VOICES OF THE LAND: High School Runners-Up Inspire

In addition to the High School Grand Prize winner Colton Sierra, Lakota Children’s Enrichment named three runners-up in the High School Category of its VOICES OF THE LAND Writing and Art Challenge: Summer Montileaux and Marcus Ruff, from the Red Cloud School; and Emily Janis from the Little Wound School (pictured below).

The entries of the High School Runners-Up are set forth below.


Emily Janis read her poem at the Little Wound Award Ceremony  

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Wanagiyata (The Spirit Land)

by Emily Janis, Little Wound School

My ancestors are left with no choice but to wait to be uncovered

The ones left to be uncovered, that is,

Uranium mining and bombs have already disturbed

Some of the sleeping bones

And we’re all breathing in the death filled dust.

I’ve heard people say,

“Let’s make the world a better place.”

But I’ve seen only a million errors to this single trial.

And my ancestors,

They didn’t realize that Rest In Peace,

Meant only for a little while.

Wanagiyata is bleeding,

As so many trees fall,

To let stand a single building.

And now the snake named Keystone is on the hunt,

And he’s hungry for the bones of my people.

Are “valuable minerals” and pipelines, more precious,

Than the burial places of men, women, and children?

I ask you this, as I cry for Wanagiyata.
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Untitled Entry

by Summer Montileaux, Red Cloud School

This land is full of beauty and hurt, don’t you see it?

From the soil to the highest building in the world.

The soil has history in it.

From the biggest genocide & freedom, to the wars and bloods of our warriors.

The genocide of the Native Americans left a mark on the United States.

And the genocide of the Native Americans changed the white man’s ways, and opened up the eyes that were in denial and the eyes that were to blind to see the big picture.

It showed them that we are strong and will not back down and give in.

The trees have seen and felt the hurt of the races that have walked this earth.

The trees have felt the bullets and poison from the government.

The ground has felt the deerskin moccasins and bare feet of our warriors and from all the races of the world.

The water has waste, sewer, poison, and all other things that have damaged our ancestors and damaged almost everything they needed to survive.

Even though there has been more hurt to the earth than beauty, we can still see the beauty beneath the pain and dirt.

The soil was used to heal people and still is to this day.

There are roots and herbs that the earth produces for our medicine, and food.

I have seen good come from our people that take care of our earth, and I’ve see the beauty of this earth myself.

I’ve seen it when I went places and spent my hours outside,

I’ve seen this earth inside bottles and boxes and I’ve seen it in it’s natural place.

The tallest buildings are standing on this earth, are made from this earth, and run off of this earth.

I’ve seen the land being burned.

I’ve seen it being torn apart.

And I’ve seen the people on this land being killed, hurt, mistreated, misguided, and living.

We’re the people of past, present, and the future.

Our ancestors blood is left in the dirt, their ways are being forgotten and taught.

Our ways are what the earth has become.

I’ve seen it all.

Now, do you see it?

The beauty and hurt on this land?
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The text of Marcus Ruff’s Spoken Word entry is set forth below the video.


by Marcus Ruff, Red Cloud School

I awake in a heaven,

A heaven with streams of holy water

A land hugs the immaculate water

With its embrace, the water returns life

Lush, green life

The life dances with the spirit of the wind


Tȟate[the Spirit of the Wind ]

Time is an illusion

An illusion as long as the wind whispers secrets into my ears

As long as the raindrops tell story as they fall

As long as the WAKINYAN [the Spirit of the Thunder] cloaked in robes drifts overhead

Looking for anything not of this realm

But things not of this realm are the gateway

A gateway through the passage of our minds


Time progresses

The land’s vibrance begins to fade

We descend into a new age


Bombs sound out to the West

Foreigners to the East pave passage ways and hiking trials through an exploited land


I can’t walk feeling the hollow ground

The hollow of a pipeline piecing Maka’s [the Earth and its spirit] earthly flesh to the South

I look to the North hoping to find a sanctuary

But all I see are blinking lights

and I inevitably progress forward into a new age of Golden Dawn. 


© Lakota Children’s Enrichment, Inc. 2014



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