Watching the news about Standing Rock has depressed me. Watching uranium companies devastate the land in South Dakota in the 1970’s and now watching oil companies do even worse things is really hard to take. Why can’t we just go solar and respect our land? But, I digress.
The Lakota people are spiritual descendants of the buffalos and used to live in harmony with this magnificent animal. The minute the buffalos were wiped out, so were the Lakota people. Their whole culture revolved around buffalos and nature. Due to generations of children being sent to boarding schools, few of the Lakota people know how to be natives any more or speak their language.
Reverse Boarding Schools.
The solution seems to be reverse boarding schools. For the Lakota nations to create their own language schools for children 3-7 to live and speak only the Lakota language and learn only the Lakota culture. They could even invite white kids to come to school with them which would be a reversal of “Nazi nuns” forcing their sterile white Christian culture on Indian kids. After that, there needs to be an economic structure where people could have jobs where they could speak the language. The problem is that there are hardly any jobs in the reservations these days regardless of language. But, I had a positive vision.
If the Lakota people want to get together and quit complaining about the past, and start doing something about the future, good things could happen. The buffalos can be revived if there is a seed population. Buffalos can be bred. The linguistic loss can also be rebred. There are about 2000 speakers of Lakota, so if those people were used exclusively to spread the language to children, then the language could grow from that seed. However, if the seed is lost, then the language will become extinct forever! Maybe it is God’s plan to unify the human species by reducing the number of languages spoken and having many or most of us know English. Maybe it is God’s plan to unify the races by having us all live together in big cities througout the world. It certainly looks like this. But, if the Lakota want to preserve their cultural heritage which matters to me (not convinced it matters to them), then they will have to start planting seeds.
The vision I saw was a huge expanse of land going for miles filled with buffalos roaming freely. There were clusters of teepees with people doing tasks. Then, there was an underground tunnel that went to an undergound compound. A guy was there watching surveylance cameras. The buffalos were mostly killed off in the 1800’s by white people who didn’t live in harmony with nature. The lesson learned is that what is not protected will be lost or stolen. So, fences around this vast expanse of grassy land were built with cameras to keep poachers out. Next, I saw a building near the edge of this huge field with a call center. The agents were mostly Lakota, but they were speaking Ethiopian, Hebrew and Chinese. Apparently, after World War 3, most of the cultures of the world were wiped off the globe permanently. Most Africans died, but through a miracle of God, the Ethiopians survived and became a thriving spiritual culture. Israel suffered a devastating invasion and lost most of its population too, but rebuilt and populated to become a thriving spiritual nation as well. China also suffered terrible population losses, but got their act together and decided to live without polluting their rivers and air anymore. All of these cultures thrived and needed additional labor to help them deal with their businesses. So, they hired Lakota Call Centers in South Dakota which was now an independent country.
The Lakota people decided there was safety in numbers, so they decided to have at least six children per family. They also decided not only to make sure all of their children were fluent speakers of their language, but they also decided to have cultural tests once a year to make sure that all of their tribal members were experts at the culture.
In traditional Native American societies there was zero percent unemployment. Everyone had a job. The women picked berries, gathered wood, and did handicrafts while the men were hunters and warriors. After the buffalo were wiped out and people were run off their traditional lands, the people no longer knew how to make a living. Having their children sent to boarding schools did not help the unemployment problem either. The problem was that they needed to adapt to find new ways of employment and the chiefs were not helping.
Paying Tax on the Land
The biggest issue here is that in real life in America, if you own land, you have to pay tax. Native folks don’t see why they should pay tax on land that belongs to them. There is always a price you pay for land. In tribal times, people paid with the lives of their male children to protect the land. Many boys would die in tribal wars to maintain control of hunting grounds and territory. In the modern world, people pay for land and pay taxes on land. American Indians never liked this idea because they figured the land inherently belonged to them just because their ancestors had lived there. Under a nation, if you own a parcel of land and pay taxes on it, you can maintain ownership. But, for nations, there is no intrinsic ownership other than your ability and willingness to defend the land. So, after the U.S. took over, native people no longer “owned” or controlled the land. But, in my vision, the Native Americans got over their hang ups about resisting playing by the new rules and decided that paying taxes on land and paying for land was better than being wiped out — so they did.
A gradual expansion
The Lakotas in my vision decided that they needed industries. Their traditional industry was handicrafts and buffalo hunting. So, they decided to continue this tradition by saving money, and buying land in South Dakota. They used the land to raise buffalos. The more money they made, the more land they bought. Land was not that expensive out there, so they quickly acquired miles and miles of land. After a few generations, they got back all of the land they had lost many generations previously. Since in my vision South Dakota becomes an independent nation, and the Lakota population grew to be huge, the Lakota population controlled the whole country. However, the Lakota people decided to become more hospitable to outsiders and let them stay in their land providing they would play by Lakota rules which meant living in harmony with nature, knowing some of the Lakota language, and passing a cultural test. The joke is that if there were such a cultural test given in 2016, not only would the whites all fail it, but most of the native kids would fail miserably as well.
A relationship with God
I don’t claim to know what the spiritual conditions are in Native Reservations throughout America. However, without God’s graces, evil forces like Uranium mining, buffalo genocides, heroin, child abuse, and many others will creep in. In my opinion, the entire tribe should have regular prayers to have God protect the land from abusers and have God heal the land that has been abused through natural forces. Without God, no positive growth is possible. The tribe also needs to understand that gifts from God come with Tything. Without giving to charity, not many blessings will come your way.
The solution to the problem of cultural iradication of the Lakota people is:
1. Language incubation projects
2. An economic culture with industries that thrive in the Dakotas involving buffalo harvesting, handicrafts, and remote outsourcing businesses. An economic structure where the tribe makes sure that all are employed no matter what.
3. Repopulating the tribe
4. Cultural education for tribal members as well as guests from other communities
5. A willingness to pay tax on land and purchase land for environmentally sustainable use
6. A relationship with God is necessary otherwise all else will crumble.