American Indian Things

Feb 28

miumiubyprada asked: I want to learn the Lakota language but there are no Lakota tribes in my state. Any ideas on where I could learn it?

So, I’m Lakota Sioux. And for a while I wanted to learn really badly. 

What I did was google “learn Lakota language.” And I got all sorts of useful results. There were pages with useful phrases/words. There were pages on how to address other people. There were even a few tapes and books on Amazon on how to speak Lakota. 

There is also this school called St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota. I donate to them once a month because they’re a poor school for Indian children. They have a website with a bunch of information. And I bet if you called them, they might even offer a class over the internet or something. It never hurts to ask. You could donate a couple bucks while you’re on there, too. They’ll send you cool stuff in the mail for every donation as incentive. Like return address stickers and tote bags and ornaments and stuff. They also include handwritten thank-you letters from kids at the school. It’s for a great cause.

Jan 15

(Source: m00nlight-equilibrium, via lastrealindians)

Jan 08

lakotapeopleslawproject:

#Lakota grandmothers are rejected as foster parents by#SouthDakota for being too old, rumors, having too small of a house, decades old crimes, too poor, the list goes on.Then, the children go to non-Native, private, foster group homes and psychiatric institutions. The answer is tribal foster care programs, with unbiased foster standards.Learn more about the solution: http://lakota.cc/IIaGPC

lakotapeopleslawproject:

#Lakota grandmothers are rejected as foster parents by#SouthDakota for being too old, rumors, having too small of a house, decades old crimes, too poor, the list goes on.
Then, the children go to non-Native, private, foster group homes and psychiatric institutions. The answer is tribal foster care programs, with unbiased foster standards.
Learn more about the solution: http://lakota.cc/IIaGPC

Jul 15

ricebloom asked: But it's not because of the Native American. People sometimes ask me if I use "Indians" as my inspiration, and I always say no. I've never thought about it, I've been only wearing these things because I find them pretty and never associated them with any sort of culture, I never tried to be Native American. But lately I realized that maybe with my style, I am offending somebody's culture. My question is: what do you think of that? Of having that sort of style without even knowing?

I think that you are showing signs of being unknowingly racist. It’s not your fault, don’t worry. We live in a racist world. 

I once read a list of 21 common racist behaviors and number one is what I believe you are experiencing. It is the attitude that “I don’t associate this with a certain race or culture. I don’t see people as their race. I see us all as equals.” Which is essentially denying anyone who is non-white of their experiences as a minority. You are denying that having feathers in your hair is a culturally native american icon. You are denying the heritage of the moccasins on your feet. You are actually stripping native americans of their culture by claiming it as your own, quirky “style.” 

The fact of the matter is, if our ancestry wasn’t dehumanized to the point of being a “style,” if our culture wasn’t stolen from us by the Europeans when they entered our country, white people wouldn’t have access to moccasins or regalia or anything that can be identified as culturally american indian. If our culture wasn’t so objectified, you wouldn’t even know what moccasins are.

My advice isn’t to stop dressing the way you do. It is to recognize the things you are dressing yourself with BELONG to a certain heritage, a certain group of people that you are not affiliated with. Recognize that this could be categorized as racist behavior and instead of arguing that you are not being offensive because the intent isn’t there, realize that you ARE being offensive, regardless of intent, and accept that. Sit down and say to yourself “My name is ____ and this is a racist behavior that I exhibit. I am not a bad person because of this, but I understand that some people may be offended by it. I respect them for their experiences and realize that I will never know what it’s like to be them.” 

ricebloom asked: Hello, I have a slightly complicated question for you. I see that you are strongly against using the Native American culture as a trend. I understand it, I really do. However, my "problem" is: this is my style. As long as I can remember, I've been loving using feathers and beads as accessories, boots and dresses, I've been dyeing my hair blackish for quite a while, etc. (to be continued in next question)

Jun 30

babette16-deactivated20140331 asked: Hey! Im not native at all, I'm from Europe, and I just saw your opinion about native american wannabes. Do you think I am one, if I'm in love with their cultures, the stories about them, I just can't get off my eyes of indian pictures and symbols, and I try to be a little like them (in clothing, and in my inner features)? I mean, since when I was about 10, and now I'm 17 and I'm more and more into them! What's your opinion?

I think you need to read this article about yellowface and blackface.

http://www.racebending.com/v3/background/history-of-yellowface/

It’s wrong to dehumanize or claim a culture that isn’t yours. As an American Indian, it’s really offensive when white people wear headdresses or put feathers in their hair. It’s even worse when white teenagers buy moccasins or fringe bags from places like American Eagle or Urban Outfitters. Because those places claim legitimacy and authenticity in their products, but are really cheaply made bag and moccasin look-a-likes. I mean, do you even know why indians put fringe on their shoes? If you want to respect the culture, go to a pow wow. Donate to indian schools. Don’t try to be like one of us because you aren’t. Embrace your own culture and let us embrace and celebrate ours. We’ve earned it.

And for the love of god, do not get a tribal tattoo.
 

Jan 23

lakotapeopleslawproject asked: Hi I love your Tumblr! Our law firm recently posted a video of the respected Russell Means as a tribute to his life. I'd really appreciate it if you reblogged it so we can get more views on the video. Thank you so much!

Oct 25

me-less-deactivated20130612 asked: I love your blog! I work @ Lakota People's Law Project, a non-profit law firm who is currently working with the Indian Child Welfare Act directors in South Dakota to make the Bureau of Indian Affairs keep its pledge to hold a summit on Lakota foster care. The summit is 9 months overdue! We have a petition going around on our Facebook. I've posted the link on my tumblr page. If you could reblog it, we could really make a difference! Thank you so much.

Sure thing!!

Sep 06

saltwaterwolves-deactivated2013 asked: Hi! I was wondering if you could help me with something. I grew up with my mother's side of the family, which is Cajun, and I'm well educated on that aspect, but my dad's side is American Indian, and sadly, I know nothing of my heritage from them. My grandfather died when my dad was young, so he never was able to get any information, and neither were his other siblings, not even the name of the tribe. I really want to trace back my ancestry, but I don't know where to start. Any suggestions?:)

Aug 12