We are a Traditional people.
Following is a transcript of portions of an important document of policy the LDN Nation drafted in 1995 from a copy sent to Board Member and Chief, Chief Richard Grass. (original documents remain on file in the Lakota Dakota Nakota Nations’ archives in the center of the nation)
TO: ALL BOARD MEMBERS
RE: AKICITA DIVISION (1); INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS HUMAN RIGHTS CO-OPERATIVE OF LAKOTA NATIONAL GOVERNMENT; REGARDING LETTERS OF DECEMBER 24, 1994 JANUARY 12, 1995 FROM BERNIE PEOPLES, LNOC COORDINATOR
January 20 1995
As regards Bernie Peoples’ letters of …Dec. 24, 1994 & January 12, 1995 his plan outlined therein to … (details of this paragraph are hereby omitted for peaceful purposes. Complete original documents remain on file in the Lakota Dakota Nakota Nations’ archives in the center of the nation) We are adamantly, absolutely, unequivocally against his plan. The reasons are:
1. We are a Traditional people, preserving and promoting a Traditionally-based form of government. This means we are first, last and always a spiritual people, with a spiritually-oriented (sacred) governmental view. Because everything is holy, everything we do is spiritually oriented in a Traditionally-based governmental form.
This prohibits commando tactics as a means of achieving our goals. To indulge in the tactics as outlined in Bernie’s (also known as Bunkie) letters makes us no better than the wasichu who have oppressed our people for over 400 years.
Ghandi did what we are working to do without such tactics – – so can we. As spiritual people, our power comes from Wakan Tanka, not only is there no need for such tactics as Bernie proposes, there is a strong need to avoid them if we want to maintain our spiritually-based credibility.
2….This is not 1941 and we are not Kamikazi. We are Traditional Lakota spiritual warriors.
World opinion is currently on our side. Such a ‘stunt’ as Bernie proposes could easily change all of that. We do not need a… “situation” in the world …at the doorstep of our Sacred and beloved Paha Sapa.
We Lakota are Keepers of our Unci Maka Wakan. …It is one thing to take a strong dignified stand; another to function as terrorists. [As a spiritual nation we will always choose the former – a strong dignified stand].
3. The pen is mightier than the sword and truth is our greatest “weapon”. Thus any “demonstration” [if it were even deemed appropriate, needed, or directed by Spirit] that would be held in Paha Sapa, or Matoh Paha, would always be done peacefully with ceremonies being done continuously by authentic spiritual leaders and practitioners of various authentic American Indian Traditional Ways. (“Authentic” means, for example, “no Native American Church.” They do not follow an authentic Traditional set of practices, their church being only about 60 years old; and their way combines elements of several spiritual ways, not all of which are Indian; and they do not follow the ancient (i.e. Traditional) ways regarding their use of peyote. Also, their use of peyote draws in the element of “drugs” and automatically draws focus away from our orientations, which is authentic Traditional American Indian spiritual practices.)
By rotating various authentic Traditional ceremonies and spiritual leaders [during any kind of future gathering or peaceful protest of any kind] no one group or tribe has to bear the brunt of any [oppositions’] efforts at discreditation or destruction. The catch here is “authentic.” That means: “long time sober”; “strong, quiet public stands on subjects unpopular with the [dominant culture]”; “no modified ceremonies”; lead by people of proven reliability, non-racist attitude and credibility within traditional spiritual Indian community.”
These ceremonies should be open to people of all races to participate in, the mending of the Sacred Hoop being what it is, but the ceremonies themselves should be authentically done and not modified in any manner. We are Traditional Indians, working to establish a Traditionally-based governmental form. Our Traditional spiritual ways have great power, and it is time we worked with that.
4. …A house divided against itself cannot stand; and if we do not hang together, we shall certainly hang separately. Which is how the U.S. Government has kept our people powerless – hanging – for so long — by promoting suspicion and division within our ranks by means of gossip, innuendo, outright lies, and threats of all kinds.
…There are many ways to be a warrior and to “wage war” to effect desirable changes. [violence of ANY kind, or disrespectful actions such as] Bernies’ plan is absolutely inappropriate…for at least the reasons stated above.
Opeya Cente-elyuza na ota woya waste, (with respect and many blessings)
This excerpt from the writings of Spiritual Traditional Chiefs was signed by Reginald Bird Horse, Sr., [then acting] Chief Executive Officer of the Lakota Dakota Nakota National Government, Joseph A. Walker, who was at the time Vice-Chief Executive Officer, Lakota Dakota Nakota National Government, Vice-Chief Executive Officer and International Secretary of the Lakota Dakota Nakota National Government, (all deceased /or retired) …The entire document(s) are on file in a safe and secure location in the Lakota Dakota Nakota Nations’ offices).
Progressives vs Traditionalists
excerpts from http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2008/fall/gall.html . . . Culture Mediators trying to bridge the gap between themselves and federal agents…..
“Many historians have used the term progressive to describe those Indians who were willing to cooperate and the term traditionalist for those who were not. Unfortunately, the dichotomy has sometimes been slanted to characterize the progressives as being Indians willing to change their attitude and behavior in order to curry favor with their Indian agents. A more recent view embraced by ethnohistorians and cultural anthropologists, however, is to regard many of these cooperative Indians as culture brokers or cultural mediators trying to bridge the gap between themselves and federal agents such as McLaughlin.”
Gall served as district farmer until 1892 with only one interruption, when he resigned to accept an appointment as one of three Native American judges on the Court of Indian Offenses. He proved to be a fair and compassionate judge whose legal perspective reflected the attitude and customs of his people often enough to be overruled on occasions by McLaughlin. After completing his one-year term on the court, he was again appointed as a district farmer in 1890, a position he held until his discharge on December 31, 1892. He probably vacated this responsibility because of failing health, although the murky economy that foreshadowed the Panic of 1893 may also have been a factor.
Gall’s conscientious service won him McLaughlin’s respect. But there were other cooperative Indians who enjoyed a close relationship with McLaughlin. One was Running Antelope, who had been elevated in 1851 to the high rank of shirtwearer of whom there were only four among all the Hunkpapas. He had been an early peacemaker who did not fight against the Army during the Great Sioux War or participate in the long Canadian exile with Sitting Bull and Gall. He served as a district farmer throughout most of the 1880s. Another hero of Little Big Horn, Crow King, would probably have been another close ally of McLaughlin, but he died in 1884.
Although Gall was probably the major’s favorite Indian, John Grass was undoubtedly more effective in advancing McLaughlin’s program for the assimilation of his Indian charges at Standing Rock. Like Gall, Grass was a district farmer, who served from 1887 to 1889. Also like Gall, he resigned in 1889 to become a judge on the Court of Indian Offenses. Josephine Waggoner, a mixed-blood married to an Army private at Standing Rock, knew both Gall and Grass well and considered Grass to be the best Indian orator she had ever heard. Grass also had a fine mind and worked to persuade McLaughlin to focus more on raising stock than farming as Standing Rock’s chief occupation. It was a wise recommendation, given the aridity of the land, and McLaughlin eventually came around to Grass’s viewpoint.
With Lakota leaders like Gall and Grass, McLaughlin had invaluable assets in two able men who could advance his assimilation program. When Sitting Bull was transferred to Standing Rock in 1883, after spending 20 months at Fort Randall as a virtual prisoner, McLaughlin quickly realized that he would need Gall and Grass as allies. The major took an instant dislike to Sitting Bull, who had claimed that he had received a letter from the President of the United States telling him that he would be the “big chief of the agency.” When McLaughlin emphatically rejected Sitting Bull’s claim of authority and proceeded to treat him just like any other Indian, the old chief became McLaughlin’s major adversary. Sitting Bull assumed leadership of those more traditional Indians who opposed many of McLaughlin’s policies.
It was at this point that McLaughlin began to organize a faction of friendly Indians at Standing Rock, headed by Gall and Grass. Even though Grass, who could speak English, was his most reliable ally, McLaughlin touted Gall’s credentials the most.
Because Gall was a major participant at the Little Bighorn and during the Yellowstone expeditions of the early 1870s, he was regarded as a hero by many of his people. Grass, on the other hand, had a questionable war record against the U.S. Army, even though he had fought against his people’s traditional Indian enemies. Gall also wore his prestige and authority with more tact and modesty than Grass. Sitting Bull’s nephew, the respected warrior White Bull, resented the articulate Grass, insisting that he could “always say yes [to the government] but never no.” http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2008/fall/gall.html
Until now, the above was what what believed as the “history” of these individuals, their “work” and relationships with one another. Some today have implied that John Grass himself was somehow “against” Sitting Bull. However, the well researched and documented manuscripts passed down through the Grass family, and which we now hope to publish and make known will show another version, of the true history from traditional spiritual Lakota, Dakota, Nakota perspectives…