Christmas is a fallacy. Our winter ceremonies were replaced by the notion of a fat man in a red suit who could visit every house in the world in a matter of hours.
I write this on the sacred day known as Winter Solstice. The first day of Waniyetu was a time for our ancestors to offer their most powerful prayers. Yet, it seems as though prayer has been replaced by commercialism.
December also is a month which holds some of the most painful memories for the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people. On December 15, 1890 Tatanka Iyotake (Chief Sitting Bull) was murdered by Indian Police at his home.
December 26, 1862 was the day when 38 Dakota were hanged at Mankato, Minnesota. 2 more were executed in 1865.
Finally, the senseless murders of over 300 unarmed men, women and children on December 29, 1890 by the 7th Cavalry is an event branded into our cellular memory.
How do we heal?
Today, there are horses and human beings who sacrifice during bitterly cold days and nights to pray for our survival– much like our people who sacrifice every summer in the sun dance.
Prayers will ensure the healing of the Seven Generations.
The Omaka Tokatakiya – Future Generations Ride originally began as the Big Foot Memorial Ride. This ride traces the route in which Si Tanka (Chief Big Foot) and his band walked after the murder of Tatanka Iyotake. It is held annually as a spiritual ride for the youth.
The Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride follows a route from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation along the Missouri River to Mankato, Minnesota. The day after Christmas execution of 38 Dakota was the largest mass hanging in the dark history of the United States of America. Although President Lincoln is remembered by many for abolishing slavery, he is known to the Dakota as the one who sent the 38+2 to the gallows.
In my lifetime I cannot easily forget these anniversaries of the atrocities committed upon our people during the month in which I was born. Our ancestors are the reason why we still have our language and ceremonies. Our descendants must also remember our culture. We have to help them come back into the circle of ceremony.
Our great grandparents, grandparents, parents, ourselves, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are what comprise the Seven Generations. The concept of the Seventh Generation is here – now – in this very moment.
The Seventh Generation is us.
December is very emotional for us because we carry the memory of the murder of our ancestors in our DNA. It’s in our cellular memory. The way to transmute those dark memories is through prayer.
The human beings and horses sacrificing this week on spiritual rides have us all in their prayers.
Pray relatives. Pray at new moon and full moon. Pray at summer and winter solstice. Pray at spring and fall equinox. Pray at sunrise and sundown.
Be a good ancestor, our descendants are depending on you.