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Calvin Spotted Elk @UnpanGleska
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Its a fine line to walk protecting yet preserving identity. For descendants of survivors and of #WoundedKnee its necessary.

It can be uncomfortable to talk about especially if you are not living in a way you are expected to be as a #NativeAmerican but it is what it is
I lived a traditional life, in a very hard way before I came out off of the reservation. A lot has happened since then. I began a documentary that was put aside after my stroke. Surviving, healing & being with my daughter became the most important things but the truth still needs
To be known. Correcting errors in Books, films and lectures by others in institutions is what caused me to leave a traditional life on the reservation. It got to be too much for me and my family to do on our own but we have not given up. We just realized we need help. Its
a difficult subject to talk about, to begin with. Few people want to be reminded of the history and yet for us to move into the future and to heal, the truth cant be ignored. on December 29, 1890 hundreds of men, women and children were chased down and killed and buried in the
Mass grave at #WoundedKnee My grandfather Chief Spotted Elk, later known by the name soldiers called him #chiefbigfoot was the first to be killed. The photographs after his and our other ancestors’ deaths haunt us to this day. We havent resolved this. There are still many who
Think this was a battle. They don’t know the difference because they weren’t told the truth in their history lectures. Maybe they got part of the truth but even then they didn’t have the full story. To complicate matters, people whose ancestors were orphans in my
Grandfather’s band and who were later part of the boarding school trauma told their stories. Most of my ancestors were afraid of the gov’t Some confused my grandfather with another Chief Bigfoot Because we have a sacred ceremony, making of Relatives, in the Lakota way they
Would be considered relatives but they weren’t lineal descendants and they didn’t carry my family oral history. Some had access to education and jobs that my family did not and they pursued a notion that they were to speak about my grandfather. This further confused the public
About Wounded Knee. Now, during the anniversary of the #massacre i discover an historical sign that had my grandfather’s name on it was taken down. I’ve been told it was because a memorial was going up. I hopeso. Time will tell. I’ve been through this
Type of situation before. None of the lineal descendants were told the sign was to be taken down. So i question. Because of the confusion between the Oglala Bigfoot & my grandfather the Mniconjou “Bigfoot” it is important to many people, not just my family, for the name to be
Accurately Represented historically. Whatever motives were of those who made up stories or accepted money on behalf of the death of our ancestors, I cannot say but I can tell you this: the truth of Wounded Knee is in those who are buried there. The Oglala Bigfoot, died 9 years
Later and is buried in Manderson with his wife and children. There are photos on record at the Yale library of rare books. Spotted Elk was too young to have been father to so many children (at age twelve) so the stories of their ancestors don’t mesh with the facts.
In the Lakota way, we are all still relatives even if not by blood but in another way its important, for accuracy. People can marry into each others’ families when they don’t know the truth of where they come from. My grandfather and our ancestors from Cheyenne River are
Buried at Wounded Knee. My father and my brother are the first two graves as you walk in the east gate, in front of #lostbird and the mass grave. I, too, will be buried there because only lineal descendants can be. That is the truth. These photos tell the truth. I am grateful
For those who make the pilgrimage each year to honor my grandfather and all of our ancestors. I know their hearts are in the right place when they remember our ancestors. I haven’t participated yet. I live a pitiful life but I refuse to exploit my ancestors and I teach my
Daughter Lillienne the same. Its difficult to correct this though and not appear as though im looking to gain something from it. All i can say is look at how I live. I have no home and I am poor. I choose to be close to my daughter but it is far away from my people, right now.
I really hope that the memorial will reflect my grandfather’s true name. It is in our Lakota Winter Counts, in our oral histories, in even the government history and the probate records of descendants. I thank those who participate each year with pure intentions. One day i hope
To, as well. For now, though, I’m just surviving and its been enough. People want me to speak up and sometimes I want to too but they’re not living how I’m living. They’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Its not so simple. I know that was long but some of you know me.
I come and go and you might not hear from me for awhile. It needed to be said though. I am grateful to Michelle, to my daughters Lily and to all of those people who honor our ancestors. As we go into this New year remember our 500 year resistance and the importance of history.
Wopila my relatives

Tokse ake.

Mitakuye Oyasin
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