Drumming inside a tipi at the Lakota Waldorf School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The school immerses students in tribal language, culture and heritage. Photos by Kevin Abourezk

Ivan Star Comes Out: Colonialism robbed Indian people of our land and culture

Is “Freedom” only for colonialists and white supremacists?
By Ivan Star Comes Out
Native Sun News Today Columnist

Are people burying their heads in the sand when it comes to white supremacy and all that hate and immorality that comes with it?

I think about our ancestors who resisted U.S. expansionism and willingly fought to the death. Why do we, as members of the new federally-sanctioned “Oglala Sioux Tribe,” continue to endure needless suffering on and around the Pine Ridge Reservation?

As descendants of the Okaspe Yamni (Three groups/shards), also known as the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Fires), and now as “Sioux” and “Indian,” we are all unnaturally subjected to colonialism, oppression, exploitation, and discrimination. Instead of living life, I spent my adult years struggling to understand why these Euro-Americans call us “prairie n----rs.”

I learned that they stole our land by stealth and treachery. However, they believe they own the land because they fought honorably for it. This certainly explains their attitude and treatment of natives. We are reminders of their dastardly past. No amount of hatred and will ever erase what they have done believing they are “God’s chosen people.”

At any rate, the damage is done and their hatred will not stop anytime soon. However, as native people, we can undo our own minds from the deeply programmed concept of colonization, if one wants to. A huge looming question centers around the idea of one’s willingness to begin the process of escaping foreign domination.

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

Are we ready to develop our own way, free of any external interference and influence? It is disheartening to know that we are afraid. Do we want to endure 80-plus more years of this wretched and unnatural existence? At the same time, we have current “duly enrolled tribal” people who are supportive of this colonial existence.

I present some quotes here to help individuals to “see” that we are not alone with this unkind existence. The very first and the most important development toward understanding what it is we are struggling under is a formalized education process, is. As with anything in this world, we must know what we are dealing with if we hope to master it and then conquer it.

As Fred Hampton (1948-1969), an African-American activist and Chair of the Illinois Black Panther Party, had said, “With no education, you have neocolonialism instead of colonialism, like you’ve got in Africa now and like you’ve got in Haiti. So what we are talking about is there has to be an educational program. That’s very important.” Sadly, Hampton was assassinated in 1969.

Francisco Sionil Jose, a widely read Filipino novelist, writer, and journalist (English language) depicts the social substructures of class struggles and colonialism in his home land. He wrote, “Colonialism subdues in many dulcet [pleasant, sweet] guises. It conquered under the pretext of spreading Christianity, civilization, law, and order, to make the world safe for democracy.”

Jose’s novels and stories are exactly what Fred Hampton was referring to earlier before he was killed. Filipino society appears to be closely related to our own situation here on the Pine Ridge as well as with all of “Indian” country in North and South America.

Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-1966), former Prime Minister of India, said “We would consider it our moral duty to lend all support to the ending of colonialism and imperialism so that people everywhere are free to mold their own destiny.” For decades, the lament of freedom from oppression and “determining our own destiny” exists synonymously with the anger and misery often expressed here on the Pine Ridge.

Lupita Nyong’o (born 1988, is a 25 year-old Kenyan-Mexican actress), explained “What colonialism does is cause an identity crisis about one’s own identity.” The brutal world-wide history of colonialism is one in which white people stole land and people for their own gain and material wealth. The Pine Ridge is struggling with this exact situation along with language, culture, and history amidst their poverty.

Patrisse Cullors (born 1984, is a 34 year-old Los Angeles artist, organizer, and freedom fighter and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter) wrote, “To campaign against colonialism is like barking up a tree that has already been cut down.”


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Is “Freedom” only for colonialists and white supremacists?

Ivan F. Star Comes Out can be reached at P.O. Box 147, Oglala, South Dakota, 57764; via phone at 605-867-2448 or via email at mato_nasula2@outlook.com.

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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