Strong Heart Warrior Society Statement on a Supposed Lakota Alliance with the Rainbow People to “Take Back” the Black Hills
June 28, 2015 (updated)
Did the Treaty Councils give credibility to Chase Iron Eyes, Cody Hall, Leonard Peltier’s son or anyone else to create an alliance with the Rainbow people to take back the Black Hills?
How can this be? Because we have never lost the hills. They have always been ours, as those who have worked so hard for our people understand.
How is that decades of work by the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council and treaty councils from our sister bands – the many meetings of elders, visits to Washington D.C., statements, and lawsuits – are being ignored and made invisible because a few individuals make these claims?
All the while this splinter group of the Rainbow Family already has:
- Violated and dismissed traditional Lakota protocols,
- Disregarded, attacked, mocked, and threatened Lakota elders and grassroots leaders,
- Preventing grassroots Lakota leaders from speaking by continually interrupted and mocking,
- Camped and put infrastructure on top of Lakota cultural sites and possible burial sites,
- Brought pot, meth, LSD, and other synthetic drugs into our Sacred Hills,
- Recruited youth from our reservations to share their drugs and give access to the reservations,
- Intentionally inflamed divisions within Pine Ridge in order to create divide and conquer,
- Brought in fake medicine men to give them blessings, while dismissing fluent Lakota language speakers and cultural knowledge keepers on our own lands!
Given these things, why are Lakota people so quick to make agreement with the Rainbow people but cannot speak out against the abuse of Lakota lands and people?
The original announcement denying the Rainbow Gathering in the Black Hills has come from the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council – a traditional governing body because traditional Lakota protocols were not respected. Yet a very skillful effort has occurred to focus attention on the stand made by one or two individuals when it was the Treaty Council who took this stance and asked Strong Heart to act. How quickly this truth is forgotten for attacks against individuals who are doing nothing more than what was asked.
If these behaviors and comments by Rainbow people were happening in any other activist realm – ending Native mascots, protesting racism at a hockey game or Rapid Regional, or seeking release for Leonard Peltier – our Lakota people would be blowing up with anger and rage. But because this so called Rainbow Family is throwing around large sums of drug dollars, our values as Lakota people are being bought and sold.
Just because a few “good white men” come to the reservation and pick up trash or act respectful does not speak to the thousands more Rainbow people that have – in well documented reports – trashed Indigenous lands, disturbed and shitted on ancestral remains, and trampled on the sacred sites of our sister nations of Turtle Island. But this handful of “good white men” are supposed to control the many thousands of others who follow to the Black Hills to get high and play indian with our ceremonies and way of life? This is not sane! And it’s a very shortsighted stance that does not keep the survival of our land and people at heart.
The white man has always sent his best talkers- the “good white men,” his gifts, and his money into our lands to persuade us to one thing or another. This is nothing new. And there have always been those that want to believe the smooth talk and promise of respect the white man has offered – take his money and his way of life. But we know how these promises have turned out. Look around you, the truth is in front of your eyes!
But because Rainbow people are throwing around their drug money in reservation stores and picking up a few bags of trash, suddenly they are the Lakota’s Great White Saviors?
We have never the lost the Black Hills. It has always been, and will remain, ours. The Treaty Councils of our people have fought for this since the white man sued for peace with the Great Sioux Nation and our allies. But now, somehow because white people throw around their drug money on the reservation these Treaty Councils are no longer needed? How demeaning to our elders, ancestors, and our way of life is this?
We have forgotten how to be strong Lakotas once again.
Out Treaty Council has put Strong Heart on the front lines to defend our sacred hills and our way of life. It is time for the Treaty Councils to make a stand and speak out for what they believe in as their sacred duty to protect the Great Sioux Nation.