Nov 11, 2013 - Giving Wopila & a Call to Action by Matt Remle
A little over a 130 years ago, my many times Great Grandfather Wakinyan Luta (Red Thunder) and his brothers Rain in the Face, Shaved Head, Bear Face, Little Bear, and Iron Horn fought at the Battle of the Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn). They fought fearlessly for our Lakota way of life. They fought to preserve our traditional homelands, for the buffalo, for the women, children, and elders. They fought for the future generations, for us living today.
They fought not for corporate or State profit, nor for the expansionist goals of an Imperialist Nation, but rather for the protection of a way of life given to our Oyate. To this I say wopila.
Throughout the generations and throughout the vast expanse of Maka Ina, Indigenous communities have waged battles of resistance against the Imperialist colonial settler states. These warriors, these veterans, deserve our gratitude and respect. They waged wars against colonial empires whose concern only extended to the expansion of its empires at the expense of all communities, all forms of life, and against Maka Ina (mother earth).
In the past 500 years, the colonial settler state has wrought devastating impacts against Native peoples, other living relatives, such as the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation), and against our first Mother Maka Ina. The destructive behavior of the American colonial State was not confined to just the lands of Turtle Island, but has extended to nearly every lands and communities across Maka Ina.
The past 500 years have been filled with bloody and brutal campaigns by European Nations, later the United States, to build and expand the goals of Empire. These campaigns continue to this day. The recent, and ongoing, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the broader Middle East are examples of modern day colonial campaigns. These wars share much in common with the previous colonial campaigns against our Native Nations with the control of lands and resources central to each, along with the removal, or termination, of Indigenous resistance and the instillation of pro-colonial puppet governments acting at the behest of the foreign corporate interest of the invading empire.
Mitakuyepi, my relatives, we stand today on the brink of global catastrophe. Across the globe, glaciers are receding at unprecedented rates, the oceans are warming and rising, our relatives of the four legged, winged, and insect Nations are going extinct at disturbingly high levels, forests are shrinking and perhaps most frightening of all is the loss of Mni wiconi (water is life). From the tar sands, to the numerous hydrological fracturing sites to other corporate driven World Bank, IMF financed projects our water is both being polluted beyond repair and drying up. Know water, know life. No water, no life.
The loss and mass pollution of our global water supply should be ample reason to raise concern and outrage from all communities. We all need water to live.
We cannot continue to afford to serve the interest of the Imperialist agenda, the stakes are too high. This is a call for all communities to rise together and join in the efforts led by Native communities to protect Mother Earth, our sacred water and our future generations.
Let us live today so that in another 130 years ours descendants can look back and give wopila to their ancestors for standing up and fighting for them. To my ancestors, I say wopila for fighting for the Oyate, to the future generations through our actions we hope to earn your gratitude and respect.
Wakinyan Waanatan (Matt Remle)