tahtonka, in the beginning~

01 Feb

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My favorite place on Earth, Yellowstone and the Tetons.



This is a quite personal Blog concerning my passion for the world’s people and places, or to be more accurately defined, Global Culture.

My education was in Anthropology and much of what you will find here shall be conversations regarding the relevant past, present or future of Cultural Issues and News from around our Globe.

For those who may not be familiar with the word tahtonka, it is Lakota for Buffalo or Bison.

The first time that I heard the word, was when it was used in the movie Dances with Wolves, then a few years later, I studied the Lakota people at CSUN.

But the word did not truly reach its full meaning until seeing first hand, the ancestral importance it held for the Lakota people in South Dakota.

For hundreds of years, before the invasion of their homelands, the Buffalo/Bison had been the central part of their Culture.

They depended on it in every aspect of their lives and when it was taken from them by the invaders and our own US Government, they were lost.

Then being forced onto Reservations was the final insult to a once vital and vibrant people, who became only a shadowy reflection of what they had once been.

In 1990, I embarked on my first real journey alone,  driving from just outside of Los Angeles to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

I got absolutely no moral support in this adventure from my instructors at school, nor from any of my family.

They were all united in their complete and total opposition to this “dangerous journey”  for a woman to be taking all alone!

But it was something that I felt compelled to do.

Lectures, books and movies can only educate and define just so much, they do not tell you the true story.

I needed to see for myself about what I had studied.

It turned out to be a revelation that I was not fully prepared for at the time.

The conditions at Pine Ridge were often referred to as what is commonly called, Third World  and as it turned out, this was not to be an exaggeration.

Until you experience an Indian Reservation personally, you could not accurately comprehend the living conditions that Native People there must endure daily.

Deplorable comes to mind.

So, now with a bit of background of what I am about,  this begins a new form of exploration for me, writing a Blog about Global Culture.

As this Blog will not be about topics that are normally given great media or public attention, I do not anticipate many likes, hits or followers, however, I will be quite to content just to put it out there and occasionally receive some sort of feedback from those happen upon it.

It is my hope, that you may find this Blog dedicated to Global Culture, a worthy, educational, experience~


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32 responses to “tahtonka, in the beginning~

  1. Son of Sharecroppers

    February 3, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    This is indeed an excellent venture. Thank you for undertaking it.

    • Gator Woman

      February 3, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      I spent nearly 8 years in College loving it~
      There is so much left to do here, please do return occasionally~
      And thank you.

  2. Jet Eliot

    February 6, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Good luck on the new blog, I’m sure it will be great.

  3. Karen DeBraal

    February 7, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    I am an eager reader of your new blog! And I so understand the dark night of the soul. I lose myself in playing my harp and sometimes volunteering for hospice. The overwhelming grief is at times crushing. I don’t deny its existence but find I will be of no use and will miss out on the remaining beauty if I don’t pay attention to a few other things.
    My undergrad degree is in environmental Studies. I was a bit involved in the Big Mountain struggles. Like you, I journeyed out to see for myself what was going on. fortunately I had the wholehearted support of Ray Dasmann, my advisor and pretty much surrogate dad. He told me I had to go and I would never forget my trip and what I learned and so what if my thesis was due. He helped me make it shorter and pithier. My journey was not as complex as yours (I went to deliver supplies to the survival camp and to attend a spring gathering), so I am very eager to read your words. Thanks, as always.

    • Gator Woman

      February 7, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Dear Karen.
      Thank you for your continuing support.
      I do hope you will enjoy this new Blog, it makes me happy to be sharing these people and places.
      But, most of all, thank you for sharing your story of adventure.
      These kinds of trips make us who we are.
      My repeated solo journey’s across this Country, are something I will never regret or forget.
      They taught me to be strong and independent.
      I am a much different person now, and I’ll bet you are too.

  4. Barbara Harmon Bigham

    February 8, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    You have led an amazing life. It is so plain to see your thoughts are on helping all people and animal life. I know you are for real and not just spitting out words for profit of some sort. You really mean what you write from the heart. I love your blogs. This is very informative and interesting. Please keep up the great work. :*) Barbara

    • Gator Woman

      February 8, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      Oh thank you for coming to see it Barbara.
      It means so much to me that you find it of value!

  5. Jueseppi B.

    March 2, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

    • Gator Woman

      March 2, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      God Bless you for sharing this. I am so grateful~

      • Jueseppi B.

        March 2, 2014 at 8:21 PM

        Your work and your heart are much needed.

  6. Hunt FOR Truth

    March 4, 2014 at 4:05 PM


  7. Hunt FOR Truth

    March 4, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Reblogged this on The Hunt FOR Truth and commented:
    My friend that looks out for helpless animals began a new blog. Check out her passion for the world’s people and places. Thanks. ~ Eric

    • Gator Woman

      March 5, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      You are so sweet. I am in your debt.

      • Hunt FOR Truth

        March 5, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        I am happy to reblog this Donna.
        I hope to read many of your new pages.
        ~ Eric

      • Gator Woman

        March 5, 2014 at 10:40 AM

        Am writing one right now, that may shake a few souls up~
        Stay tuned.

  8. The Other Side of Ugly - Letters to Humanity

    March 4, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    I’m glad Eric shared the link-:)

    • Gator Woman

      March 5, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      I was very surprised and grateful for his generosity.
      This new Blog is not about things that many people usually care to read about on WP.
      Each of you who comes here is a blessing to me~

  9. cinnabar50

    March 5, 2014 at 1:33 AM

    I wish you every success with your new blog and I look forward to reading your entries

    • Gator Woman

      March 5, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      That means so much to me coming from you.
      You are as passionate about Issues as I am.
      It is wonderful having you here.

  10. Gator Woman

    March 5, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    Thank you so much for this kindness Eric~

  11. Peter Schreiner

    March 5, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    In Cherokee, North Carolina, is a reservation that sits on the southern side of The Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a nice place to vacation, well sort of.

    The Cherokee are friendly and there is a welcoming spirit in the air, but also there is an ambience of sadness to those who care to see. You see, these men– who surely would have been brave strong warriors if born centuries ago, dancing all day in the sweltering summer heat for tips, in a predominately white-blooded white man’s souvenir shop parking lot. His Native wife and babies beneath the shade waiting near by. I might add that their dance is spectacular, requiring excellent physical conditioning and they are quite the entertainers. But it is sad these men are forced to resort to base entertainment for survival. I do hope they make a decent living from this, but I’m left to think not. It is after all seasonal.

    At another shop one early morning, a Native American rides up on a moped, dressed in full native attire. He goes into the shop, where is stored, his culture props, bows, spear, tomahawk, head dress, and the pictures he displays of the wolves he cares for. Soon he’s ready for the tourists who are anxiously awaiting his arrival to have pictures taken with a “Real Indian”. Yes I did, and with a threatening tomahawk raised.

    There’s a casino there now, has been for sometime but which I’ve never frequented, that gives them employment, I hope decent wages. But I find this sad too.

    • Gator Woman

      March 5, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      You get it Peter!
      God Bless your all knowing, kind, understanding heart.

  12. tteproductions

    March 6, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    seeing and experiencing things are like no other. great post.

    • Gator Woman

      March 7, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      Thank you so kindly and agree completely~

    • Gator Woman

      March 7, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      BTW Love your Blog, it makes me homesick.
      I do so miss LA, it was my home for over 30 years and I loved living there!

      • tteproductions

        March 7, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        We’ll thank you – LA is always the most unique place full of the unknown all the time!

  13. Tammy Hopkinson

    March 18, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Reblogged this on Tammy Hopkinson MBA and commented:
    You have a wonderful blog. I look forward to reading other posts throughout your blog. Thanks for sharing….

    • Gator Woman

      March 20, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      Yours is simply awesome. Thank you for the kind words. And Ditto!


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