Native Sun News Today Columnist
This racial intolerance also exists on the reservation between the so-called “mixed bloods” and “full bloods.” Is it possible to bridge this culture gap between non-natives and natives? Although there are a great number of obstacles that have deterred past reconciliation efforts, I believe it can be spanned. It is not impossible. Next, as natives, we cannot change the current Euro-American mindset since that is their business. But, we can certainly change our own minds about who we are. We must absolutely realize that the early Euro-Americans misinterpreted our ancestral customs and ceremonies through the biased lens of their own Christian worldview. They thought our ancestors were “wild savages.” As an unfortunate result, our culture and history today are badly distorted. I believe this is the biggest deterrent to properly addressing this situation. Many natives are unaware of their culture and no longer speak their language. So far, reservation residents have mindlessly and adamantly condemned each other. It is an accepted way of life here and in the Dakotas and adjacent areas. There are definite cultural differences between native and Euro-American populations. Without the benefit of respect or comprehension, Lakota cultural values are now awkwardly intermingled with non-native culture. I present here a comparison from the Indian Teacher Handbook, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. It covers different areas each with opposing cultural standards.
Star Comes Out. Photo courtesy Native Sun News
On the environment, the ancient indigenous value promoted “respect for the earth, living in balance and harmony with nature and taking only what was needed.” The new non-native value promotes “a constant search for new ways to control and master earthly elements and takes great pride in building dams, cutting forests, and polluting the natural elements.” The indigenous value on hunting was for sustenance only and weapons are looked upon as tools for sustenance rather than weapons of war. The non-native value “hunts for the entertainment (i.e. trophy hunting) aspect of it.” Regarding time, the native value views it as “a very relative thing. One does things as they are needed.” Non-natives values, time is of utmost importance.
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 email@example.com. Copyright permission Native Sun News Today
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