Cherokee Morning Song

Friday, April 24, 2015

Indian actors walk off set of Adam Sandler movie
About a dozen Indian actors walked off the set of the Ridiculous Six the latest Adam Sandler movie claiming the script is insulting to Native culture and features unnecessary and degrading stereotypes.
Indian Country Today Media Network reported that the actors, primarily of the Navajo Nation, objected to insulting names for some of the characters such as “Beaver’s Breath” and “No Bra”, along with depictions of an Apache woman urinating while smoking a peace pipe and other sundry examples of general insensitivity.
An unnamed spokesperson for Netflix, which is producing the comedy told Deadline that such depictions are in alignment with the tone of the film, which plays upon absurdity in order to spoof tropes seen in American Westerns.
“The movie has ridiculous in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous,” the spokesperson told Deadline on Thursday. “It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of — but in on — the joke.”
However, the actors said that despite the film’s comedic intentions, the script is still overly reliant on Indian stereotypes and degrades Native culture.
“We were supposed to be Apache, but it was really stereotypical and we did not look Apache at all. We looked more like Comanche,” Loren Anthony, a member of the Navajo Nation, told ICTMN.
The Lakota People’s Law Project believes this offensive production should be shut down immediately. Satire is an effective tool in any society, to show irreverence for official institutions that deserve to be lampooned as a means of questioning the high esteem that general society holds a given institution or person.
However, satire is not and should not be used to degrade a culture and way of life that has already been marginalized through centuries of abuse, neglect and genocidal tendencies.
American cultural elites such as Adam Sandler should use their considerable celebrity to further the conversation about how Indian people are treated in the United States.
They should not attempt to further enrich themselves while simultaneously degrading a culture and a people for which they apparently have little understanding or empathy.
How do these crude depictions of Indians help move forward the conversation about the stain on the American soul that continues to persist to the present day?
To make light of this ugly aspect of American life is reprehensible.
Furthermore, stereotypical depictions of Natives, including the use of them as mascots, is disrespectful to the Indigenous population of this nation. We must as a people learn to treat the Indian nation with the dignity they deserve.
If people or institutions are behaving in a sanctimonious or self-important manner, than satire is a valuable tool to bring a modicum of self-awareness to those entities.
But making fun of the marginalized, the trodden-upon, the degraded and the victims of widespread systemic injustice isn’t funny. It’s sad.
Lakota People’s Law Project calls upon Netflix to either ensure their production encompasses an appropriate degree of cultural sensitivity or end production immediately.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Can't Fight The Moonlight Music Video page

Cant Fight The Moonlight

Can't Fight The Moonlight Video Page is a Facebook page created by a friend of mine from the UK.

She is a very talented person and has sung with me also on various occasions.

Her talent is worth listening to.  

I have added this link to help her promote her singing talent. 

If you visit Facebook, simply type in, Cant Fight The Moonlight Music Video. It will direct you to the page. 

Please, take the time, if you will and click on for this great listening experience.

Megwetch and blessings.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Islamic State Fighter Says Jihad Is Coming to Indian Country Read more at


 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty are the merged successors to radio stations of the same name begun after World War II for the purpose of telling the other side of the story in the Eastern Bloc, where total government control of all media was the rule. Although funded originally by the CIA, the officers in charge generally had the good sense to understand that credibility and truth are joined at the hip.

Today, a Broadcasting Board of Governors selected in the U.S. oversees RFE/RL and they are funded by charitable donations and direct appropriations from Congress. They are now headquartered in Prague, the Czech Republic, and they broadcast in languages of the countries where there is no free press and, in those countries, they still contend with jamming as if the Cold War never ended.

Their motto is “Free Media in Unfree Societies.”  Many of those “unfree societies” have radical Islamic insurgency movements. RFE/RL programs are in Arabic, Chechen, Persian and the languages of virtually all of the former Soviet Republics known in the U.S., when they are known at all, as “the ‘stans.”

All of this is to explain how RFE/RL could get an interview with a Tadjik militant fighting in Syria for the Islamic State. If the government of Tajikistan hates RFE/RL enough to jam them, the thinking goes, they must be all right. A story based on that interview appeared in the RFE/RL blog, Under the Black Flag, which follows news of the Islamic State.

On January 30, Under the Black Flag reported on an interview with an Islamic State fighter who has more than one name, something often seen in that part of the world. Nurat Nazarov, or Abu Kholidi Kulobi, told the radio station that he is fighting to spread Islamic law around the world. The entire world population, he asserted, will be subjugated to the caliphate the Islamic Republic claims to have reestablished.

He then plunged into a digression about American Indians for no particular reason that was apparent from the blog post. Without being asked anything about Indians, he delivered himself of this:

Even the [Native Americans] will have to live under Shari'a. We will take them tubeteikas [Central Asian caps, worn in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan], we will build mosques for them, and we will live with them according to the laws of Allah.

Indians have gotten an increasing amount of attention from Islam of late. Just this last November, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey was ridiculed in these pages and elsewhere for claiming the Taino people in the Caribbean discovered a Muslim before they discovered Columbus.

RELATED: Muslims and Christians Fight Over Which Was Discovered First

Faced with ridicule at home and abroad, Erdoğan doubled down on his revision of history.
A quick check of the Internet for evidence that Islam is following Christianity into Indian country turned up several notices of a man who introduces himself as follows:

I am a Cherokee Blackfoot American Indian who is Muslim. I am known as Eagle Sun Walker. I serve as a Pipe Carrier Warrior for the Northeastern Band of Cherokee Indians in New York City.

We’ve made the decision not to call him by his other name, but that name is neither Cherokee nor Siksika. “Pipe Carrier Warrior” is not an office in the Cherokee Nation nor did that office exist before the Cherokee Constitution declared a republic.

The Pipe Carrier Warrior claims that “Tallahassee” is an “Islamic” word that means, “Allah will deliver you.” The ignorant people who live there believe “Islamic” is not a language and “Tallahassee” comes from a Creek dialect.

It’s either an honor or an embarrassment that American Indians would be suddenly getting so much attention from Islam, but the attention Mr. Nazarov or Kulobi describes is a bit different from just rewriting history. It sounds like aggression, conversation by force.

Somebody should tell him that American Indians have been there, had that done to them, and have forced conversion t-shirt collections second to none in the world. It’s not likely that Indians would go quietly into a situation where RFE/RL are forced to broadcast in the indigenous languages of the Americas.

Living The Native Life admin note:
If these low life terrorists want to try to control our people, then they better be ready for an all out fight. We won't go down easily.
To Hell with them.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Native Children Racially Assaulted During Hockey Game. by Karin Eagle

RAPID CITY—An assault on a group of Lakota children from the Pine Ridge Reservation has gone virtually unnoticed by the local media in Rapid City; Native media sources have stepped in to correct the blanket of silence following this incident that occurred in the already racially tense community.
Students, staff and chaperons from the American Horse School in Allen traveled to Rapid City on Saturday January 24 to attend a Rapid City Rush game. The Rush is the local ECHL hockey team, housed at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
The trip was an incentive trip that the students had earned through an after school program called the 21st Century Club.
One of the chaperons was a parent of one of the students; it was his first time attending a hockey game along with several of the students.  “I went along to help chaperons, “ said Justin Poor Bear,”the smiles I saw on their (the students) faces was priceless.”
According to Poor Bear the group from the school were seated below one of the VIP suites that are offered for high paying season ticket holders. Around the 3rdquarter of the game several men from the suite began harassing the students seated below.  “They were talking crap to our kids and throwing beer on some of the staff and the students,” explained Poor Bear.
Poor Bear admitted to becoming angry and protective and began to address the men in the VIP suite asking who had poured the beer on the children. “They pointed to a gentleman,” explained Poor Bear, “He (the identified male) told me to come up to his suite and said ‘Let’s deal with it.’”
Poor Bear, recognizing that he was in a position to represent his son’s school, declined the confrontation.
American Horse School teacher Consuelo Means was also in attendance. According to Poor Bear Means came over to where the harassment and assault with the beer was being done and told the chaperons that they were going to be leaving the game for the safety of the kids.
Following the departure of the students and other adults in the group, Means, according to Poor Bear, went to make a complaint with a staff member of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Justin Poor Bear, a parent who went to see his son’s excitement and pride at earning a trip to a Rapid City Rush game, does not plan on letting his son’s assault pass by unnoticed.
“I promise we will not let this Incident that happen tonight end,” said Poor Bear,” I will keep fighting, because I know there is a lot of reservation schools that go to Rapid City and spend a lot of many at the Civic Center. “
“Maybe some people went through the same incident but never reported this,” continued Poor Bear, “it’s time we all stand up and speak.”
In a telephone conversation between LRI and a school administrator identified only as Ms. Richards, the apparent reaction from the school, whether officially or not is unknown, is that there was No Incident. This statement was made following her assertion that she did not know the legalities of the situation.
The phone call resulted in an outraged statement made by Ms. Richards to LRI that the account told by any chaperons in attendance were not accurate and that there was to be no statement made by her at this time. As of press time there is no publicly issued statement made by the American Horse School.
LRI was able to speak with the General Manager of the Civic Center who did acknowledge that an incident involving those in the VIP section and the students below occurred.
The owner of the VIP suite, Tom Helen, was also contacted and stated that the men involved in the incident were not employees of his as the owner of the local Budweiser tag, nor were they known to him. It is believed that the men who were involved in the assault were guests of those Helen had authorized to use the suite.
There has been no response from the City of Rapid City’s Mayor’s office.
LRI is committed to following all developments on this story. Follow the updates at
-Story by Karin Eagle @MzKarinEagle (Lakota Country Times Editor @Lakota_Timez ) Published here with Permission, all rights reserved.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

'Fourteen Hundred Ninety-Two': The Columbus Poem Rewritten


The following poem, a new version of a rhyme all of us are all-too-familiar with, was submitted by reader Dana W. Hall, and on the 520th anniversary of its title we're inclined to share it:

Fourteen Hundred Ninety-Two (The Rewrite)
In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
But everything else in the childhood rhyme,
Ignores the historic details and genocide.
The overland route between Asia and Spain,
Was closed making trade very hard to maintain.
But Oriental goods were in high demand,
A new route would allow this exchange to expand.
Aristotle had proved that the world was round,
You could reach eastern Asia by sailing westbound.
The Ancient Greeks calculated the length of the trip,
Far exceeding the range of the most modern ship.
Columbus made absurd and outrageous guarantees,
About his nautical calculations and skills at Sea.
But despite reservations expressed by the King,
He was given three ships outfitted by the Queen.
He set sail in August of 1492,
his Log Book describes what he planned to do.
To take wealth and riches wherever they were found,
His thievery would become historically profound.
Columbus reached Islands in the Caribbean Sea,
Not even close to where he thought he should be.
He said there was gold and made other false claims,
To gain the support for more voyages from Spain.
Columbus described the Natives as being,
Generous, hospitable, and very agreeing.
Not quarrelsome, excitable -- devoid of hate,
He exclaimed they’d be easy to dominate.
He made several voyages to the Caribbean Sea,
Visited the mainland where he thought Asia should be.
He colonized the region and controlled everything,
Destroying the culture and lives of every human being.
He appointed himself Governor; no one disagreed,
Extermination of the Natives could then proceed.
Their homes and lands were taken by force,
Those not killed were enslaved without remorse.
He created a “tribute system” very tragic to behold,
Intended to fulfill Spain’s unending lust for gold.
Requiring a quota from every Native over fourteen,
Or their hands were cut off, death became quite routine.
Natives were raped at will and many used as slaves,
The rest were exterminated, in a variety of ways.
By burning, hanging, cut in pieces or in half,
Babies swung by the feet and their skulls were smashed.
He initiated the conquest and genocide,
During his expeditions, 9 million people died.
Following the "Civilization" of the Western Hemisphere,
100 million vanished as a result of European profiteers.
Columbus didn’t keep the promises made to the Crown,
And a sea route to Asia, he never found.
He could not deliver on his guarantees of Gold,
But colonization of the Americas began to unfold
© 2007 Dana W. Hall, All Rights Reserved


Friday, January 16, 2015

Protest against inhuman acts by Saudi Arabia

To sign to make your voice heard please click the link below.


173183_Raif Badawi.jpg
Raif Badawi should be in Canada today, with his wife and their three children. Instead he is spending time in Briman prison, Jeddah city, Saudi Arabia.

Raif was given 50 lashes in public last Friday, January 9th  and 50 more were planned for January 16th during prayer time in Jeddah
 Authorities arrested Raif Badawi (pronounced Ra-eef Ba-da-wee) on 17 June 2012. They charged him with insulting Islam and creating the “Saudi Arabian Liberals” website for social and political debate. The charges related to articles Raif wrote criticizing religious figures.

Raif Badawi’s case bounced back and forth between courts until 7 May 2014. On that day, the Criminal Court pronounced a sentence of 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a fine of 1 million riyals (about $290,000 CDN). After he serves a decade in jail, he is also forbidden to travel for the following decade and from participating in the media.

Since March 2011 the authorities have continued a relentless campaign of repression in the name of security. The authorities have cracked down on peaceful activists calling for reforms and on demonstrators protesting against human rights violations. Those who express dissent face arrest and imprisonment whether they are critics, bloggers, activists or academics. Raif Badawi is just one of many. 

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi’s case referred to supreme court, says his wife

King said to have stepped in amid flogging clamour as second round of 50 lashes delayed on health grounds
Protesters call for the release of Raif Badawi outside the Saudi embassy in The Hague, Netherlands
Protesters call for the release of Raif Badawi outside the Saudi embassy in The Hague, Netherlands. Photograph: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/REX
The wife of the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for criticising leading clerics, says King Abdullah has referred his case to the supreme court amid an international clamour over his flogging.
Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Canada with the couple’s three children, told the BBC the decision had raised hopes that the authorities wanted to end her husband’s punishment. But there has been no official statement from the Saudi government.
The authorities had already postponed Badawi’s flogging on medical grounds after a doctor said wounds from a previous lashing had not healed. Campaigners said the move exposed the “outrageous inhumanity” of his punishment.
The 31-year-old was due to receive 50 further lashes after Friday prayers, the first 50 having been given outside al-Jafali mosque in the port city of Jeddah last week. He was sentenced last May to 10 years in prison, a fine and 1,000 lashes after criticising Saudi Arabia’s powerful clerics on his blog.
According to Amnesty International, which has adopted Badawi as a prisoner of conscience, he was removed from his cell on Friday morning and taken to the prison clinic for a health check. The doctor concluded that the wounds from last week’s flogging had not yet healed properly and Badawi would be unable to withstand more. He recommended that the flogging be postponed until next week.
Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Not only does this postponement on health grounds expose the utter brutality of this punishment, it underlines its outrageous inhumanity.
“The notion that Raif Badawi must be allowed to heal so that he can suffer this cruel punishment again and again is macabre and outrageous. Flogging should not be carried out under any circumstances.”
The postponement follows widespread international pressure from governments and human rights groups for the Saudi government to halt the punishment. On Thursday, the UN commissioner for human rights appealed to the Saudi king to intervene.
“Flogging is, in my view, at the very least, a form of cruel and inhuman punishment,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who is a member of the Jordanian royal family.
“Such punishment is prohibited under international human rights law, in particular the convention against torture, which Saudi Arabia has ratified. I appeal to the king of Saudi Arabia to exercise his power to halt the public flogging by pardoning Mr Badawi, and to urgently review this type of extraordinarily harsh penalty.”
Badawi’s case was one of several recent prosecutions of activists. On Monday, an appeal court upheld the conviction of Badawi’s lawyer and brother-in-law, Waleed Abu Al-Khair, on charges that included offending the judiciary and founding an unlicensed organisation. Khair’s sentence was extended from 10 to 15 years on appeal.
Vigils were held outside Saudi embassies in Berlin, Paris, The Hague and Tunis on Thursday, and the Canadian government expressed concern at a punishment it described as “a violation of human dignity and freedom of expression”.
The Foreign Office has said it is “seriously concerned” at the flogging. “The UK condemns the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment in all circumstances,” a spokesman said. “We have previously raised Mr Badawi’s case and will do so again directly with the Saudi authorities. The UK is a strong supporter of freedom of expression around the world.”
Expressions of concern have not led to any diplomatic action against Saudi Arabia, which is regularly criticised for its prolific use of the death penalty. On Friday, Murdi al-Shakra became the 10th person to be beheaded this year. He was sentenced to death for murdering fellow tribesman Faraj al-Shakra, the interior ministry said.
On Monday, Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, a Burmese woman living in Saudi Arabia, was beheaded after being dragged through the street and held down by four police officers. She was convicted of the sexual abuse and murder of her seven-year-old stepdaughter.
Amnesty International has accused the UK government of “wearing the Saudi muzzle” because of its oil, business and strategic interests in the conservative kingdom.
“David Cameron and his ministers should have the courage of their convictions and say – loud and clear – that Raif Badawi’s case is an absolute disgrace, that this weekly flogging should be halted and he should be freed from jail,” said Kate Allen, UK director of Amnesty. “At the very least the Foreign Office should be calling in the Saudi ambassador and telling him this in person if they haven’t already done so.”

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Residential School Survivers

A respected Spiritual Advisor; was invited to speak to a group of people attending a healing conference. Present were Aboriginal people who have been in care, were adopted, in residential school, incarcerated and family members. The name of the conference was entitled, ‘We are told to just get over it.’

The helpers had just smudged the room and a prayer was said. With the aroma of Sacred Medicine floating in the air, she began to speak, ‘like thousands of children, when I was a little child of 8, back in 1969, I was sent to church-run residential school. 

Today I work with residential school and Child Welfare System survivors and I have learned that it has been estimated that Roman Catholic Church operated three-fifths, the Anglican Church one-quarter and the United and Presbyterian Churches the remainder of residential schools. I have learned that nearly over half of the children in care today are Aboriginal. I have learned that there were upward of 150,000 children in residential school over the years. 

Today, I would like to share a bit of my personal experience, followed by some insights I have noticed over the years; for example, with the last federal government residential school only closing in 1996, and given that it was only 19 years ago, the impacts of those institutions are still alive today. The residential school I attended was catholic and it closed in 1983, my experience began there in 1974. Like the vast majority of survivors, I suffered abuse; however, something else took place there that I would like to address today.

I will begin by describing the people who staffed our school; there was a priest, several nuns, teachers, supervisors, cooks, and a woman who worked in an office and sometimes a handy man. The subject that I am about to explore today is, while there was staff in the school; they couldn’t be everywhere so often there were senior boys and girls who were in charge of overseeing us; they were sometimes referred to as head boy or girl and at other times; prefects. I myself, always think of them as prefects. 

It took me a long time to let go of the hatred I came to feel towards them. You see they were the closest connection I had to parents and I lived in terror of them, as did others. I will be on a healing journey for the rest of my life because of the nun who beat me daily, and the priest that molested me; and, I admit that I have given up trying to understand how adults can be so incredibly viscous to children. I have made much progress on coming to terms with the prefects at school and I think it has taken me longer because we were from similar background and unquestionably they were the same race as me; and I believe it is that fact that confused the most me. Let me begin by describing some things I witnessed with regard to prefects. I was in the school for about a year at the time, when this tall, skinny boy came into the school. 

Oh my goodness, right away one of the nuns made him her target. She picked on him from the get go. In the first week that he was there, she beat him so bad that he already had welts on him that would leave scars on him for the rest of his life. Given that nun, good or bad, was our role model, she demonstrated to some, how to treat this boy. For the rest of his young life, the boy was a target. 

The thing is that it was like all the prefects made it their lives work to torture that poor boy. With all the abuse he endured, his little spirit broke and within a few years he got sick and after 3 years in that school, he died. In another case, there was a really pretty girl that came into the school. I always think of her as smiling because at first that is all she did. From the start, I could see the priest’s eyes following her; and knowing what he was capable of, I had a bad feeling for her. At the same time, one of the prefects took an instant dislike to her so much so that her life became a nightmare. The prefect began to spread all kinds of rumours about this poor girl. 

She said that she knew people from the girl’s community and that she heard that the girl had slept around. People believed the prefect; the little girl was only 11 years old. Every time the girl walked by the prefect, she was slapped, and told she was a whore, she was always told to go wash because she smelled. Soon other older girls began to pick on the little girl and she was called names, continuously punched, kicked, tripped, and spit on. I ran into her a few years back at a pow wow where I was handing out information packages on healing workshops that I was going to run in that community. 

She talked with me for about 15 minutes and I can only describe as one of the angriest people I have ever met. She had a laundry list of every person’s dirty deeds in her community and was incredibly cruel in her descriptions. In one instance, she described a girl who in her eyes was a complete whore, that girl was her granddaughter and was 10 years old. 

What I later learned was that she was particularly abusive to one of her daughters; and like her mother; the daughter is now working to break the spirit of her own young daughter. The exact same 10 year old that the grandmother told me about. That is 3 generations impacted by the prefect’s jealousy of the woman when she was a young pretty girl. 

I can tell you countless stories of the abuse that I witnessed at the hands of the prefects upon children and this was on top of the physical and sexual abuse that we endured by our adult caregivers.

A few weeks ago, a group of us who are in our mid 50s and early 60s who work with survivors, gathered in a talking circle to talk about how our lives evolved because of our experiences in residential school. During the circle, we gave one another permission to share a general overview of the outcomes of our experiences, so 

I am going to concentrate a bit on the outcome of having the prefects in our lives. What a few people shared was what that for a time they came to despise their own people because of their experiences with the prefects in school. Others in the circle, attended residential schools in when there were Aboriginal workers and were abused by them. They said they couldn’t understand how their own people could do this. 

They shared that it took them most of their lives to let go of the negative associations of their people and become comfortable in their own skin. While others, like the woman I described; found themselves repeating the prefect’s patterns of abuse in their own families. They admitted to picking on whom they perceived as weak, or tried with all their might, to break the spirit of the stronger ones in their families. My own experience as an adult; horrified me because it occurred while I attending a Sundance. 

The head woman, although strict, was well respected her because she was teaching us the ways of our Ancestors. One year this very kind and slightly shy young woman came to dance. Well, didn’t that head woman begin to pick on her. It was incredibly disturbing to witness. A few women who were at first quite friendly with the young woman began to treat her similarly to the head woman. They even accused her of trying to get the attention and come onto the men dancers. No one but the head woman witnessed the alleged inappropriate behaviour. The majority of us prayed and prayed that the head women and the others that began to follow her would stop. 

Sadly, a few days in, the young woman gave up. I felt incredibly disheartened by the events taking place and it felt strangely familiar to something I had witnessed before and just as the dawn broke on the 3rd day, I realized I recognized that our head dancer was repeating patterns she learned in residential school. During our morning sweat, they young woman joined us to tell us she had only come to thank us and that she was already packed to go south to join another ceremony. We sang and prayed and rejoiced because we knew she was committed to her journey and nothing could stop her.

After speaking to many prefect’s I understand that they underwent the same abuse and after surviving it long-term, they shut down and say they did what they did to make it stop and they live with that guilt. We need to understand that not every older child became a prefect and not every prefect abused his or her positions; however, it was nonetheless a sinister system. 

My relatives, I have come to realize in many ways of the outcomes of residential schools and the child welfare system is lateral violence. It began when people like the priests and nuns pitted the older Aboriginal children against the younger ones. 

When people in authority pit those they are in charge of; against one another, it is designed for one purpose and that is to divide and conquer and then the heinous of all, is it goal to destroy within. I spoke about prefects because their role describes some of what went on in residential school with regard to lateral violence. However, we also see the same thing with people who were abused by the supervisors, the staff or the religious rulers. 

We have heard reports of how some went home to continue the harmful cycles that began with their experience of being abused. We also have begun to see lateral violence occurring because of foster care/adoption systems. This is because they too experienced similar abuses and were supervised by older foster/adopted siblings who abused their power.

We see lateral violence in families. We see it when people in leadership abuse their power, or when people abuse their leaders. We see it in Aboriginal gangs and/or criminal behaviour. We see it in the band offices. We see lateral violence in our communities, whether they are rural or urban. We see it when one person declares that another isn’t spiritual enough, doesn’t have enough blood quantum and, sadly as I described earlier, we also see it in our ceremonies. 

When I think of the intergenerational impact of lateral violence, it is like being in a vice grip, like oppression is one prong, and colonization is the other and we are in the middle being squeezed until our shape becomes unrecognizable. The shape I am describing is what our communities once were, before the vice grip of lateral violence. 

Having said that, it is our collective healing that loosens the grip. It is knowledge, validation and acceptance that we, ourselves are continuing the harm that we experienced at residential school or during any other means of assimilation that our people endured. Toda, breaking the harmful cycles of lateral violence is every person’s sacred responsibility. When you give a person nothing to work with, guess what they have? Nothing to work with! It is the same with lateral violence; when you stop participating, it stops with you. You become a cycle breaker.
We can restore our communities, yes, not in the way that they were prior to European contact, but we can reshape them based on our Ancestral values. Our Ancestral values include the Seven Sacred Teachings of Love, Respect, Courage, Humility, Honesty, Wisdom, and Truth. Living our life according to these teachings can be part of life long healing journey. For some, it would seem overwhelming to break the harmful cycles of lateral violence by attempting to live by all teachings all day, every day. 

When you live your life continually focused on the goal of honouring your healing journey, overtime, you will find these values becoming a natural part of every day life. However, for now, perhaps the first step is to begin by fully comprehend the reality of those who we are in relationship with. We are spiritual being having a physical experience with other spiritual beings. To completely eliminate lateral violence from your life, you need only ask yourself only 2 questions when you are thinking, going to say something about, or do something with other’s; and that is; ‘am I honouring their spirit? 

And, am I honouring my spirit?’ If the answer is yes, proceed. If the answer is no, stop. These 2 questions will stop lateral violence in its tracks. While we have all heard, ‘just get over it’, by those who do not fully comprehend what happened to our people. I personally think it is due to people not being educated about the impacts of oppressive laws on our people, and I believe that as much as we can and as often as we can, we must educate. 

However, what I do know is one thing we can get over; and that we need never contribute to any form of lateral violence, ever again. After all, it is our Sacred Responsibility as caretakers of the next seven generations to stop harmful cycles. The reality is that our peoples’ collective experience of colonization is now sadly a part of our history. Yes, a dark chapter in history, which includes residential school and the child welfare system; continues to contribute to the present lateral violence we see in our families and communities today. 

However, as a people, we can shape our future by breaking the harmful cycles of lateral violence. Where does it begin? It all begins with you. It begins by honouring your spirit and the spirit of other’s. Kinana'skomitin my relatives, I am grateful for your kind attention. Blessings to you and your families.’
All my Relations,
Emily, (ejh)
Kihci Têpakohp Iskotêw Iskwêw