The Rez has many problems. We see alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence and the sexual abuse of children. Many tribal members believe we have a largely unaccountable tribal government. Also, some of our people live in homes without electricity. Many teenagers are left alone to care for younger siblings.
Still, we make the choice to live here and raise our families close to our beautiful Lakota culture. The love we have for our Lakota ceremony outweighs many things wrong with tribal society today.
The most awesome aspect about life on the Rez is our spirituality. Lakota spirituality is still in the early stages of a major renaissance. But even though many of our people are being called to embrace the spiritual ways of our ancestors, there are still many Lakota people who make a personal choice to sit back and condemn the ceremonies which take place on the Rosebud Rez. Some Lakota people even spread fallacies about ceremony being akin to a cult.
Yet, Lakota people who attend ceremony offer prayers for all to overcome their fear and ignorance about their own culture.
Purification begins on Sunday for the sun dance at Crow Dog’s Paradise, which is likely the oldest ceremony on the Rosebud as it has been held for many years. I remember attending this ceremony when there was no arbor and only a handful of dancers. Today it is the largest sun dance held on Rosebud.
Wopila to Chief Leonard Crow Dog for all the years he has held the sun dance on Rosebud. Today, there are humans from all over the world who come to Rosebud to pray with us in the sacred circle under the Tree of Life.
Many of us appreciate the spiritual help Chief Crow Dog and his family have offered to the people of Rosebud, as well as the people of many other tribes which he has assisted. He has said many prayers for humanity and the living beings of the universe. We are grateful for him and all the wonderful blessings he has helped to bring into our lives.
This is the time of year when local people focus on our own Lakota ceremony. That is, Lakota people will either come to dance, sing or support the Paradise sun dance or they will sit at home in harsh judgment about their own ceremony. Some people will even write disparaging comments on social media sites.
Still, the sun dancers pray for all of us, even those of you who gossip about trivial incidents you believe happen during this ceremony. I am always amazed at the level of ignorant gossip spoken by our own Lakota people.
I encourage the Lakota people of Rosebud to come and pray with us at Paradise next week. This is the year you could consciously choose to transform your mind and embrace the ceremony of your ancestors. Acknowledge your own Lakota blood and come support Chief Crow Dog at your own ceremony next week.
Our children need your prayers.