Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
Upon landing at National Airport just after 9:30 pm on Monday evening, I turned my iPhone back on and noticed messages relating to an incident that left five Lakota arrested at Wanblee, South Dakota as they formed a human blockade to prevent a convoy of trucks carrying oil equipment for tar sands.
92 Year Old Marie Randall, Lakota, Voices Her Opposition to a convoy of trucks going through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
I flew to Washington to attend the National Congress of American Indians Executive Council Winter Session.
I placed several calls to people in Indian Country in the attempt to put together the story of why the trucks were on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the first place and why were the Lakota Five arrested for protecting their homeland.
I know it is politically correct these days to believe in homeland security. Both political parties believe in homeland security. We even have a US Department of Homeland Security. American Indians have believed in homeland security since European contact. So, I really wanted to get to the bottom of this story.
I immediately recognized an elderly Lakota woman. A well respected Lakota woman. Many people call her Grandma Marie even if they are not technically related to her. It's an Indian thing.
I recognized her because I met and talked to her last April as I covered the Longest Walk 3 - Reversing Diabetes. She is 92 year old, Marie Brush Breaker Randall.
These Are the Things that Worry Me from Marie Brush Breaker Randall
In the picture shot by Andrew Ironshell we ended up using in our story on Tuesday, there was Marie Brush Breaker Randall standing there talking to the non-Indian trespassers. Her left hand is extended out as if she is making a point. Knowing her tenacity, I am quite sure she made quite a few points about homeland security that day even if she never used the terminology.
Marie Brush Breaker Randall is someone who knows how to make a point and is someone who is not easily forgotten. When I spoke to her last year, she spoke with conviction about the preservation of Lakota language and culture.
Later in the week, I saw a video that was shot on Monday that ended up on YouTube. Here was Randall talking to tribal police officer telling him:
“This is our land
this is our nation!”
At 92, she is shown in the video protecting her homeland - the Lakota Nation.
Randall was not arrested on Monday. Apparently, tribal officers don't arrest 92 year old elders. The photographer, Andrew Ironshell, who is decades younger, was one of the Lakota Five arrested.
I am sure Randall - even in her advanced years - would have been happy to go jail protecting her homeland. After all, isn't it okay to believe in homeland security these days?
Therefore, in recognition of National Women's History Month, the Native News Network salutes Marie Brush Breaker Randall.
She is a warrior in the spirit of her Lakota ancestors. May the Creator smile down on this courageous Lakota woman.
Photo credit Andrew Ironshell; posted March 10, 2012 7:40 am est
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