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UFO Sightings in Indian Country

A column by Ruth Hopkins about UFO sightings in Indian country.
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Ancient Indigenous Peoples around the globe have reported unidentified lights in the sky, and even contact with star beings, for millennia. Corroborations of these interactions are found in petroglyphs and related through myths and legends preserved by their descendants who live today.

Whether early U.F.O. (Unidentified Flying Object) accounts are accurate is open to speculation. However, no one should make the mistake of assuming that U.F.O. sightings over Indian country ended hundreds of years ago. Natives still witness strange, unidentified flying objects in the sky every year.

These sightings, for a myriad of reasons, go largely unreported. Sightings usually occur in rural areas. Since some reservations where sightings have transpired are patchwork quilts of trust or fee land where jurisdiction may differ from one acre to next, reporting a U.F.O. probably seems like an unnecessary headache. Many Natives would rather not deal with the government or law enforcement to begin with. Not to mention, there’s some folks who simply don’t feel comfortable having it on record that they’ve spotted a U.F.O.

Who’s witnessed unexplained phenomena in the sky over Indian country? Teachers, doctors, lawyers, casino workers, children, elders, tribal cops, and even wicasa wakan (medicine men), among others, fall among the list of Natives who are U.F.O. eyewitnesses. Clearly, I’m not talking about a few intoxicated teenagers with overactive imaginations who have mistaken a falling star or a jet fly overhead as a legitimate U.F.O. sighting.

A few years ago, I attended a memorial service for my husband’s grandfather on The Crow Creek Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Now, Crow Creek has had a stunning amount of U.F.O. sightings over the past decade. Personally, I’m shocked that the sightings there haven’t received more media attention. Still, I’m a skeptic.

We were staying at the Lode Star Casino Hotel, on the second floor. My husband saw it first, at around midnight.

He was staring out the window, when he said, “What is that?”

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I went to the window. Off to the south, there was a solid, large, orange, bright light. It was stationary for several minutes. Then the light shot off with amazing speed directly to the east, in a straight line. It stopped abruptly, moving with intelligence. Suddenly, the light broke off into three separate smaller orange lights, equidistant from one another. They streaked across the sky in opposite directions: one traveled east, another one north, and the last one, west. We’d just seen a U.F.O. Then we realized that my husband was standing in front of the picture window with the curtains wide open, in his chonies (underwear). There was a small crowd of older Native ladies in the parking lot taking in the view, laughing, with mouths covered. He’d put on a show of his own while we were awestruck by the U.F.O.

I won’t say it was an alien spacecraft, but I do know that it wasn’t any earthly man-made flying vessel I’d seen before, nor was it a natural phenomenon. As a scientist trained in observation and experimentation, I know this to be true.

On every Native reservation in the United States, you will find stories of unexplained objects in the sky, traveling directionally at high rates of speed. Here are just a few examples:

“My oldest brother saw a U.F.O. after dark. My mom asked him to run out to the car to get her lighter and just a few moments after he left, the power in the house went. I felt a weird surge through my body when it happened. My mom had gone to the breaker when the lights came back on. She met him in the hallway as he came in the back door, and he was white as a ghost. She asked what happened. He told her that something as big as our property and the neighbor's...was hovering right over our place. Both properties were about 1/2 acre total.” —College student, Umatilla Indian Reservation

“Two years ago my husband and I were watching stars. It was 11:55 pm on an August night. An incredibly bright light was moving slowly across the sky at approximately the same elevation as an airplane. I explained it away. Then, it suddenly made a perfect turn at a 90 degree angle and stopped completely for about 3 seconds. Then it reversed course and streaked across the sky.” —Professor, Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

“We were all sleeping in the living room. One of us noticed a bright light in the sky, hovering. We asked dad if it was a helicopter. He told us no, it stayed in one place too long. We watched it for 20 minutes. Then it took off, leaving behind a vapor trail. We ran to the back window and saw it hovering over the Tribal college. It had a really bright light around it. It was a triangle-shaped object.” —Former Tribal cop, Lake Traverse Reservation

Current estimates suggest there are as many as 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way Galaxy alone. Is it conceivable that more advanced alien civilizations from other worlds, dimensions, or times have visited our planet? While I doubt they’d travel light years to perform anal probes on rednecks, I think it would be a mistake to discount that possibility. After all, mitakuye oyasin (we are all related), is a universal tenet.

Ruth Hopkins (Sisseton-Wahpeton/Mdewakanton/Hunkpapa) is a writer, speaker, former science professor and tribal attorney. She is a columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network and