I have thought long and hard about this dominating thing we have in our lives, the dominating thing that has been used as a weapon, as a means to rob us of not only our lands but also our proud warrior mentality. I think about our forefathers and the greatness and power of their spiritual connection to not only themselves but also Mother Earth. I am talking about alcohol and the dominance it has had over our people for too long, this dominance surrounds not only our men, but also the women, grandmothers, aunties and uncles and even our children.

This dominance has caused us to change our views of not only who we are but also what we will allow and hold close. I go back to the chiefs who had the wisdom to see far into the future and recognize the lethal enemy that was knocking at the door back in the 1800’s, that now we consider a close friend or family member. I have had many discussions about our beautiful culture and the power of our men and the will it took to fight so hard for our own country and right to exist. The question most asked is this - why do we continue to drink alcohol and live this way? Brothers and sisters, everyone I know has seen the White Clay videos and the extreme poverty of the reservation of Pine Ridge, the houses falling apart, the ones without electricity, the many broken down cars in the yards, the people freezing to death because of lack of propane, the most evil of all- diabetes that is out of control, the suicides, the Diane Sawyer special on T.V., the many children who have to live with grandmothers or other relatives to have a resemblance to a normal life. I then get asked “why” we allow ourselves to live this way and the most asked “where do we get the money to continue to drink in this way if we cannot afford propane or food for our little ones.”

I am at a loss for words at times like this and answers that for some are so easy to give. I understand the mentality of alcoholism. I myself was a slave to this very thing I speak of. I allowed this sickness to infect me mentally and physically for close to 30 years. I am no stranger to any of this. The big question and issue they keep bringing up is White Clay. We all know why this town was placed within walking distance; we also know the motivation is greed and a total lack of morality I must add. The question and most important thing we need to ask ourselves is why do we not see this? I do not know what to say or feel about this situation that is a subject most talked about.

It is truly sad when we have to legalize the sales on our reservation to benefit from the very thing that has come closer than the U.S. military and all the many ways that small pox infested blankets ever could to accomplish the unthinkable, to kill off the mighty and noble warrior way we were known for. This has almost been satisfied.

It’s like I said earlier. I was a slave to this very thing for almost 30 years. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I got tired of being laughed at and most of all laughing at myself. I got tired of bumming smokes because every dime I had was spent on alcohol, I got tired of having my utilities shut off because I got fired from my job because I called in sick all the time, I also got tired of losing the love and hope of my children, my relatives, the look of hurt from my parents and also being looked at as a liar for breaking so many promises that I would quit, they looked at me as weak and close to a stranger.

We have to realize this, if we will adopt the products of a race that is not Lakota, we can also adopt their help. There are many, many people who would do just that if we showed by our actions that we are done with this evil thing and stepped away from it. It was easy for me to “think” I had the answers when I was drunk, everything made sense, until I sobered up and realized these motivating ideas led me to not only intoxication but also further problems, why and how could alcohol give me the answers, it this was a possibility I would have been a genius because of the constant search for the truth from it.

This problem will never go away for us until we can see straight. We will never be free from this bondage until we seek the truth and the healing our spirituality can bring us. Why have we turned our backs on the only remaining true power we have? We have many powerful men and women who can aid us in this healing, why is this not in more demand? If we are truly Lakota and realize we are a warrior society that lived, loved, fought, and won many victories on and off the battle field- sober, we could find our way back. How many of us are willing enough to eliminate this evil from our life and build a new Native America that can be taken seriously and motivate us to handle and change our futures. Until we realize this dysfunction is taking from us what is rightfully ours, peace happiness and pride, we will continue to get and seek grant money for programs that can help us understand why so many of our young commit suicide, can we not see the answers ourselves? I pray daily for a movement and return to the mindset of our great warrior leaders, we still have a corner in our minds that can drag these wonderful ways back to the front.

Corey Flood is a Sicangu Lakota who hails from the Great Rosebud Reservation. He is a non-traditional student who writes from Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska, where he is majoring in Journalism.