THE SACRED PLACE
I heard on KILI radio that 75% of Indians in South Dakota are unemployed. In many beat up trailers on the reservations three families are living together. Drug and alcohol addiction is rampant. The federal government is cutting back on programs to help people with addictions, housing programs are being cut, food stamps are being cut, Indian health service is being cut.
This is a sign of the future in America and in places like Greece, Spain and other nations around the world. Corporate capital is pushing hard to get rid of social spending so they can continue to accumulate all resources into their greedy hands. It is indeed a war on the poor and the middle class - a reordering of the social structure - a return to feudalism.
My time away was truly a gift - I needed some separation from my work so my head could clear a bit. The walks in the woods, drives through the mountain roads, and sitting by the campfire outside my cabin were good therapy. On my last day in South Dakota I went north of the Black Hills to Bear Butte State Park (photo above) and followed the switch-back trail to the top of the 4,400 foot sacred mountain. All along the narrow and rocky path there were pieces of colorful prayer cloth, many holding tobacco, that had been tied to trees and bushes by Lakota and Cheyenne who come for ceremonies to this sacred place. From the top you can see for miles in every direction and it was a moving experience to view the open prairie from this mountain. Only two other people, both Indians, were on the mountain while I was there. On the way down I gathered some sage to take home.
Tomorrow I head back to Sioux Falls and fly home from the airport there early on Monday morning. Part of my heart always stays behind when I leave South Dakota. It keeps me coming back.