Re: Comment on NatChat (fwd)

Robert Johnson (johnsorl@COLORADO.EDU)
Wed, 22 Feb 1995 09:54:34 -0700


On Tue, 21 Feb 1995 wrote:

> Original Sender: (d.w. her many horses)
> Mailing List: NATCHAT (
> Hello. My name is Dawson Her Many Horses. I am a member of the
> Oglala Sioux Tribe of south central South Dakota. I am a student at
> Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. New surroundings always take
> some time to get used to, and Amherst was no exception. South Dakota,
> except for the Black Hills, is, for all purposes, flat. Western Mass., on
> the other hand, is not. At times, I find myslef missing the flat horizons
> and open sky of South Dakota (when I first moved here, I had no sense of
> direction because of the trees). When it rains, I wish that I could have
> seen the oncoming storm. Passing cars replace the silence outside my room.
> There was a time when I thought that these places where two different
> worlds. Then I read NatChat.
> Every summer hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tourists come to the
> reservation in hopes of attainong some part of our culture, i.e. they
> purchase the jewlery, blankets, and the food. Some go to powwows and
> dance during the intertribals, while others walk around the arena and take
> pictures of the hand made dancing outfits.
> Unfortunately, not everbody is satisfied with these small tokens
> of Lakota culture. Some people come to our reservations, not to buy a
> pair of earrings, but to appropriate our sacred ceremonies. If you come
> to the reservation with these hopes, please consider what i am about to
> tell you.
> What you hope to participte in has withstood the tests of the U.S.
> government and various Christian organizations. The days of the 7th
> Cavalry may be over, but with the onslaught of these summer people, our
> culture is again under attack.
> As I read NatChat, I am reminded on the people who come to Pine
> Ridge during the summer. Our ceremonies are not to be taken lightly, or
> without much consideration. When you want to partake in our Sundance, or
> if you want to seek a vision, please think of the Lakota people who died
> while practicing and preserving these traditions. Our lifestye is not a
> hobby, and it is not something that you do in your spare time.
> Moreover, as I read NatChat, I am filled witfeelings of insult and
> anger. I have read the letters describing the terrible conditions of
> reservation life. With all the alcoholism, racism, and unemployment that
> so many people write about, it is a wonder, dare I say, a miracle, that we,
> the Lakota people, are alive today.
> There is a reason why we live, and it can not be quantified in
> your census reports, your morality reports, or your crime reports. Please
> do not patronize us with your sentiments of noblisse oblige. We are not
> dead, spiritually or culturally.
> And to that end, I end this letter.
> Wishing the best, I remain.
> Dawson Her Many Horses