Indianz.Com > News > Ivan Star Comes Out: Respecting the rights of all people
The Oceti Sakowin Camp was located on Sioux Nation treaty territory in present-day North Dakota. The encampment arose in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, whose final segment crosses the Missouri River, just a half-mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Photo: Joe Brusky
Respecting the rights of all people
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Native Sun News Today Columnist

No matter where I go on the Pine Ridge Reservation these days, I am called “Grampa.”

Other times, Leksi (Uncle), other times I am Tanhansi (Cousin-male) and Sicesi (Cousin-female). A lot of these people are not my blood relatives but do so for good reason. Our cultural customs certainly and continually contribute to a positivism within our modern society that remains unprecedented anywhere in the world.

Off reservation, I am the immediate subject of suspicion. I am often treated like a criminal by individuals as well as their modern institutions. Also, I am looked upon with suspicion and often alienated by “tribal” card carrying members of the new federal Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Thankfully, the few I attended school with are genuinely amiable. However, most appear comfortable within their own peer group.

Ivan F. Star Comes Out. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today

These people, both on and off the reservation, appear incapable of grasping the concept of equality. They could change but they prefer not to. Also, this group seem to consider themselves a societal upper class. At the same time, these people place great importance on a broad range of equitable principles today, however, they prefer applying them to their groups only.

There are some interesting parallels between our Lakota cultural values and the idea of democracy. First, of all, as natives, we must absolutely embrace the concept that democracy is indigenous. Truth be told, the so-called “Founding Fathers” stole the idea from the Iroquois Confederacy or the Five Nations of Iroquois. Dishonesty is at the base of nearly every government action, like the pilfering of the He Sapa (Black Hills).

How much longer are we going to pretend we are a free people under the federal law called the Wheeler-Howard Act (Indian Reorganization Act) of 1934? Anyway, we are not going to gain any sense of “freedom and liberty” under this dominant and oppressive arm of the federal government.

I believe the government will never change its stance because what they have now is beneficial to promoting oneself as being powerful or important, at any cost. Anyway, I found 16 equitable or democratic principles or values which the federal government appears incapable of comprehending.

Rights and freedoms of all people are respected; elected officials face serious charges consequences for misconduct; judges are not influenced by political parties; everyone has equal opportunity to succeed; Parties work together on issues; balance of power between government branches; news organizations are independent of government; government is open and transparent.


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Ivan F. Star Comes Out can be reached at P.O. Box 147, Oglala, South Dakota, 57764; via phone at 605-867-2448 or via email at

Note: Copyright permission Native Sun News Today