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Bernice King to Chamberlain: Allow Lakota Honor Song at HS Graduation

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change has written a letter urging the Chamberlain School Board to allow American Indian students to sing their honor song as part of the Chamberlain High School graduation ceremony. Here's that letter in full:

Bernice A. King, King Center, letter to Chamberlain SD School Board, 2014.03.26
Bernice A. King, King Center, letter to Chamberlain SD School Board, 2014.03.26

These songs convey positive messages of value to students of all cultures. When they are sung in the Native language, they affirm shared pride in the wonderful Native American heritage of South Dakota and other states in the region. It would allow non-Native students to express their respect and goodwill toward native students, just as Native students have frequently joined in singing songs originating in cultures different from their own. When all students join together to sing songs of different cultures, it promotes an appreciateion of diversity, which is a very good thing to celebrate anywhere. As my father, Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his "I Have a Dream" speech, "With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood" [Bernice A. King, Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Ninviolent Social Change, letter to Chamberlain School Board, 2014.03.26].

Will the Chamberlain School Board respond to this call for a more perfect symphony representing all of its students? Or will more national attention like King's letter trigger the South Dakota bunker mentality and provoke board members to kick back all the harder and portray themselves as defenders of some South Dakota faith against the ingressions of outside agitators?

Chamberlain graduation is May 18, just seven weeks away.


  1. Paula 2014.03.29

    Yes, let's see what the Chamberlain school board decides THIS year. Two years ago they said it was not brought to their attention in enough time to discuss it. Last year, they flat out refused to allow the honor song. Which is so wrong; when a high percentage of your students are Native American, how can you justify not allowing it? Anyway, let's see if Ms. King's letter will change some minds/opinions.

  2. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.29

    Don't hold your breath!!

    It is most likely the rednecks have dug in for the next battle.

  3. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.03.29

    Not again! Is Chamberlain the racist capital of SD? That's a double black eye. Racist capital of a racist state.

    For shame Chamberlain. For shame.

  4. Tally Colombe 2014.03.30

    Too Late, the students requested that a Lakota/ Dakota Honor Song be sung at graduation back in October and the Chamberlain School Board already voted No.

  5. Nick Nemec 2014.03.30

    Roger calls it. Rednecks not going to give in.

  6. Jenny 2014.03.30

    Why aren't Thune, Noem and Daugaard speaking out on this? Pathetic - no leadership at all when it comes to improving race relations in SD.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.30

    Tally, do you agree with Roger and Nick that letters like King's will simply make the Chamberlain powers resist even harder?

  8. Jenny 2014.03.30

    That goes for Tim Johnson, also. As a matter of fact, you expect to hear an outcry from a progressive, you don't really expect any sort of statements from GOP leadership on racism.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.30


    What would prevent Chamberlain Indian students to make another request of the school board?

  10. Douglas Wiken 2014.03.30

    Chamberlain school should just ban all music at the graduation. No sense forcing native mythologists to listen to classical music.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.30

    Madville Times should ban Doug Wilken, his blatant racism serves no purpose.

  12. lesliengland 2014.03.30

    I thought wiken had learned something but I guess not. I second the motion. pathetic in this day and age. I salute your integrity, roger.

  13. Anne 2014.03.30

    The blatant Indian hating by those who live on stolen land.

  14. Tim 2014.03.30

    I had two kids graduate from Stevens and one from Central in Rapid City a few years ago, they performed the honor song at both ceremonies, I was quite impressed. As a white person, I didn't fully understand it but it seemed appropriate for the day and was impressive. Not sure why Chamberlain School would elect to fight this. Racism is the only explanation, sad in this day and age.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.30

    As a Native mythologist, I have enjoyed classical music and opera all my life, my parents encouraged it. They also encouraged listening to a large diversity of all music, such as the case with most Native families. I seriously doubt they listen only to Lakota honoring songs all the time.

    There is a time and a place for everything, including classical music and honoring songs. There was a mix of both kinds of music when I graduated from the Jesuit high school Holy Rosary Indian Mission aka Red Cloud Indian School, back in the 1960's

    Graduating from high school is honor for Lakota youth and their accomplishments need to be acknowledged, they have completed a critical stage in their life. It is also traditional that the graduates receive an eagle feather.

    If you look above Wiken's redneck, you will see more red neck. His periodic and always demeaning comments about the Lakota and their beliefs, culture, and traditions are obviously the rage of a bitter old white man that lives in the heart of Indian Country.

    Republicans are fond of telling people that if they don't like their state or country they should move. A legendary Lakota elder named "Fish" Goings in Pine Ridge had another way of putting it, "If you don't like the reservation, there are four good roads that will take you away".

    Doug Wiken, choose your road!!

  16. Douglas Wiken 2014.03.30

    I am still waiting for any indication of what is good about Native American culture in a modern world. There is a lot of general promoting of culture in general, but nothing specific.

    I don't think heavier levels of tobacco and alcohol use on the reservations and more HIV infection than elsewhere in South Dakota is a real good advertisement for the cultural values.

    I do find the Native American opposition to the XL Pipeline admirable if it is not connected to some tribal scheme to extract money from Trans-Canada even if the pipeline is not on any tribal land.

    Despite Cory's work and support of foreign language instruction, I do not see the value of studying alternate languages unless one is intent on being in the diplomatic or espionage areas of employment. Support of alternate culture and diversity is a current educational fad and fundamental part of political correctness these days, but the waste and conflict in countries with multiple languages suggests that a modern Tower of Babel society is not any goal to strive toward.

  17. Nick Nemec 2014.03.30

    Members of Congress and the Governor aren't speaking out, at least in public, about this. I suspect they feel their speaking would interfere with local control, and they might support the Board's decisions.

    Enough outside pressure might be able to make the board change their mind but this letter isn't enough. An I-90 boycott urging travelers to bypass Chamberlain-Oacoma that got widespread adverse national coverage might.

    I know enough rednecks to know this one letter might just irritate them and cause them to start ranting about Indians and liberals and taxes and Democrats and Obama and Obamacare and abortion and Putin and Benghazi.

  18. Jenny 2014.03.30

    Why do you dislike Native Americans, Doug? Did you have a bad experience with one, or something?

  19. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.30

    Well now, the representative of The Tower Babble's mouth does runneth over once again. He just can't help himself.

    ALL cultures and societies have their their good, the bad, and the ugly, some of the ugly are more overt in some cultures than in others. I would start listing the ugly part of American culture, but like Cory would say, my computer would suffer a hernia.

    What the babbler here repeatedly fails to recognize is that as hateful and demeaning as his comments are about the Lakota, they don't matter. What the babbler should be reflecting on in his own wasteland of a heart and why it produces hate for those that he feels superior to.

    The Babble representative can only demean and debase, he will never be able to change the past or contribute to present or future for he has absolutely nothing to offer anybody in any society.

  20. Jerry 2014.03.30

    Wait not one further second Douglas, you stated rather smugly this: "I am still waiting for any indication of what is good about Native American culture in a modern world. There is a lot of general promoting of culture in general, but nothing specific."

    You are correct in the assumption that what I am showing is something that was written some years back by a few white fellers back East, but we still use it and live by it this very minute. Now, of course, many do not believe in the Constitution (unless we are talking about fire sticks), but here ya go.

  21. Douglas Wiken 2014.03.30

    Roger can write a textbook in Lakota on physics and math explaining square roots, powers, quadratic equations, nuclear fission, theory of relativity, random numbers, Boolean algebra, and then, turn one out in Lakota on genetic research, the human genome, and then just for the fun of it turn one out on philosophy just for the Lakota fun of it. Trickster and all that.

    Or maybe not. My guess he would do better converting English language insults, pejorative phrases, etc into Lakota. He could start with:

    No sense sending the Lakota children out into the world with an inadequate collection of insults just in case they find a blog in Lakota.

  22. Jerry 2014.03.30

    World to Douglas, please move to Chamberlain to be with your brothers who think just like you, way way way in the past. Tomorrow, the big orange ball will come back from the edge of the flat earth.

  23. Vickie 2014.03.30

    Pretty sad that the Chamberlain school board(and other people) disrespect the heritage and customs of its Native students. They have easily forgotten,or are too narrow minded,to remember and respect Gov. Mickelson. A man who cared deeply for South Dakota and ALL of it's much so that during his tenure as Governor he had created the REDI economic development fund, laid the groundwork for major rural water projects, and called for a Year of Reconciliation between Native American and non-Native South Dakotans.

    I am a dedicated Democrat,but I genuinely respected him.

    So,to all republican legislators in Pierre,ALL South Dakotans,and to the Chamberlain school board: Respect and honor our Native brothers,sisters,their traditions,and celebrations of their accomplishments! White people have done more than enough damage to the Natives. The hate and disrespect needs to stop NOW. These kids and their achievements are just as valid as those of every caucasion student and resident of this state.

    Your disrespect and,dare I say hatred/racism,is disgusting!

  24. Jenny 2014.03.30

    I sincerely hope you find peace with your fellow man someday, Doug. It's not good for your health at all to be so full of hate and negativity. Peace, man.

    Vickie, great comments. Gov Mickelson made a lot headway to improving race relations in SD. Too bad it seemed to have ended there.

  25. Douglas Wiken 2014.03.30

    I love the logic here. Comment on the obvious irrelevance of a culture tied to free roaming buffalo, bows and arrows, and animal skin housing and the failure for apologists to provide a single good idea that is solely a separate concept of Lakota and that makes a person a racist who obviously hates.

    I do not hate anybody with the possible exception of the white bastard thieves who stole a few thousand bushels of grain from me and one dead one who stole a few cattle.

    Romantic nonsense purveyed as having value in the modern world serves no one. It borders on child abuse to continue down that dead end road.

  26. Jerry 2014.03.30

    You cannot handle the truth Douglas. The truth is, without the Native culture, there would not be the United States we know. The pilgrims would have starved to death eating their Bibles. It just hurts your little heart to know this. I sent you a link and you refuse to check it out, why is that?

  27. Vickie 2014.03.30

    Mr. Wiken: I,for one,did not call you a racist or hater. If I was going to do that then I would have directly called YOU a racist hater. You made an assumption.
    Then,and I quote,"Comment on the obvious irrelevance of a culture tied to free roaming buffalo, bows and arrows, and animal skin housing and the failure for apologists to provide a single good idea that is solely a separate concept of Lakota and that makes a person a racist who obviously hates." Are you seriously calling the Native American population and culture irrelevant?" If you are then that, indeed,is a very racist/hateful view. And after your last post,yes,I say that you ARE a racist and hateful. You seem to think that the lifestyle of Native Americans from years ago means nothing compared to the lifestyle of white people. Natives did NOT choose to be slaughtered by whites,placed on reservations,their sacred lands taken from them,and treated like they are not worthy human beings. Do some reliable research and get educated about the history of the Lakota people and what was done to them.

    People like you are the exact type of people that desire to insult and oppress the Native American race and culture. Why? People are people and none of us are perfect regardless of race etc.

  28. mike from iowa 2014.03.31

    I'd go along with a music ban at graduation ceremonies,but after that the gloves come off. All cultures in America are valuable and worthy of preservation. Wingnuts have forgotten the past when korporate amerika ruled and they are allowing it to happen again.

  29. Douglas Wiken 2014.03.31

    What difference does it make about what was done to Native Americans in the past? Times change. The current generations of Native Americans have all the opportunity of any of us and often more if they avail themselves of the opportunity.

    For every Puritan who ate corn and fish and planted corn with fish, there are a million Native Americans whose lives have been saved by modern medicine and cheap food and nearly free housing.

    Promoting the romantic vision of that culture is a dead-end for Native American children and the real racism is assuming that those children are incapable of surviving in the modern world without reliance on that stone age culture as an excuse for failure.

    I don't know what environmental factors put native culture in the North American continent a few thousand years behind European and Oriental cultures, but pretending that culture is still relevant is just plain silly.

    There are all kinds of cultural exploiters. Putin is using culture as an excuse to hassle Ukranians who aren't thrilled with the Russian language. The exploiters of Native Culture specialness have a similar racket going. They justify all kinds of incompetence and corruption on that basis. The Native Sun News details the waste and incompetence of tribal government one week and then pleads for special rights for Natives the next week. It is amusing, but also tragic wrong-headedness.

    And, I am fully aware of the bad that is in modern culture, but pretending their is unique special value in Native culture is not relevant and is not going to change anything for the better in the Native American world.

  30. Jerry 2014.03.31

    You wrote "I don't know what environmental factors put native culture in the North American continent a few thousand years behind European and Oriental cultures, but pretending that culture is still relevant is just plain silly."

    The victors write the history to suit themselves and to protect themselves from what they did. If you think of the incredible lasting structures that Natives built here in America as an example of cultural architecture and how in those incredibly large metropolitan areas, Natives did not succumb to the Black Plague by the millions because they did not live in their own excrement. There sanitary engineering for removal of sewage along with providing fresh water, were advanced enough to be copied. Things changed, like the climate and civilizations move in different directions. One ebbs and one flows so to speak. Native people had their own medicines, again, many of these remedies were used by others to help save lives. Natives gave the world pain relief in the form of the Willow for aspirin as an example along with others

    Of course cultures are as relevant today as they were a century ago. The culture of agriculture that has been handed down over the centuries both native here and foreign. Even in Winner, South Dakota, you can look out your window and see the culture of Corn

    The culture of animal husbandry is as prevalent today as it was when animals were first bred for stamina and stability. In America, horses that escaped from the Spaniards were domesticated and bred with much sophistication by Native tribes that are still in use this very day as Native horse producers gave us some prime breeding stock for a noted breed called the Appaloosa.

    As I posted earlier, even our existing laws, the relevance of our society as a whole, came from existing Native practices.

    I enjoy most of your posts Douglas, but regarding Native culture, you are wrong. Native culture is interwoven with all of the rest of the cultures here to make a tapestry that is as strong as we want to make it. We cannot have strength in this thread without the culture of many, including Native Americans. We should allow the honoring of Native students with the pagentry their achievement demands as this honor did not come easy for many of them. Who knows where the next great discovery may come from?

  31. mike from iowa 2014.03.31

    How many modern people head to North Dakota because that is where the jobs are? You know-follow the money culture. Right or wrong it is necessary.

  32. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.31

    Great comments and I thank you, it is nice to see the value of history and the effects in modern times.

    I'll temper myself for now about responding to Wiken. As my full blood Lakota grandmother would say about Wiken, "consider the source of what others say".

    He is what he is and has proven it time and again.

  33. Les 2014.03.31

    The value of all cultures gives connection to our ancestors. It reinforces a means for survival if the modern world crumbles beneath our feet. Somewhere I've read a young person is more stable, less readily influenced in wrong ways if connected to the family culture.
    That being said, with every generation in these changing times, our generational memories weaken and flex as memories do when not practicing. I don't know any of the Irish or German languages of my parents and don't know a single Lakota family fluent in their native languages either. Our roots are changing with every generation no matter how much we want to stay the same. No race is untouched by the technology that is replacing all of us.
    I'm not so sure singing a song by anyone is any different than the "one nation under God" controversy around here.

  34. Douglas Wiken 2014.03.31

    " Natives did not succumb to the Black Plague by the millions because they did not live in their own excrement. There sanitary engineering for removal of sewage along with providing fresh water, were advanced enough to be copied. "

    The above is nonsense. The plague was spread by fleas on rats or by people's breath to breath contagion. The method and infection depends on which "expert' we read.

    Malnutrition, rickets, etc may have made the plague or black death more virulent and to spread more rapidly, but apparently sewerage or the lack of it had little to do with it.

    In any case, the Romans had water and sewerage systems. If anything like that existed in N. America, I am not aware of it.

    Natives in S. America gifted Europe with veneral diseases.

    The factors in our culture which may be traced to prehistoric Native culture that are now shared are not a reason to celebrate any stone-age culture today as something special.

    The attempts to get "honor" songs into graduation ceremonies have nothing to do with equality, but everything to do with special privilege for a particular cultural or ethnic group.

    It would be better for schools to eliminate all music so they don't have to have German, Scotish, Lakota, Nakota, Dakota, Arikara, Swedish, Norwegian, Chinese, Japanese, Aleutian, et al graduation songs to make all groups "equal"...or if only one extra equal.

  35. Jerry 2014.03.31

    Regarding the claim of venereal diseases, that is not a proven fact. There has long been a theory of that, but not proven beyond a doubt. One of the key missing links in that debate is the lack of findings in America. There have been plenty of skulls to examine and those do not seem to show the devastation that syphilis causes. So, I disagree.

  36. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.31


    Despite all the attempts by Europeans and Americans to extinguish Native Americans, whether it be by war or the planting of plagues in government issued blankets, Native Americans have made considerable contributions to modern America. They range from a Native American walking on the moon, the Navajo and Lakota code talkers that were an essential part of our World War II victory and Ben Franklin encouraging the Continental Congress to base its governing on that of the Iroquois (the people of the long house) Confederacy.
    A whole thesis can be written on the long lasting contributions and influences to American culture. The inclusion of these are from science and medicine, language, and the arts.
    Native American arts and crafts are a multi-million dollar industry in this country.

    And of course, the most significant contribution that Native Americans have made is that they gave America a history. A history that has driven the country to become what it is today

    Naturally, if you have tunnel vision and your hate overcomes logic and reason, you will be blinded by that hate and bigotry and fail to see the obvious.

    Culture isn't just the heart of the Lakota, it should be everybody's.

    If a simple honoring song that recognizes the accomplishments of Native American students is too disruptive for the local rednecks, we need to do as Nick suggested. BOYCOTT!!!

  37. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.03.31

    Doug's racism is appalling, as many of you have said, including myself. I really feel the best response is none. He's made it very clear that unless his extremely narrow parameters are met, Doug will not change his mind. Those narrow parameters are the tools Doug uses to "justify" his racism to himself. With the exception of white supremists, few racists will admit their problem.

    For myself, and I think most humans, value in a culture is found in more than successful mathematical, scientific or commercial endeavors.

    According to that limited criteria, the American folk culture of the mid 1900 was valueless. That includes Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, etc. People were suffering extreme deprivation due to the Great Depression and poverty, and the music was important for their well-being.

    On the other hand, the robber barons of the 1890s, who committed hundreds of criminal acts to attain their riches, created a valuable culture by murdering labor activists, destroying entire towns with pollutants, putting miners in shoddy mines so that hundreds died in cave ins, murdering women and children in Colorado, etc. (Yes, that is sarcasm.)

    Nope. I think Doug's tightly wrapped definition of culture leaves a great deal to be desired. The contributions, on dozens of fronts, of Native culture have been wonderful.

  38. Jerry 2014.03.31

    America is a big place Douglas and you are really not that knowledgeable about the Native people that were here for centuries before the coming of the white man. People equates waste from people and has to be moved from the permanent settlement or you have problems. 5,000 people use a lot of water as well and need that to be stored and available which it was.

    The Black Plague was sourced to fleas and also to poor ventilation and raw crap in the streets. so not exactly one thing. During that time frame as well, Cherokee Indians were living in large permanent settlements that had a their language written and taught to its people. Imagine a literacy that was so advanced, white people could only dream of that knowledge. So the trouble began. Take a literate society that has wealth in land success in management and toss in a bunch of illiterate takers. Soon you could see the Trail of Tears in the mix and that is what happened as that is always what happens when you have that kind of a mix.

    Here there was land ownership and a vibrant economy as well. Ah yes Douglas, Native peoples were and are great capitalists. There trade was in objects of value to their society where great wealth was in livestock (seems like we are there again with that, priced any yearlings out lately? wow)

    I will get a little technical and say that the cities that existed in Mexico were also well designed and as sophisticated as what the Romans designed or what the Arabs designed to show the Romans. All of this was destroyed by the conquerors. The victors who write the history. Think Alexandria and the library that housed all of the manuscripts for learning. Sadly, that library was lost to a great fire and quake.

    Hey man, isn't that what we are talking about, learning and the idea of being taught and then to be able to go out into the world with your ideas? Of course, that is why it is so important for the young graduates in Chamberlain to have their day of pride of accomplishment.

  39. mike from iowa 2014.04.01

    Seems like the onliest ones to be hurt by allowing pride in Indian heritage are white people of the wingnut persuasion.

  40. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.01

    "and raw crap in the streets. "

    I went through that whole link. I noticed the sewage flowed in the streets" sentence, but there was no necessary connection made between that and the plague. I know other epidemics have been traced to water pollution by raw sewage however.

    Continuously moving your tent means moving away from your excrement. That does not sound much like a modern sewerage system to me even if the effect is similar.

    Early South American populations developed cities, but they were also all abandoned apparently...and possibly because of disease.

    Machu Picchu may have had an irrigation system and clean water supply system from what I remember of TV shows on it, but the Wikipedia site does not seem to mention that.

    I have not claimed that our culture is solely made up of science, math, chemical etc. but that has mostly if not wholly not come from Native culture. It is a factor in comparison. English language is essentially a borrowed language and continues to borrow. I have suggested that if Lakota languages contain unique words for ideas or concepts or description that we work to get them into our dictionaries. If anything is to survive of Native cultures, that will be about all.

    Chamberlain can do whatever it wants in regard to the "honor song" issue, but I am reasonably certain that it will not make a damn bit of positive difference to the education of Native Americans in the system. I am also certain that singing Norwegian saga ballads would have about the same effect. The specialists of Native superiority don't really care as long as they can get press coverage and generate concerns about imagined inequality.

    Native American children will not get good education as long as their parents don't stress the importance of education and make sure their children aren't tardy, tired, sleepy, etc. and actually do homework and classwork instead of simply disrupting classes for amusement. The same of course is true for altogether too many white parents.

  41. Jerry 2014.04.01

    As we are speaking of Native culture, I do hope that you understand what that means. It is not just tied to one particular tribe and that is what I pointed out with the links. Of course Plains Native tribes moved with the food so they were able to leave the areas that they had their camps set up. I think that there was a Republican by the name of George A. Custer that wished he would have found one of these camps vacant.

    Regarding the cities of Mexico and South America itself, you can find very sophisticated architecture that would allow the area to be inhabited by several thousand permanent residents. I am going to take a tiny leap here and say this, the folks that built those marvels were Native Americans. History tells us that America meant from the southern tip of the Strait of Magellan to the far northern access of the Northwest Territories and all points in between. As I indicated, there were settlements here in the United States that we can visit each and every day that were settled permanently. Take a drive to Mitchell in South Dakota. You can see the ones indicated in Missouri. How about southern Colorado at Mesa Verde in the beautiful Black Canyon. The cliff dwellings in New Mexico. The historical readings of Lewis and Clark and the discoveries of trading areas along the coast of Washington State. You cannot marginalize the culture of the Native peoples Douglas any more than they can marginalize yours. As an example, when we speak of Christmas, is that not a culture based product that is foreign to Native people? Yet we do not seem to be embarrassed in the least to present that as a school function. Let the graduates have their day and let that day be celebrated.

  42. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.01

    I don't really think schools have any business celebrating Christmas nor do I think religion should be tied to graduation ceremonies. I also think states should refuse to buy any textbooks endorsed by the state of Texas.

  43. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.01


    I don't that any specific group of people's toilet habits differed that much from various periods of history. What is clear is that Native Americans didn't have the environmental problems with waste as America now does. At least there is no indication that human waste was a particular health threat at any given time for Native American.

    However, the level of bullshit posted here by a racist is, or should, be a cause to squash his bigotry.

    I am hoping for the next thing to happen in Chamberlain is for the Native American students to BOYCOTT their own graduation over the intolerant school board.

    That would made make for a tantalizing national headline and really piss off the racist once again. I know, he'll say it doesn't matter to him if they boycott, but we really know it will.

  44. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.01

    A boycott of graduation would not piss me off, but it would sadden me that students would be ignorant enough to be sucked in by racial and cultural specialists into special extra-equal demands just to get press coverage. The Native American students would be the losers. It is apparent that Roger really doesn't give a flying sparrow turd about the students, but loves the special pleading for special rights for a special minority in the name of equality.

    All students in that and other schools as well would be better off with no music but a packet of information on all scholarships and educational opportunities and job opportunities. Also upcoming classes would benefit from early job and education counseling starting in 5th grade or so.

    This music demand makes about as much sense as Whites demanding that all black top roads be provided with white rocks to make them fairer to Whites.

  45. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.01

    Below is a link to sewage systems in Wikipedia. Perhaps failure to mention prehistoric new world systems is an error or omission, but the history starts in the middle east. Also note that diseases were exacerbated by sewage in streets, rivers, etc., but Black Plague is not one of those mentioned.

  46. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.01

    While Wiken is infatuated with prehistoric potty habits, the rest of the world moves on. Frankly the only sewage that is flowing around here is coming from a racist mouth. I could care less who pooped where.

    If anyone should look over the 40 something comments on this thread, there has not been one that supports the comments of the Winner racist. Not one!

    That should reveal that this guy lives in a little isolated world of bigotry and hate and continually demonstrates what white privilege is and how he loves to wallow in it. Wiken is the epitome of what is wrong with race relations in this state.

    Wiken, i don't care if you believe in Santa Clause or not, I don't care if you don't believe in equality or not, I don't care if you don't believe in honor songs for Native American students.

    You talk about Native Americans not making any contributions to the modern world and criticize them for it.
    What is glaringly obvious is that you don't make any contributions either.

    Live your putrid life as you choose, however know that few if any logical, reasonable, intelligent people share your opinions.

  47. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.01

    Good answer Roger.

    Racism is irrational. There is no rational argument against it. The KKK is irrational. The Fred Phelps clan is irrational. The 'isms are irrational. They are not the problems of reasonable people. Except that we must do our best against such irrationality when it tries to gain the force of law. Otherwise, it's "sound and fury, signifying nothing." (Isn't that quote from something Shakespearean?)

  48. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.01

    Memory doesn't always serve me well, that does sound Shakespearean and applies here.

    I was raised on the Oglala Sioux Reservation and have always had the utmost respect for them and their ways. Although not a tribal member, I was an honor to know the sons of Chief Red Cloud and the descendants of Dull Knife and Youngman Not Afraid of His Horses. They gave me an invaluable education as to the value of culture and tradition. Wiken calls this mythology, and maybe in some respects it is, the reality is that Oglala culture and traditions saved their lives and preserved their place in history.

    When I hear the likes of Wiken criticize what I grew up loving and respecting, it outrages me. The men and women of the Oglala Sioux Tribe have made numerable contributions to not only their society, but to Americas.

    Wiken can't see that because there isn't a dollar sign attached to it, rather than get off his big white ass and open himself to a vast world of greatness, he chooses to sit in his ivory tower and dictate how others should live.

    Like me, the Rosebud and the Oglala Sioux have lived our lives with the likes of Wiken, they are like cockroaches, they never completely go away.

    When I read Wiken comments, I can see him spitting in the honorable faces of Charlie and Edgar Red Cloud, Pugh Youngman Not Afraid of His Horses and the Dull Knife Family. Wiken manages to find honor in that. I guess it would be called Wikenism.

  49. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.01

    I understand what you're saying Roger. I'm sure you know that racists like Doug are an increasingly small and marginalized minority. I wish that was an immunity to the pain his ignorant words bring.

    It's always so ironic to hear one particular faith characterized as mythology. They all are!!! That has nothing at all to do with the value of that faith tradition. If they were based only on cold, hard facts, there would be no "faith". It would all be Scientology!

  50. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.02

    I have not said anything about the bravery of ancestoral chiefs nor about the bravery of all the Native Americans who have served honorably in the US military.

    But, I am still waiting for even one point of what value there is in romantic visions of Native American culture that has any relevance to the current society and world. Whites and Native American share many cultural values, but I keep seeing apologists for the Native culture claiming some very specific generalizations about the value of the culture even if there are never any particulars.

    I followed up on the "potty habits" because there was a claim here that modern sewerage systems were a contribution of North American societies in the new world. There may have been something of the kind in ancient South American society, but I have found nothing like it regarding North America.

    I have found several very interesting articles about the contribution of the Iroquois contribution to Benjamin Franklin's ideas for legislatures in the US Constitution and plan to note those at Dakota Today. From USD Political Science, I was aware of the idea before, but had not seriously looked at it. The Iroquois system apparently got Franklin interested in the idea of federalism. Franklin was also an astute politician and may have exaggerated the influence of the Iroquois idea in the interest of selling the idea of a United States to those enamored with the romantic vision of indigenous North American societies.

    But, I also doubt any real connection between the Iroquois and the SD Sioux.

    Roger can love and respect whatever, but that does not mean that anybody else should be forced to love and respect the same things or anything for that matter.

  51. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.02

    It really isn't a concern to me about Wiken's obsession with prehistoric man's poop, not how much they pooped or where they pooped. Obviously, each and every society had a system to deal with their "potty issues".

    Naturally I expected the racist to go into his denial mode about the Iroquois Confederacy's contributions that Ben Franklin used so effectively. The Iroquois had a long time relationship with America, dating back to the Revolutionary War. The Oneida, a tribe of the Iroquois provided cover and escape during that war. Other tribes did the same and often fed the hungry soldiers. That is historical fact.

    The story is that both Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were impressed with how the Iroquois organized the tribal hierarchy by giving each tribe its independents and still operating as a single entity to fight its enemies. Of course, since Wiken didn't witness this act, it likely didn't happen or he will provide his own inept interpretation.

    Again, Wiken complains that the Sioux made no significant contribution to modern America, if he can't hang a price tag on a contribution it has no value.

    Nobody, including me, is forcing Wiken love, respect anything. Love and respect are noticeably absent in his vocabulary when it comes to the Sioux.

    Here's the million dollar question for Wiken, over time there have been numerous threads on the Sioux on Madville, and each and every time Wiken digs up the same tiring arguments. No one, has ever said you have to believe anything and if you don't, so be it. But why the persistent degradation and deceitful about the Sioux? What are you trying to prove.

    The tribes values and culture are not going to change because Wiken doesn't like them or believe in them. The Sioux have survived centuries with a belief in tribe, and they'll continue to do so long after Wiken is nothing but dust.

    Does Wiken hate and criticism make him feel good or that since he has not made a significant contribution to any society, he is now left only to sit on his throne of white privilege and be the supreme judge of the Lakota.

    The Rosebud Sioux Tribe or any of the Lakota don't give a good goddamn what racist like Wiken think about them or how they conduct their business or his opinion on issue relative to them.

    Do you understand that Wiken, NOBODY cares about you!

  52. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.02

    Gee Whiz, Roger.

    I still haven't seen a single thing from you that reflects anything positive about Native American culture in South Dakota. You are very adept at insults and argument to the man, but woefully lacking in information.

    And, the few times you have provided information, it has mostly been wrong or distorted or an outright lie such as his regarding the Post Office and the rural electrics, etc.

    My limited experience with tribal government involved a law enforcement contract. Our agency trained Rosebud Police only to find the whole police department was fired a couple weeks later because a different family thiyóšpaye ? took over tribal government. That strongly suggests the problem with tribalism in the modern world and may partially explain problems establishing business on reservations. Such problems with tribalism are not unique to that in South Dakota however.

    Roger is a master of strawman arguments. He claims it bothers him that I don't appreciate Native American heroes when I never have written that. Then when I note that, he claims he does not care if I care about them. Roger is never satisfied.

    I note that I find the contributions of upstate New York area tribes to concepts of federal government and write that I will write about them on my blog and then he attacks me for exactly the opposite.

    As for poop, I should have realized Roger was an expert without learning anything more about it. One of your apologists made a claim suggesting superiority of native poop disposal systems. It appears to have been irrelevant and wrong. One more nail in the Native culture coffin.

    I think Roger's problem is that he is finally figuring out that much of what he thinks is true is mythology and a lifestyle that has no place in the modern world....unless of course idiot white capitalists greed for energy profits and white politicians only interested in corporate contributions destroy modern society along with a world habitable by large populations.

    The demand by specialists in superiority of native culture to require an "honor song" at a graduation ceremony remains a demand for special privilege and rights rather than anything that has anything whatsoever to do with equality or denial of equality.

    Roger and his ilk are pleaders for special privilege and that destroys credibility on real issues of injustice and inequality.

  53. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.02

    Yeah Wiken, I read your blog. But it was so crowded with other readers making comments, the computer flashed an alert that "traffic was too heavy". Your blog is a bigger joke than you are.

  54. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.03

    Roger, I care about Wiken and his blog. He's wrong on Indians and Indian policy; when I'm Givernor, I will not appoint him to my expanded Department of Tribal Relations. But I'll take his advice on a lot of other issues.

  55. lesliengland 2014.04.03

    wik is like the radio announcer waiting to hear from a gator-fan.

    oh, and this too. "[O]bliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness
    about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to
    all. [In]the matrix of white privilege, a pattern of
    assumptions [are] passed on to [you] as a white person. [S]kin color is an asset of belonging in major ways, of making social systems work for [you], to freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms." (SOC 101, ANTH 101, PSY 101, POLSCI 101 ect) (1986)

  56. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.03


    It is a rarity that I take exception to a position you take, in fact you represent my political philosophy near perfectly.

    When I read obsessive and irrational comments on Indians, or any subject for that mater, it calls into question the true character of the writer.

    There was a time when Wiken and I shared similar positions on the former Mt. Blogmore (R.I.P.) and often provided supportive information to each other.

    Now when I read anything he writes or comments on, I am suspect of his ideas. For me, a racist simply has no honor, credibility, or integrity and that is a damn shame for a man whose intelligence I once respected.

  57. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.03

    More ad hominem attacks from the unfactual professionals of apology and self-serving promotion for costly mindless irrelevant diversity and amazing logical leaps from nothing to the completely specious.

  58. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.03

    On his Dakota Today blog, Doug continues his war on Native American young men and women graduating from Chamberlain High School, presumably because he has not seen any tangible evidence that the Sioux have made to modern American society and therefore are not "special".

    He continues to call people "apologist" when they point to significant contributions Native American tribes and individuals have made to American culture.

    Wiken pointed out that I have called him a racist and a bigot on numerous occasions, which I have. I have not used those words randomly in a word war, I meant them.

    Webster's Dictionary gives us this definition of racism:
    a belief that is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

    Webster's definition of bigot:
    one obstinately or intolerably devoted to his own church, party, Belief, or Opinion.

    If you read comments by Wiken he consistently argues his same points and dismisses any other opinion as mythology, as you read those comments you will easily see how those definitions apply to Wiken.

    White privilege also applies to Wiken, because of his race " he feels that he has the inherent right to assume the universality of his own experiences different or exceptional while perceiving himself as normal". In other words everybody in his universe should be like him.

    This White Privilege also gives him the inherent right to publicly condemn or question the authenticity of those not like him and because is white, he is right.

    In his Dakota Today blog he further insist that since the Sioux students are asking for an honor song, that there should be no music of any kind at graduations because Germans, Irish, Muslim, etc. will make the same demand for equal time or music.

    First of all, put yourself at graduation with no music, can you feel the awkwardness?

    Second, it ain't gonna happen. Just because Wiken extends his white privilege to graduation ceremonies does not mean it is going to happen. In fact I challenge Wiken to advocate the "no music" to any high school in the sate and see what happens.

  59. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.03

    And Roger, learn to read what is actually there instead of what your warped perspective wants to see in the interests of you special pleading.

  60. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.03


  61. Jenny 2014.04.03

    Roger, that's funny!
    Go away Wiken and take your racism with you. Isn't there some racist redneck bar in Winner you could be rednecking with?

  62. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.03

    You two would not recognize actual racism if it hit you in the head with a 2x4.

    My brother's wife had Native American grandparents. One of my wife's cousins was married to a hard-working Native American who died too young from breast cancer.

    My son roomed with a Native American. They are still good friends.

    I patronize businesses with Native American employees nearly every week.

    My wife works with Native Americans and has made friends with many Native American patients.

    I doubt any of the above share romantic visions of Native American culture as a solution to all the world problems or for that matter even relevant to 1 minute of any day.

  63. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.03

    Thanks Jenny,

    If read Wiken's blog, Dakota Today, you'll see why he isn't a Cory and the blog ain't no Madville Times!!

  64. lesliengland 2014.04.03

    you are completely full of sheit wiken. as rummy said, you don't know what you don't know. show this thread to all those native americans and get back to us. there is no room in the sd democractic party for a racist. banned from blog!

    you started this saying- "No sense forcing native mythologists to listen to classical music." 3.30.14

    then you brought in VD, HIV, addictions, parenting, child abuse, and calling us the real racists.

    you ended this complaining- "More ad hominem attacks" 4.03.14.

    you started it. oh, maybe this will eventually include hate speech.

    HATE CRIMES SDCL 22-19B-1. Malicious intimidation or harassment--Felony. No person may maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass any person or specific group of persons because of that person's or group of persons' race, ethnicity, religion, ancestry, or national origin: (1) Cause physical injury to another person; or

    something to think about....considering the dead grain thief

  65. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.03

    Doug, you're incredible, you really are.

    You provide us a list of Native Americans involved in your family's life and than presume to think you know their beliefs and what is in their hearts. The only thing lacking from your litany is "my great great grandmother was an Indian princess" or the "my best friend was an Indian.

    What I did notice is that you made no mention of your own interaction with Natives, other than that you patronize stores that employ Natives. That has to be sure proof that you are not a racist.

    You judge and condemn the Sioux, some of which are your neighbors, and still believe you are not a racist. That Doug is what racism is, the judging and condemning a whole group of people because their beliefs are different than yours.

    Contrary to your opinion that I don't know what racism is, this is western South Dakota, Doug. I have lived and witnessed racism at nearly every level, as have most Native Americans that live here. There is a reason we call South Dakota the Mississippi of the North, and that reason is you Doug, and others like you.

  66. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.03

    I have suggested before that Wiken's racist comments should be removed. I don't agree with Cory's position that, because Doug makes other comments that have some value, his racist spew must be tolerated. I have agreed and appreciated Doug's comments on other topics. That does not excuse the cruel racism he vents.

    Short of barring him from the Times, I don't believe a blog of this high quality should be tolerant of such attacks. If it is not possible to electronically bar his comments from a particular post, those comments need to be removed ASAP.

  67. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.03


    In some respects I agree with you that Wiken should be banned from Madville Times. Wiken no longer has any credibility with me on any subject and his blog is equivalent to the daily newspaper funny pages.

    Probably most importantly, Wiken represents the thinking of many South Dakotans and their ridiculous hatred of Native Americans. When people don't believe there is this kind of racism in the year 2014, you can always refer them to this site.

    Preserved in internet eternity will be Doug Wiken's words that say, " yes there is racism in South Dakota, just read the words".

  68. Jenny 2014.04.04
    MN Senate just passed a more stricter anti-bullying school bill that Gov Dayton is expected to sign. An interesting question - would the Chamberlain situation be thought of as bullying? I would say yes - racism IS bullying. Some of the changes are that every MN school is going to have to send regular progress reports to the state on bullying. Chamberlain would probably have to clean up its act if it was in MN!

  69. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.04

    There is a fundamental difference between regarding romantic views of Native Culture as being passe and actually holding any animosity toward Native Americans themselves.

    I criticize a lot of Republican and right wing nonsense without hating any of them. I find most religions more dangerous than beneficial, yet I live with a professing Christian and talk daily to a lot of others without animosity unless of course they decide I should be forced to endure their nonsense in public places.

    I see no difference with regard to a culture which went irrelevant nearly 100 years ago. That did not make the current Native Americans irrelevant unless they use their old culture as an excuse for failure in the modern world we all must endure whether or not we like current conditions.

    Roger sees every disagreement with his bullshit positions as racism. It is a lazy way of failing to present any actual facts.

  70. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.04

    Keep explaining, keep justifying, keep explaining Wiken. With every word you type your racism continue to blossom.

    You don't recognize the fundamental difference between criticizing Republicans or religion and a racial group's lifestyle and belief?

    I asked this before and I'll again, what difference does it make to you what the Sioux believe or don't believe?

    You should recognize by now that your passionate hate of the Sioux culture will survive for generations to come and there NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! You have no influence over them, you have nothing worthwhile to offer the Sioux, let alone society. Racist have nothing to contribute to anyone.

    What propels your contempt of Sioux culture, they are not attempting to force their beliefs on you, are they?

    Are they trying to reclaim your farm land that they once owned?

    Are they doing the ghost dance around your house?

    What have the Sioux done to harm you and precipitate your continues outrage against their culture.

    The cold hard reality is this Doug, you and your opinions don't matter! When are you going to learn that?

  71. Douglas Wiken 2014.04.04

    Got a give you credit Roger. You are a master of empty invective and completely missing the point. Not quite so much on real facts and sense of reality however. Have fun in your bubble.

  72. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.04

    So, why are so vindictive about Sioux culture and beliefs?

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