Editorial: Meth and alcohol abuse are destroying our way of life

Sacred places

The abuse of our Sacred Wakanyeja (children) must stop
By Native Sun News Editorial Board

It is devastating for the Lakota people, a people who called the children “Wakanyeja” sacred, to see the names of Lakota children in the newspapers every week where they are taken from their parents by the courts.

Too often they lose their children because of drugs and alcohol which oftentimes leads to the abuse of the children. And abuse does not always mean physical abuse; it can be the abuse that comes with the loss of hope because their parents are destroying their own lives, and hence the lives of their children, because of the substance abuse.

Staff Writer Richie Richards has been doing a series of articles on women caught up in the use of meth and how it is ruining their lives and what it is doing to their children.

It is a major form of hypocrisy for we, as Indian people, to preach about the Wakanyeja and about how precious they are to us and then turn our backs on the horrible things that meth and alcohol are doing to them.

Meth has become a major factor in the destruction of human lives in Rapid City and on the Indian reservations. It is cheap, easy to acquire and apparently gives a desirable high to the abusers.

But when the abusers crave the drug and have no money to buy it, they often resort to criminal acts to obtain it. This could mean outright theft, hocking everything that is salable, or embezzling from the tribe or their employer.

Sadly, if a person is charged with a crime involving alcohol and is sentenced to wear a leg bracelet they can still abuse meth because the bracelet will not expose them when they go in for their testing.

It is especially aggravating to listen to some of the abusers as they brag about how traditional they are or religious and then to see them abuse themselves and their families by using meth and alcohol. As we said, this is the worst form of hypocrisy.

And yet every day we see the names of the children’s parents in the legal sections of the daily newspaper practically shouting to the world that Indian parents are incapable of caring for their children as they lose them to the legal system. And it doesn’t help one iota that they are faced with a court system with all-white judges who know absolutely nothing about the historical trauma that is impacting the lives of the Indian people even today. They need help not the loss of their children and incarceration.

The Wakanyeja should never be subjected to this kind of abuse. They should never have to grow up under these severe circumstances. We suspect that this is the major cause of the youth suicides so prevalent in Indian Country.

It is imperative that some of the Lakota women are rising up to fight this addiction that is destroying their lives and that of their children and we applaud them for their sacrifices and determination. We can no longer allow meth and alcohol to destroy our culture and our way of life and worse yet, the lives of our children.

For more news and opinion, visit the all new Native Sun News website: The abuse of our Sacred Wakanyeja (children) must stop

(Native Sun News Editorial Board can be reached at editor@nsweekly.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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