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Opinion
Art Coulson: Safe journey for Vine Deloria Jr.


"A warrior of the people has walked on to meet his Creator. Vine Deloria Jr., a visionary Lakota scholar who passed away in Colorado on Sunday at age 72, was equal parts prod and hero to my generation of American Indians. He pushed us to shake off the chains of colonialism, to challenge conventional thinking, never to settle for second-class citizenship in our native land.

In my grandmother's language, we'd call Deloria an ayawisgi � a soldier for the people. But my grandmother was from a different time, with different sensibilites. Like a lot of our elders in the 1960s and '70s, she'd call Deloria an "activist" or an "agitator." She believed he, like the American Indian Movement, was out to stir things up, that he couldn't just let things be.

Thank god she was right about that. From his first book, 1969's "Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto," Deloria spoke boldly for a new generation of disaffected American Indians who did not want to let things be, who weren't content with a status quo that devalued our contributions and did everything it could to exterminate us as a distinct people."

Get the Story:
Art Coulson: Have a safe journey to the Creator, uncle (The St. Paul Pioneer Press 11/16)
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Indian Country Today Articles from January 10, 2005:
Wilma Mankiller: An original thinker with a warrior's spirit
Suzan Shown Harjo: Selective memories of Vine Deloria Jr.
Faith Spotted Eagle: Deksi (Uncle) Vine
Charlie Wilkins: Visionary thinker and wordsmith par excellence
Hank Adams: A Vine Deloria Jr. collaboration: The first decade
John Mohawk: Vine Deloria Jr.'s unfolding legacy
Philip Deloria: Tales of a remarkable father
Norbert Hill: A hero to many

Related Stories:
Vine DeLoria: Spoke for a nation of Natives (11/15)
Deloria hailed as 'visionary' for role in Indian affairs (03/11)
Jodi Rave: Deloria unknown because he's Indian (01/24)
Vine Deloria is ICT's American Indian Visionary (01/10)
Column: Vine Deloria refuses honorary degree (05/25)