“Never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ~~ Martin Luther King, Jr
Turn on the news>>>read the newspaper>>>>> all around the world tragedies are happening. You can not read the news or turn on the television without reading of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, sunami’s, earthquakes, murders, rapes, abductions, animal cruelty and the list goes on. And, if we are lucky, we read that someone is standing up for what is right>>>becoming a patient advocate, a listening ear, a relief worker, a rape crisis counselor, etc.
So, how do you decide what you stand up for? The list is overwhelming. Standing up for injustice is important. Standing up for yourself is important. Standing up for what is right is important and standing up for the weak, downtrodden and injured are all important.
Today I want to share something that touches my heart greatly.
This is a picture I have shown before. She is my great-grandfather’s wife and her name is Alice. That is obviously not her real name as she is Native American, but that is the name she went by. Here Americanized Alice is trying to teach her daughter about her ancestry.
Did you know that South Dakota and American Indians across the nation are dying at greater rates than other races? They live with unemployment, poverty, discrimination, abuse and feel like there is no way out for them. And our government seems to be doing nothing for the first American people here. Feeling like you have nowhere to turn, no place to go is one of the most despairing things that can happen to you. Living with sorrow, grief, poor self-esteem, hunger, abandonment, alcoholism, loss, grief, trauma, depression, and feeling like no one cares for generation after generation has caused our First Americans to have a high rate of suicides. This is totally inexcusable.
If it were a rape crisis center in a big city, an abuse center, a rehab center, etc….money would be flowing in to help with this injustice. But the country seems to have forgotten them and this is my stand today to try to tell the story.
video created by TheFWII
This is a video below showing Walter Littlemoon talk about the boarding school when he was little and the things done to him and to the other Indian children. They were Americanized….made to dress like the white people and even made to have their hair cut like the white man. Many will say that is nothing, but to Native Americans, their hair stands for something.
video created by 22331230
“Hair held great symbolic importance for many in many Native American tribes…… People in these tribes only cut their hair to show grief or shame…….Native Americans in some Plains and Western tribes continue to place great spiritual value on their hair, cutting it only when they are in mourning. “
Quote is from: http://www.native-languages.org/hair.htm (good site)
Can you imagine young Indian children being taken away from their parents and being forced to have their hair cut off. What confusion and trauma that did. All they would know is that it stood for mourning…..so who had died in their family? They had no way to find out. The school was trying to eradicate everything Indian from their being. How traumatic that was for the children. And the scars left have run deep and long and many today are still trying to deal with them and with the abuse. What did they learn? They learned how to fight even with their own family for survival. And the hopelessness, the depression and despair have caused the Indians to have one of the highest suicide rates, almost four to one over other races.
I find it so unsettling that we as a world people, can not accept others just as they are. It seems we think they must act and be just like us. Diversity is a wonderful thing and when we try to force a culture on other people, we are in essence attempting to do cultural and emotional genocide of a race. This is what happened with the Native Americans in our country….. one state in particular I would like to introduce you to in today”s thoughts is that of South Dakota. Just keep in mind that this has happened all over our United States of AMERICA
We have allowed the First Americans to live in poverty and unemployment, which in turn is causing them to be living in despair….generation after generation of despair.
“Reservation Poverty in the United States is defined as poverty among reservations, or “state or federally recognized, geographically defined areas of varying size over which Native Americans have the primary governing authority” Currently, almost a third of single-race American Indians live on reservations, totaling approximately 700,000 individuals . Indian reservations, as “the ultimate welfare state”, usually subsist on what the government provides, and little else Some of the poorest counties in the United States are contained largely on reservations. Furthermore, on aggregate, American Indians living on reservations have lower incomes, education levels, and access to healthcare, and face significantly higher unemployment rates”
“The country’s 2.1 million Indians, about 400,000 of whom live on reservations, have the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, and disease of any ethnic group in America” Native Americans remain at the bottom in almost every measurable economic category. Indians earn only a little more than half as much money as the average American-less money per capita than whites, blacks, Asian Americans, and Hispanics. Nearly one-third of Native Americans live in poverty, which is more than twice the rate for Americans in general. American Indian couples earn $71 for every $100 earned by all United States married couples.”
The suicide rate is four times higher on the South Dakota Reservation than elsewhere. It is mostly males, and is 86 percent across the united states. That is horrific. The government tried to, in effect do cultural and emotional genocide. Are we now going for physical genocide?
Here are some good articles about the suicide rate in South Dakota and across the nation. I wish I could make them clickable but don’t know how. If someone wants to leave me message with directions, I will gladly fix them. Until then, please copy and paste into your browser.
How has this been allowed to go on generation after generation? Why have they become, in essence, a third world country? We rush to help other countries in times of dire need and yet we ignore our own and make no mistake…they are our own and they are mine.
video by lakotaarapaho
What can we do about this? For many, they will say “ok where do I send a check?”. But the reality is, while money is good, there needs to be more done to draw attention to this. There needs to be a country-wide crusade to help the Native Americans and to find solutions for the suicides where the young people are disappearing daily from suicide. That brings tears to my eyes for I can not envision my sons feeling so hopeless and so filled with despair that they find it is more painful to stay in this world than it is to leave it.
video by jshields01
I hear people all the time say we should hear the cry of a child. What about the cry of a people? Why is no one listening? Why is no one helping? Why is our own government not helping? Have we become deaf to the cries of those in pain? I would say yes except we send billions to other countries to help them. I know the Creator of us all must weep when He sees such injustice.
video by rebel072162
Standing up for what is right…for justice…for all. That is what it is all about.
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