Celebrating an Ongoing Commitment to Justice
By Waziyatawin, Executive Director
Greetings from the Governing Council of Makoke Ikikcupi (Land Recovery)! We know this update has been a long time coming. Makoce Ikikcupi is an all-volunteer project, and because of this, our efforts are dependent upon our personal and professional schedules. The last few years have been especially busy for us, but now that we have time to take a breath, we wanted to share our progress with all of you. This gives us an opportunity to celebrate what remains an important example of reparative justice work, especially at a time when injustices are rampant around us.
The issue of settler-colonialism, of course, is particularly challenging, precisely because it is ongoing. Our project is about creatively addressing it through the concrete avenue of land reclamation. We could not do it without your consistent help. As we seek a possible land site for purchase, we would also like to ask our supporters to keep us apprised of possible land opportunities in your area or within your circle of friends and family. Ideally, we would like to couple our efforts with at least a partial land donation to leverage our buying capacity.
As always, we are grateful to all of our regular contributors who continue to demonstrate their commitment to reparative justice. We are happy to report that the amount of your collective donations has just crossed the $125,000 threshold!
At Tatanka Wakpala
Governing Council members Karen Ducheneaux, Luke Black Elk, and Linda Black Elk are all part of the Tatanka Wakpala Model Sustainable Community. Below is a message from Karen about their efforts:
Tatanka Wakpala is gearing up for another great year of growing, building, and learning. We are looking forward to completing our geodesic dome Tiyospaye Center. The dome was donated from Two Trees, Inc. and the dome shell was completed in September 2017.
Tatanka Wakpala volunteers worked as long as the weather allowed last fall completing the walls and extra rooms. As soon as the snow melts, we will start in again to complete the extra rooms, shingle the dome, finish the interior and then work on the solar/wind hybrid system for the dome.
Last summer, we completed raised garden beds and can’t wait to plant. Because we have battled with Canada thistle the last couple of years, we are hoping the raised beds will allow us a successful, naturally-grown garden such as we’ve enjoyed in the past.
Tatanka Wakpala was established as a demonstration project of working toward self-sufficiency. Although we have hosted open houses and work camps in previous years, this year we will host our first youth camp. Camp Ohokila (To respect or honor one’s own) will use teachings of traditional Lakota gender roles, respect and understanding gender identities to help Lakota youth gain understanding and respect for themselves and others. Other skills taught will be Lakota Handgames, Stickball, self-defense, survival skills, Lakota arts and food preservation to help youth gain confidence in their own traditions, strength and abilities. Participants will establish an okolakiciye (traditional Lakota society), and commit to supporting and helping each other learn, thrive and grow.
If you would like more information, please check out our facebook page for updates: http://www.facebook.com/tatankawakpala
Welcoming New Governing Council Members
We are delighted to welcome Dr. Barbara Bettelyoun back to our Governing Council, as well as new members Linda Black Elk and HolyElk Lafferty.
Linda Black Elk (Catawba Nation) is an ethnobotanist specializing in teaching about culturally important plants and their uses as food and medicine. Linda works to protect food sovereignty, traditional plant knowledge, and environmental quality as an extension of the fight against hydraulic fracturing and the fossil fuels industry. She has written for numerous publications, and is the author of Watoto Unyutapi, a field guide to edible wild plants of the Dakota people. Linda is the mother to three Lakota boys and is a lecturer at Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota.
HolyElk Lafferty is a fourth generation activist and member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Her family established White Buffalo Chief Camp within the Oceti Sakowin Camp in Standing Rock, ND and held ground there until a militarized raid took place on Feb. 23, 2017. Ms. Lafferty took on a leadership role during the final stages of camp and is continuing to carry that responsibility by attempting to establish new legal precedents for all Indigenous People through the charges she carries as a result of her arrest on Feb. 1, 2017 at Last Child Camp. She is also pursuing her heart work by advocating for and empowering indigenous youth, women and men who are working to create societal and environmental change.
We also thank outgoing council members Katie Jo Bendickson and Scott Wilson for their service and wish them well as they embark on new adventures and opportunities!
Paying Rent on Indigenous Land
On January 29, 2018, John Stoesz and Waziyatawin presented at Seattle Mennonite Church and the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center in Washington about the injustices perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples and Makoce Ikikcupi’s land recovery project. This allowed for a productive dialogue, both about the need for justice work and tangible steps that may be taken in the 21st century context.
The Duwamish started their own fundraising efforts in Fall 2017 to support their tribal services and the revival of their culture and traditions. As the Indigenous people of Seattle, they were never “justly compensated for their land, resources, and livelihood,” thus they initiated a “Real Rent Campaign” in which settlers can pay a small monthly rent to them as an act of solidarity. Their successful marketing campaign has recruited more than 500 monthly contributors. Comments from their contributors reflect the same sentiments as Makoce Ikikcupi’s contributors who value the opportunity to both honor the Original People and who want to make amends for gross injustices. For further information about their efforts visit: http://www.realrentduwamish.com. For information about John and Waziyatawin’s presentations, visit: https://seattlemennonite.org/2018/01/29/naming-injustice-to-find-justice/.
Ómakha Théča iyúškiŋyaŋ mitákuyapi! Ištáwičhayazaŋ wí k’a wíyawapi wikčémna núm aŋpétu kiŋ hé Ómakha Théča kiŋ škáŋ k’a aŋpétu kiŋ hé wíhinaphe k’a wíiyaye kiŋháŋ aŋpá k’a ókpaza kiŋ hená ákhidečheča. Aŋpétu kiŋ hé ȟtayétu šahdóǧaŋ aphé íš wíiyaye dúzahedaŋ wikčémna yámni iyóhakab, Thayámni wičháŋȟpi optáye wičháŋȟpi siŋté kiŋ hé itókaǧatakiya yaŋké. Maȟpíya éd siŋté wičháŋȟpi kiŋ iyótaŋ wíyakpakpa káš wíiyaye kiŋháŋ wayagphiča šni, itókaǧatakiya étuŋwaŋ kiŋháŋ ihnúnaȟ hé wadáke.
Happy New Year all my relatives! On March 20 our Dakota New Year began with equal day and night when the sun rose east and set west. At 8:00 pm, or a half hour after sunset, the Tayamni buffalo tail star was in the south. Although this is the brightest star in the sky, it was probably too soon after sunset to see at 8 pm but keep watching southward for visibility!
Ómakha Théča Iyúškiŋyaŋ (Happy New Year)!
Wí kiŋ dé Ištáwičhayazaŋ wí. Wímibe kiŋ hé ištáwičhayazaŋ ečíyapi Wičháŋȟpi optáye kiŋ Iníthipi ečíyapi kiŋ hé ikhíyedaŋ hináphe k’a hetáŋhaŋ wímibe kiŋ iníthipi wičháŋȟpi optáye kčhí maȟpíya iyópteya wiyóȟpeyatakiya iyáye.
We were in the snowy sore eyes moon of March 1. That full moon was just one month after the January 31 lunar eclipse. The full moon of sore eyes appeared near the Initipi sweat lodge stars and moved across the sky from east to west with the lodge all that night.
Wímibe kiŋ dé okó núm thokáheya éd wičháŋȟpi optáye núm Heȟáka k’a Khéya ečíyapi kiŋ hená aŋpétu wí kiŋ kčhí ówečhiŋhaŋ náziŋ. Hé héčhed wíiyaya čha wičháŋȟpi optáye núm k’úŋ hená waúŋyagphiča šni, tkhá hékta wí núm héhaŋ wíiyaya čha hená waúŋyagphiča. Ištáwičhayazaŋ wí čhokáta ȟtayétu šahdóǧaŋ aphé čha wičháŋȟpi optáye waŋ thayámni ečíyapi, hé wičháŋȟpi optáye éd wičháŋȟpi yámni kiŋ hená thayámni čhaŋkáhu héčha, k’a nakúŋ wičháŋȟpi tób hená čhúwi héčha, čhuwí wičháŋȟpi kiŋ čhaŋkáhu wičháŋȟpi kiŋ hená itókaǧatakiya optáya iyáye. Čhaŋkáhu wičháŋȟpi k’úŋ hená Wičháta wí čhokáta šákówiŋ aphé héhaŋ itókaǧatakiya optáya iyáye. Wičháŋȟpi optáye waŋ Zuzúheča ečíyapi kiŋ hé Thayámni oȟdáte yaŋké.
In the first two weeks of this moon the sun was lining up with Hehaka the Elk stars and Keya the Turtle stars, so this is why we could no longer see them at sunset as we could have just a month or two ago. But in midMarch at 8:15 pm the three buffalo backbone stars of Tayamni with their four rib stars (Orion) were crossing the south. These three would have crossed at 7:15 in mid-February. The snake Zuzuheċa was also below Tayamni.
Wíiyaye k’a wídečhana iyóko wičháŋȟpi waŋ Venus ečíyapi hé wayágphiča, šahdóǧaŋ aphé sám dúzahedaŋ wikčémna záptaŋ sám núm kiŋháŋ hé mahéd iyáye. Venús aŋpétu wíiyaye kiŋ ihákab mahéd iyáye, wí napčíwaŋka heháŋyaŋ. Ištáwičhayazaŋ wí k’a wíyawapi wikčémna núm kiŋháŋ haŋwí kiŋ wičháŋȟpi optáye Čhaŋšáša ečíyapi kiŋ hená čhatká taŋháŋ hináphe kte, Čhaŋšáša wičháŋȟpi optáye kiŋ akhéwaŋží aphé kiŋháŋ mahéd iyáye. Thokáta wí kiŋháŋ Maǧá kiŋ okádapta kiŋháŋ Aŋpétu wí k’a Čhaŋšáša wičháŋȟpi optáye kiŋ hená ówečhiŋhaŋ nážiŋ kte, Maǧáokada wí k’a wíyawapi wikčémna núm wahéhaŋyaŋ k’a nakúŋ Čhaŋnúŋpa wičháŋȟpi optáye kiŋ éd čhaŋšáša kiŋ idéye kta héčhe Wakíŋyaŋ kiŋ ahdí kta k’a zuzúheča kiŋ kiktápi kte. Hé héčhe Wétu ahí šni ečhéd čhaŋšáša kiŋ mnayáŋphiča, Čhaŋnúŋpa idéye šní ečhéd wí waŋží iyóhakab. Tkhá nína eháŋna ómakha khektópawiŋǧe yámni héhaŋ wétu ahí k’a aŋpétu wí čhaŋnúŋpa kiŋ idéye. Waŋná deháŋ wétu ahí wí waŋží iyóhakab héčhuŋ. Between the setting sun and the 3-day old crescent moon will be Venus as evening star which sets at 8:52 pm. Venus follows the sun down for 9 months. The March 20 moon will be near to the left of the Ċaŋšaša (tobacco) stars as they set around 11:00 pm. So next month when the geese lay their eggs, the sun’s fire will be lined up in the Ċaŋšaša (around April 20) as it is lighting and burning the tobacco in the Ċaŋnuŋpa in order to welcome the soon return of the Thunderers and the awakening of the snakes. This is why we can only take the Ċaŋšaša’s bark up until spring equinox time about a month before it is lit! However, about 3000 years ago the sun was already lighting the tobacco on New Year’s Spring Equinox about a month earlier than now!
STRIVING FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY
By Governing Council Members Cantesuta and Towanciotawin (Francis and Barbara Bettelyoun)
Celebrating an Ongoing Commitment to Justice By Waziyatawin, Executive Director
A Project of Reparative Justice
We have 26 fruit trees, 12 nut trees, 40-60 other medicinal trees, over 50 perennial fruit shrubs, several annual and perennial gardens and natural homes for insect and bird pollinators We have a few nut trees that we planted that will mature 50 years from now. We will not see the first nuts fully mature from these trees, but our children and grandchildren will. We planted the perennials first, knowing they are important to the environment and hold the most life and they need time to mature to give medicine.
Our vision is to sustain ourselves off of the land we are caretaking. By harvesting, drying, canning, fermenting and foraging foods from this land and the land that surrounds us, we are in that 2-3 year range.
We are gifted with this ability and understand the responsibility that comes with this. So, we help others by sharing how we are doing things on the land of our relatives. We also facilitate trauma based healing circles for our adult relatives who are suffering from past childhood abuses. What Towanciotawin and I have learned is that helping Mother Earth heal has helped us heal, as well. Pilamaye yelo!
For further information, please check out our website: http://www.makoceikikcupi.com
Also please note our new mailing address: PO Box 21, Granite Falls, MN 56241. After years of accepting mail at a private residence that is subject to change, we decided to switch to a PO Box.
Makoce Ikikcupi is now a nonprofit organization but it began as a project intended to help Dakota people recover some of our traditional homeland within Minisota Makoce (Land Where the Waters Reflect the Skies). It originated from conversations with Dakota solidarity activists about how to move from discussions about justice to concrete actions that would positively benefit Dakota people. Recognizing that white settlers continue to benefit from stolen land, activists sought to initiate a project of reparative justice that would have a tangible impact on Dakota people. Land recovery was key to this goal.
After reading Waziyatawin’s book What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland, questions arose about the best methods for restoring Dakota people to the Dakota homeland. Recognizing that Dakota people using our own money to buy back land that was stolen from us does not represent a form of justice, solidarity activists hoped to help right this historic wrong by personally contributing to a land buy-back project. They began raising funds among themselves and other beneficiaries of land theft, genocide, and ethnic cleansing for this land recovery project.
In 2009, the local decolonization group Unsettling Minnesota kicked off the land recovery project with “An Evening of Reparations.” This fundraising dinner and silent auction was held in Minneapolis and the proceeds launched the first Dakota land restoration project in Minnesota.
In June 2015, Makoce Ikikcupi received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. At this stage, the nonprofit is accepting settler donations that will go toward the purchase of land parcels. The acquisition of land not only will provide a land-base for landless Dakota people to establish sustainable communities, it will also help provide access to places where traditional food ways may be practiced.