June 25 is a historic day for our people. Not to celebrate war or the killing of other human beings, but it marks the anniversary of an important and very significant battle that took place in an area known by our people as the Greasy Grass, or more commonly known as the Little Bighorn Battlefield near Crow Agency, Montana. It marks the anniversary of one of the few times where our brave warriors, defending their way of life and their families, were victorious against a bigoted and far superior force, the U.S. Cavalry. If you have ever visited this sacred ground, you can easily feel the spirits of those who gave of themselves on that day, and if you close your eyes, you can almost hear and recall the pain and anguish that they must have felt. Visit the sacred ground of 9/11 in New York, Wounded Knee in South Dakota, Sand Creek Massacre site in Colorado, and if you are human, you will experience a flushed feeling of sadness and heartbreak, an occurrence almost beyond comprehension.
Today, as we still continue to experience the aftermath of that battle, we find ourselves in different scenarios. We have third-world-country conditions like poverty, hunger and lack of decent humane housing on some reservations, while on others there are Rolls-Royces, million dollar houses and Lear jets. There are Natives in cities and suburbs across America trying to raise families and retain what little remnants are left of their culture. We have non-Native people wearing Warbonnets for show, the Washington football team and others trying to emulate the bravery and pride of our ancestors — so they say — with signage and laughable caricatures, mascots and the like. If you read any of the comments associated with the articles on mascots, you can see just how far we have come in the minds and memories of others. After the Little Bighorn, some of our people fled to the North and some just went back to their homelands, never anticipating that 138 years later, their relatives would be having to defend and protect their very existence , yet once again, or still.
Wopila (thank you) to all those who have come before us and those who continue to stand up and defend the survivors. Aho.