These policies try to force us to live in ghetto housing called Cluster Housing. These policies have taken away our traditional foods that kept us healthy. These policies have created a private state prison system that makes money on incarcerating our young people rather than rehabilitating them. These policies have kept my children, my grandchildren and nephews and nieces, from learning how to survive and live from the land.
These policies and politics have created the “haves” and the “have-nots”, a two-level society of extremes on the reservation favoring corruption and nepotism in BIA and reservation government relationships.
We have no YMCA. Many have no job or any possibility of a job. We have no vocational training centers. We have no residential treatment centers for children and teens as an alternative to jail like they have in the cities.
Hope is hard to find. So belonging to a gang has become the only way for many of our young people to feel good, to feel needed and wanted.
Now, they say the Lakota are “Third World Welfare Recipients.” But worse is the fact that our young people steal from each other. Our people shoot and hurt each other. They practice deceit and abuse our girls. Elders now live in fear. The traditional values of the Lakota warrior no longer exist. They have become lost to alcohol and drugs and gangs.
So today, I am calling on all young Lakota warriors and young Lakota people. We need you to help save the future generations to come. Not me, not Grandpa, I don’t need saving. But your children and your grandchildren do.
Get back into your own traditional spirituality and traditional ways and values. Those hold the answers for you. Those will guide you and help you to know who you are more than any gang ever could. And it will be you who will bring the harmony back to our lives.
It will be you who will bring back hope to our People.Ho he’cetu yelo. I have spoken these words. David Swallow, Wowitan Yuha Mani
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