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Discussion in 'College Football Soundoff' started by BlkSabbath74, Sep 19, 2016.
Was interested in your perspective on all that @cherokee63
I'm assuming you're familiar, but will post the details so that anyone can get involved.
It's a pretty interesting case. There have been a rash of suicide attempts and suicides at the Pine Ridge Reservation, which some are attributing to Walking Sam, a tall humanoid in a top hat that has been compared both to Bigfoot and to Slenderman, and lies somehere in between.
They say he walks through the streets and peers into windows, and brings with him such a palpable feeling of despair that his presence is responsible for the rash of suicides and suicide attempts.
They you have the plucky basketball player, Janay Jumping Eagle, who wrote a message of hope on her basketball and has since dedicated much of her time to fighting against suicide, seemingly exorcising or at the least limiting the influence of Walking Sam.
It has the feel of something out of a horror movie, but the suicides and Janay are all very real, as is the belief in Walking Sam by some on the reservation.
This Horrifying New Urban Legend Is Encouraging Teens To Take Their Own Lives
MAY 22, 2015 — By Tim Unkenholz
Urban legends can be creepy, but for the most part, they're just stories and everyone treats them as such. But to the young people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, one legend is not only very real, but is also apparently convincing them to take their own lives.
A string of suicides and suicide attempts have occurred among the Oglala Lakota sub-tribe of the Sioux, which leaders attribute to a persuasive, malevolent spirit that roams the reservation. Tribe elders describe this spirit as "Tall Man Spirit," but he is known to the Sioux youth as "Walking Sam."
Since December of 2014, there have been 103 suicide attempts at Pine Ridge and 9 deaths. All were committed by young people between the ages of 12 and 24.
The most horrifying of these attempts occurred last February when a community leader, Pastor John Two Bulls, caught a group of teenagers attempting a mass suicide. They had hung several nooses from the trees so that they could die together. Thankfully they were caught before anything tragic could happen.
Walking Sam is said to be a seven-foot-tall man with long, skinny limbs and no mouth. Also known as "Stovepipe Hat Bigfoot" and "Big Man," this creature is similar to the popular "Slender Man" archetype in American Internet culture.
Walking Sam is most likely just a manifestation of a bigger evil in the community --- poverty. Pine Ridge has for many years struggled with dismal unemployment, which has led to alcoholism and suicide. The life expectancy for men here is below 50 years, which is the lowest in the entire Western Hemisphere.
Racism may be another reason why children on the reservation are turning to suicide. Just a few days before Christmas last year, a 12-year-old Sioux girl named Santana Janis killed herself after she was called "filthy Indian" by a white woman in a hotel lobby. Perhaps "Walking Sam" is not just a legend, but also a mechanism created by the Park Ridge youth to comprehend and deal with the oppression they face every day.
October 03, 2009
On July 15, 2009, I was on a business trip to the area and attended a Tribal Council meeting at Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. There was a visiting delegation of federal officials, and the Council wanted to have a session with the people from Washington, which turned into a long 2-1/2 hour procession of speeches by local tribal members about all of the various needs and complaints on the reservation. It appears to be traditional for tribal elders to be allowed to speak before the real business begins. But, so many community members were interested in speaking that this turned into the primary business of the meeting. A long litany of grudges with Washington were expressed, many of them perfectly understandable.
Anyone with a knowledge of the government's interaction with the Lakota over the years – especially in the early years when people were rounded up and placed on the reservation, and later when the reservation lands were chipped away to be sold off for white settlement – would understand that many historical wrongs were committed. One such wrong -- the Wounded Knee Massacre -- occurred in December 1890 when U.S. troops got a little too trigger happy during a roundup of tribal members and killed over 300 men, women, and children. The massacre still resonates strongly, and one of the things tribal members asked for on July 15th was a formal apology from Washington for the Wounded Knee Massacre.
People at the Tribal Council session also asked for federal help with some things that sounded strange to non-tribal ears. For example, one local woman, who left before I could talk with her personally, asked Washington for help dealing with Walking Sam. The woman, who was elderly but otherwise quite lucid, described Walking Sam as a big man in a tall hat who has appeared around the reservation and caused young people to commit suicides. She said that Walking Sam has been picked up on the police scanners, but that the police have not been able to protect the community from him. She described him as a bad spirit. She wanted help from Washington with foot patrols for the tribal communities to protect them from Walking Sam.
At the time, I was thinking that this may have been a reference to Bigfoot sightings. Yes, some people have claimed sightings of big hairy ape men in the Dakotas. Many of these sightings have taken place on the Standing Rock and Pine Ridge reservations. Or, perhaps it may just have been a plea for help with teen suicides – a plea that needs to be translated through a cultural filter. The woman was from Red Scaffold, which is a small community on the reservation.
The following evening found me perusing the bookshelves at Prairie's Edge, a large Native American arts, crafts, music, and bookstore in Rapid City. I looked through quite a number of books trying to find any reference that I could to Walking Sam. I found nothing. I did ask the clerk behind the counter if she knew of any appropriate books or had ever heard of Walking Sam. She appeared to be Native American. She wasn't familiar with Walking Sam, but advised me that there really are bad spirits out there on the reservation, and you need to be careful. She said that if you go looking for them, you might just find them.
Well, I didn't go looking for Walking Sam, but I did stay in a town that weekend that straddles the edge of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. I also ended up talking with the town's police chief and emergency services manager. (I won't name the town or the police chief because I haven't had a chance to ask whether he would mind being identified.) We got to talking about the local Native American beliefs and I mentioned the incident at the council meeting in Eagle Butte. He immediately was interested in knowing who had mentioned Walking Sam because he thought he probably knew the woman. He knows many of the locals in Red Scaffold and is familiar with the stories about the Walking Sam sightings and the connection to teen suicides. He often runs ambulances down to Red Scaffold and over time has gotten well acquainted with the locals.
Following the incident, I corresponded with Loren Coleman, a cryptozoologist who has written many books on the topic, and he thinks that it's a good bet that Walking Sam represents sightings of Bigfoot, more commonly spotted in the Northwestern U.S., but also often sighted elsewhere.
It's an interesting story, but shouldn't distract the reader from the fact that people on the reservations are distraught about teen suicides. Whether Walking Sam represents Bigfoot, an evil spirit, or is just a manifestation of the fear that people have about losing their loved ones to what seems an incomprehensible type of event, the teen suicides are real.
Editor's Note--Another blogger here has a much more expansive take on the notion of cultural filters that is a valuable one. While we westerners to tend to see things in the black and white (e.g., a report of a strange creature is an animal, or it is not) and through our own cultural filters, we do lose sight of the fact that cultural filters are strong and may cause us to lose sight of an underlying message which could be something that we could easily relate to. For example, believe in "bad spirits" as a causative mechanism for untimely events among the Lakota is strong. Walking Sam may be just one such explanation that resonates among some of the Lakota for teen suicides. Alternatively, it is intriguing that Loren Coleman has pointed out that police thermal imaging scanners have picked up a heat signature from one possibly related sighting in the past here. Loren also posts some additional thoughts on the matter here.
Mike Crowley Saturday, October 03, 2009
Faces of Change
"There Is Hope."
When Lakota youth, Janay, tagged her basketball with the words “I wish all the sad kids can feel what I feel when I pick this up - There Is Hope,” she never imagined President Barack Obama would one day put his autograph on that same basketball to show his support for her inspiring words. While the challenges faced by youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation are many, there are also many young people, like Janay, with bright visions for the future. And during her visit to The White House as a Gen-I youth ambassador, her leadership on and off the basketball court shined bright as an example of our youth making their vision for the future into reality.
With an astounding 50% of the population on Pine Ridge being under the age of 18, Janay is part of a generation that is going to inevitably change the landscape of the reservation forever. However, drastically high rates of suicide among Lakota youth means that nearly every young person has had their life impacted by the pain of suicide. Janay Jumping Eagle believes, "There Is Hope" is a powerful message, one youth like herself need to hear. "There is hope" is an action phrase, the energy behind it rooted in the resiliency of Lakota people. And although only in her teens, Janay has not waited to take action on fighting suicide in our communities.
As part of the Thunder Valley Youth Leadership Development Program Janay Jumping Eagle worked alongside her program peers to brainstorm ways to combat suicide by creating safe activities for youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The program participants designed, planned, and implemented every event down to the very last detail, resulting in everything from a mud volleyball tournament to a glow run. The program participants also learned to grow food together in the Community Garden, where they experienced how the frustration of weeding pays off with the satisfaction of harvesting –– a satisfaction that was magnified when the participants where able to give out nearly a thousand pounds of their harvest to tribal elders, families and kids.
Janay's contributions to the community didn't stop after the Youth Leadership Development Program ended. Instead, with the help of her family and community, Janay organized a holiday event, giving away over 350 presents to local kids and feeding a hearty meal to the community. Janay said, “ I know in my heart that the kids were happy and had a good time, and that’s all that matters to me.”
Janay also helped organize the #ThereIsHope Weekend, a basketball tournament that also consists of breakout sessions for talking about and learning how to cope with and prevent suicide, in addition prizes, artist performances and more. Through her generosity and ability to bring people together, Janay shows us how leadership and collaboration can create an impact. She shows what we can accomplish when we do things together, what we can do when we have support for one another.
Janay is looking forward to the next #ThereIsHope Suicide Prevention Weekend this April 8th-10th in Kyle, SD. To help support this event you can donate at: Janay wants all youth and families to know when they leave there that There Is Hope. Thunder Valley CDC believes that Janay Jumping Eagle and the many talented youth of our Lakota Nation inspire hope for the world. Indeed, they are what inspire us the most.
Nobody else finds this fascinating?