Not only did my kids get to dance to 5 amazing drum groups, they got to dance while Robbie Robertson sang, "Making a Noise".
The SLC Winter Olympics was the largest gathering of Native Americans I had ever seen - and my kids played a part! It was empowering. My kids made a noise, and I've been encouraging them to do so ever since.
Right now, Standing Rock is making that noise, and it is louder still.
Everybody knows Anglo-Americans make better Indians than Indians anyway. All you have to do is watch a Man Called Horse or Dances with Wolves or Little Big Man to figure that that out.
My native kids interact with people who don't either don't believe indigenous people still exist, or who think Native Peoples should conform to given stereotypes.
Once when we were doing a cultural exchange at an elementary school, a student looked at my son dressed in his Native regalia and said, "Are you a real Indian?" My son replied, "Yes". The student then said, "No you're not. I can see your visitor's pass!"
When it was Wounded Knee's turn to perform, an Anglo-American approached my son Joseph and asked him to join her drum circle, playing near the street. When he politely declined, indicating he'd come to listen to Wounded Knee, she informed him that Wounded Knee's style of Native Rock was not really cultural -- inferring that her drum circle was?
Native Americans have been defined and pidgeon-holed. Native history has been construed and rewritten by oppressive forces. It is time for Indigenous people to make a noise. It is time for them to be seen. And this Christmas we will be adding our Yopp to Standing Rock.