The first communication I ever had with journalist/philosopher Vince Two Eagles was not a cordial exchange of pleasantries. I received a letter from him via e-mail in which he criticized something I wrote; not a critical analysis of my writing but a point by point refutation of something I wrote.
It was about a column I did that discussed “wacinko,” Lakota word for pouting, which I described as a well- honed Lakota art form, especially to the men of our tribes. Although I used overstatement, meant to be comical, he saw it as something that just adds to the dumb stereotypes that so many non-Indians have of our people. It was a well-reasoned letter in which he held no punches. But it was in no way rude or disrespectful. Vince has a way with words, a hard-hitting but gentle approach.
I don’t recall if I responded to his letter, or if I did, how I responded. But I did learn from what he wrote. His letter caused me to reread that column, and in doing so, I saw how it would be offensive to our people, though I didn’t mean it to be. In fact, it was pretty dumb. I hope I told him that he was right, and that I apologize for my carelessness.
Vince is an Ihanktowan Dakota from the Yankton Sioux Tribe. He has been writing his column since 2007 to focus on providing both historic and current information about his people; their customs, philosophy, and ongoing issues in their relations with non-Indian society.
I was happy to see that Vince has come out with a new book, which is titled, as his weekly column is titled, “The Rez of the Story.” I ordered a copy immediately and am enjoying it immensely. A review of a book by one of my favorite contemporary authors said, “There is not a dishonest sentence in her book.” This can be said of Vince’s writings. He writes clearly and honestly, there is not a single word that tries to impress the reader. His writings reflect deep feelings and rational observations. They are written from the heart.
I first began reading his columns when I started writing a periodic column for the Lakota Country Times several years ago. The LCT has an excellent stable of writers, and a fine op-ed page. I became a fan of his and read his column regularly. I must admit that I began writing for the LCT for free to help save them in threatening times, thinking that my “big name” would help their readership and their circulation. But I found myself among able writers that subordinate my stuff by their excellent and more down-home qualities.
Later I began getting a daily email from Vince, titled “Food for Thought.” I get much email of that kind, with wise sayings and heart rending stories, and an admonition that if I don’t send it on to ten people in the next five minutes, I may be doomed to hell. But Vince’s daily missives don’t do that. They are short pieces leading off with a quote from a great philosopher, author or holy man. Then he puts the quote into context with our daily challenges and our daily needs. Again, I read them faithfully. He does good things for me, for my spirit.
I highly recommend the book. The title is “The Rez of the Story.” You can buy a copy by sending $24.00 to Vince Two Eagles, P.O. Box 9, Wagner, SD 57380. Give him a call at (605) 384-3814 or visit his website at www.rezofthestory.com
, and he will inscribe a copy for you.
Charles "Chuck" Trimble, was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian
Reservation, and is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. He was principal
founder of the American Indian Press Association in 1970, and served as
Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians from 1972-1978.
He is retired and lives in Omaha, NE. He can be contacted at email@example.com
and his website is www.iktomisweb.com.
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