Jenni Giovannetti: #NoDAPL inspires a mixed-blood keyboard warrior

Jenni Giovannetti

By Jenni Giovannetti
For The Lakota Country Times

Hello, I’m Jenni Giovannetti and I’m an Oglala Lakota/Italian/Irish mutt living in Martin, South Dakota -- right smack dab in between the Pine Ridge and the Rosebud Rez.

I was raised in the South until about the age of 13. As a result of my transplantation I have a rezed out southern twang going thing going on. I also work for Lakota Country Times and am a proud single mother. My heart is part hippy, part warrior and the truth is very important to me. This newspaper is all about truth, integrity and Lakota spirit and right now is a fine time for people like me. I have been quite the keyboard warrior and I felt it was time to spread my wings and have my words printed.

People that aren’t full blood with never understand their views and people that are low in blood quantum will never understand their views. We all have to agree to disagree and remember that no matter what we think we have to remember America is a melting pot. Times have changed and we have to adapt to them instead of fighting for something that won’t change.

I named my column Iyeska for a reason. Iyeska means mixed blood. But it also means interpreter and to be a spokesman. I have literally been pondering a column for years, but knew it was a little uncomfortable to be perceived as the white girl that thinks she’s Native. The point is that I wanted to share with others what I have learned growing up as a light-skinned and mixed heritage Lakota person.

The #NoDAPL encampment in North Dakota. Photo by Joe Brusky / Overpass Light Brigade

The recent developments on the Standing Rock Reservation have changed my life. I have been interested in opposition to the construction of pipelines in Indian Country since the Keystone XL battle, but I haven’t been so involved and passionate as I am now with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL. It just hit so close to home when one of the protectors shouted “we're doing this for our children."

It then dawned on me that I need to get involved on behalf of my own children. I love them and want the best for them and the water they need to live is in danger. I told a lot of pipeline lovers that they need to be more compassionate and delicate about the fragility of our fresh water supplies but this movement is bigger than just that. It’s about mankind making a change to stand up for itself. To come out of the fog LITERALLY. Times are changing... we are IN A REVOLUTION.

I went to Standing Rock over Labor Day weekend. Something pulled me there. I was almost outside of myself… It was my spirit being pulled by my ancestors. I was meant to be there to see what I have always needed for my soul. People of every color gathering to stand up with Standing Rock. They made a call for help, and who knew it would change the world.

Almost every tribal-nation worldwide has made a pledge to stand with them. History is now forever changed. Native people are healing and are very strong now. This Revolution literally shows how FAST people can put there drama aside and start fresh in the blink of an eye.

I met some heroes of mine on my trip. I also attended my first Lakota Ceremony. We marched on the Sunday after the dogs and prayed at the desecrated burial grounds. I was always too shy to go to something spiritual because I don’t worship Tunkasala, I worship God. I didn’t want to show any disrespect so I never got to experience my Native culture because of fear.

Well the love from everyone at the camps changed me. Everyone was welcomed with open arms. And the reason I know the world has changed is because after the Lakota prayers everyone was welcome to pray to their own higher power at the same time in the same circle as before. You could feel the power. That power is the weapon that is winning this battle.

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This was a little long but I wanted to go over so many things. After reading this I hope you leave with two things.

The world has changed. We have all come together and we need to stay that way. No more segregation that’s what has held us back!

Mni Wconi: Water is Life. The power of the water not only keeps us alive but brought the world together- all races. We need to protect the little clean water we have left.

Jenni Giovannetti is an Oglala Lakota and has worked for Lakota Country Times for over 7 years.

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