Nancy Pelosi came to Omaha for the Nebraska Democrat’s “Big Blue Weekend”. I attended the Saturday night dinner. It was elegant, powerful, and made me proud of Nebraska leadership, including Native leaders, who showed yet again that we always punch above our weight in candidates, policy, and ceremony.
In honor of Pelosi’s work as the first and only woman speaker of the house of representatives, Alex Romero-Frederick made her a shawl and star blanket, sacred items with powerful symbols from the Lakota culture. After the presentation of the shawl, a star blanket, and a drum ceremony, the room was in tears. It matters that a woman is at the table. It matters when indigenous women are murdered and they must always be remembered by leaders like Nancy Pelosi when crafting policy such as the Violence Against Women Act.
The daughter of Frank LaMere, a recently departed Nebraska leader with national influence, Jennifer, read Alex’s words about the shawl at the event.
I humbly present those words to the readers of SeeingRed.
Good evening, I am Jennifer LaMere. I am Frank LaMere’s eldest daughter.
I am honored to be with you tonight to represent my Dad, his legacy and the entire LaMere family.
In 1984, my Dad’s youngest sister, and my Aunt Michelle Marie LaMere at the young age of 19 years old was murdered in Omaha. To this day, her murder remains unsolved. This tragedy laid the foundation of my Dad’s unending and unwavering work as the “voice for the voiceless”.
I humbly stand before you tonight wearing RED in honor and remembrance of my Aunt Mickey and all Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
I have the tremendous privilege tonight to read the words of hetchatu Anpo lyokpi Win (hetch-a-too An-po ee yoke pee Ween) her English name is Alex.
Alex is Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She is a mother, a water protector, a clothing designer and a Rancher. She made this shawl for Speaker Pelosi and could not be with us tonight, I will share with you her words.
” As we, the Indigenous Nation remain, so does our culture and this shawl is to acknowledge this. It is a very personal gift, not given lightly. Our elders tell us that we must be generous to our people and when we lead, we must remember everyone.
This shawl has representations of the Lakota Culture, the design is reminiscent of the Morning Star, which is very significant in our ways, the gavels represent the historical marker that you are the first and only woman to be Speaker of the House.
The red ribbons on the gavels represent the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, who you must remember always. The red, yellow, black and white ribbons signify the four directions in which each bring a gift in the Lakota way of life.
The four direction ribbons we’re given to me by a young woman for me to make a Sundance dress for her. She was killed before the Sundance. The ribbons represent her life and our way of life with the four directions– North, South, East, West.
I hope you take this gift as it was made from a dream for you, and always remember the Indigenous Nations of this land we know as Turtle Island.” Respectfully, hetchatu Anpo lyokpi Win (hetch-a-too An-po ee yoke pee Ween)
On behalf of my dad, and the entire LaMere family and in the words of my dad I want to say Pinahgigi, Thank you.