November 18, 2014
by Ann-erika White Bird
SICANGU LAKOTA OYATE — Greg Grey Cloud made the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Nation’s proud when he belted out the unci maka wiwayang wacipi song in Senate Chambers today. Grey Cloud is an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, co-founder of Wica Agli and an oka wicasa.
Grey Cloud explains the translated song as, “Grandfather look at me, I am standing here struggling, I am defending grandmother earth and I am chasing peace.” He goes on to say that the song was “not just from me, but my brothers in Wica Agli. We’re defending our women and children in our community. The song itself was very influential for why I sang that here.”
From CNN’s video in Senate chambers, Grey Cloud could be heard after the vote failed on the bill that would authorize construction of the KXL pipeline. The bill was one vote short, needing 60 votes to pass, receiving 59 in favor and 41 votes against the pipeline.
Grey Cloud stated that he was carried outside the chambers by Capitol police, thrown against the wall and arrested, singing the song the entire time. He was detained in the D.C. jail for five hours for interrupting the Senate and given a court date of December 10, 2014.
Grey Cloud, a resident of the Rosebud Reservation, requested permission to use the song. Rosebud Sioux Tribal member Pat Bad Hand Sr. explained the origins of the song, created by Howard Bad Hand at Big Mountain as a protest song around coal mining. Bad Hand Sr. agreed that it was appropriate to sing.
“The importance was showing the U.S Senators, President, and the administration that we are involved, in a lot of places as well. Even though KXL wasn’t passed, that song was sung in support with the Tribes, the grassroots people and the Cowboy and Indian Alliance to let the Senators know that we’re here and we’re a people too, and that we support them as long as they support us.”