Learn Lakota! – some words and expressions

Clikc on the link and scroll down a bit. You’ll find the mp3 audios.


Q&A on Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian!

I’m happy to tell you all that I just got published a little Power Point presentation I did, on chapters 1-5 of this really awesome novel. Check it out and you can post here your comments and feedback! Thanks!http://talkingpeople.net/tp/world/people/americanindians/shermanalexie/index.html

Storytelling: Coyote Kills a Giant

I’d like you to read this story and, well, it’d be great if you could post your comments. I read it and found it extremely interesting!!! It’s a Diné/Navajo story.
Link to the story on the website where I found it
Wanna listen to this story? Check it out on the TP Podcast.
Link to the Talking People American Indian Webpage (where you can find a one-page Word version of it), where we have a (brand new) section for Storytelling.

Some good literature!

I wanted to dedicate a thread to what now are two of my favorite writers! I discovered them last year, when I started reading American Indians authors. These authors are: Joy Harjo, for poetry (and “narrated” poetry too!), and Sherman Alexie, for short stories (you might have already seen our previous post on his screenplay “Smoke Signals”). If you read any of their poems or short stories, and you wish to comment here, go ahead! You can find both authors on our Talking People section devoted to American Indian thinkers, activists and artists. We included links to their own websites. We asked Joy Harjo for permission to include in our little webpage her poem “Strange Fruit”, because it’s also related to the little webpage we have for the song Billie Holiday sang, with the same title. We are planning to select more poems for you all, so you get interested in this fantastic writer! Then, we’ve sent out a permission request to Alexie’s publishers, to see if we can scan “The Search Engine”, a story included in his Ten Little Indians. This year, we are going to make the proposal in class for Advanced 2 students to buy copies of the Smoke Signals, the screenplay, but we wanted to offer a sample of his short stories, too. Well, hope you like them! Feel free to comment!

Thunderheart (1992)

Today on TV1 in Spain they showed this movie (Corazón Trueno), and gee, was I surprised! I’ve been reading about the Peltier case, and Pine Ridge Reservation, and Goons (the Indians that help the FBI on that rez) and “traditionalists” or the AIM Indians (in the movie they use a different acronym)… If you like, read a bit about Peltier’s case on Talking People. Let me just paste here some info about it: The movie is actually a thinly veiled account of real events that occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the early to mid-Seventies. Exploration for Uranium, disease from irradiated water, the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the “Traditional” Natives fight against the Tribal government “Guardians Of the Oglala Nation (GOON’s), and the FBI’s assistance to the “Goons” by providing weaponry and other assistance are some of the things that are referred to in the movie that were true and documented by Writer/Director Michael Apted when he was a regular visitor to the Reservation during that time.
During the early to mid-Seventies, there were fifty-seven unsolved murders on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation due to the fighting between the “Traditionals” and Tribal government sanctioned “goons”. This made the Village of Pine Ridge (Pop. 1100) the “Murder Capitol of the Nation” with the highest number of violent death per capita in the United States.
More trivia at imdb.

Fry Bread

Fry Bread recipes

DNA – Sasheen Littlefeather & Marlon Brando

An example of a Direct Nonviolent Action… (Many people’s reaction was also a good example of how people react to nonviolence and good points being made).
For 200 years we have said to the Indian people who are fighting for their land, their life, their families and their right to be free: ”Lay down your arms, my friends, and then we will remain together. Only if you lay down your arms, my friends, can we then talk of peace and come to an agreement which will be good for you.”
When they laid down their arms, we murdered them.
  [Read complete speech]

Marlon Brando’s Unfinished Oscar Speech, 1973, given by Sasheen Littlefeather on behalf of Marlon Brando, who wanted to decline the Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather. She said: “Marlon Brando … has asked me to tell you, in a very long speech which I cannot share with you presently—because of time—but I will be glad to share with the press afterward, that he… very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reason for this being… the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry… and on television in movie re-runs, and also the recent happenings at Wounded Knee. I beg at this time that I have not intruded upon this evening and that… in the future…our hearts and our understanding will meet with love and generosity. Thank you on behalf of Marlon Brando.”

American Indians Mourn Brando’s Death (Associated Press, 2004)

Wounded Knee Occupation 1973

On a winter day in 1973 a large group of American Indian men and women (incl. pregnant women) “reclaimed Wounded Knee in the name of the Lakota Nation. For the first time in many decades, those Oglala Sioux ruled themselves, free from government intervention, as is their ancient custom. This would become the basis for a TV movie, Lakota Woman the true story of Mary Moore Crowdog, and her experiences at the Wounded Knee occupation” (from siouxme.com). Check out our thread on Lakota Woman the autobiography.

Wounded Heart. Pine Ridge Rez

This is a documentary about Lakotas (Sioux) in Pine Ridge Reservation (South Dakota).
Watch the trailer. Russel Means, the famous actor and activist, is the off-voice. I love other parts / points made in the documentary but I haven’t been able to find any YouTube videos on them yet.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (Song)

This song mentions several of the topics presented on this little blog, so I thought it should have a thread of its own. The song comes from Buffy Sainte-Marie’s album “Coincidence & Likely Stories” (1993). You can check out the lyrics and a YouTube video which plays it here, plus find more info and links on this amazing artist (painter, songwriter, singer…) and activist.

Smoke Signals

This is the title of a movie based on Sherman Alexie‘s script. Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian writer. I have ordered some copies of the published script of this movie, “Smoke Signals” (1998, read the summary of the movie at Alexi’s website!). We can’t get the movie in Europe, because of our DVD/videos players, but I have watched it and I have collected some YouTube videos on our YouTube account, so that you can watch them. The first one is here below, anyway. Let me give you some background info: “Barter” means “exchange, swap, swop, interchange, trade”. [The French upon meeting the Coeur d’ Arlene Indians called them the “The Heart of the Awl” saying they were the greatest traders in the world.] Thomas, 1 of the 2 main characters, trades a story (The girl says “Better be good!”) for a lift (para que les lleven en coche) to the exit of the reservation (the rez) (they joke about leaving the rez, saying that it’s like going abroad, to the USA! 🙂 “Have you got your passports?”). Thoma’s story is about an event in Victor‘s dad’s life (with hippies in the 60s, when “all the hippies were trying to be Indians” and there’s a very funny comment around making social statements, do you get it?). Both of these boys are leaving the rez to get to the place where that man, Arnold, died. You see, Victor’s dad runs away from the rez, deserts his family, but… Well, you’ve got to watch the movie! By the way, 1 of the 2 girls in the car is also in the TV series “Northern Exposure” (Doctor en Alaska), Elaine Miles, a  Cayuse/Nez Perce Indian, who plays the role of Marilyn in that series). Cultural tip: Indian peoples have an amazing oral tradition (or used to have before the genocide attempt, and are having now that miracously they’ve survived that!), and that this boy who tells the story is an example – he’s a gifted story-teller.

Lakota Woman

Read an excerpt from Mary Brave Bird’s autobiography, Lakota Woman (1990; HarperPerennial 1991) and post here your comments.

The TP webpage for Mary Brave Bird 

See some information about the movie version of this book, which was produced by Jane Fonda: Lakota Woman. Siege at Wounded Knee (1994).

The Housing Poem, by Dian Million

I bought a collection of writings by contemporary native women in North America (literal meaning, this is, Canada, the USA, Mexico), called “Reinventing the Enemy’s Language” (edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird) and I would like to share with you this very interesting poem, “The Housing Poem”, by Dian Million. It’s published in written & audio version on the TP Podcast. But please, better post here your comments on the poem!
More about this writer? Here’s a link to the TP webpage on Dian Million.
I have tons of comments arising from discovering this poem! But now, to have a little rest! 🙂

Wounded Knee Massacre 1890

Watch this YouTube video. It’s informative:

There’s a book: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (1970) by Dee Brown, which tells the history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century, and their displacement and slaughter by the United States federal government.

More info on our Wounded Knee Page above, which includes a list of all the threads her in connection to Wounded Knee.

The Spirit of Annie Mae

Annie Mae * Read about her and watch audiovisuals on this website. In case you missed it, listen to Buffy Sainte-Marie talking about her friend… Here is the song “Bury My Heart in Wounded Knee” where Annie Mae is mentioned.
Her murder is connected to some key words: AIM (American Indian Movement), Pine Ridge Reservation, Wounded Knee

* News from another blog on this case

I’m trying to order the movie, “The Spirit of Annie Mae“, a tribute to her life and activism…

Free Leonard Peltier Now!

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
From his support blog: During the horrific early 1970’s Reign of Terror on the Lakota (Sioux) reservation at Pine Ridge South Dakota, an infamous time of violence and corruption existed. Complicit tribal officials hired local thugs known as ‘ GOONS –‘Guardians of the Oglala Nation’, who–with the blessing of the U.S. Government–carried out an unprovoked series of assaults on the traditional people on the Pine Ridge reservation. SD. Behind these attacks was Big Energy’s desire for uranium under Sioux lands, then being secretly negotiated between the U.S. government and compliant Tribal officials. Two FBI agents were killed on June 26, 1975 during a gun battle on The Jumping Bull Property. Leonard Peltier was falsely framed for the murder of the two FBI agents. So why is this story of Judicial Racism hidden from the public eye? Peltier has been behind prison bars for more than half of his life (he turned 63 this past September 2007). Petitions will be available at both performances appealing for Leonard’s release in his upcoming parole hearing. If Mr. Peltier is denied release at this hearing -he will not receive another opportunity for freedom until the 2017 parole hearing. His official release date is 2041.
Write Letters of Support to Leonard
First and foremost, let Mr. Peltier know that he is not forgotten. Leonard is currently imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. You can send cards and letters to: Leonard Peltier #89637-132 / USP-Lewisburg / US Penitentiary / PO Box 1000 / Lewisburg, PA  17837-1000.
The link in the comment below is a good one to learn it all about the case and how to help.
Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Bury My Heart in Wounded Knee” mentions Peltier. Read/Listen here.

Three Young Poets Four Poems

Their names are not mentioned! If anyone finds them, or the written poems, hey, paste them here, please! 🙂

Hello everybody!

This blog is under construction. The idea is to publish written texts and audios which will allow people interested in Native / American Indians to learn a bit about them.

“Dakota” and “Lakota” mean “friends” or “allies.” The people of these nations are also called “Sioux”. This term comes from the French pronunciation of Ojibwa word “Nadouwesou” (“adders”, a harmless snake), which was the name Ojibwas gave the Lakota and Dakota.

You can post your comments for each thread, provided you type your email and nick. Under “About”, you can post your suggestions for topics for new threads!