Lori Anderson-Finwall Speaks Out On Racism
I am a Wasicu (white) woman in her 40's. I did not see Outkast on the Grammy awards but I heard about them, from a Native American friends. I saw Outkasts pictures on the internet and heard their song. We are very up set by their “Hey Ya” song, the set and the costumes they wore for the Grammies.
The Lakota people of Pine Ridge South Dakota live in squalor many live on commodities and hand outs from the United States government. Jobs with a living wage are not exist. Lakota men, woman and children are frequently beaten in alleys in communities across the state of South Dakota. Native children are victims of racial hatred and violence on the playgrounds and classrooms. Outkast was able to sing that song because of the work of others for civil rights in the South. No one comes to the aid of the Lakota and other Native Americans as they did the African American community during Civil rights marches.
Civil rights has not come to the Native American especially the Lakota of South Dakota. If you go to this web page you will find a list of Lakota who have been murdered in South Dakota their killers have not been brought to justice. Their souls cry from the grave for truth to be spoken in the South Dakota. Many Lakota women who gave birth in the 60's at Indian health services hospitals were sterilized without their consent. The Lakota people do not know the life of freedom that you and I live. They know a life in woven in fear. A fear so deep many are not aware how it guides their lives. The Lakota are also fighting to ensure their voting rights. Voting Issues
To see symbolic parts of Native American culture used in such a garish manner on the Grammy Awards causes additional pain to a people whose have little left except their cultural identity. Even their cultural Identity has been beaten out of many of their elders at the Indian boarding schools. They struggle to bring it back, to teach it to their children, to give their children pride in their Great Lakota Nation.
While I do not know the meaning of words of Native American PowWow songs. I do know when I hear them drumming and the repeated refrain of Hey Ya Ha Haa Ya. I feel resonating deep in my soul a cry to God. A cry for help, a cry for strength, a cry for guidance, a cry for Peace, a cry for respect.
While I do not personally believe that the Outkast band meant to behave in a racist manner toward the Native American community. I do believe that they should respond to it for their actions. But before they respond please help educate them about the Native American culture and the issues. I have put together some web pages that may help you in this process. Reach out and educate the members of Outkast!
One of the Outkast members said on their outkast.com web site "talent does what it can, genius does what it must." Perhaps it was genius that made them mistakenly insult that Lakota and other Native American people, a genius that is calling them and all of you to join the voices of others crying for civil rights for the Lakota. Join the voices crying for an end to racism for the Lakota and other Native Americans.
Please learn about issues before anyone speaks-out for and hopefully with the Lakota and other Native Americans.
Mitakuye Oyas'in, is the core of their spritual beliefs in Lakota, it means we are all related. We are all a part of the trees, rocks, air, sun and stars. But most of all we of all cultures are related.
St Paul MN
Member of Students and Teachers Against Racism
http://www.racismagainstindians.org/ Students and Teachers Against Racism
http://www.aics.org/war.html Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality
http://www.nativeradio.com/ Native Radio on this web page go to radio tab click on native streaming. There you will find different types of Native American music.
http://www.malakota.com/contents.html David Little Elk Native American musician and Lakota language
"Petition Against Native American Stereotypes at the 2004 GRAMMYS"