Ivan Star Comes Out: Indian people can no longer fail our ancestors

Ivan F. Star Comes Out

As Lakota we have a moral duty to re-establish our presence in the future
By Ivan F. Star Comes Out
Native Sun News Today Columnist

I read an article a while ago and a part of it plastered itself onto the “roof of my mind,” if such a thing exists. That part stated social iniquities like overeating, drugs and alcohol, excessive gambling, and suicide are not things people choose to do. The passage mentioned these iniquities as symptoms of a lack of culture, self-esteem, and self-identity.

I agree author (unknown), except these last three are also symptoms of a deeply disruptive event occurring in nearly everyone’s life. Clinical authorities have defined such an experience as a threat to one’s life, to one’s bodily integrity or sanity. All-in-all, such an event can overwhelm a person’s normal ability to cope effectively with it.

Although, clinicians generally address these devastating symptoms at a person-to-person basis, they also collectively affect a group of people, especially if they share a common traumatic experience. For instance, indigenous people endured a continuing series of atrocities since 1492 all committed by the newcomers to the land.

Indigenous people were an extremely diverse group in terms of language, history, and world view, among other cultural traits, but they shared common traumatic experiences when they encountered the avarice of the European settlers, like the wheedling of their ancestral lands and forced obliteration of their way of life.

Terrorism can go both ways as governments have been known to practice terroristic methods while those who resist such practices are usually perceived and labeled terrorists against the system. Hardly anyone acknowledges the continuing violence against people of color in education, law enforcement, judicial system, and government, especially against natives.

Anyway, the massacre that took place at Wounded Knee (1890) is an example of unresolved trauma as the progenies of those murdered there are still trying to find closure. Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires) descendants still feel the enervating effects of the atrocity, especially when 18 Medals of Honor were awarded to the soldiers for slaughtering unarmed men, women, and children.

I am Hunkpapa-Oglala and a recovering alcoholic as well, going on 38 years. I mention my recovery here because alcoholism is a symptom of unresolved trauma, as is drugging, obesity, suicide, child abuse, single-parenthood, burying oneself in his or her work, and being unable to concentrate enough to be competitive in contemporary society.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: As Lakota we have a moral duty to re-establish our presence in the future

(Ivan F. Star Comes Out can be reached at PO Box 147, Oglala, SD 57764; 605-867-2448 or via email at mato_nasula2@outlook.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News