Native Sun News: Oglala elder shares importance of Wounded Knee

Leonard Little Finger with one of his takojas (grandchildren). Courtesy photo

Lakota elder Little Finger talks about Wounded Knee
Responds to criticism by Swan and others with dignity and respect
By Richie Richards
Native Sun News Staff Writer

OGLALA –– The recent attempt to purchase Wounded Knee by the National Historic Site of Wounded Knee, Inc., led by Tim Giago, has been a source of great emotional reaction from those with personal, vested interest and those who continue to be abject voices for those opposed.

An online petition on sponsored by James Swan, founder of United Urban Warrior Society, against the purchase of Wounded Knee from current owner Jim Czwyczynski claims to have met its goal of attaining 5,000+ signatures with the help of Lakota Country Times owner/publisher Connie Smith who paid Facebook to circulate the online petition to a larger audience. Giago’s newspaper, Native Sun News is a competitor of Smith’s paper.

The persons who support the efforts of Giago and his lawyer Mario Gonzalez have been the targets of online and public campaigns of hate and opposition based on fabricated and exaggerated language used by persons like James Swan, according to Giago and supporters.

As part of this campaign is a descendant of two survivors of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, Leonard Little Finger. This Lakota educator and historian have been named in a 26-person “list of known sell outs involved in the sale of the Black Hills,” according to Swan’s United Urban Warrior Society website.

Native Sun News interviewed Leonard Little Finger, founder of the Lakota Immersion Childcare in Oglala, regarding the comments made about his involvement in Wounded Knee, the Black Hills and his family’s legacy.

“First of all, I don’t have any particular retorts back to what was said; however harsh it is. The reason for that is, as an elder, I’m pretty well disabled but I still have a good mind,” says the Lakota educator.

Little Finger uses his knowledge of the Lakota thought to explain complex issues. “I grew up speaking Lakota and so I know the things that are important. The importance of my life as an elder is that I see the realm of sacredness. Everything else beyond that is not compatible; so what is said is the frustration, the anger that the individual may have. I’m not there to respond back at what is specifically said,” confirms the Wounded Knee descendant.

The relationship with sacred sites continues to play a role in today’s lives, says Leonard, “There’s really two laws that we live by; one is the law that’s made by man and the other one is made by God. The Black Hills becomes very relevant to that. Today, there is more English thinking than there is Lakota thinking.”

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