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Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Mass burials teach same lessons

You live and then you die
Native Sun News Today Columnist

Dozens of American Indian Tribal Leaders across America are at these moments of this early spring, gathering their people to talk of decisions to be made that will not be business as usual. They will be the cause of unimaginable loneliness. These acts of courage, how to choose the fears and confront them will be told as history. It is a time of endemic viral infection throughout the world.

It is no accident that Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of what is now South Dakota calls for a shutdown of mostly alien traffic through his Reserve as the Viral Plague called Corona sweeps the prairie in this year, 2020. A man of insight and history, he is trying to avoid mass burials so familiar to his Tribe.

His people, the Minneconjou Lakota have a history. They were the ones who crawled away from a different plague, made up of the roaring guns of a white supremacist Army called The Seventh Cavalry in 1890. The roar, when it was ended, was called the Wounded Knee Massacre.

It is no accident, either, that Julian Bear Runner made the same call for a shutdown of the roads this same year on the Oglala Homelands (Pine Ridge Reservation) because it was his tribal leaders , friends and relatives of over a hundred years ago who buried the massacre survivors. They fed the people who were still alive while it was snowing outside and they tried to sing the honor songs to those who would have to answer the question of the future: who would live and who would die. It is still the prevailing question for every Indian in this country.

Dozens of tribal nation leaders throughout America these days are struggling to make good their vows to defend the people because there is now great panic about the future.

President Donald Trump is on the air waves making speeches to the public, this one today is to his Catholic supporters in Milwaukee. “Just Stay Calm”, he says. “It will go away.”

As I listen to the news I wonder where he gets his information. It’s not the information I am getting. When I read my latest issue of the New York Times, it said that infection cases are increasing in what are being called “the red states”, and South Dakota is one of them.

The others are Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and North Dakota. There is a surge in the infections which have been spiking since February. No stay home order in these red states, has been demanded by these governors, according to the New York Times data tracking service, and the administration is getting ready to “open up everything.”

Trump says that being president has granted him “total” authority to close and open businesses whenever he wants.


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