I am an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe based on the Rosebud Sioux
Indian reservation in South Dakota.
The clan that I was born into is called the Hinhan Sum Wapaha -- Owl Feather Warbonnet -- clan.
It was a group distinguished from other Sichangu camps because we wore an owl feather plume in our hair.
This tradition came from our clan's gratitude for having escaped certain slaughter at the hands of
a group of pawnee who had attacked and surrounded us at night on a hill. A spiritual
leader among the group told us that he had been informed that we could
escape the imminent slaughter by the enemy at dawn if we each placed an owl feather in our
hair and crossed through the surrounding enemy line in the darkness of that night.
The owl feather would protect us by making us invisible to the enemy, we were told.
Thus, we escaped.
The community that we later created and settled was called Hihan Sum Wapaha. However, when
the U.S. government brought in the Jesuits in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy us, the first
thing that was done, as a part of this genocide, was -- at the point of guns -- to impose
christianity upon the Hihan Sum Wapaha and the name of our community was changed to
"Saint Francis", too.
To this day, this community is so identified on maps, although we still properly call
it "Hihan Sum Wapaha Otuwanhe" among ourselves.
In the spirit of keeping alive the struggle against the genocidal campaign still waged against us,
I would like to encourage the members of my clan to take back the name of our community.