Monday, January 30, 2012

"Go West" by Michelle Hespe

In the summer of 2011, I had a chance to visit Michelle Hespe over lunch at the Blarney Stone in Bismarck, ND. Michelle came to North Dakota to write a story about the American West, the Western spirit that's still alive here on the Northern Plains.

Let me just say that I respect the writings of the Corps of Discovery. I do think that there's a lot left out when studying the Corps' writings, like the fact that the French, English, and Spanish all made the journey to the Knife River Indian Villages - the Corps of Discovery, however, did document and map all that was unknown to western science after they left the Mandan and Hidatsa.

In Michelle's article, I related to her the visit of a traditional Lakota man to my elementary school, he could very well have been a medicine man, I don't quite recall, but he did relate to the students the prophecy of the 7th generation, that seven generations after the post-reservation period began, the Lakota culture would experience a revival or resurgence, a Lakota Renaissance if you will.

I remember in the sixth grade having about twenty classmates. By the time I graduated there were only six of us. In my graduating class I was the only one with a traditional Lakota name. I mentioned my cousin Rick who also was the only one in his graduating class to bear a traditional name.

There's two parts to ensuring the legacy of culture. Tradition, that which is handed down, and appropriation, that which is made one's own. I wished I had seized more when I was younger.

Here's Michelle Hespe's article:
"Go West" by Michelle Hespe