“He’s a leader of all tribes—a spiritual leader—and a warrior. He was not originally a warrior, but all the injustice that happened to the American Indians and Canadian Indians—the system made him into a warrior just like Crazy Horse.”
Chief Leonard Crow Dog on Russell Means
Stanley Good Voice Elk, a heyoka, burns sage to ritually purify his surroundings. In Oglala spirituality, heyokas are recipients of sacred visions who employ clownish speech and behavior to provoke spiritual awareness and “keep balance,” says Good Voice Elk. Through his mask, he channels the power of an inherited spirit, which transforms him into Spider Respects Nothing.
“There is one dark day in the lives of Indian children; the day when they are forcibly taken away from those who love and care for them, from those who speak their language. They are dragged, some screaming and weeping, others in silent terror, to a boarding school where they are to be remade into white kids.
I was five years old. My mother was crying, and they were taking us off and my sister Audrey, who also, you know, was like a second mother to me and a very close friend as a sister and my brother, Mark, they were very sad. Within two hours or so after the buses filled up and we’re down the road. This is the furthest I’ve ever been from my home in my life. And then of course it turns into evening and we arrive at this place.” — Dennis Banks, Chippewa
Marcus Gibbons dances in the 2010 Grand Ronde Contest Powwow in Grand Ronde, Oregon.
“When a Native woman suffers abuse, this abuse is an attack on her identity as a woman and an attack on her identity as a Native. The issues of colonial, race, and gender oppression cannot be separated. This fact explains why in my experience as a rape crisis counselor, every Native survivor I ever counseled said to me at one point, “I wish I was no longer Indian.” — Andrea Smith, in Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (via autumn-snow-shine)
Earl Sherman and Veronica Toledo perform at the 2012 Western Navajo Fair Powwow, October 2012.