Hello relatives, my name is Red Fawn I am a Oglala of the Lakota people from Pine Ridge South Dakota. My Ina (my mother) TroyLynn YellowWood a Oglala, Shaheila, raised me in Denver Colorado since I was an infant. Pila’miye ‘thank you’ for the opportunity to share some words today, I was honored and humbled when I was asked to write something to be read on my behalf. I would like to share some teachings from my Ina (mother) and my Unci (grandmother), they have both passed on but continue to give me strength and courage to keep on the good path the red road, meaning to remain in prayer, to help the people, to be humble, and to always honor our relationship to mother earth, to the water, to one another, to life and all the livings things. I went to Standing Rock in august 2016, with love and understanding that we should always do whatever we can to protect all things sacred. Our youth started the Mni Wiconi prayer to protect Mni Sosa the Missouri river and our sacred territories from the black snake otherwise known as the Dakota Access pipeline. We came from all around the world, from all nations, to join the prayer, we found something bigger than life, a spiritual fire we will carry with us til the end of time. We found a way to honor our relations with one another, with the land and the water. We answered our ancestors prayers and honored their teachings. I was raised being taught these traditional and spiritual values by my grandmother, my mother and other women in my family. My grandmother, my mom, my oldest sister, my oldest niece and her first born son were the beginnings of the 5 living generations in my family until march of 2016 when my grandmother passed on and then in June 2016 when my mother passed on, which left our family without the two pillars of love, strength, honor, spirituality and humility. They were both story tellers, that was how they passed on the wisdom they gained throughout life. My grandmother spoke Lakota and taught us how to bead and sew our traditional clothing, she taught us Lakota songs; her greatest teachings were of humility, selflessness, laughter, dancing and always honoring our relations. My mother taught who were are and where we come from by teaching us spirituality, through prayer with the Canupa, the sacred Lakota ceremonies, by taking us with her while she sun danced. We grew up going to sweatlodge and many other traditional ceremonies. She taught us the songs, how to do things in a respectful manner. She taught us to stand up for our beliefs and for our people with a strong heart, in peace and in prayer. Her greatest teaching was her life, the way she lived. She walked the red road she was a pipe carrier, she lived in sobriety and believed in our sovereignty as Shaheila and Oglala Lakota people. She stood on the frontlines in solidarity with all nations, in peace and prayer for the struggles of the people. She taught us these things by example since young adulthood to the last months of her life. She was always helping everyone in every way she could, these are the teachings she passed down to her children as well as many many others around the world. I am thankful for these teachings, they carry me through the hard times in life.. She taught us resilience and strength. I am proud of all our brothers and sisters who stand up against the injustices being committed all around the world that are killing our people, contaminating that land and water, robbing our future generations of these gifts from creator that are here to sustain life one generation to the next.
I ask, what must we do to be a good caretaker of this land, to be a good relative, to protect all things sacred, to ensure that our future generations carry love, strength, compassion and the knowledge of how to care for the earth, for each other, and for their future generations? It’s important as first nation indigenous people, as protectors, that we no longer be idle, we must honor these teachings. We have a steady growing unknown number of missing and murdered women, children, and men. I am honored to know that so many strong heart relatives are out the speaking up and carrying the names of our missing and murdered loved ones. My prayers and strength go out to all who are bearing this pain. We have a suicide epidemic amongst our people, especially our youth this is heartbreaking so we must reach out any way we can to offer support and encouragement to our relatives who are hurting and suffering. We are resilient, we come from strong heart people and we have the ability to save one another. Remember our elders they are the keepers of the wisdom. Build relationships with them. Our traditions and spirituality are our instructions, they come from our ancestors who endured and survived the invasion of these land and 500 years of genocide. I have been incarcerated since Oct. 27, 2016 after being arrested on the frontlines on hwy 1806 north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. It has been a long hard journey with important lessons in compassion, humility, and respect. With prayer, as well as the support of so many I am able to remember my grandmother and mothers teachings and i remain strong and grateful. I am humbled and have respect for this life.
Thank you for listening, thank you for your strong heart and your understanding of these ways of life. I stand in peace in prayer and in solidarity with our relatives through every struggle. Remember the strength and the lives of our ancestors, they suffered way more for the right to pray to speak our languages and to simply eat and sustain our lives as well as their families lives.
In the spirit on Tasunke Witko , Protect All Things Sacred… Never Give Up, My Strong Heart Relatives…
One heart One mind One prayer… Mni Wiconi…. Love and strength…. From Cante Waste Wi – Good Heart Woman Oglala Lakota Protector… Lilililililili