7 Aug

As a septuagenarian, I’m retired and retained my government employee insurance plan. Now I understand that our current president is requiring the government to buy all ‘necessary’ drugs from US manufacturers. I assume that means my insurance will now only cover vaccines, blood pressure, and glaucoma meds made in this country. This will likely increase my out of pocket costs substantially. But then I’m probably lucky in having insurance as so many Americans cannot afford insurance to begin with. We already know that American drugs are sold internationally at much lower prices than we pay here at home – many folks I know already go to Canada or Mexico to buy their medications. And the drug companies testing COVID-19 vaccines have already stated they will charge the same price abroad as here at home. Check the list of necessary medications at the site below and see if you will be impacted…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHO_Model_List_of_Essential_Medicines

On My High Horse

3 Aug

This ‘installment’ has nothing to do with the current political ‘conversation’ regarding the postal service. But for some time we’ve been told that the postal service is in financial difficulty. And over time they’ve raised the price of a first class stamp repeatedly (I’m from the generation when a first class stamp cost 3 cents) and currently they sell for 55 cents each.

As a part of this commentary, I need to share the personal experience I’m having since buying a new home. Each day I receive a bunch of unsolicited mail – I call it junk – and I’m assuming the realtor sold my new address to the highest bidder. Since I recycle unneeded paper it must be shredded. I ended up having to purchase a new shredder due to the heavy load: the shredder is full every two days with junk mail.

Most of the mail is from various 501(c) outfits begging for my hard-earned dollars. And here’s the point: One recent piece had info indicating that they pay only 7 cents per item to flood my mailbox (14 cents if they include a postage-paid return envelope). In addition, in this pre-election season I’m getting regular junk from politicians. It appears they only pay 23 cents per item. It is no wonder the postal service is having financial difficulties!!

August Lakota Way

1 Aug

Even a single pte (bison), or tatanka, evokes the very image of strength and power. Yet though they numbered in the millions across the western plains of Turtle Island, even the strength of those numbers could not save them from the consequences of Manifest Destiny. The near extinction of those mighty herds brought the downfall of indigenous nations. In the later decades of the 1800s there were likely less than 1,000 in the United States. In 2012 there were approximately 380,000 in North America, in private, federal, state, and tribal herds in the US and Canada. Nevertheless, that is far less that the population estimates prior to 1850, ranging from 30 to 60 million. And if we Lakota – and Pte Taoyate, the Buffalo Nation – are to take a lesson from those relatives, it is not necessarily that of strength but courage, because they are coming back from the brink of extinction.

Flip a Coin

24 Jul

My Daddy always said, “There’s two sides to every coin.” Like me, there’s my conservative side

and then there’s…

…my other side.

July Lakota Way

1 Jul

He stayed in the grove all day, blowing on the hollow branch. By sundown he would make the branch sing better than the wind had.Through it came the voice of his grief-stricken heart, rising and falling with high and low plaintive notes. Cloud decided that the voice of the branch sounded much like the great cranes than flew overhead each spring and fall. With his knife he carved the end of the branch into the shape of a crane’s head and bill. As he made the branch sing, the land and everything on it fell silent, listening…. All he could do was blow on the flute and let it cry…. The lilting voice of the flute rose and fell, sighing and sobbing in soft, heartbreaking notes. Cloud noticed that the women were as drawn to the voice of the hollow branch as he had been…. Thereafter on summer eveninggs, when the fireflies twinkled in the dusk, flues could be heard singing sweetly, provocatively, up and down the river valleys, their voices touching the heart of any woman, young aor old. Hokagapi, the flute, born of despair, became the voice of courtship, of promise, of hope – and of love.

Excerpt from The Lokota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living,  Joseph M. Marshall III

Just a Thought

27 Jun

Amid the many reports of COVID-19 news here and around the world, I noted some folks claim that being forced to wear a mask is unconstitutional. Having read the Constitution a few times, I must have missed that section. But assuming that those folks are right, a decision upholding their position could turn other legal positions upside down.

I’m thinking all those indecent exposure laws would have to come off the books. After all, the Constitution prevents government from forcing us to wear anything. And I’m thinking all those folks convicted of that crime would have their records expunged or would be released from jail. Interesting….

New Leaf

19 Jun

Since traveling is not on my schedule for now and contact/conversations with others are infrequent, I may as well use this space to express what’s on my mind. Recent events such as tearing down statues around the country and around the globe, give me pause. I understand the frustration and anger felt by those wanting to see examples of historical figures who committed, in their eyes, unforgivable  acts. But, as a friend recently commented, these statues can be reminders of our mistakes and weaknesses as human beings throughout history. By failing to recognize, openly and honestly those mistakes, we will be destined to repeat them.

The anger and frustration is, in my opinion, due in part to the our failure over time to recognize both the fame and the infamy of the individuals depicted by these statues. Throughout our education we learn of these individuals and events in only a superficial way, if at all. Today, Juneteenth, the significance of the day in the eyes of segments of our population and other events such as the massacre in Tulsa were never taught or even recognized in our history books. The greedy and deplorable acts committed by Christopher Columbus were never recognized. Even the deplorable use of gas chambers and concentration camps by Hitler were not recognized until much later (I never learned about that until I was in college and only then when I was doing some research for a history assignment).

Quite commonly we humans stay confined to our own family, community, and limited education system as we develop our views of life and history and other people, races, tribes, nationalities, religions – ‘categories’ in which we place other human beings. For example, my own experience. I grew up in a primarily white, mid-western town. Although it was quietly and negatively reported that my great-great-grandmother was Native American, it was a ‘shameful’ fact never to be outed. My grandfather frequently took me to movies about ‘cowboys and Indians’, which typically stereotyped Native Americans as ignorant savages. Nothing was ever taught in our schools about the other side of reality as we drove these people, whose country we had invaded, our of their homes, destroyed their livelihood, massacred them, put those who remained in prisons called reservations…. I never learned much about this side of history until I was in my forties!

My point being, we human beings need to open our eyes and our ears and our minds to truth about ourselves, both the good and the bad.

Thought for the Day

10 Jun

Today’s thought (from RV Travel daily newsletter)

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner

Viewing today’s news and unrest, I realize that I too seldom raised my voice. In fifth grade, I observed a black classmate being chased and stoned by white boys from our school. Although I was dismayed, I said nothing.

In high school history class, the teacher criticized the only black student for squeaking his chair (the chairs were high-backed wooden models). The next day the black student’s chair was replaced by a metal one from the cafeteria. Yes, I did take the metal chair and shove it in the girls bathroom, but again I said nothing.

Years later in South Dakota, I listened as a grocery store cashier exchanged criticism of the Indians with another customer. Again I said nothing.

As I watch the news in recent days, I am ashamed of the detestable things that happen to people of color, people who are ‘different’ in my country where “all men are created equal”. I should be ashamed…for not speaking out. Shame on me!

June Lakota Way 2020

3 Jun

Peji Sla el Kicizapi (The Fight at the Greasy Grass), Peji Sla el Wicakasotapi Hehan (When They Wiped Them Out at the Greasy Grass), and Mila Hanska Wicakastakapi Hehan (When They Made the Long Knives Cry) are all Lakota names and references to what is more commonly known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Not only are there differences in names of that one event – perhaps the most well-known and most storied event in Western American history – but there are also differences in perspective. One side tells a story of heroic soldiers struck down while going God’s work, and the other side knows them as horrific threats to helpless women and children. One side looks at the Lakota and Sahiyela people at the Greasy Grass River encampment as a people thumbing their noses at white authority, and the other side regarded themselves as free people resisting invasion into their lives and territory. History has many voices and they should all be heard.

Joseph M. Marshall III

Change

9 May

Let me first say, I believe the science that our climate is undergoing a change.

And I have observed the rolling back of environmental protections developed during my lifetime.

And I may have posted this previously but the time seems right.

     There was a time when man took no more than he needed. That time is gone…

There was a time when he gave something back. That time is gone…

There was a time when he worshipped the creator and honored creation. That time too is gone…

And now the waters are polluted

Our natural resources are all but gone and creation is dying…

It is time…to find our way back to the earth.

Kevin Thunderhorse Wright