James Giago Davies: Oceti Sakowin assert sovereignty once again

James Giago Davies. Photo from Native Sun News Today

Where was the media at a most important meeting in Rosebud?
Without fanfare, that’s where history often gets made
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Columnist

Oceti Sakowin, not a term familiar to most outside Indian country, and is seldom used inside Indian country. It’s the name of a people, with a rich and storied history that stretches back into the mists of time, a people whose origin can only be explained to others, but especially to each other, through myth and legend.

That’s what happens when you must rely on oral history, when you must rely on ancient spirituality and the mystical perceptions of the shaman to make sense of the natural world. Every race and culture on earth goes through this hunter/gatherer stage, and as each passed through it, successive layers of knowledge and wisdom connected each past reality to an emergent reality of deeper enlightenment, until men went from stone tools to rocket ships.

What it not generally understood by those who have left that hunter/gatherer reality far behind, is how much was lost in the leaving. It has no value to them, they do not need to know about the plants, the animals, the forests, the mountains, the rivers, the valleys, the way people related to one another. Not in the way the aboriginal man knew them.

Modern science based perceptions of the natural world are essential, and only a fool rejects them, but they come at a price. An aboriginal man can be thrown naked into a harsh world, his mind armed with knowledge that will keep him alive, keep him warm, sheltered, clothed, fed, safe. He knows nothing of modern biology, geology, climatology, and he may scoff at the need for them, but he can survive where the most learned men in those fields would perish in short order.

That was offered only as an explanation of why the Oceti Sakowin think the way they do, not as a criticism of the modern world, or as praise of their aboriginal worldview. This is the world we live in now, and the Oceti Sakowin find themselves lost and disheartened in this reality; fate did not allow them to grow from their hunter/gatherer stage into their own modern culture over the fullness of time.

The Europeans who took their land, destroyed their horse culture, also grew from hunter/gatherer cultures, but fate dealt them a better hand, they were not invaded by another culture while still in their hunter/gatherer stage.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Where was the media at a most important meeting in Rosebud?

(Contact James Giago Davies at skindiesel@msn.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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