THE CONFESSIONS OF FOFI LITTLEPANTS
by Fofi Littlepants
V. SOCIETY I ~ NATIVE AMERICA
While the land and nature found within the United States are unqualifiedly beautiful, the society sojourning on its surface, and its underside, are a much more complex mixture of radiance and ugliness. I’m not able to comment fully on American society here because of limitations in both space and understanding ~ I surely didn’t get a full grasp of all its idiosyncracies through my limited life experience and a three-month trip ~ but I felt it would be a disservice if I didn’t relate and comment on some things that I saw and heard.
One topic that I feel is unconscionable to omit in any discussion about the United States, is its history as it is tied up with that of the numerous American Indian / Native American tribes. And while this is another area where I’m clearly not an expert (and I discovered that I was in fact even more infinitely ignorant than I thought), I’m including some observations here (and questions that occurred to me) because it seems criminal to ignore it altogether. My comments clearly can’t do justice to the issue; they are mostly limited to a few observations from the Lakȟóta Nation, where I spent a bit of time and received some information. I apologize in advance for any errors and omissions and hope qualified people will correct me.
Traveling through the U.S., one would have to be purposefully blind to not be aware of the vast Native American presence throughout the country.
Joey and I were struck by how much the United States, especially in the Plains and the East, is dominated by placenames derived from a phenomenal range of American Indian languages (the West is also dominated by Spanish names because of its historical origins as Spanish colonies then part of independent Mexico, but some of these also have indigenous roots). I found out later that 11,000 placenames in the U.S. have been catalogued as having etymologies rooted in Native languages (and this does not even contain Hawaiian placenames.1) Roughly half the names of U.S. states stem from American Indian languages, including Massachussetts (from an Algonquin language), Kentucky (Iroquois), Ohio (Seneca) and Tennessee (Cherokee); Alabama, Dakota, and Missouri are themselves names of actual tribes.
The breadth, diversity and coverage of those names give just a small sense of the history of the numerous Native American tribes that inhabited the land prior to white arrival; they similarly mark the magnitude of what was lost ~ we observed that most of these places, while keeping the names, are now dominated by whites and show little trace of historical knowledge or contemporary respect for the original cultures.
The issue of names is incredibly complicated if one takes the time to study it. One thing I learned from visiting American Indian nations and talking to people was that the mainstream American understanding of Native Americans is constituted by either purposeful misrepresentations, or a staggering amount of omissions. This isn’t breaking news, but it really was much, much more extensive than I had previously grasped. For myself, as a good little progressive I was generally aware that U.S. policies toward American Indians have been genocidal, but came to realize that I didn’t even know a small fraction of what I should. One embarrassing indication of my ignorance was that it took me forever to try to figure out even the correct names and spellings.
I had heard before, for instance, that there was/is debate, on what umbrella term is the least offensive in describing the numerous tribes that were original inhabitants of the land within the current boundaries of the United States. “American Indian” and “Native American” are the most widely used, but both have problems (“American Indian” relies on Columbia’s misnomer of “Indians” from his erroneous perception that he had arrived in India, and “Native American” is an invented academic categorization, like “Hispanic”.) Despite lots of research, I didn’t feel qualified to make a decision on which one is better, so I try to use both equally here, as well as “Native”; but I don’t use “Indian” because there are now lots of Asian Indian people from India in the United States. I would be interested to hear views about this.
Of course, I think there’s agreement that when referring to a specific tribe, the accurate tribal name should be used; lumping everyone together into “Native American” or “American Indian” reinforces the stripping of identity and humanity that has characterized the dominant approach by the U.S. to the vastly diverse tribes. But I learned that many of the names that are commonly used in the U.S. to refer to specific tribes are often not the right names. For instance, most Americans use the name “Sioux”, but this is not correct ~ by most accounts that is a Frenchified version of an Ojibwa (Chippewa) word for a small snake (some translations are “treacherous snake”), and many consider the word insulting. This is not what the people involved called themselves ~ the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Seven Council Fires) had seven tribes with three major groupings, each of which had different cultures and dialects; they came together at different times, and called themselves “An Alliance of Friends”: in the language of the “sedentary and agricultural” Isáŋyáthi (Santee) the word is “Dakȟóta”; in Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ (Yankton) dialect it is “Nakhóta”; and for the “warrior and buffalo-hunting” Lakȟóta (Teton), it is “Lakȟóta.”2
(The Lakȟóta are further distinguished by bands: the Húŋkpapȟa (Hunkpapa) Lakȟóta, the Itázipčho (Sans Arc) Lakȟóta, the Mnikȟówožu (Miniconjou) Lakȟóta, the Oglála Lakȟóta, the Oóhe Núŋpa (Two Kettle) Lakȟóta, the Sičangu (Brulé / Burned Thigh) Lakȟóta, and the Sihásapa (Blackfoot) Lakȟóta.)
Further, I realized that even the individual names of specific persons have been warped in American history. This is not just a matter of difficulty or error in translation ~ the name of Chief Heȟáka Glešká of the Mnikȟówožu Lakȟóta can be translated as “Spotted Elk”, but, he is much more widely known as “Big Foot”, a derogatory name given to him by U.S. Soldiers. A Lakȟóta man at the Wounded Knee Massacre site in Pine Ridge told us that the names of the dead from the massacre were recorded by the U.S. Cavalry, and they did not bother to be accurate ~ they even made up many names, some of them being farcical.
But the usage of the U.S.-coined names have been so pervasive (it was probably also reinforced by the U.S. banning many Native languages for many years), that many tribes still continue to use them; they probably feel they have no choice in many circumstances because no one in mainstream America would know what they are talking about otherwise (it would be impossible to explain or document certain historical injustices, for instance, without using the U.S.-attributed names.) But I assume that this is not the ideal state of affairs, and the tribes would want people to learn the correct names. Here, I try to use the Native names and put the commonly used U.S. word(s) in parenthesis, though don’t know if I did a good job (among other potential errors, I saw a variety of spellings of Native words even among Native American sources and don’t know if I picked the right ones). And the issue of names, of course, is only scratching the surface of the titanic problem of misinformation and misrepresentation about American Indians. If I have perpetuated any errors in name, fact, characterization, or anything else, I sincerely apologize, and hope that people will correct me.
When Joey and I visited the Oglála Lakȟóta Pine Ridge Reservation, a Lakȟóta man told us about the severe racism by whites against Native Americans, with a recent shocker being the distribution by McDonald’s a few months earlier of “Custer Rides Again” Happy Meal toys. Apparently, the empire was not aware that Native communities would find this unbelievably offensive (or, it knew but just didn’t care.)
Custer, of course, was the U.S. Army officer and cavalry commander made most famous by a spectacular defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, in which his entire battalion was wiped out by Lakȟóta, Notameohmésêhese (Northern Cheyenne), and Arapaho warriors led by Tȟašúŋke Witkó (Crazy Horse) and Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (Sitting Bull). Many in the U.S. mainstream continue to refer to the Battle of Little Bighorn as “Custer’s Last Stand”, viewing Custer as a tragic military hero and martyr that gave his life for his country.
In the American Indian view, however, it is the height of racism and insensitivity to celebrate Custer. He is seen as personally and symbolically representing the genocidal nature of U.S. policy against Indians; noted Standing Rock Lakȟóta scholar and activist Vine Deloria Jr. calls him “the Adolph Eichmann of the Plains” (Eichmann being the “architect of the Holocaust”).3 As a commander in the Indian Wars, Custer had already become notorious for the massacre of a peaceful Cheyenne village in 1868: earlier that year, Custer, who had been suspended by a military court for mistreatment of his troops, was reinstated in September 1868 and tasked with searching for Cheyennes who were making raids in Kansas and Oklahoma. When he found a Cheyenne village by the Washita River in November 1868, he ordered the attack of the sleeping inhabitants without any evidence that they were the raiders; survivors’ accounts tell of women, children and elders who were killed (most of them while trying to run to the river), as well as reports of atrocities including the slicing open of the wombs of pregnant women.4 103 people are said to have been killed, 11 of them “fighting men”; the other 92 were women, children, and old men.5
There continues to be rabid debate over the characterization of Custer; some whites are adamant that whatever flaws Custer had, he was a hero and brilliant soldier. But many say that it was the kind of rash, racist attitude that he demonstrated in the Washita River Massacre that foreshadowed his demise at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. When Custer was seeking to round up Plains Indians in order to secure U.S. government control over the Black Hills in South Dakota (which, by the way, were supposed to be Lakȟóta land pursuant the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868, but in which gold had subsequently been discovered), he happened upon a Native American encampment. Accounts vary on what exactly Custer thought and did, but most agree that he charged arrogantly into an attack without fully investigating the number and strength of the Native warriors there ~ he refused reinforcements, some say because he considered Americans Indian inferior and thus no match for him and his troops, and he had assumed that he was attacking a small Native American village with few warriors (as he had in Washita.) What he failed to realize was that he had chanced upon a large gathering of Plains Indians that had been called by legendary Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta Chief Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (Sitting Bull) (perhaps the largest recorded gathering ever), which brought together an estimated two thousand warriors from the Lakȟóta, Arapaho and Notameohmésêhese (Northern Cheyenne) tribes (some counts put the number closer to a thousand, and others over 3000.) Custer’s entire regimen of several hundred was annihilated.6
The distribution of Custer toys nationwide, especially in states with high Native American populations like South Dakota, was likened by American Indian critics to distributing Adolph Hitler figurines in Israel. McDonald’s reportedly quietly stopped distribution those toys, at least in South Dakota (though it made no clear apology). But such mainstream insensitivity isn’t limited to Mickey D’s ~ the toys came from the “Night at the Musuem II” film, which portrayed Custer as an ineffectual but sympathetic character.
It took me and Joey at least nine weeks of hitchhiking from the West to East to cross enough ground to get our first glimpse of the Mississippi River. Standing on the river’s edge, it was hard to believe that the U.S. government at one time promised all lands west of the river (with the exception of Missouri, Louisiana, and Arkansas) to the American Indian tribes. The Mississippi runs 2348 miles from north to south, all the way from its source in Minnesota, through Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. An 1834 Congressional Act agreed that no white person would be permitted to settle beyond this line if Native Americans would allow themselves to be herded past this “Western Frontier”; the Act even pledged to use its military to enforce its provisions, including by apprehending any white person who violated it.7
Clearly, the U.S. did not abide by that promise ~ it went on to swallow up all the land stretching all the way west to the Pacific Coast (and eventually event went beyond, annexing Hawaii, a sovereign indigenous nation, in 1898.) The 1834 Act of course was only one of many broken promises and other atrocities.
It was clear to us in states like South Dakota that the white and Native populations are still locked in racial, social, cultural, economic, political, and religious adversity. Local whites were obviously vested in upholding white culture and power; it’s probable that the construction of the myth of Custer as hero/martyr was important to many of them because it is tied up with the evaluation of the entire history of U.S. policy toward Native American tribes, and consequently, the defensibility of the current domination by whites.
In this context, it is probably not accidental that the white culture in South Dakota was probably the most unfriendly one that Joey and I encountered while hitchhiking across the country. There seemed to be a conservatism and closedness that was striking ~ we found it to be one of the hardest places in the country to get rides: we noted that local whites seemed to pass us by; the people that gave us rides tended to be people of color, or those from some other state. We could only guess at the underlying reasons: it might have been from a generalized fear of outsiders, deviants, or poor-looking people; or perhaps a Bible Belt disdain for heathens and heretical women. It might also have been the virulent white rejection of the wandering lifestyle, which the U.S. tried for years to stamp out of the nomadic American Indian tribes (like the Lakȟóta), to be replaced by a “civilized”, agricultural life that was more similar to whites (and more convenient and controllable.) Or, perhaps white South Dakotans thought I was Native American and this triggered a racist reaction ~ I’m Asian American but I was mistaken twice on this trip for being American Indian (Navaho and Apsaalóoke) (though both times it was in Montana).
At the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre, in southern South Dakota, a peeling green metal sign marks the area in which more than 350 men, women and children from the Lakȟóta Nation were killed by the 7th U.S. Cavalry Division in 1890. The dead are buried in a mass grave perched on a hilltop cemetery overlooking the site, which contains plastic flowers, tall dry grass, and rattlesnakes.
A long series of events had lead up to the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. The most immediate events were that Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta Chief Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (Sitting Bull), who represented the most powerful resistance to white domination even after decades of warfare, conflict and persecution against his tribe, was murdered on December 15, 1890 (by American Indian police seeking to enforce U.S. orders to arrest him.) Mnikȟówožu Lakȟóta Chief Heȟáka Glešká (Spotted Elk, who had been dubbed “Big Foot” by U.S. soldiers), against whom arrest orders were subsequently also issued, fled with his band from Cherry Creek to seek to join Oglála Lakȟóta Chief Maȟpíya Lúta (Red Cloud) at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Heȟáka Glešká succeeded in getting to Pine Ridge despite the severe winter and being gravely ill from pneumonia, but did not reach the protection of Maȟpíya Lúta; he was intercepted by the 7th U.S. Cavalry Division on December 28, placed under arrest, and escorted to Wounded Knee. The next morning, December 29, 1890, while the army was disarming Heȟáka Glešká’s band, a skirmish started because a deaf Lakȟóta man was slow in giving up his gun; the result was the wholesale slaughter of at least 350 Lakȟóta men, women, and children. Some put the count at much higher.8
The Lakȟóta people that hang out at the massacre site stressed that the tragedy of Wounded Knee is not of the past. Many felt that the magnitude of the atrocity has never been fully acknowledged; the tribe has struggled to preserve the memory of what occurred. Important features of the atrocities of the event are still not well-known ~ for instance, we were told that the mass grave contained survivors who were buried alive, including a crying infant. Many of the twisted, contorted bodies were posed for maximum utility as U.S. propaganda (for instance, the photo of Heȟáka Glešká’s body was taken after a gun was placed by his hands, and his head was covered to hide the fact that he had been scalped.) Soldiers are said to have coaxed out children who had fled and were hidden in caves, then hacking them into pieces.
It took years of struggle by Native American activists to even have the event recognized as a “massacre” ~ for many years it was called “The Battle of Wounded Knee”, and celebrated as a grand victory for the U.S. military that ended the Indian Wars. (The peeling green sign says “Massacre of Wounded Knee”, but it’s obvious that the word “Massacre” is a correction ~ it is printed on a separate little strip of metal that is bolted on to cover up a word underneath, which must have been “Battle”).
The U.S. Cavalry members that participated in the atrocity, rather than being prosecuted, were lauded for their valor and service, with 20 of them being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. (Similarly, the massacre at Washita was dubbed the “Battle of Washita”, and reported by Custer as a grand military victory). There have been Native demands that these Medals be rescinded from at least as early as 1999 (see for instance Oneida activist Bob Smith’s efforts), but the military and Congress have so far refused to do so. 9
We saw that alongside the mass grave of the dead from the massacre of 1890, there lie the resting places of two other Wounded Knee victims.
One was that of Zintkala Nuni (Lost Bird), who as an infant miraculously survived the massacre shielded by her mother’s body, but was taken by U.S. General Leonard Colby to be “adopted.” He exploited her financially (using her to seek American Indian claims) and sexually abused her; cut off from her Native roots and rejected in white society, she suffered dislocation and poverty, eventually working in Wild West shows and in prostitution for a time, dying destitute and ill in 1919 at the age of 29. She was ultimately brought back from an unmarked grave in California to Pine Ridge in 1991.10 (We were told that the issue of American Indian children being taken from their families and tribes is also not a thing of the past ~ many American Indian children continue to be placed in white adoptive or foster homes, often because of a misunderstanding or denigration of Native culture.11)
In the same hilltop cemetery, a gravestone bears this engraving: “2000 and 500 came to Wounded Knee in ’73; One still remains.”
Lawrence “Buddy” La Monte was an Oglála Lakȟóta, one of the two Native American activists shot and killed in April 1973 in “Wounded Knee II” (the other is Frank Clearwater, an Apache.) The deaths were part of the 70+ day standoff between the American Indian Movement and the FBI and other officials.12 This was the beginning of the “Pine Ridge Reign of Terror”, a 3-year period from 1973 to 1976 in which the FBI, COINTELPRO, BIA police, “Guardians of the Oglala Nation” (GOONs, a paramilitary force that was run by corrupt tribal chairperson Dick Wilson) and others engaged in surveillance, harassment, assaults, and killings in Pine Ridge, mostly directed against members of the American Indian Movement and people perceived to be their supporters. At least 64 American Indians were reportedly killed, and at least 350 others suffered serious physical assault.13 It was within this cauldron of violence that the 1975 shootout in which two FBI agents were killed took place ~ the crime for which AIM activist Leonard Peltier was convicted in a trial widely recognized as severely flawed (among other problems, key ballistic tests and documents were withheld, and many witnesses who had testified against Peltier later stated they had been coerced.)14
Wounded Knee “I” of 1890 is often described as the “last armed conflict in the Indian Wars”; the bitterness in the Lakȟóta man’s voice was clear when he said this is not true. Wounded Knee “II” and what followed took place less than a hundred years after the first; we were told that some elders were witnesses to both. A girl selling earrings by the graves told us that some families that lost loved ones in the massacres moved to live closer to the site, in order to be able to honor the dead.
The girl selling earrings told us that she had family members buried at the graveyard. The youngest addition was her son, who had died when he was just a year old. She was trying to make money so that she could buy a gravestone for him. We saw his plot, which had little teddy bears and plastic flowers, but no headstone. She was in her fourth year of trying to save up this money.
The Oglála Lakȟóta Pine Ridge reservation, where the Wounded Knee Massacre site lies, is said to be the poorest place in the United States (some say the continent.) There is little game there; the unemployment rate is 73 to 85 percent, the per capita income is $6143. Life expectancy of men is 55 and females 60 (compared to the U.S. national average of 75 for men and 80 for women); 69% of the children are in poverty, the infant mortality is 2.6 times higher than the national average, and the suicide rate is 72% higher than average.15
Some believe that this is not coincidental. That because it was the Lakȟóta that resisted white domination the hardest and longest, they got the worst lands and the least assistance.
But Native American life and action clearly didn’t end with Wounded Knee, or any of the other tragedies and challenges that all the tribes have survived.
The Lakȟóta, like other tribes, have been engaged actively in righting the wrongs from the past. In addition to other efforts, the Lakȟóta have been undergoing (and may have completed) a spiritual healing process for Wounded Knee ~ the Sitanka Wokiksuye (Big Foot Memorial Ride) movement organized five annual pilgrimages to Wounded Knee from 1986 to 1990, in which hundreds of Lakȟóta riders and their supporters traced the route that Heȟáka Glešká took to Pine Ridge. We spoke to a Sitanka Wokiksuye rider, who told us about the challenges of riding in -20 degree weather in the South Dakota winter; I later read a statement by another rider, Alex White Plume, an Oglála Lakȟóta who spoke thus before Congress on the significance of the final day of the fifth and final pilgrimage:
- On December 29, 1990, the [Sitanka Wokiksuye] riders will honor the descendants of the 1890 Massacre victims. This will mark the end of 100 years of mourning. The spirits of Chief Big Foot and the men, women and children killed by the Seventh Cavalry will be released, in accordance with sacred Lakota ceremonies. The “Wiping of the Tears” will take place when the spirits are released.
- Black Elk said that the sacred hoop of the Lakota people was broken by the 1890 Massacre. He prophesied that the Seventh Generation of Lakota would mend the hoop and rebuild the Nation. We are the Seventh Generation and we are making his prophesies come true.
- The Lakota people are proud people who believe in maintaining the traditional ways. We believe in our language and religion. We believe in our people. We have survived on the North American continent for thousands of years, and we plan to be here forever. 16
That year, the Lakȟóta and other American Indian tribes had organized numerous other events and actions to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, including hearings held before Congress; they yielded a concurrent Senate resolution (S. Con. Res. 153) that “expresse[d] its deep regret on behalf of the United States to the descendants of the victims and the survivors and their respective tribal communities”. Another step forward was the (re)naming of the “Little Bighorn Battlefield” from its previous “Custer Battlefield” in 1991 (though the Lakȟóta call it “Battle of Greasy Grass Creek”); Congress also authorized an Indian Memorial to be erected at the Battlefield that would recognize that in addition to Custer and his soldiers, 100 American Indian men, women and children had died in the battle too, and that they fought in the defense of their families, land and traditional way of life.
I know that the Lakȟóta and other American Indian tribes and activists continue advocacy on correcting the wrongs from Wounded Knee I, such as to make the site a national monument (though proposals to make it a national park are controversial)17, and rescind the Congressional medals of honor from the perpetrators.18 And a wide variety of American Indian activists and groups are engaged in broad range of other issues, including the strengthening of tribal sovereignty; recovery of ancestral lands and holy land; improvement of education and social conditions; reduction of alcoholism and health problems for Native Americans; advocating for the release of Leonard Peltier and investigation of the Pine Ridge Reign of Terror; and resistance to continuing U.S. governmental efforts to encroach on native land (for instance, the Lipan-Apache, who live on both side of the Texas-Mexico border, is currently engaged in a struggle to resist Homeland Security efforts to take over their lands to continue the border wall into Texas.)
For myself I would guess the best things I could do with myself as a non-American Indian would be first to learn more (but I’m open to other suggestions). In particular, I think this means making the effort to seek out Native American sources of information, in order to make sure that my views on history and issues are not shaped purely by U.S. government propaganda, nor, just by white scholars, no matter how sympathetic and well-meaning. I’m embarrassed to say that I had read Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee but not renowned Standing Rock Lakȟóta historian Vine Deloria Jr.’s many works, such as Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. While Dee Brown and other white scholars clearly make important contributions, I would think that they can never fully understand or represent the experience of Native American tribes and individuals; further, it seems they also tend to get undue weight because the nature of American society fosters the wider distribution of “white” information about Native Americans than information from Native Americans themselves (for instance, Dee Brown was required reading for me in college, while Vine Deloria Jr., an icon and household word within Lakȟóta and other tribes, was not).
If people out there have recommendations for Native American sources of information (especially progressive political information), I would love to hear about them (this might also benefit other readers out there?)19 I also thought I should give money and support to American Indian groups doing good work ~ but I’m open to having someone tell me that such outside influence is not a good thing. If outsiders should give money and support, I would love to hear suggestions ~ I know there is a wide range of organizations that vary in mission, membership, and method.
And of course, American Indian life encompasses many other dimensions ~ there is the cultural, familial, spiritual, philosophical, scientific, artistic, athletic, among others. Joey and I were grateful that we were allowed to be present at some vibrant expressions of some of these ~ pow-wows, a Lakhóta wi wanyang wacipi (sun dance), a Native rodeo, Native athletic events (like horse relays), a national Native art show, and other intangibles.
1 See William Bright, Native American Placenames of the United States (2004), a 600-page reference book.
2 See Stacy Makes Good Ta Kola Cou Ota, “Sioux is not even a word”, http://www.Lakota Country Times.com, March 12, 2009, at http://www.lakotacountrytimes.com/news/2009/0312/guest/021.html; and “History of the Sioux” at Lakhota.com, at http://www.lakhota.com/extras/articles/history.htm
3 Vine Deloria, Jr., Custer Died for your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, 1969.
4 “Lodge Pole (Washita) Massacre (November 1868): the Families’ Stories”, at http://home.epix.net/~landis/washita.html
5 James Horsley, Washita, Genocide on the Great Plains, at http://www.dickshovel.com/was.html
6 See for instance, Killing Custer: The Battle of the Little Big Horn and the Fate of the Plains Indian by James Welch (Blackfeet-Gros Ventre novelist and poet) & Paul Stekler; Dee Brown, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.
7 Dee Brown, p. 5, 38, 44.
8 See for instance, Cankpe Opi at http://www.dickshovel.com/WKmasscre.html; Statement by Mario Gonzalez, Attorney, Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge Wounded Knee Survivor’s Associations and Oglala Sioux Tribe, at Senate Hearing before the Select Committee on Indian Affairs, September 25, 1990, at http://www.dickshovel.com/mario.html; Karen Strom, The Massacre at Wounded Knee, at http://www.hanksville.org/daniel/lakota/Wounded_Knee.html; http://www.danielnpaul.com/WoundedKnee.html
9 See for instance, “Lakota ~ Wounded Knee: A Campain to Rescind Medals”, at http://www.footnote.com/page/1299_lakotawounded_knee_a_campaign_to/
10 See Renee Samson-Flood’s Lost Bird of Wounded Knee: Spirit of the Lakota.
11 Renee Sampson-Flood’s book also discusses these practices as stemming from a devaluation and oppression of Native culture: she recounts witnessing a white social worker successfully pressuring a poor Native American woman to give up her newborn for adoption on the argument that she could not give her child a decent life, and the child would be better off with a wealthy white family.
12 See Friends of Peltier, http://www.freepeltiernow.org/reign.htm; and Frederick E. Hoxie, Encyclopedia of the North American Indians, at 528, available at http://books.google.com
13 See for instance, “The ‘Reign of Terror’” at http://www.freepeltiernow.org/reign.htm; and “We Will Remember: Pine Ridge Reservation 1973 – 1976: Chronology of Oppression at Pine Ridge”, at http://www.geocities.com/crazyoglala/1973-76PineRidgeRez.html; the various articles filed under Pine Ridge Reign of Terror in http://ourfreedom.wordpress.com/category/pine-ridge-reign-of-terror/; and Frederick E. Hoxie, Encyclopedia of the North American Indians, at 528, available at http://books.google.com
14 See Leonard Peltier, “Thirty Years of FBI Harassment and Misconduct: When Truth Doesn’t Matter”, Counterpunch, January 9, 2007, at http://www.counterpunch.org/peltier01092007.html; Leonard Peltier Defense Committee website, http://www.leonardpeltier.net/newsroom.htm; and Leonard Peltier Defense-Offense Committee at http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/index1.htm
15 Data from the Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge. See also Stephanie M. Schwartz, “The Arrogance of Ignorance: Hidden Away, Out of Sight and Out of Mind: Regarding life, conditions and hope on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakoa (Sioux) Reservation of SD”, October 15, 2006, at http://www.nativevillage.org/Messages%20from%20the%20People/the%20arrogance%20of%20ignorance.htm
16 Mario Gonzalez & Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, The Politics of Hallowed Ground: Wounded Knee and the Struggle for Indian Sovereignty, 1998, p. 62.
17 The proposals to make the Wounded Knee site a national park are controversial because some allege it will lead to displacement of many Lakȟóta families, and cede Lakȟóta land to federal control. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965, but I suspect this was for the purpose of lauding it as the “Battle of Wounded Knee” ~ hence the original green sign.
18 See for instance, “Rescind the Medals of dis-Honor” Campain at http://www.dickshovel.com/RescindMedals.html
19 In surfing around, I found some websites that seemed good to me, like “First Nations Issues of Consequence” at http://www.dickshovel.com/, which has lots of articles and opinions by Native writers and a First Nations Bookstore, and Native Village at www.nativevillage.org; I would love to hear opinions about them, and other sites.
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CONFESSIONS OF FOFI LITTLEPANTS
I thoroughly enjoy reading this blog. It’s refreshing to have the views of female, educated hitchhikers in the US. But I think you mean Columbus above, not Columbia.