Turtle Island Storyteller Marie Randall

Marie Randall

 

Le anpetu ki han, woaglakin kta yunkan. Sicangu Oyate ki hetanhan. Tiospaye Wah’peluta, Tiospag’ Hetahan imaca he. Nahan Tunkasila Weyakihan Mato Wahancunka iceyapi. Bear Shield. O nahan, Unci Weyaki Itasipa Wicaku Win eciyapi.

Takes the Bull Away, is my grandma’s name. My mother’s name is Anawazipi Win. Jealous of Her is her Indian sacred name. These are all sacred names that we carry in Lakota life. My dad’s name is Brush Breaker, which means breaking of a brush limb to save his people. That’s one of the sacred names that he carried for his father. I was chosen as an adoption of a relative. They gave me the name of Oyate Akitapi Win. Nation Woman is my name. Today I live that life and I think I’m doing the best I can for my people. The sacredness of my name carries me through the life of my life. I live the life of my teachings, of my elders, my unci, my ina, and my ate and gaka. The teaching that they gave me and the understanding of that way of life. I have lived that life. Of course I went to school and I was educated enough to walk with other societies that I have to walk with through life. We begin my Lakota way life with the society of life that I have to walk. I think I’m doing a great way of life for my children and teaching them how to understand who they are and what they are gifted with. Today I sit here and talk about who I am and where I come from. Matuweki sloliyape.

Everything that I do in life as a Lakota Winyan, and a giver of life, I have to pray and think about it and pray so that what I say or what I want to teach my children would be in a sacred way, where they can carry on without the help of the people they would serve.

Marie: Han. Unci, um, iyasna, iyasna eh, wana pejuta, (okwi) okeyapiktehunka. There’s a season for gathering of roots. That was one of the things that we have to follow very closely because there’s a season for everything we live by and even the gathering of fruits or plants that we need to use for doctoring our children and whoever needs to be doctored. My grandma goes out and takes whoever is around as grandchildren. She gathers us and she prays with us before we go out. She finds the plant that she’s looking for and she has us children stand around that plant and pray so that when she digs that plant out, and she puts back the dirt, there will be another plant coming up for the survival of the people that would be looking for the plant. This is one way, and it’s usually in the late Spring, maybe in the June month, she takes us out to look for plants. We don’t just go out there and dig around. We don’t.

Anne: We went out and gathered with a group of women and community members from Rosebud. We created a place for community members who were interested to come and learn a little bit, but more importantly to share knowledge that they have. Our project is really based on the fact that the knowledge is within our communities. We’re trying to create a place for people to come and share that knowledge.

There are plants that we can use for our sore throat. Every child needs a little medication every once in a while. To Colismuscle (?) one of the most common things with the children. At that time we didn’t have any diseases of any kind that were so harmful today to our human race. Maybe it was because of how specially we were living or why we created those diseases. I don’ not know, maybe, something that we don’t know. I think our grandmas at that time didn’t only prepare it with their hands, but they always prayed. They always had a spiritual part of the making of the medication and administrating the medicine. They ask the Great Spirit to watch over the child or look after the child because they’re taking the medication and so administrating part of it and preparing part of it is always part of the spiritual way of asking. We, the Lakotas, live in the creation of the Great Spirit and we believe that very dearly.

Today it saddens us to have those plants torn up with machines. It’s hard for us to go looking out for our plants. We can’t stop the man-made way of life and the laws that we have to go by to go out and dig for whatever we need for our children’s survival. It is really sad today for me to see because Grandma used to just walk out there with us on the prairie. Now we have fences and gates to go through and people that own the land sometimes put out signs that we can’t go through. Today is much different from the life that I had when I was small girl.

I just talked about that today at the meeting. When we were hurt by the other society and when we ran home and told her what happened to us, she had us sit on her little rug that she usually sits on and talks to us. She put that out and she put my brother and me on that little rug. She had us reach over the rug and take a pinch of the dirt and put it on our skin to blend in. It blended in with the color of our skin. This little girl, what she said to us that hurt my brother so much, told us to go home and wash up because we were dirty. That was color of our skin.

After we told Grandma that, she told us she was going to teach us a lesson of value that we would have to live with through our life. When we got through talking about the little girl and what she said to hurt our feelings, we did took a pinch of dirt, put it on our skin, rubbed it in and it blended in with our skin. She said, “This is the color. This is where the Great Spirit created you from. This is where you’re going to go back when the end of your life comes. Through life you’ll be walking with this color of skin, the Mother Earth and there’s going to be trials for you. There’s going be torments for you and there’s going be a lot of things that’s going to make you cry and sad like today. You have to walk with that for the wopila; which means, Thank You, Thanksgiving. For the Creation of the world you have to walk with those prayers. There are a lot of things that’s going happen to you. You’re going cry and there’s going be so much burden at times for you, your shoulders are going hurt. You’re going be weak, but you have to get up pray and be strong to carry your people through life.” That was the understanding that gave me the life I’m leading today.

She told us to give the description of the little girl that was so pretty and so white. Her skin was much different from ours and of course we had never seen a child like that. We wanted to touch her and be friends with her, but she said we were dirty and we couldn’t touch her. We explained everything to our grandma and she said, “When you admire something or where you reject something, there’s a way of saying ‘hunhin’. She must be like a little kitten, so lovable to touch.”

My brother said, “Yes, Grandma, she was really pretty and she was so beautiful.”

My grandma said, “Well, she’s beautiful and she’s pretty. That’s the way you admire people you walk with. No matter how they look, what they look like, you admire them because they’re you’re relatives too. You’re going to live that life and you’re going to support your gift with everybody.” That was the most beautiful teaching I ever had in my life.

I never admire anybody that’s gifted with anything to support her or his people. It’s a beautiful world to live. From the advice, I could’ve hated that little girl, but the way she taught me, there is love for everybody too. That was my best valuable lesson I ever had in my life. I live that life. I don’t hate people. I don’t do anything to hurt anybody. I always say my grandma is my best teacher in my life. .

I gave her a lot of advice when she’s carrying a child. I give my Takoja a lot of advice to carry her child with prayers while she’s developing that child in her. Have good thoughts, good understanding, not to get mad, or use bad words. It affects the growth of that child she’s carrying. When that child is born she would be happy that she has helped that child, another generation to have a good life. A good way of life.

That’s one of the things that are so hard to see today with our takojas and our children. When they go back to the reservation, they can’t find any place to stay because of the housing shortage that we have. The hide of the buffalo was our shelter. The organs and everything were medicine and something to survive on, but today we don’t have that and we have to live in a different world. Man-made laws are hurting us much more than the spirituality way of life that we have, and like she said, the tearing up of Mother Earth. Mother Earth was given to us for the plants to grow and to use. Today we live in a chemical world. I don’t think it’s helping the health of our families and our relatives because the chemicals are not really the medication that we need.

Another lesson I had from Grandma was that anything that I feel bad about I couldn’t always tell my takoja. She said she has upset stomach. I said, “Boil the water and drink, cool it off and drink it. Drink the water. Give the children your water, even in the cup of their hand and make them drink it. Ask Tunkasila to purify and heal whatever is wrong in their system.” I live that life. I live that life. In the morning when I get up, cup my hand, get the water and drink it, and ask Tunkasila to heal me if there’s anything wrong and give me the right wisdom to share with other people. I live that life I am going to be 84 years old May 12 th . How much longer I’m going to share what I can for my younger generation for a better future?