Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 18, 2017

Wounded Knee 'Rekindle the Sacred Fire' Aug. 24, 2017

Wounded Knee 'Rekindle the Sacred Fire' and Spiritual Camp Begins Aug. 24, 2017

By Garry Rowland, Sr., Lakota
Censored News

I am a descendant of Chief Fire Lightning who was one of the principal chiefs when the Oglala settled the Pine Ridge Reservation.
I come from a long line of traditional family and Treaty people and was given a good upbringing.
In 1887, when the Allotment Act was passed, Chief Fire Lightning was given the land where the mass murder took place. After the massacre of our relatives, the U.S. government asked Fire Lightning if they could bury them on his land and he said, “Yes. Those are our relatives.” My maternal grandfather, Alec Ice was a well-respected person and as a Full Blood he owned a small ranch and was self-sufficient and a devout Treaty person. Growing up as a child there were many Treaty meetings held at my grandpa’s house and I remember many old chiefs and old traditional people.

During 1973, during the Wounded Knee Occupation, I was there till the day of the surrender. The old Treaty Chiefs decided to make their Stand at Wounded Knee because of the significance of the place where our people were murdered in the cold winter. The Stand was about the corrupt tribal government and the tribal chairman. During the era, over 61 traditional people were murdered and the traditional people were beaten and maimed; and the F.B.I. sanctioned those killings by providing arms and ammo to the goons. It was about fighting for our Treaty Rights.
All my adult life, I’ve been actively involved in Treaty issues. In 1986 when the Chief Big Foot Memorial Ride started, I was one of the participants and contributed a lot of money and support to the cause as I was the owner and operator of a propane company and a convenience store in Wounded Knee.

In 1988, I was called upon by AIM leader, Russell Means, to take some of the Chief Big Foot Memorial Riders to Montana. 12 of us riders arrived at Lame Deer, Montana. We had a protest at the BIA headquarters. From there we went to Chief Austin Two Moon’s ranch and had a campout there. The next day, we took the horses and many supporters arrived at Custer National Park. Chief Austin Two Moons conducted ceremony and smudged our riders and horses. We gathered at the south end of the park and they told us riders to charge the Custer monument when were at the half-way point. At the half-way point, we charged at a full gallop and circled Custer’s monument four times and we parked around the monument. When the superintendent reached the monument park, Russell Means told him that we demanded a name change and a Memorial built on behalf of the warriors who gave their lives in 1876.

My uncle Tim Lame Woman of the Northern Cheyenne in Lame Deer, Montana had a metal plaque with an inscription etched on the plaque. We dug into the grass at the foot of the Custer memorial and planted our plaque with poured, mixed concrete. Russell Means told the Superintendent, “If you remove our monument, we’ll remove yours if you don’t comply with our demands.” Afterwards, Russell Means was one of the Commissioners and Ben Night Horse Campbell who was a U.S. Senator from Colorado and Northern Cheyenne member, introduced a bill into Congress; and in 1991, President George Bush, Sr. signed a bill to change the name of Custer National Park to Little Big Horn.
In 2007, the Memorial was finished and dedicated.
During the Ceremony, they had our metal plaque on display. I told my Uncle Tim, “I’m going to take the plaque back to Wounded Knee and display it in our Museum.” He said, “That metal plaque belongs to you” so I got my truck, loaded it up and headed back to Wounded Knee. Many AIM members participated, including Colorado AIM and the Wild Oglalas.
So, that victory was on behalf of all indigenous peoples across Turtle Island and we did it on behalf of Chief Big Foot who was murdered by the remnant of the 7th Cavalry.

It is on display at the Fire Lightning Tipi and Tiospaye today known as the Holocaust Museum at Wounded Knee.
In 1987, some of the Big Foot Memorial Riders were invited to Green Grass where the Ptehincala Chanupa is kept. We were told we have to build a new pipe house and it took us seven days to build a new log building and placed a chanupa inside.
When I was chosen a chief, my duties were recited to me in Lakota. Among them I was told, “Dogs (shunka) will bark at you at all times. Shunka will urinate on your tipi. They will chase one of your children and knock him down in front of you and beat him up. These are some of the things you can expect as a leader.”
Further, in 1993, the Cheyenne Nation invited me to Cheyenne Sun Dance in the hills sixteen miles of Lame Deer, Montana. At the Sun Dance I was asked to go to the center inside the Arbor and the Sun Dance Leader brought me a pipe and I had to tell of the deeds I had done for the People (Waktoglaka) and had to share the Pipe with the Singers that were inside the Arbor. My Uncle Tim Lame Woman advised me that this was the highest honor given to a person and they had given me that honor. And, I was also honored by being inducted as an honorary member in the Elk Horn Scraper Society. I have Cheyenne blood flowing through my veins and am a descendant of Chief Little Wolf and I’m very proud of my heritage; and I was on tour in Europe in 2016 and returned October 20th last year; and went straight to Standing Rock where my family Tiospaye members were; and I remained at the Camp until January so I am a Water Protector. Standing Rock is significant to me because some of Sitting Bull’s family were massacred and buried here at Wounded Knee.

Today, there are people shall we say ‘mud slinging’ and criticizing, but I have always ignored such barking. Those people are strong Christians which is contrary to the Lakota way of life and don’t know or realize what the Sacred Fire is all about: Prayer, Spirituality and Sovereignty. They organized as the Wounded Knee Survivor’s Association; and yet they never participate in any protests or rallies on behalf of Chief Big Foot. Back in the 1980’s, they attempted to introduce a bill into Congress to give 1800 acres to the National Park Service, which we vehemently opposed and it failed in Congress; and it was a victory for our Tiospaye. That family has deep hatred for the American Indian Movement because they were on the side of the Dick Wilson regime; and my Tiospaye are strong AIM people and I am the Director of the Wounded Knee AIM Chapter.

I believe in the Four Founding Principles of the American Indian Movement: Spirituality, Sovereignty, Sobriety and Support.
We will never surrender to their whims. We shall overcome. Pilamaye hoka hey. Please join us August 24th for the Rekindling of the Sacred Fire at the Fire Lightning Tiospaye of Wounded Knee.
Treaty Law supersedes any tribal law or ordinance or federal law.
This Gathering is dedicated to all Indian nations and our beloved Ancestors who fell standing for Mother Earth and the Sacred Hoop of Life.


​Doksha, Seava/Lisa

1 comment:

André said...

As Belgium (Europe) man I support your movement.