West River Eagle

From the Interim Editor

In Memoriam: Joye Braun (Wambli Wiyaka Wiŋ) 1969-2022

We got the news late Monday of the passing of Joye Braun. Joye was a member of the West River Eagle Advisory Board. Personally, she taught me a lot about journalism, integrity, and the Water Protector movement. The void left by her passing is vast.

Joye was a writer, Water Protector, mother and grandmother. Her official job title was national pipelines campaign organizer at Indigenous Environmental Network. In my household we knew her as one of the uncis of the Water Protector movement.

She was very intentional about mentoring the next generation of leaders. The West River Eagle sends condolences to everyone mentored by Joye, especially her daughter and the daughters of her heart.

We will have more coverage of Joye’s extraordinary life in the weeks to come. In the meantime, Dallas Goldtooth summed it up eloquently in a tribute to Joye he posted on Facebook:

“She was one of THE most fierce warriors I have ever known and was unashamed in her love for her people and lands. The truest definition of water protector, Joye was a leader and guiding voice in the fight to stop the expansion of fossil fuels & false solutions.”

Wiping of the Tears, neurodiversity, and Veterans Day

In my column this week on “The benefits of a Snow Day” I touch on the topic of neurodiversity, including depression and anxiety.  The subject has been on my mind a lot lately. I had the privilege to attend a Wiping of the Tears ceremony recently and I think there is a connection.

In the ceremony, people are ritually fed by their friends and relatives. They have their hair brushed. Loved ones wipe their faces. While the ceremony is meant to wipe away the tears of grief, I couldn’t help but imagine all the other times we need this kind of care from our community.

Grief is not the only thing that makes self-care hard. Depression, anxiety, seasonal-affect disorder, ADD, PTSD, post-partum depression … the list of things that can cause us to stop in our tracks and not be able to manage the most basic functions goes on and on. It’s a fallacy to think we can all be functional all the time.

There have been times in my life when I needed someone to do my laundry, walk my dog, or sit in the house while I took a shower. I’ve done the same for other people: put away the groceries, drive to pick up a child in another city, make a phone call.

Veterans Day celebrations in Eagle Butte were delayed last week due to weather so look for coverage this week and next. Public celebrations of Veterans Day fête veterans and thank them for their service, but veterans need and deserve a lot more day-to-day care and attention.

More than most, veterans suffer from the kind of mental and emotional stress that causes self-care to erode. Sometimes, the energy required to get up and face the day uses up all available spoons. (Read more on Spoon Theory: butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/.) Because of this, veterans helping veterans is often the best medicine.

As we head into the season of cold and snow, make sure to check on your loved ones. Normalize taking care of each other. Be honest about how you are doing and let others take care of you, too. Remember that the ways we are connected are much stronger than the things that divide us.

Be safe. Be kind. Be grateful.

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