Sunka Wakan Oyate
Statement by David Swallow, Jr., Wowitan Yuha Mani
Teton Lakota Spiritual Leader, Sun dance Chief of the Medicine Wheel Sun dance, and a Headman of the Lakota Nation Band of Wana Way Gu (Broken Bow)
Statement Date; May 3rd 2010
Transcribed To and edited by Keith Rabin and Allison Gutirrez-Bundy
Hau, Mitakuyepi na Mita Kola. [ Hello. Greetings my
relatives and my friends. ]
My name is Dave Swallow Jr. My Lakota name is Wowitan Uha Mani, Walks With Pride. I’m a Lakota. I live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation [South Dakota]. I was born and raised there. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is The United States Prisoner of War Camp Number 344. That’s where I was born and raised.
We are the People of the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota People. We have adopted the Sacred Horse, [ Sunka Wakan ] into our nation and into our families.
It is part of who we are. It is hard in our ways to remember our lives with out our Horses. They are part of our family. We give them names and honor them. They take part in our ceremonies. They are part of our lives, not only for transportation but also the Sunka Wakan help heal our minds, bodies and spirits.
Sunka is the Lakota word for “dog”. Before the horse, Sunka helped us with our transportation. They also are our family members. When Sunka Wakan, the “Sacred Horse” came, it became a blessing a gift from our Creator to be forever in our lives.
Today, our grandchildren and children still need the Sunka Wakan for our healings of body, mind and spirit. Some of the grandparents and parents save their money for months just to buy a colt, a Sunka Wakan for their children and grandchildren. This keeps our children and grandchildren away from alcohol, drugs and gang activities. This why we need our Sunka Wanka is part of our families.
But today, in 2010, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council at the Pine Ridge Agency created their own laws against the People of the Reservations and one of these new laws is against our Sacred Horse [ Sunka Wakan ]. Two Councilmen from the Porcupine District of the Pine Ridge have spear headed this law. The whole Tribal Council supports it. Without asking the People on the Pine Ridge Reservation to whom they are to represent, they created new Park Ranger positions on the Reservation to confiscate the People’s horses, impound the Sacred Horses of the People and then charge the owners an outrageous amount of money to get their horses back. It seems they have no intent to return the Horses to the People.
Every other foreign nation conquered by the United States has received huge efforts towards rehabilitation and rebuilding. Yet, while the U.S. cries about 20% unemployment, we have 80% unemployment. We remain isolated and have living conditions which are as bad as or worse than any “third world country.” Our life expectancy is only 48 years old for men and 52 years old for women.
On March 2, 1889, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America established the Reservations. They said we are to live here on the Reservations, hunt and fish without any permits and the Reservations were established as “Open Range” without any fences.
It seems to the ” The People” [ The Lakota Oyate ] that the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council has forgotten these rules set by the Senate of the United States of America and has taken upon itself some goal of not only hurting the Horse itself but the People and the families of the Lakota People .
This is a Reservation. We are NOT living in a park or a National park. It is the land of the People. We already have the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Police, the Oglala Sioux Tribal (OST) Public Safety Law Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Marshals watching over us. I believe we Lakota Oyate have enough jurisdiction watching over us . Now come the Oglala Sioux Park Rangers, confiscating our Sacred Horses and arresting us if we don’t cooperate. The Oglala Sioux Park Rangers are selling our horses to local ranchers (who then sell them to slaughter houses for slaughter) or the OST Rangers sell our horses directly to slaughter houses. THIS NEEDS TO BE STOPPED AND RETURN OUR Sacred Horses returned back to the People.
We are the People of the Sacred Horse. It is as much to our lives as your cars and trucks are to yours.
We have a treaty council, a council of elders, all kinds of councils but none of them are effective. The government and state have kept us hungry and distracted with their projects which accomplish very little.
But they need to know. If we are to survive, people need to understand. When we’re talking about the Black Hills, it’s not just the land that was lost but our way of life. It’s not just money. Money is the least important thing. We have lost our way of life.
When we talk about the Sacred Horses, It is not about only Horses it is about everything.
Ho he’cetu yelo, I have spoken these words.
David Swallow, Wowitan Yuha Mani
Porcupine, South Dakota – The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
The horses will be sold at the slaughter house on Mothers Day of all Days.
Here is the Slaughter House info..