Viejas Band looking to expand casino after reaching new compact (9/2)
California tribes are drawing large numbers of Filipinos to casinos (9/2)
Mohegan Tribe wants 'right-sized' commercial casino in New York (9/2)
Tim Giago: Oglala Sioux people aren't afraid to say no to easy cash (9/1)
Native Sun News: Release of secret uranium mining data ordered (9/1)
Mark Trahant: It's past time for tribal leaders to govern the nation (9/1)
Jennie Stockle: A safe space for opponents of offensive mascotry (9/1)
John Christian Hopkins: A big thank you to the friend I never met (9/1)
National Museum of the American Indian celebrates 10th birthday (9/1)
Mother arrested in connection with child's death on Navajo Nation (9/1)
Opinion: Energy development can help secure tribal independence (9/1)
Cherokee Nation announces $170M casino and retail development (9/1)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe won't be sharing gaming revenues this quarter (9/1)
Seminole Tribe on track to see gaming revenues increase to $2.1B (9/1)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to reopen gaming facility in February 2015 (9/1)
Editorial: Tohono O'odham Nation didn't play by 'rules' with casino (9/1)
Opinion: Gaming good for Eastern Cherokees but not for fellow tribe (9/1)
Opinion: Federal recognition only means more casinos in California (9/1)
Native Sun News: Tribes walk out of contract support cost meeting (8/29)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe spends $2.4M on property (8/29)
Mike Johanns: Retracing steps of great Ponca Chief Standing Bear (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: Racist mascot a sign of deeper problems in US (8/29)
Lauren Jones: Affordable Care Act benefits Native Americans too (8/29)
Gila River Indian Community to see $77.6M from Cobell buy-back (8/29)
Energy boom linked to rise in human trafficking in Indian Country (8/29)
Navajo man heads up Native American Homelessness Task Force (8/29)
9th Circuit hears case over Yakama Nation tobacco manufacturer (8/29)
WAER: ICWA matters handled in 'kangaroo courts' in South Dakota (8/29)
MPR: Red Lake Nation opposes liquor license near dry reservation (8/29)
Tule River Tribe helps remove marijuana operation on reservation (8/29)
Omaha Tribe signs agreement with EPA to improve utility services (8/29)
Las Vegas Paiute Tribe rejected 'gift' from NFL team's foundation (8/29)
KPLU: Spokane Tribe maintains close ties with baseball franchise (8/29)
Opinion: HUD loan program a small step to boost Indian housing (8/29)
DNA study finds distinct population of Native people in Arctic area (8/29)
Tribes closely watching Big Lagoon Rancheria casino land dispute (8/29)
Tohono O'odham Nation to build off-reservation casino in phases (8/29)
State questions Forest County Powatatomi Tribe's slot machines (8/29)
Quapaw Tribe eyes local support for commercial casino in Kansas (8/29)
Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (8/28)
Rudolph Ryser: Indigenous nations need leverage to bring change (8/28)
DOI extends $100M in Cobell buy-back offers on two reservations (8/28)
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.