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Ivan Star Comes Out: True tribal histories are concealed in America

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: ira, ivan star comes out, native sun news, oglala sioux, south dakota

Ivan F. Star Comes Out. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today

Native America concealed and omitted from American history and society
By Ivan F. Star Comes Out
Native Sun News Today Columnist

Oglala District Representative, Stephanie Leasure, offered me an opportunity to provide prayer for the first day the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council’s April session. The meeting was at the Br. Renee Hall located at the Our Lady of the Sioux (Catholic) church in Oglala.

I offered my prayer in my first language. I am not sure if my words were understood since most do not speak Lakota. I asked everyone to offer their own prayers also so we could all pray as one. It went well as all present knew it was a moment for prayer and acted accordingly.

Being asked to offer prayers for meals or gatherings has always been awkward for me. I am not by any measure a “medicine man.” I am a faulted human. In fact, it was a confusing time many years ago when I was given a pipe for the first time. In time though, I learned of that ancient way of life and gradually accepted it. I am still learning today which will continue until my time here is done.

I was also asked to provide some words of encouragement. I stressed my brain trying to come up with the proper or appropriate words. I resorted to the wife’s astuteness as she has been my guidepost for the past 46 years. The words “speak your mind” became my inspiration and it became easier. However, I don’t know how my words affected the participants.

I spoke of the true nature of the congressional law, the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934, under which a constitutional form of government was written and implanted here. The agents in charge of the reservations did not bother to develop a formal course of study to educate the people on it. Instead a standard curriculum for teaching a biased American government was instituted.

The absence of schooling regarding this new “tribal” or IRA government included our history and the old tiospaye system. It has only served to obliterate the traditions of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires). My point being that formal Social Studies curriculum regarding the IRA, the Interior Department, etc. is still lacking in all the reservation elementary schools.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Native America concealed and omitted from American history and society

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

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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