Lakotah Morning Thank-You Prayer

Russel Means

Russell Means, an Oglala Sioux, as a young leader of the American Indian Movement who helped resuscitate Indian nations throughout the hemisphere, had the privilege of learning traditional Lakota ways and knowledge from Elders who were steeped in these ancient teachings.

Russell died Octdober 22, 2012, at the age of 72. His wife, Pearl, carries on the task of passing along this timeless and timely wisdom to a world starved for balance and truth. The book is co-written with Bayard Johnson.

Foreword by Russel Means: The reason we decided to write this book is because The Trickster has completely tricked my people. The Trickster, or Iktomi, has come into our land, and completely colonized the Lakotah Nation. In February of this year I cut my hair in mourning. This was for my own people, who are dead, and are only play-acting at being Indians. Only a few even realize that they are colinized. The Heyoka, the one who lives backwards, has come into our land to try to get the people out of this death condition, but it's not working - the people are not listening. They are not learning.

My Great-Grandma Aggie, my Grandma Twinklestar, my Auntie Faith, my Mother, my Grandpa John Feather, and many others too numerous to name, all taught me many things. What they didn’t teach me was that as the oldest brother, I was supposed to pass this knowledge down to my younger brothers. I didn’t do it because I didn’t know. Not until I joined the American Indian Movement, AIM, did I realize this.

When I joined AIM was when I met the old people – those who were born in the latter part of the 1800s, had never been to school, and were raised by people who were born free. There was Pete Catches, Frank Fools Crow, Frank Kills Enemy, Henry Crow Dog, John Fire, Severt Young Bear Sr., Sally Red Owl, Mrs. Janis, and many old ladies on Rosebud and Pine Ridge whose names I never knew. They taught me and counseled me, all of them. They would all visit me and I would visit them.

So this book is about what I learned from these old people. This book is an introduction – a very sketchy introduction – to Matriarchy. The Indian way of life is very much misunderstood, and has almost disappeared from the Earth.

This book is a partial collection of everything I’ve come to know from my people – from my ancestors, from people who were born free, from my relatives, and from my own well as from other Indian Nations in the Western Hemisphere who all shared the same world view.

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