"Now all we can do is go forward from that."

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Of all the virtues that the Lakota have, which one means the most to you?

Probably Bravery


Why is that?

It’s hard to be brave. When you have to, it will leave a big impact on your life.


Were there times in your life when you had to be brave?

Oh yeah. Multiple times.


Can you tell us about that? Or a time when you saw your Mom be really brave?

Right now. She got her priorities in order and it takes a lot of bravery to do that. We all lose ourselves sometimes, and we don’t know how to come back to reality. In order to do that, we have to brave enough to face our responsibilities and the consequences, which can be good or bad. Over the summer, I’ve seen a lot of bravery from my mom. She is sober, and she put her sobriety first. And she put me first. It’s heart warming because it’s left a big change in her life. And now all we can do is go forward from that. And let each other grow as individuals, and just live.


What’s your favorite thing about your Mom?

Everything. She’s my mom. I’ve lived with her my whole life. I guess, when she starts something she has to finish it. I like that about her, because most people procrastinate a lot, like me.


Can you tell us why you wanted to start beading?

I started when I was eleven years old. It just came about. My mom wanted to teach me and I guess I wanted to learn. After school I would start beading. Now, I choose to bead because I’m sixteen and I want to help my Mom. There’s stuff we need and we don’t have income, so the only way to get money is to bead, so that’s what we do.


What was your favorite moment from yesterday?

The whole day. You guys are goofy!


What does being Lakota mean to you?

To me it means a lot of things. I’m proud of being Lakota as an individual, I don’t know about as a tribe. A lot of our people do bad things which leaves a bad reputation for all of us. There’s not much we can do about that really except to be good as an individual and help others. Some people are hard to help because they don’t want to help themselves, so that gets tiring because I see these people on the streets and I see druggies and it makes me wonder how they could live like that all the time. It’s traumatic to those around us, especially to the younger children. When they grow up, they won’t know the difference between good and bad, because all they grew up seeing was the negativity. They just grow up as confused children, because they just don’t know, until someone good comes and shows them how to live their life positively and what to do instead of being stuck in the same cycle. 


You were talking about going to school. What gives you hope and what do you dream of becoming?

I’ve had a lot of therapists and counselors. Some of them are harder to relate to because they’ve never experienced it themselves. It always irked me because they said, “I understand. I know what you’ve been through.” It irritated me because they don’t. they grew up without seeing the things I’ve seen or experienced. I always shut myself down to that because I thought, “what’s the point of opening up to you when you’re just going to write it down in a book and next week I’ll say the same thing.” So, what I’ve gone through makes me want to go into that field of psychology because I can not only relate to them on that level but because I made it out. I don’t do most of the stuff I used to anymore. I’ve grown as an individual. I know the differences between a lot of things. And I liked what you said yesterday because it’s true, “the only way out of poverty is education.” I have a friend that’s not in poverty who lives in Nebraska. I went and visited him this summer and he had the nicest house I had ever seen. It was nice. And he had a job.

I would like to live like that someday or be somewhere like that, and put most of my childhood away. I try to avoid it a lot because there’s nothing I could do about it. Just not repeat it in the next generation to my children. I want to live somewhere that can help me grow. Because you can’t grow if you don’t feel comfortable. You have to be comfortable in your habitat.