First, I must say thank you, to Creator, for the strength and courage to write these words. Second, I must apologize to you, my Relatives, for having to write these words. But, the time has come.
On November 24, in Lakota Country Times, page A7, Letter to the Editor, David Swallow, Jr., Wowitan Yuha Mani, issued a statement to everyone. In the statement he spoke of his interpretation of the message of the White Buffalo. In this letter he made the following accusations:
1) I am taking advantage of this situation, to benefit financially from the message of the White Buffalo.
2) I am scamming all our Relatives, that I am a liar, that I cannot face facts and I hide behind Mary Johnson and other Elders.
3) I came to him four times to finish my Sundance commitment because another Lakota man would not let me dance.
4) He allowed me to dance for one year.
5) I never contributed a dime to his Sundance.
6) Creator burned my trailer house down because of these things.
For three years I have tried to quietly ignore these accusations. I have listened as the Elders instructed me to be humble; to be compassionate. I have now been instructed to respond. And as plain as I can make it, regardless of the harm that may befall me, David Swallow is a liar. For three years I dealt with him using me to get money out of my pocket. Every time he called I sent him money. And he called two and three times a week. Many were present during those conversations. When the electric company was pulling his meter because he gambled away the money for the bill, I paid the electric company on the spot over the phone. I paid for gas for him to travel to Deadwood, and gamble there. I paid for gas to and from Devils Tower. I sent him money for groceries. I paid to have his vehicles repaired. I paid the van he drives. I raised the money, some out of my own pocket, for him to travel to Pennsylvania. I paid for his expenses while he was here. I sent him more money when he left and got halfway home. I sent him $500.00 out of the first years powwow. Does he not think these records are available? Does he think he can simply say these things and I will go away? I have fought against him and his numerous attempts to get into this place, take over and suck the life out of everyone here. The only way I am leaving this post is if a) the owners of this facility ask me to leave or b) someone kills me.
I have given my life for this commitment. I make no money, and do not benefit. I remember to put our Relatives first, something David Swallow forgot. Yes, at one time he was a medicine person. He no longer is. Creator took that power away from him, because he misused and abused it. Stripping women in the lodge. Selling ceremony. Lying to white people to get money from them so he can gamble. Sexual encounters. The Elders do not like that he has made this public instead of coming to them. The Elders are well aware of his behavior. His reputation his well known. How he has abused his position and authority. How he has hurt people. How he has worked people for money. And publicly disrespecting his wife’s mother? An Elder of the Lakota Nation. A medicine person should be humble, compassionate and in harmony. Is this the behavior of a medicine person?
I came to David Swallow one year. I waited four days and was given permission to dance. I had danced one year previously in Rama under Bazel Braveheart at Leyton Cougars place. Bazel would not let me dance my visions. David did. But only because he thought he saw an opportunity to use me and take advantage of me. I knew what he was doing, and even attempted to defend him. After dancing for three years at his Sundance, I completed of my four year commitment and I left. At the end he tried to make me stay another two years, because he said I was weak. What he wanted was two more years of money from me.
I do not hide behind Mary Johnson or other Elders. Mary Johnson saw what David was doing to me, and stepped in to guide and assist me, because she saw I was trying to serve our Relatives. I deal with these Elders because they are not greedy and manipulative. They arent always looking to scam people out of money and hurt people. In other words, they arent like David Swallow. With the advent of the reservation system, it created a predator/prey lifestyle. David Swallow is a predator. He uses people to get what he wants, and throws them away when he is done. He is well aware this facility has immense financial assets. And he desperately wants to get in here and milk this place for everything he can get. The only thing stopping him is me. I actually live the original instructions. I give away everything I have. Money, cars, food, clothes. To anyone who needs. I have nothing, and get nothing for what I do here. All I do is provide for those Elders and Leaders who choose to come here. I raise money to pay their travel expenses, feed them, take care of them, and make sure they get home safely. I do not, have not, and will not ever make a dime for what I do. I live on a disability pension of around $1000 a month. I spend the majority of that on everyone else. I go without everyday. I have nothing, live alone, drive a beat up rez truck with 200 thousand miles on it. Where the hell am I profiting from, exploiting or benefiting? Yes, I live in an apartment here. But I was asked to live here. I offered to live in a tow behind trailer, with no utilities or facilities, in order to be here and keep this commitment, and keep predators like David Swallow from taking advantage of it. Before this I lived in a maintenance building. Basically a public restroom.
Everyone here involved in this does this for everyone else. Everyone here understands this isn’t about us, and gives everything of themselves for these two Sacred Animals, and the message they bring. Elders from many Nations have come and seen this to be true. Headman from many Societies have come and seen this to be true. All support the work we are doing out here. We put our Relatives first, everyday. David Swallow sees a gold mine, and he wants to drain it dry. You will have to kill me first. These are wonderful people who have stepped up, when no one else would, to provide for these Sacred Animals. I for one will do everything in my power to protect them from the predators in Indian Country. Predators like David Swallow, Jr.
This letter is written with the explicit permission, understanding and complete approval of Mary Johnson, Lakota Elder, Pine Ridge