Colonialism and Self-Sufficiency – Russell Means Speaks Out
This is a short history of colonization of the Lakotah to explain why our people do not make efforts at self-sufficiency.
1. The United States outlawed our religion, our spirituality. Outlawed it. Out people were sent to prison if they caught practicing our ways.
2. They rounded up our children, all of our children, for over 80 years and forced them into government and religious boarding schools. These utilized corporal punishment and mental and physical torture. They worked to erradicate our language and our songs. To forcefully teach us that our parents and grandparents were nothing more than stupid, savage pagans. That education goes on today.
3. The Constitution of the United States of America does not apply to any American Indian living on an federally recognized American Indian Reservation in the united states. Therefore we haven’t any Constitutional protections against anyone or anything. We are not permitted on the reservation to econmically develop. Hence, our over 80% unemployment. We cannot test our water officially for uranium poisoning or arsenic poisoning or any other type of minerals or heavy metals. We can test for E Coli & harmful bacteria. We are ‘allowed’ 4 tests for those items.
4. We suffer under the agriculture’s department’s starchy food program which is dispersed to us on a monthly basis. The alledged 10s of 100s of millions of dollars spent on the Lakotah is actually not spent on us. We are allowed to touch it, as it flies through the reservation to the white man that surrounds us. We are permitted to own gas stations and convenience stores, where most people shop. We have one grocery store on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which is directly across the street from where the Bureau of Indian Affairs and nearby where Indian Health Service Hosptial employees work.
5. We have one Catholic High School, one Bureau of Indian Affairs High School, and two Tribally Controlled/BIA/No Child Left Behind High Schools. over 95% of the High School students have expressed the desire and the intention to leave the reservation as soon as possible. We have the Oglala Lakotah College, whose curriculum is designed to encourage graduates to leave the reservation. After over 80 years of these policies they have successfully destroyed our families, and our communities. Our entire culture is on the brink of extinction. The vast majority who remain on the reservation have crushingly low self esteem and no will to better themselves. The Christian Churches are vultures feeding off the carcases of our poverty. And they are very rich.
This list is a microcosm of the colonial and genocidal tactics fostered and developed by the government of the United States of America. For the above reasons and more is why we are asking for investment into our children, and investment in our self-determination. We welcome all opportunities for individuals to assist and lend their efforts to counter these effects and improve the conditions our people are struggling against.