A look at the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and how they’ve preserved their identity and customs after more than a 100 years of a tenuous relationship with the U.S.:
Buried deep within the pages of the 2010 Defense appropriations bill, signed by President Barack Obama in December 2009, is an official apology ‘to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States.’ The resolution commends those states ‘that have begun reconciliation efforts with recognized Indian tribes,’ but there is no mention of reparations, nor of honoring long-broken treaties.
White Plume lit one of his rolled-up cigarettes and squinted at me through a ribbon of smoke. ‘Do you know what saved me from becoming a cold-blooded murderer? My language saved me. There is no way for me to be hateful in my language. It’s such a beautiful, gentle language. It’s so peaceful.’ Then White Plume started to speak in Lakota, and there was no denying the words came softly.