Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lakota Truth Tour

I hitch-hiked into Rapid City, South Dakota last Wednesday, now at the house of the Lakota elder, Canupa Gluha Mani in Custer, for the Lakota Elders' Truth Tour.

From Moab to the Land of the Lakota

Before leaving Moab, a guy named Edgar came to visit me from Salt Lake City and spent a couple days hanging out with me.  I feel we became very good friends.  Since I had been planning to hitch to Rapid City, he decided to take me back to Salt Lake City with him, meet his wife Leslie, stay the night, then drop me off in Park City to start hitching.  It took me two days and several rides to go 64 miles to Evanston, Wyoming, and I was getting discouraged, thinking I wouldn't make it to Rapid City in time.  Then I went 600 miles in two rides all the way to Rapid City, several days earlier than expected.

In Rapid City, I found some woods to camp in, ready to wait days until anybody I knew showed up.  But the next day Carolyn and Thembi and their friend Naomi arrived and whisked me away to Canupa's house here in Custer!

Red Cry, the Documentary

Carolyn (my good friend of several years), her boyfriend Thembi, and Naomi have worked the past year with the Lakota making the documentary, "Red Cry" is about the ongoing genocide against the Lakotas.  It is to be shown in each city along the Truth Tour.  I have now seen the documentary and am totally blown away by it.  It tells truths never before told, exposing lies and corruption.  "Red Cry" is more powerful than I'd imagined, and all the Lakota elders I've seen it with are equally pleased with it.  "Red Cry" is their documentary, in their words, not candy-coated or white-washed (by whites), raw and shocking, as it should be!  Finally, natives get to be heard, in their own words.  It is planned to be posted free to all on You Tube in a week or two, so all of you can see it.  Meanwhile, here's the trailer again:

Lakota Elder's Truth Tour Mission 

Wagunpi Woashake Ikickupi (Lakota Elders Take Back Their Strength) is a grassroots movement to end the genocide of the Lakota people and support the full renewal of matriarchal leadership by Lakota Grandmothers on Pine Ridge and across the Lakota Nation.  The movement also works to educate non-Natives about the situation of the Lakota, mobilize long-term solidarity networks to benefit Lakota Elders, and build solidarity with other indigenous resistance movements worldwide.
The Lakota Solidarity Project is an all-volunteer group of people and organizations who work in togetherness with traditional Tetuwan Lakota Elders, warriors, grassroots activists, and Oyate (people)- led by the Grandmothers.  Find out more here.

The Lakota Grandmother's Truth Tour starts in Rapid City tomorrow, going from city to city until the march to the United Nations in New York City, then on to Washington DC.

My Feelings About This

I can't help but feel this is something big, and can't express how honored I feel being a part of this.

And his isn't just about taking part in an activist movement.  This is becoming a major step in my spiritual journey.  I am meeting a grand guru in my life's path, and that guru is the Lakota nation.

I'm glad I'm here early, because I'm going through my time of intense psychological preparation with
Canupa.  And intense it is.  And humbling is an understatement of what I'm going through. Canupa is a traditional tribal leader (not a government lackey) who tells it like it is with us white folks.  It's not easy to take, but something we need to hear and absorb.  He's brash and crude and angry and funny, gentle and harsh and totally not P.C.  I'm sweating.  Just when I think he's a hateful asshole, a compassion deeper than I can imagine shines from his eyes into me, and the deep pain of centuries of white oppression against the Lakotas and against the earth.  And there's more to come for me to learn. I have a long ways to go, when I thought I had come so far.  Okay, I still feel he's also intensely racist and full of shit, too, encrusted over his compassion for all living beings.  That's part of his trickster persona, shocking us out of our minds like a harsh Zen master.

I have also gotten a chance to meet Charmaine, Earl, and Leo, so far, Natives also in the film.  Now I am so looking forward to meeting and traveling with the Lakota Grandmothers, matriarchs of the Lakota nation. 

After the Tour

I can't really think too much about after the tour right now.  I am, of course, thinking about the moneyless tribe idea, but feel this will be confirmation or not about #2 in the 2-fold mission of it.

Prayers For Me

I know there are people praying that I fail in my walk.  They have let me know this.  And I know there are people praying for my walk's success, who have also let me know this.  Which will win?  Neither, I say.  I ask both groups to pray neither for my success or failure.  Pray that if it is the Divine will that I fail, let me fail.  And if it is the Divine will that I succeed, let me succeed.  Make no presumptions of Divine will, or of what is "success" or "failure."  If your god is a genie in a bottle who conforms to your demands, to your will, your god is a petty demigod, no matter what you call your god.  The prayer of no presumption is the most powerful prayer in the Universe and can never fail.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin!

Happy Resurrection Day, when the new life of Spring springs up from death.


  1. Suelo. As always I find your whole way of life deeply inspiring. You will definitely receiving prayers from me. How long is the walk for?

  2. Actually the Truth Tour is not a walk, but a caravan of vans driving. The walking tribe pilgrimage is to happen later in the summer, enshallah.

  3. Does anyone know what happened to C.J Colwell's blog?

  4. Are you going to be going with this tour to all of the different stops that they do? Does that mean that you will be in Minneapolis with them this up-coming Wednesday? If that's the case, then we can meet up and hang out! :-)

    1. Ian!!
      The event happened in Minneapolis, but we had major crazy complications and couldn't make it. But we plan to continue to every event here on to the end.
      So sorry I missed you!

  5. i pray that whatever will be will be. live for today for tomorrow we die. i too desire a spiritual journey in life.i think im on my way. ive given up almost everything i own so i may be more spiritually fit.i also have experienced diffrent religions.i have meditated in a buddist temple in the state i live in and i have started to read the book of gita. although most of my reading is the bible i have found that most churches i attend gives me a bad feeling thats not right. so i have no church home.i feel its corrupted by money and as u say they dont truly follow jesus teachings. i was recently inspired by a man who lives alone in the alaskan arctic named heimo korth. good luck on your spiritual journey and i will continue to read your posts...

  6. Suelo, are you following the entire Tour? I plan on attending the Madison, WI showing this Thursday.

  7. I loath the Christian idea of "God's Will" and much prefer the eastern idea: "God" is free from want and can therefore have no "will."

  8. Simplicity and Frugality in the Bible
    Posted on March 14, 2012 by MDH Ventures

    O. Hardman, a 19th century Anglican clergyman, wrote:
    It is an injury to society as well as an offence against God when men pamper their bodies with rich and dainty foods and seriously diminish their physical and mental powers by excessive use of intoxicants. Luxury in every form is economically bad, it is provocative to the poor who see it flaunted before them, and it is morally degrading to those who indulge in it. The Christian who has the ability to live luxuriously, but fasts from all extravagance, and practices simplicity in his dress, his home, and his whole manner of life, is therefore, rendering good service to society.” (Willard 169)
    1. Buy what you need to accomplish your God-given mission in life. Anything else is an encumbrance.
    2. Dispose of anything that is causing addiction (a form of idolatry) in you. This may include pornography, video games, computer games, sports, etc.
    3. Give things away – as much as you can and as often as you can.
    4. Do not believe modern advertising. People are told that they can never have lasting peace and prosperity without the latest product that each advertiser is peddling.
    5. Enjoy without owning. We can enjoy books, magazines and videos without owning them at the library. We can enjoy beautiful environments without owning them at parks.
    6. Enjoy creation. The greatest things in life are free.
    7. Be skeptical about all credit. Debt is bondage.
    8. Engage in honest speech and actions.
    9. Reject anything that causes others to stumble or causes injustice to them.
    10. Lay aside every encumbrance.
    What you own owns you. Your stuff needs to be stored, cleaned, maintained, repaired, and eventually disposed of. Every moment you spend taking care of stuff is time you cannot spend doing other things. Everyone needs some stuff, but our needs are likely to be far less than most of us have.
    Limitations of simplicity and frugality
    Like all of the spiritual disciplines, simplicity and frugality are not ends in themselves but means to the end of becoming more like Jesus Christ. Simplicity for its own sake becomes dead legalism, while frugality for its own sake becomes hoarding. There is no magic in denying oneself unless the focus of that denial is outside of oneself, and the only right and eternal focus is Jesus Christ.
    Truly, the purpose of the spiritual disciplines is to diminish the clamor of our day to day lives and open our eyes to the faint outline of eternity. They can be a source of great spiritual power when they improve our focus on Christ, and they can be a source of great spiritual devastation when we focus anywhere else. The greatest saints in history have practiced the spiritual disciplines, including simplicity and frugality, with a focus on Jesus Christ. The greatest sinners in history have also practiced such disciplines, resulting in unmitigated spiritual pride, with a focus on anything else.

  9. All good wishes for your Lakota Truth Tour. Agree with you completely that you cannot start on such a journey with ideas of success or failure. Tolstoy believed that some of our greatest impacts would be invisible to us this side of creation. With a good heart your efforts can only reap many benefits for us all and possibly a good portion unseen here in time.

  10. Tu Blog me gusta mucho, Daniel, tiene informacion valiosa, lo leo con un plugin de traducción, gracias por el ejemplo. Mucha suerte.

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  12. Suelo,

    I attended the Truth Tour last night with my wife. We both were moved by the documentary and Canupa's testimony. After hearing Canupa in person I can understand your initial feelings toward him: he was brash and straight-forward but compassionate-as-hell for what he believes in.

    Discussing the event on our way home, my wife and I did agree that we were still a bit confused about what the call-to-action was to be. The documentary stirred up emotion that begged for immediate action but Canupa's message did not address direct physical action. However, the therapist (I'm afraid I don't know her name) did make an analogy to the 12 step program, and said that many people doing 12 steps get past the first step (admitting our errors) and want to immediately move to the last step (take action). I think that was the audience response, and I see that there are many steps in between where one needs to come to grips with the genocide still be perpetuated against the Lakota before one is necessarily ready to become a worthwhile activist in the cause.

    So now I'm simply working through that process, and hopefully can take small actions toward raising awareness for this serious issue.

    My best to you, Canupa, and the rest of the Lakota and your crew on your journey east.

  13. Suelo, whatever the results of this particular phase of your journey, please know that since I discovered your blog your views have been a source of comfort to me.

  14. ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
    ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
    And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
    ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
    When true simplicity is gain’d,
    To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
    To turn, turn will be our delight,
    Till by turning, turning we come ’round right

    Shaker Hymn, Joseph Brackett (1797–1882)

    “The sense of ownership in general is always to be encouraged. The humans are always putting up claims to ownership which sound equally funny in Heaven and in Hell, and we must keep them doing so”. CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters

    “…riches and abundance come hypocritically clad in sheep’s clothing pretending to be security against anxieties, and they become the object of anxiety…” Soren Kierkegard

    As I was praying this morning, the Lord brought to mind the fact that the ultimate purpose of the spiritual disciplines is to quiet the shout of the temporal so we can hear the whisper of the eternal. It fades the colors of the here and now so we can see faint outline of the past and future.

    What are Simplicity and Frugality?

    Foster describes simplicity as an inward reality centered on God which manifests itself in an outward lifestyle of Godliness. Simplicity is related to integrity in that the simple man is consistent within himself and consequently consistent with others.

    Willard describes frugality as “abstaining from using money or goods at our disposal in ways that merely gratify our desires or our hunger for status, glamour, or luxury.” Frugality is related to simplicity; with a simple love of Christ in the center of our being, we no longer need things to give us status, glamour or luxury. As a result, debt fades as a problem and slavery to debt is replaced by freedom from things.

  15. I just wanted to let you know that if you find yourself in Tennessee at any point on your journey you are welcome to stay at my house.

  16. We are not our cultures, we are not the color of our skin.