All the Sacred, sad and wonderful


What a crazy time it has been. Crazy good.

Cunksi and I returned from our summer out west becuae I was supposed to be working on a show, so we came back East river becuase that is where my studio is and  I immediately got to work on pieces for the show.

I did a few sculptures and then began doing paintings and as soon as I was done with a painting, it sold immediately.  As I was painting, I was fielding calls for class visits and public lectures, which I throughly embraced and enjoyed. I have always loved having many irons in the fire. And honestly, it has been a solid year since I’ve taken any public lectures so it was a wonderful time for me. The show got sidetracked for a few months as I didn’t have any pieces to put in a gallery. Don’t get me wrong, as I sold them I informed the buyers that they would need to return them for the show, But every piece was sold so it would have been one interesting show, many many dots  haa haa!

My return east river was quiet, with only my closest friends knowing of my arrival. I needed the quiet. I needed the space. This summer was so healing for me, in so many ways, but I still needed to stay quiet and sans family, alone. As I plopped paint on canvas’ and scraped away wood in my sculptres, I was marinating.

There is so much to say, and yet, I hesitate.

The last two years have taught me so much. Who my true people are. Who is and has always really been there for me. That to some, family is only a word loosly tossed around like a swirly piece of string, a convience, and for me a thorn in my side for much to long.          As a result of my summer, I learned how to take care of myself. Truly take care of myself. I don’t mean financially, Ive been doing that forever. I mean emotionally. It was knowledge I knew well and had solidly before the rape, but after, I lost it. I realized I have let too many people take my heart, my trust, my need for family and treat it like shit. Throw it around, beat the hell out of me,(emotionally) and then toss me away like an old toy. It wasn’t until the “defining moment” that I realized, the way my family treats me, I would NEVER allow from anyone else. NO ONE. But for some sick, dysfunctional reason I’ve been hanging onto them, letting them beat the holy shit out of me then crawl back the minute they show me any sign of kindness. I was telling my “trauma sponsor” (haa ha, there’s a story) about it and I said: “It’s stupid. I act like some disguting thrown away rez puppy with them. They are abusing me because I’m ALLOWING it!”   And that made me really sick becuase I’m a grown up, I KNOW better, I’m smarter than that, but I have allowed it.

So, I stopped.

I walked away.

And I don’t regret it. Well, the only regret I have is, I should have done it years ago. Decades ago. But I was riding on the thing that got me through my hellish childhood. Hope. Endless hope. That was the turning point for me. When I stopped HOPING things would be different. Hoping they would finally see ME, HOPING they would stop talking about me behind my back. They wouldn’t/won’t.  In every aspect of my life I have always wanted the best for everyone. But their best is not good for me; and it’s okay. We want/need/desire different thigns out of life. I want to be happy, and all the negative energy and hand wringing I was exuding over them was not making me happy. Nor would it ever. We speak too different languages nad there is no translator. I have no desire to learn their langauge and have stopped expecting them to learn mine.  That sad/glad part of this is, I wrote two poem because of this. See, fuel, to quote sandra bullocks character in YA-YA…”If I’d had a normal childhood, I’ve have NOTHING to write about!” HAAHAA.

I’m okay. I will continue to be okay. I like who I am, even if they don’t.

One of my elders said something to me that really helped me get my head back on straight.  She told me: “You are fine just as you are. You came here all alone, and built this life for yourself. No one did it for you, it’s all you. Every accomplishment, every struggle and victory is yours and yours alone. You’ve worked so hard and made an AMAZING life for you and your daughter.”

And BOOM..just like that, I got my perspective back, because that is one thing I KNEW before the rape. I KNEW who I was. I was PROUD of who I became. I KNEW in my bones and blood that I MADE Mary Black Bonnet.  And she is one hell of an incredible person.

Heartache gone, perspective back.

I will never understand the people who adopted me. I will never understand my sisters. Maybe I’m not meant to. I will let it go and do what I tell my clients. I will take what I need and leave the rest.

I will keep climbing my mountains and keep setting and busting through my goals. I have a hella lot to be proud of. And through it all, Tunkasila has blessed me SO MUCH. It’s beucase of those blessings that I can keep going when shit is hard. Tunkasila has always had my back. Always. And that is the most sacred knowledge of all.


I actually didn’t mean to verbally vomit like that. But I’m not going to aplogize for it.

I’m still in transition, but what lies ahead is soo exciting for me. I’m back to working, I’m back to running my business like it should be run, I’m back to traveling to give lectures, readings and presentations. I continue to be able to make my living with my art.

These last two years have been so hellish, there were so many moments when I was not sure I was going to make it; but I did. And the motivating factor was the precious turtle I birthed. Looking into her eyes made me have to see myself as she saw me. Sacred, powerful, beautiful and larger than life. To this day, she does not know how hellish my life was, and that is how it should be. I kept her safe. I kept me alive. I am here. I am alive.

That statment alone is a post all in itself. I have NEVER taken my life for granted. (duh seriously how could I?)  But having been on the other side of the last two was lot. Knowing that twice in those two years I could have been killed, either during the violent rape or during Bruce’s attack. But I wasn’t. Tunkasila kept me alive. So I could love and raise my precious Turtle, so I could make more art, so I could help other surviors, so I could read my written words that will help others who’ve been or are where I was. So I could sit outside and feel the fall breeze on my face, jump on the trampoline with my daughter as we laugh until we can’t breathe, so I could hear the crunch of the leaves under my feet.

Tunkasila’s sacred gift. I am truly blessed.

How could I have ever doubted my sanctity?


(Theres more career news to report, but another time.)

Lakota Winyan.
Cunksi’s Ina.