Posted by on Mar 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

Iyuhcan Tanka (Thinking Big)

By:  Wizipan Garriott I’ve spent the majority of my professional career fighting battles in Indian law and policy/politics.  Most of these battles have taken place in hostile territory, meaning that legal and political issues are defined by federal Indian law.  The U.S. Congress makes the laws, federal courts interpret the laws, and federal employees (yes- me not too long ago) must carry out the laws.  It is an inescapable reality that the most pro tribal federal employee (what I strived to be), and even the greatest tribal advocate or tribal chairman, must work within the framework of federal Indian law and policy.  As long as we accept and rely upon federal dollars, we will be beholden to these laws; but, who’s to say this framework can’t be changed in fundamental ways. Every week tribal advocates and leaders from Florida to Alaska travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with federal officials in the Administration and Congress.  Almost always, it is to make the case to the federal government that it...

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Posted by on Mar 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

Wacontognaka (Generosity)

By:  Wizipan Garriott Before there was anything, there was Inyan (Stone).  Inyan was alone, shapeless, and without form.  He wished to have companions and relatives, but the only way to create another being was to take from himself.  So, Inyan drew from his own blood.  His blood became Maka (the Earth), and Skan (the sky and power of movement and life).  From Maka and Skan, our world was created.  As Inyan’s blood and power flowed forth, he shrank and became hard.  Inya is the stone, the Grandfather of all creation.  It is because of his sacrifice that we have life today. Our existence as Lakota begins with one of the seven principle virtues of the Canupa (sacred pipe):  wacontognaka (generosity).  Only by giving of ourselves can we live. Everyone one of us has stories about the many forms of generosity.  It must be practiced in ways both minuscule and monumental.  Generosity must be consistent, with nothing asked for in return.  If you give, you will receive.  We must be...

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Posted by on Feb 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

What if Tomorrow the Treaties Were Honored?

By:  Wizipan Garriot Since I was a young boy, I’ve heard countless self-proclaimed activists, traditionalists, traditional chiefs, treaty council delegates, elected tribal leaders, and intellectuals spout about honoring the treaties.  It’s a subject to which I’ve devoted many hours (both productive and unproductive) of contemplation, wondering about the spiritual consequences (remember this agreement was sealed with the Canunpa), legal and philosophical esoteric theories, and the practical implications of the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties.  Almost every discussion is about why the treaties need to be honored, but I’ve only heard one other person ever ask, “What if tomorrow the treaties were honored?” In all honesty, as things stand today, we would most likely descend into chaos, and the United States and United Nations would have to be called back in to provide food, and safety.  We’d be back to relying upon the Government for everything.  Here’s how, and why. Imagine one Monday morning the leadership of the U.S. Government making a series of courtesy phone calls to the...

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