A Long Road Back to the ‘Rez’
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A Long Road Back to the ‘Rez’

– [Christopher] We pushed to get education for our children and in doing that we made what’s important to white America, made that important in education. Where deep in our own hearts we know that’s not good for our children. – Education here on the reservation is difficult for a number of reasons. There’s an economic issue in terms of supplies, clothing, transportation. There’s of course other factors that poverty brings to the table, such as addiction to substances, alcohol, and all the other sort of negative things that come with it. Many of our students slip through the cracks. – Legend Tell Tobacco is my name and I go to school at (mumbles). – His real name is Legend Tell Tobacco, and so we always tease him that he’s a storyteller,
because if you’re riding in the car with him he’ll tell stories like the entire, wherever you go. It’s a good name for him. I don’t have my own children, but all of my brothers and sisters have children, and so I’ve helped them. (mumbles) and Tell, their mom and dad were heavy drinkers. Their mom Angie, I mean she knew she was dying, and then she said she wanted them to live with me. So they did after she passed away. And Tell was eight when that happened. I think for him it was a little bit hard, after his mom passed away and stuff. But… – There’s all this trauma that they have to deal with. If you ever heard Faith Spotted Eagle, she asked people in the audience how many of you have to deal with an alcoholic relative. Everybody, you know, raised their hand, so she’ll take like a
book and set it down. How many of you had friends who committed suicide? Pretty soon she’ll have this stack, and she says, okay, how can you teach that person about reading and writing if they come to school carrying that? – Our young people, they don’t see education as a way out of the system that they’re living in. I think it’s vital. Education is one necessity. Education is one tool that we desperately need to reverse all of those probelms that I mentioned already. Education can do wonders to fix all of those things. And I think it starts there. – I just recently graduated from Black Hills State University, this past May with my Bachelors of Science in Political Science and
American Indian Studies. I am currently working
on a Master’s Degree at Oglala Lakota College in Dakota Leadership and Management. One of the hardest things, I came to realize, it’s so hard to leave the reservation because your whole support system is down here. The first thing was like
trying to find friends. I couldn’t connect with them on that level because they didn’t
share the similar views as I did, they didn’t
live a life like I did. – My first culture shock was leaving the reservation and landing in San Francisco, because it was a
completely different world. And, ah, a world where people didn’t know anything about my culture, my heritage. People who still bought into the Peter Pan complex of Indians as fantasy and myth, and were dazzled to meet a modern, quote unquote, a modern Indian. It requires a real, um, sense of self. And sense of being able to teach others about who you are. The students are gonna face that. So part of the challenge of education here is
to give them the tools so that they can face the opposition, they can face the ignorance, with strength and charisma, with the ability to be ambassadors rather then to shut down. – Going to school I was looked at as a Native American woman. Like I have two things working against me. There are days I just say, man, I don’t know if
I can do this anymore. It’s so hard, like, I’m losing family members at home and I can’t even like go home. What can I do? Like I can’t help– I’m sorry. But I use that as a drive. Because I am, I do get fired up about it. And I want to help. So it’s like, all right,
I’m feeling like this, obviously I need to just keep going, that way I can get home sooner. And I can make a difference. – Completing the Circle is a concept whose Idea is that, you know, we want our graduates to leave Red Cloud, to go off, to go to college, and to come back. – That’s something I was told over and over again growing up, was you have to come back, that your people are here, your family is here, your home is here, and your responsibility
as a Lakota is here. – It’s like walking in two worlds. We need to be educated about our culture, but we also need this worldly education to survive in the modern world. (chanting, drum) – Building in culture into every facet of education, has been doing, I think, wonders. It’s why every school in the area is starting to do that, and push for that. And I think that’s making a difference. I think it is bringing students into the fold who thought that this education wasn’t for them. And now they’re sort of responding positively to their culture appearing in curriculum, and when
it does that right, curriculum in education has the power to legitimize something, and they’re now feeling legitimate as human beings. And that, I think, is exactly what we need to do here and exactly what these students need. And what indigenous education needs as a whole. Education for Indian peoples needs to be legitimate, relevant, important. (chanting, drum) – I’m not going to see it. I’m not going to see the solution. My kids won’t, my grands, maybe my great-grandchildren will. – I’m gonna have a future beyond this reservation, I don’t have to work at Sioux Nation or at the gas station anymore, you know, I can move on. I can make myself better. And not just for myself, either. It’s for my people. Whatever the outcome, I know I just want to make an impact big enough to open the door for others coming up behind me. I always say that even if I can’t open the door, at least
I can make a scratch, and someone else can
continue on with that.

About James Carlton

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24 thoughts on “A Long Road Back to the ‘Rez’

  1. NativeFlix.com is interested in your reel, thank you, please contact me when you have moment ..Great work, grateful, have a good day.

  2. You are so WRONG about EDUCATION. There is no EDUCATION but INDOCTRINATION. YOU need to go back to the OLD way of life regardless how difficult it may seem. You need to learn to USE what EARTH can provide.

  3. I’m gonna come out and say it that the true tools of so much happening in their life is to go back to your Ancestors way and theirs legacy they left to understand that a tiny piece of turfs is to plant the one seed into the ground, given it water and warmth from there we nourish it with a prayer and waiata ( song) and we wait patiently for it to be sprout and from this it the innermost beauty of just one seed turned out to be the best gift of learning from it and it up to us to nurturing to provide what we have for our next generations……To follows our Ancestors footsteps is the best education towards ourselves to this day and I truly appreciate the hard work that to survive through is to move forward with graces….HATS OFF TO YOU ALL 🙂💕

  4. Another way to interpret those words are the same way many of us use the words "Islamic terrorists". That is not to say that all Islamic people are terrorist, but rather to describe a certain type of terrorist as a terrorist who is Islamic. In the same way, I would offer up that the intent was more likely to be that of describing certain savages as "Indian". The white man's predominant custom was to spare the lives of those not involved or those who could not reasonably pose a threat or, otherwise, be assimilated into the culture. Being that this is still the predominant custom it is easy for me to see how anyone would describe someone who takes all human life innocent or not, as "savages" The same way that we describe those who today, burn people alive, cut off the heads of the living with a knife, eat the hearts of their enemy's and rape their women and children as savages. Certainly there were many people with many motives just like today but this article seems to imply that all European peoples just plowed over the native people as though their right to exist was more important than that of the natives. First off, that would be a gross misrepresentation of the human condition. Secondly, a wise man once told me that only a fool judges a person outside of the historical context in which they lived. Do we not appose the majority of the wars our government has brought us into? How are the actions of greedy men today any different from back then? Men found land in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, The Sudan etc. they wanted it, they took it. That is not to say that the "White man" is evil, only that men are. What would we say to people about our nation's actions all over the world to people living 200 years from now? Should they rightly look upon us as condoning a policy of genocide or, at the minimum, colonialism? I have not learned much about the Native Americans that fought in the Revolutionary War but what I've learned of how the Black people who lived free at the time and the struggle over the three fith's compromise paints a very different picture than the one that seems to be overwhelmingly put fourth today. For instance, it was the North who demanded that Black populations would count for 3/5th of a representative and the south that argued that they should count for a full representative. Why would that be? Because the south would have representation for people who could not speak for themselves! This would have given the pro-slavery south much more power. Interesting how those words get twisted into allegedly meaning that Black people aren't fully people. I have no doubt that there were ignorant people who looked at the native people in the way the article describes but I take issue with the idea that these enlightened men would sign a document with such hypocrisy in it. It takes a lot of study to understand the proper historical context and answer questions such as why Thomas Jefferson kept his slaves till he died while his pears set them free but I ask all who read this to withhold judgment until they have a very thorough understanding of that context.


  6. What if they don't want the "White Man's" education!! Just more colonized ….the school system is a joke and everyone is so brainwashed that they need it!!!!

  7. "Maka" Would NOT " Dazzle " Anyone In San Francisco – Queer Folk Are A Dime A Dozen Already ! Get Over Yourself maka

  8. I don't get why there are not more remote classrooms with the internet now. They could stay home and be part of classrooms remotely. The best of both worlds for them.

  9. ..🦊…I’m tired of the B.I.A.,.. people’s speaking up like they know something about our spiritualness of life some live ,…they have taken our purity and down size it and call it art ,…through mesh we get gifts from the land ,…education starts with self ,..knowing self ,…first ,..this land we belong to is our church and school,…should be apart of your love ,…these teachers seem like spiritual rapists,…trying to say they know our spiritualness some of us live in ,…kid’s these people’s know nothing about that ,…if they did we wouldn’t be killing our selfs,….think with your heart ‘, not with them ,..🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

  10. she just looks white. I notice with all the native videos that I've seen they seem to prefer interviewing the much lighter skin What about all the darker ones? this is just proof that white supremacy is still prevelant

  11. Fuck off white haters. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO LIVE ON THE REZ. YOU CAN GO ANYWHERE. YOU CAN LITERALLY WALK AWAY FROM THE REZ. FIND OPPORTUNITIES ELSEWHERE. Or you can continue squatting in your own filth and be a slave to your hatred of whites and substance abuse. Meanwhile, you natives are owed nothing, not even pity. Stop being weak. Get over the past. Stop being stupid chugs.

  12. It sad that the drinking and drugs are every where and are poor and low income all over out here it.

    Isn't any better and there people that indain some of us are part 2 or more tribes mix not full ..

    I am Lakota and Mohawk and another 1 not how spell it ..

  13. The beautiful young lady at 5:00 who believes that she is not helping her family/people, I want her to know that she is helping them, she's giving them hope for the future! Hope is precious and very valuable when you have nothing else, so please continue your education, get a good job and take care of your family.

  14. Tears 🐦

    If you have a home & people you love, isn't that worth more than a superficial life away from where you want to be, friends?

    Because happiness does not have an ATM or fancy profession that is it's source of power. Happiness is living with God. There is a God, and you can live (your whole life) with Him. You can serve Him.
    Hare Krishna
    Hare Krishna
    Krishna Krishna
    Hare Hare
    Hare Rāma
    Hare Rāma
    Rāma Rāma
    Hare Hare

    This is called the great mantra. There is no loss at all in singing or chanting it, and the gain is very great, guaranteed.

    Stop slaughter of innocent creatures 🐂



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