Wanbli WiWohkpe (James Starkey) has been making a series of videos. This is one of them. James makes and plays his own traditional flutes often out of found objects.
Wanbli WiWohkpe grew up on the streets of Rapid City, an illegal squatter town built in the Sacred Homeland of the Lakota Nation.
Growing up amidst what was commonly called “The Feud”, Wanbli WiWohkpe was caught between two worlds: the wasicu world of academia, where he excelled and blossomed, and the world of the reality around him, where he was looked down upon for who he and his Family were.
Wanbli WiWohkpe saw the utter disrespect afforded the Indigenous Male. He was told constantly in school to eschew his kin, and to grab hold of the American Dream.
Through a series of events, Wanbli WiWohkpe chose instead to follow his older brother, Warren Rich, and the two became very close, almost as if they melded into one person. He learned to be strong, to be swift, and to be loyal.
The Youths ultimately became entangled in the system of incarceration perpetuated by the Invader/Occupier. The Youths grew into Men, and the violence continued and escalated. Knowing something was amiss and unable to articulate what, these Men learned to lash out upon others of their kind. A tragic spiral of lateral violence continued unabated until they were all again incarcerated by the illegal squatter government.
Wanbli WiWohkpe went to prison for 1st Degree Manslaughter in 1986.
In the subsequent years, Wanbli WiWohkpe has seen those closest to him as a Youth perish. Most escaped their oppression via suicide. None lashed out at the Invader/Occupier in the terrible ways other oppressed Nations do. None went amongst the Invader and exploded. None took the Occupier with them to their death.
Instead, being from a beautiful People not familiar with domestication, a People not wishing to inflict damage upon their tormenters; not wishing anything from their tormenters but for the torment to cease, they imploded.
They imploded and they continue to implode. The Invasion/Occupation continues unchecked, and the Lakota Nation, especially the Lakota Male, remains pauperized.
Our Lives were stolen by the Occupier. Every thing the Invader has is stolen.
Every bite of food, every warm bed, every happy home, every scrap of power, every nuance of anything enjoyed by the Invader is taken directly from the Health of the Indigenous. The Invader’s prosperity is taken directly from the Hearth and Home of the Lakota Nation. A Hearth and Home now non-existent as the Lakota People wander their own Homeland as homeless.
As the fortunate give thanks for the blessings of God and their American Dream, the Lakota Nation, the less fortunate, continue to simply exist as pesky and useless vermin in the Occupier’s world.
Through Lakol Wicohan, the Friendly Lifeways of the Lakota Nation, Wanbli WiWohkpe began to see. He began to understand the difference between his Nation and the Occupier. He committed himself to Sundance and Vision Quest, and now after completing 4 years of Sundancing and a 4 day Vision Quest, Wanbli WiWohkpe has made a true Relative with the Siyotanka, the Ancient Lakota Flute.
Wanbli WiWohkpe believes the Siyotanka is part of Lakota Man Power, a component of our Being that has been kept from us. To label the Siyotanka as a “courting flute” and to play it as feebly as “Native American Flute” players do, keeps us emasculated as Indigenous Males.
Look around, most “Native American Flute” makers/players are not Indigenous, and those famed Indigenous flute players often play a non-Indigenously made flute.
The Invader/Occupier is literally chopping off a part of us, emasculating us; thereby rendering us impotent. Wanbli WiWohkpe has learned directly from the Winged and Four Legged just how to play the Siyotanka, how to regain Lakota Masculinity, and how to Heal.
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Wanbli WiWohkpe, he emaciapelo