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Don’t play the victim card

I found Charles Trimble’s column, “Let go the chains of victimhood” [Vol. 28, Iss. 11], extremely timely and profound. I am also an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. My father took us out of the rez when I was a child. [It was] probably the best thing. I grew up in Los Angeles, attended UCLA and now work in the private sector. None of this would have been possible if we had remained at Pine Ridge. On a recent trip there, I was saddened to see how things remain the same. A pervasive sense of hopelessness reigns throughout the rez. Indian victimization has crippled the tribe.

For decades this self-loathing, self-defeating mentality has contributed to the social problems that now plague the rez, like green-house alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence and chronic unemployment. The victim card is a crutch, an enabler, an equal opportunity destroyer. Consequently, it is time to purge the victimhood ideology; it’s time to get our people back on their feet.

– John Martin
Oglala Lakota