April 2016

April 2016

Richard Iron Cloud

What I initially applied for a Bush Fellowship is to get some support in accomplishing one of my primary goals, which is obtaining a Doctorate in Psychology. I want to get my doctorate so I can feel prepared to provide critical analysis and to feel truly competent with the ability to engage our reservations multiple fronts and to know that I have been armed with research and writing skills that would enable me to be an effective agent of change for my Lakota people. I just learned that I can sign my name Richard Iron Cloud Ph.D. (ABD) According to Carnegie Mellon's Policies on ABD, after the completion of all formal degree requirements other than the completion of and approval of the doctoral dissertation and the final public examination, doctoral candidates shall be regarded as All But Dissertation(ABD).  I am three quarters of the way to completion of my PhD,  my proposal will be approved in a couple weeks and I will do my surveys and write up the results.

My Committee Chair Dr. Patricia Loun said to keep in mind that once you complete your dissertation, you will have gained the writing skills necessary to compete for doctoral level jobs and be an expert in your field on your particular topic. Keep the faith! I think the writing the dissertation is making me stronger, despite many setbacks I am endeavoring to persevere, or sticking to my guns.  I have learned that these times are hard but they will pass and things will eventually get easier.  I like the quote that equates hard times to a washing machine, "they twist and turn and knock us around, but in the end, we come out cleaner, brighter and better, than before".  The Oglala people are a resilient people, they say tough times don't last, but tough people do, I plan on displaying the Lakota values of fortitude and hang in their until I complete my dissertation.

The pursuit of my thesis seems to have been a long drawn out process, but I recently learned that one of the first, of the seven laws of the Lakota is to "walk quietly," have patience, tolerance, and self-control, prolong your learning, learn slowly and you will remember.  This dissertation journey is a very daunting process, but it is also very enlightening, I am learning more about myself in this process.   With the help of the Bush Foundation, I can dare greatly, like the following quote;

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." — Theodore Roosevelt

I have been looking at the dissertation process, as a journey, the Lakota would refer to this as yatanpika aichimani ka'ge a mission of prestige. A journey that is taken one step at a time breaking the process down into increments that are manageable this allows for the process to be completed within the allotted time.  I have internalized this resiliency narrative into my self-talk taking one week at a time.  Khuseya taku othehika ota- many perceived barrier's stands in the way of getting my dissertation.  The average thesis is 250 pages; each word and sentence have to be scrutinized with multiple drafts and rewrites.  Life has a way of getting in the way of this process, particularly when one is the head of the household and the primary provider.

I learned that while writing a dissertation one needs to learn patience, in the Lakota culture, this is Wowachinthanka (patience), perseverance or self-control.  According to the website essentiallifeskills.net, patience comes from the Latin word Pati which means to endure; this means the ability to control emotions and to stay calm in the face of life difficulties and frustrations.  The ability to be patient requires that one lives in the moment and to be mindful and allow things to take their natural course. Bommarito (2014) says the Buddhist traditions offer more insight into patience.  The Buddhist traditions say one must be close to their object of oppression.  And realizing that everything is interdependent your suffering is secondary to your peace of mind. The other way to develop patience is to learn that you have choices on how to respond to situations.  As things speed up force yourself to slow down, your impatience does not make others move faster. 

I have been doing my dissertation and reading about Servant Leadership theory that was created by Robert Greenleaf in 1977.  One of the questions posed to me by the chair of my committee Dr. Patricia Loun, was "is this theory the same as Indigenous Lakota Leadership"(Personal Communication, Loun 2015).  Greenleaf says that his theory came to him through his intuition the Lakota refer to intuition as Nagi Ksape, which in translated as the wisdom that comes from the spirit.  Greenleaf (1977) was influenced by a Philosopher named Hermann Hesse, who wrote a book called "Journey to the East", in this book the protagonist was a man named Leo who was a man who functioned as a servant to the crew who were on a journey, during the journey Leo gets lost, with his loss, the crew becomes confused and disoriented and later disburses.  Later, one of the crewmembers finds Leo; he finds that Leo was the leader of the organization that was financing the journey.  This story is similar to Lakota culture where an Itachan (Chief) would lead his life in a humble way.  Dr. Jamie Bissonette shared the following about servant leadership, The concept of servant leadership was brought to the HTPC by Richard Iron Cloud whose PhD is focused on Lakota leadership as an example of servant leadership (a practice elaborated on by Robert Greenleaf). Iron Cloud defines Lakota leadership as, "Lakota tradition recognizes a leader as someone who works for, with and among the people, rather than above them. A leader lives for the people and takes action that is for the people rather than for personal and material gain." (Iron Cloud Draft Prospectus on Leadership and Acculturation 2015).  My second goal for the Bush Fellowship was Traditional Peace Making.

The purpose of peacemaking is to reach a consensus to resolve a dispute and, more generally, "to talk it out in a good way."1 The Navajo Nation, which operates the best-known peacemaking model in the country, describes the process as the "reparation or mending of controversies through harmony" (June 14, 2015).  The Navajo word for "law" is beehaz'aanii. It means something fundamental, and something that is absolute and exists from the beginning of time (Navajo Chief Justice R.Yazzie). In Lakota the word for Law is Woh'phe rule or custom law or traditional social rules, Woh'phe also comes from our Lakota creation stories and the White Buffalo Calf Women is Woo'phe who brought the sacred pipe and the virtues that go along with it. I had a meeting recently with the Chief Judge Kimberly Craven and the Court Administrator Betty Goings.  They want me to be on the Advisory Board for the Oglala Sioux Tribal Courts Peace and Wellness Court.  My second goal for the Bush Fellowship was to establish a Peace Making Court on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation this is still in process.