Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Can I Be Proud of Being From Here?

By : Dana Lone Hill

Every year I carry a certain pride inside, even though as Lakota we are not supposed to be proud, but with a certain arrogance, I am happy I am from a state that does not honor the memory of a murderer.

Christopher Columbus.

I always think, what the hell? When will the rest of the world catch up and realize that it’s not right to honor a murderer? One who murdered for greed, a lost explorer who enslaved and killed off different tribes into extinction with disease and cold blooded murder.

Then I think about the race relations in this state. For anyone reads my work, it is no secret that I have brought up racism and South Dakota before. I think of how South Dakota is compared often to the Deep South of the 30’s and 40’s, and how many times I have been called a derogatory name, even before I knew what they meant. How many incidents I have witnessed of racism. How I was passed for promotions in crappy jobs I was qualified for. How I stood up for my children when I felt they were discriminated against. I think of how many murders of our people went unsolved. I think of Vern Traversie, the SDSU incident, Pe’Sla and all the other wrongs that should be, need to be, right with this state.

Then I think, is it possible for me to still be proud of being from this state, even with all the things that are wrong here? To be proud we don’t celebrate Columbus Day, that we honor the Indigenous people of the state? Can I be proud of this place I was born and raised even though I have on more than one occasion proclaimed it “the most racist state?”

The answer is absolutely.

Because we were here first. Our ancestors roamed this land way before any nose twitched at the scent of gold. Of all people the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota have every right to be here, raise families here, seek a life, education, and career here.

This always was and always has been our land, no matter who has a deed or title.

And we know this in our hearts.

Columbus? Whatever!

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