Thursday, December 8, 2011

Please Start Fighting to Ensure Native Americans are Educated, Not Better Casino Workers

There were two stories in the Buffalo News that caught my interest on December 6th. New York has decided to deal with its debt problem partly by seeking more tax dollars from rich folks. New York will also drastically expand the presence of casinos throughout the state in order to pull in more funds. It seems there has been support for these proposals by both republicans and democrats.

Not everyone is happy with New York State’s plans. For instance, Native American Nations who own casinos are upset that the government is planning to expand casinos because the state “promised” they would not allow non-Native casinos to compete with current Native American casino businesses. The government is not keeping its promise with Native Americans – that’s a new one.

Anyway, Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos justified expanding casinos because the “…economic slowdown has created the need to generate additional revenues to help fund health care and education spending commitments made earlier this year for 2012.” So basically, the state needs health care and education funds. The state will raise the taxes of rich people and break a promise made to Native Americans in order to improve the health and education opportunities of its people.

Native American leaders have decided to “fight vigorously to protect the promises that were made…” to them. In order to protect their own businesses, the Native American leader said that their casino workers would “…out-compete, out-hustle anyone…” who tries to start a competing casino anywhere in New York State.   

I greatly support the rights that Native Americans have to improve their lives by operating their own businesses. If you have read any of my past posts, you will discover a strong stance supporting Native Americans.

Let get real…the elected officials are going to break their promises made to Native Americans and they are going to allow wide spread gaming in New York State. Although this will take two years and require changing the constitution – they will get it done. They will work to ensure that more money will come into the state and redirected to fund educational services.

Native American leaders should, for the next two years during the time it will take to change the constitution and for the few more years it will take to get casinos going, immediately begin redirecting funds for Native American children to attend college. Stop funding attorneys and start funding children’s education.

Please fight vigorously to ensure Native American children receive college degrees rather than focusing on how casino worker will out-compete or out-hustle other casino workers. For the next few years, please focus on educating Native Americans.

In my humble opinion, Native Americans should out-compete others in the classroom – not hustle to get a casino gamer a drink.

Peace, DAP

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When you act with purpose to help the people you love, when harm comes your way, you will be protected

The Gifts Received From Sacrifice

There were three brothers whose father had a certain form of discipline that would many times cross the line into extreme physical abuse. Whenever any of the boys would get into trouble, as any boy would, their father, depending on how sober has was, would dole out various levels of “discipline.” For instance, if the 6’4”, 300lbs father had way too many drinks of brown whiskey, there were no limits to the amount of punishment exhibited. During these times, it seemed the only thing that would stop the physical harm would be the father becoming too tired to carry-on; his wife begging him to stop; or one of the boys pissing his pants from the extreme pain/trauma.

If the father was somewhat sober, the violence would be extreme, but would not reach the same level during the times when he was drunk. So the boys would learn to monitor their father’s “moods” and try to act accordingly. Unfortunately, the father’s moods could be altered by many things, like something as simple as usual life circumstances. The family was poor and as it turns out, the father too experienced similar childhood traumas. The combination of day-to-day life hardships, lack of available resources, and way too much alcohol, the boys were always is grave emotional and physical danger when their father was around.
The oldest boy and the most experienced knew how to avoid some of the violence. He knew how to stay away from the home whenever the father was around. He was a bigger child -- big boned, as it was described. The middle brother was very skinny and unfortunately, suffered from rheumatic fever when he was in grade school. He stayed in his bed for about a year during the illness. As the result of this long sickness there were some lingering effects, both physically and mentally. The condition would be labeled as autistic in today’s terms. But back then, it was known as just being “sickly.” The youngest brother, as it turns out, was just right! Not too big or too skinny or sickly.
Sometimes when the father came home to something being broken in the house, he would line the three boys up and promise that nothing would happen if only the guilty person confessed. Now…this tactic worked the first time, but after the boys saw what happened to the guilty after the confession, there would be few other quick confessions.
One evening the father came home in a semi-sober, bad-day mood. Something in the house had been broken. The boys were taken into the dimly-lite, cob-web infested basement, which was scary enough by itself, and lined up in front of their father. The father said, “I am going to close my eyes. The one who broke the (??) just step forward and touch my hand.  All I want is for one of you boys to confess and everything will be ok.”  The final statement he made before closing his eyes was “If no one touches my hand, you are all going to get it.”
The boys already knew the trick and with the father’s eyes seemingly shut, the boys silently looked into the others’ horrified eyes. What they all three knew was that the youngest of the three was the guilty party. The oldest brother would not dare touch and the other two knew that. The youngest brother, having just experienced a very troubling episode the night prior, was terrified to touch. He knew he could not take another hard beating. Because the guilt would be too much if all three were beaten, the youngest brother began to slowly move toward touching the father’s out-reached hand. Just before contact was made, the middle brother, free of any guilt and probably in his bed at the time of the offense, reach out and slapped the father’s hand.
You will be protected
Before the youngest brother could process what just happened, the father grabbed the sickly middle child by the arm and began beating him. The only sound that broke the silence were the high pitched smacks that came from a very large hand connecting to the body of a small, weak framed boy. There were no screams, no begging and pleading to stop, no crying. The skinny, sickly middle boy did not make one sound, drop one tear or let loose one drop of piss. Although this beating matched past ones – this time – nothing, not a whimper!
Although the boys had gotten used to seeing each other’s bruises during bath times, the youngest brother became shocking aware of the wounds on the middle brother’s body the next day. While the middle brother went on about his day and treated his little brother as he always did, the younger brother was confused and not sure what motivated his older brother to intervene. The brothers never spoke about that night, or any other of the many traumatic events they endured.
We are given many opportunities in our lives to act purposely and sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of others. Please notice in the title that I state, “…when harm comes your way…” I did not say “if” harm comes, because it is a fact of life that harm will come your way.

The middle brother knew the risks of stepping in and accepting the beating intended for his baby brother. He had witnessed many beatings. It seems the time finally came when the middle brother could no longer watch an injustice from the sidelines.  Fortunately – having a purpose – he was totally safeguarded from harm. Yes…he received bruises, whelps, and other physical marks, but he was not harmed. His mind was on the good act he was doing – not on the bad act he was receiving.
Trying to live life on life’s terms is hard enough without trying to protect the ones we love and taking on their pains. However, until you have truly sacrificed your health and wellness for the benefit of others, you have not experienced the giving of a substantial gift – or received one.
Peace, DAP

Thursday, September 22, 2011

100 Native American Degrees By 2020

Below is a plan to address the problem of high Native American college dropout and low graduation rates at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.

Name of Program: Red Jacket Living & Learning Community
Location: University at Buffalo’s Red Jacket Hall
Director: David A. Patterson, Silver Wolf (Adelv unegv Waya) PhD
Start Date: Fall 2012


This program is being offered as a Living & Learning Community Model where Native American, Indigenous and any other allied University at Buffalo (UB) students share campus residential space in Red Jacket Hall and are provided social and academic programming.

SUNY has collected student data for the past 30 years showing that Native American, Indigenous students have had the highest rates of dropout compared to any other student enrolled in its system. After three decades, this abysmal reality can no longer be ignored.

The Red Jacket Living & Learning Community (Red Jacket L&LC) program will improve Native American, Indigenous and any other allied student’s academic retention rates, GPS scores and improve their overall educational and social experiences. It has been scientifically proven that a Living & Learning Community Model increases student’s GPA scores, college retention rates, and overall academic experiences. In an effort to appropriately address these Native American, Indigenous high dropout rates, a Living & Learning Community Model has been developed and will officially begin at UB Fall 2012.
The Red Jacket L&LC will be faculty led and directed by Dr. David A. Patterson, Silver Wolf (Adelv unegv Waya), who is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and Director of UB’s Native American Center for Wellness Research (NACWR). The Red Jacket Hall has cultural significance with the Native American, Indigenous community. Red Jacket Hall gets its name from the Seneca Nation Chief who led a peace delegation with George Washington in 1792. Red Jacket’s work and reputation continues to have great significance throughout Native American, Indigenous communities and having programming space in this Hall will have a decidedly impact on program success.

Red Jacket Living & Learning Community Program Highlights

This program creates a partnership between two existing programs within UB, NACWR and Undergraduate Academies. These partners will share resources as well as use other UB-related assets. The Red Jacket L&LC will follow an idea of Engagement, Efficiency, and Excellence.

Student, Program, Faculty & Staff Engagement: Students in all academic levels will have the opportunity to participate in the Red Jacket L&LC program. Although the program site is located in the Red Jacket Hall and targets students living on and off campus, participation is open to any and all students. It is important to engage all UB students without regard to culture or race factors. While the Red Jacket L&LC will target Native American, Indigenous students, the program will engage any other interested student.

The Red Jacket L&LC program will work with recruiters in UB’s Admissions office who focuses on recruiting Native American, Indigenous students and once accepted at UB the admission staff will share information about the Red Jacket L&LC program with the students, as well as send a list of their names to the Director in order to personally reach out to them. Beyond seeking out Native American, Indigenous students specifically, the program will work to recruit students at existing campus events such as Open Houses, Discovery Days, Orientation sessions, etc. and that campus partners related to the population of students will assist in these efforts, such as (IDC, Student Support Services, Academies, etc.)

Additionally, the Red Jacket L&LC program will work with WNY secondary school counselors to inform them of the program so that if they have Native American, Indigenous students, they can share it with them, which may then be the reason the student chooses to apply to UB.

Red Jacket L&LC students will have the opportunity to benefit from many existing resources throughout the UB system. For instance, the NACWR will open its services, (e.g., mentoring, on & off-campus scholarly and social activities, research supports, scholarship, study abroad, etc.) to every Red Jacket L&LC student. The Undergraduate Academies will also provide services such as student recruitment, civic engagement, global perspectives, research explorations, etc. The Intercultural and Diversity Center will support the program and provide student workshops, cultural events, student supports, etc.

Other UB programs/department will be used to support students such as the TRIO programs, Upward Bound, McNair, Udall, etc. There are also existing faculty and staff who will engage with Red Jacket L&LC students.
The program director, David A. Patterson, PhD is an Assistant Professor at UB’s School of Social Work and currently directs the NACWR.  Dr. Patterson was involved with the 2011 McNair conference, works with McNair students, is an Udall scholarship reviewer, and mentors many Native American and Non-Native UB students. Existing staff within programs at UB, discussed above, have expressed interest in partnering with Red Jacket L&LC and will continue seeking ways to target and use current UB resources.

Students enrolled in the Red Jacket L&LC will have the opportunity to become engaged with multiple resources on campus, locally, and globally. As discussed earlier, campus resources are plentiful and ready to partner. Along with these campus assets, students will also have the opportunity to participate throughout our local Native American, Indigenous communities. Western New York has a large, rich and diverse Native American, Indigenous community. It is home of the Six Nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora) or Haudenosaunee, translated into “People of the Longhouse.” This region is also home to many other Tribes, Nations, and Indigenous Peoples. Students will also have the opportunity to engage globally by participating in the summer study abroad program, described below.

Efficiency: The Red Jacket L&LC program will utilize current UB resources competently and proficiently.  The program is designed to benefit from all of UB’s existing resources. Along with the resources discussed earlier, the program will also benefit from other types of UB assets. For instance, Social Work Master Students are required to complete a semester-long field placement (e.g., on the job training). The Red Jacket L&LC program meets this placement expectation and can be a site where master-level students work with Red Jacket L&LC students and throughout the entire university system supporting the goals of the program.

Part of the activities within the Red Jacket L&LC will be centered on interventions that improve retention, GPA scores, and overall student experiences. Empirically-based research indicates significant differences between students enrolled in living & learning communities and those not as it relates to retention, GPA, and satisfaction.  Along with regular program offerings, master and PhD-level UB students will have an opportunity to provide proven interventions under the supervision of faculty.  

Scholarship, Research, and Teaching Excellence: A very strong and unique research-based program will be offered for Native American, Indigenous and all other UB students. Activities within the program are scientifically proven and culturally based. There will be many opportunities for Red Jacket L&LC students to receive services that support scholarship, research, and teaching excellence.

The NACWR established the Wolf-Fire Scholarship to support UB students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees whose scholarly works are focused primarily on Native American, Indigenous communities throughout the Western New York and Northeast region. Through the Wolf-Fire Scholarship, we hope to support UB students’ scholarly works in Native American communities as well as providing financial assistance and mentoring. Students who are awarded Wolf-Fire funds will become Student Fellows within UB’s NACWR. These Fellows will work closely with the Director of NACWR, Dr. David A. Patterson. Red Jacket L&LC students can apply and be awarded funds supporting their scholarly efforts.

NACWR has also developed an international study abroad program for Native American, Indigenous and other students. During each summer of the academic year, a cohort of students will be offered a study abroad program to Ireland.  This could be a two or four week, three or six credit earning course for both undergraduate and graduate students. There will be many opportunities to travel around the world and study indigenous health & wellness issues, cultural perspectives, historical events, and many other aspects in that country.

With the Red Jacket Hall setting along with the supports offered by UB and the Native American Center for Wellness Research, the Red Jacket L&LC program will be a national model for improving the academic successes and experiences of Native Americans, Indigenous and any other allied college students.

Red Jacket Living & Learning Community Programming

 Faculty led Academics Programming:

·         Introductory & Retention Seminar – Fall
·         Undergraduate Academies Three Themes Seminar – Spring
·         Discovery Seminars – topic-based, 1 credit course per semester
  •    Informal Academic Advising & Support – Ongoing
Each Fall, the Director, David A. Patterson will lead a Fall seminar for new students entering Red Jacket L&LC. An overview along with all resources will be provided. Also, research indicates that certain, brief activities significantly improves college retention for minority students. Part of this Fall seminar will specifically focuses on student retention interventions activities. The director will direct and oversee these retention interventions.  A 1-credit Discovery Seminar will be offered for Red Jacket L&LC students each semester. The Discovery Seminar will be part of Undergraduate Academies program and will include topics such as natural health and healing, cultural drumming and song development, and other topics to be later determined. Also, specific faculty and staff will provide Red Jacket L&LC students with informal advising and other social supports. Students needing official advising will be connected with the most appropriate resource. All of these activities will be provided on a monthly and on-going basis by the Director and other supportive UB faculty, staff and supervised students.

Faculty & Student led Academics and Social Programming:

·         Individual and small group meetings – monthly
·         Cultural events – monthly
·         Peer Mentor meetings – monthly & as needed
  •    Native American Peoples’ Alliance, Student Association Group & Intercultural and Diversity    Center – meets monthly

The Red Jacket L&LC enrolled students will meet individually and in small groups in order to support each other both academically and socially. These meetings, although scheduled monthly, will also meet as needed. This space will additionally be used to hold regular cultural events. The Director and Red Jacket L&LC students will provide activities related to preparing specific foods, drumming and singing events, community social events, and cultural teachings, etc.  Part of the mission will be to learn and be active in ones own cultural activities as well as different tribal events.  Students who are not Native American, Indigenous will have the unique opportunity to learn and become involved in all of these academic and social programs. Once the Red Jacket L&LC program becomes established, experienced students will engage and mentor other, newer students. These mentoring meeting will be scheduled monthly as well as on a needed basis.

The Native American Peoples’ Alliance (NAPA) is a UB student association group that meets monthly and promotes Native American, Indigenous school and community events. NAPA will hold its regular meetings in the Red Jacket L&LC space and welcomed to engage with all aspects of the program. UB’s Intercultural and Diversity Center is involved with many cultural events on campus. Specifically, they organize the yearly Native Bazaar on campus along with arrange a campus visit for Native American high school students. These groups will join our efforts and welcome to hold its meetings in the Red Jacket Hall space.

The Red Jacket L&LC program is unique and its program design and offerings do not exist anywhere east of the Mississippi River. With SUNY and University resource support this program will be the only Living & Learning Community in the Nation. The potential to have a positive effect on Native American, Indigenous students, both locally and nationally will be momentous.

Projected Enrollment & Retention Rates

Beginning in academic year 2012 UB enrolled 85 Native American Undergraduate & Graduate/Professionals. UB & SUNY have a regular mid-fifties dropout rate for their Native American populations.

Five Year Native American/Indigenous Enrollment & Retention Plan

Undergraduate Native American Students
Academic Year
Enrollment Target
Retention Target (% remaining)

52 actual
Historically 43%
32 (50%)
45 (60%)
56 (70%)
70 (70%)
* Since the 1980's 43% of Native Americans remain enrolled in UB/SUNY colleges.
Graduate/Professional Native American Students
Academic Year
Enrollment Target
Retention Target (% remaining)

13 actual
Historically 43%
11 (55%)
15 (60%)
21 (70%)
28 (70%)
* Since the 1980's 43% of Native Americans remain enrolled in UB/SUNY colleges.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Successful Native American Businesses Have Evil Intentions, Says The Buffalo News

The Buffalo News just ran a two-part story about how a new Seneca Casino (Native American owned business) in down town Buffalo will be a clear and present danger to other, existing businesses throughout our community. Now…this is when and where folks have to be careful. It is easy to get drawn into the philosophical debate about whether a casino is good or bad.  I will not engage in this debate. What interests me about this week’s story and a past story about the same topic, which my response can be found HERE, is one very important message that The Buffalo News wants to convey to its readers:

When a legal, Native American owned business succeeds in its business model, the supposed superior majority reports that it does so with advantages and a hostile threat to others!

Dimetrios Georgios Synodinos (AKA: Jimmy the Greek) was a kid from Ohio who moved to Las Vegas and became a bookie. His weekly pro football book-making activities resulted in him working for CBS’s Sunday morning show, The NFL Today. This was in the mid-1970s.  During this time African Americans were better able to play professional sports after many years of being denied the opportunity to participate. Once the larger public was exposed to more and more African American athletes, and as they began replacing the supposed superior majority, a theory seemed to appear in order to explain this unnatural occurrence. Jimmy the Greek had a hypothesis why African Americans were excelling in football and was given the chance to explain it during an ESPN interview. He stated:  

“The black is a better athlete to begin with because he's been bred to be that way, because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs and he's bred to be the better athlete because this goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trade'n the big… the owner… the slave owner would, would, would, would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have ah, ah big, ah big, ah big black kid see…

When more fears began to surface, that, not only would African Americans become the majority in professional sports, but also dare to become coaches, Jimmy conveyed another message. His 23 second video is here. This would be the last of ole Jimmy’s viewpoints on this subject!

Words Matter

When American businesses/people are successful, it’s considered to be healthy, prosperous, and progress. When minority businesses/people are successful, it is believed and stated that they do so as the result of unfair and/or immoral advantages.

Let’s take a look at the headline that The Buffalo News decided to use regarding a legal Native American owned business: “Casino expansion plan a threat to businesses, professor warns.” The word “threat” is defined as, An expression of an intention to inflict pain, injury, evil, or punishment. 2. An indication of impending danger or harm.

An expressed intent to inflict pain, injury, evil or punishment?! I will leave it to the reader to evaluate the message sent by The Buffalo News’ headline. I’ll also do the same with Jimmy the Greeks’ message regarding African Americans playing professional sports.

Proof of Intent

It would seem that if a large news organization, like the Buffalo News, would print a story indicating that a legal Native American business has evil intentions they would ensure that the story is well supported with scientific research and facts. To accomplish this important task, The Buffalo News exclusively relies on the opinion of one local teacher. Mr. Steven H. Siegel who has taught at Niagara University for 30 years uses his past experience working in a hotel and obtaining a MBA to postulate the evil intent of a Native American business.

Please let me remind folks that Mr. Siegel is not a researcher, documents no past research training, documents no peer-reviewed funded research, and documents no peer-reviewed manuscripts on the subject. He does provide in The Buffalo News article two reports. They can be viewed HERE on the left under “Related Documents.”

In the one document titled: Steve H. Siegel’s Report on Urban Casinos, on page 2 in the first bullet, he states, “Research shows that for every…” To indicate where he received this “research” he cites two people, John Kindt 2001 and himself 2008.

I emailed both of these men requesting more information. For instance, I am unable to find any documents online with these dates. I did see some of Mr. Kindt’s recent writings on the subject of gambling but they are reports and books. Both of these type documents are not peer-reviewed making them opinions of the author. If you want to see some of the titles of Mr. Kindt’s documents they are HERE.

I am also unable to find Mr. Siegel’s 2008 document he cites to support the “research.”

Again, Words Matter

If Mr. Siegel indicates that research shows something, then it is up to him to clearly show where he got that information and that it is in fact research. If Mr. Siegel cites his own research showing something, then he had better conducted some research on that subject which was, at a minimum, peer-reviewed. Anything less that peer-reviewed – is total opinion.

If The Buffalo News allows a horrid headline statement to be read by its community members, then those readers deserve the most appropriate, highest level of proof supporting that statement. If they take the chicken-shit stance that they were just reporting what some teacher said, which they did the last time I asked them, then that is just what it is – chicken-shit!

Again, this is not about if casinos are good or bad. This is about a community’s major news source, The Buffalo News, publishing an article that allows the opinion of a teacher to be arranged as though it is based in science, when in fact it is not.  If The Buffalo News is interested in what science says about casinos, then use information that results from the standards of scientific enquiry – mainly peer-reviewed research studies and manuscripts.

If, on the other hand, The Buffalo News wants to use their words to frighten folks and based solely on personal opinions, then they need to go the way of Jimmy the Greek. I’m sure Jimmy could have found a teacher who had a similar opinion about slavery and breeding practices by slave owners. The truth is, Jimmy the Greek’s opinion is not based on any science (e.g., facts).  And, if Mr. Siegel or The Buffalo News wants to be viewed as something other than emitting fear and bigotry, like Jimmy the Greek was doing, then they should support their words with science.

I’ll be sure to update everyone if I hear back from any of these folks. Peace, DAP

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wolf-Fire Scholarship Fundrasier -- Please consider donating

Hello all,

Please mark your calendars for the upcoming Native American Center for Wellness Research's Wolf-fire Scholarship Fall Feast & Fundraiser.
It will be on Oct 7, 2011, 6:30pm to about 9:30pm or so at UB's Center for the Arts.

Kentucky Greg's Hickory Pit BBQ will cater the event, the Red Road Singers will provide some entertainment, items will be auctioned, along with other activities.

Some auction items include tickets to a Sabres game, round trip Delta tickets to Florida, 50/50 raffle, and many more.

We are looking for items that folks are willing to give for the auction.

Tickets are $25 to attend.
All proceeds go to the Wolf-Fire Scholarship Fund.

We look forward to a great night together and hope you can attend.

If you have questions or something to auction please email or call David Patterson at 716-207-6411.

You can purchase tickets by donating the price of your ticket amount to the Wolf-Fire Scholarship Fund on-line by going HERE.

Or you can mail check to my office address: 667 Baldy Hall, Buffalo NY 14260.

Tickets must be purchased in advance in order to have the correct number of dinners.

If you cannot make it, you can still donate to the Wolf-Fire Scholarship.

Thank you very much, Peace DAP

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Native Americans Don't Dream, We Have Visions

I was recently watching a HBO documentary about the famous boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson.
For those of you who may not know Sugar Ray he was born in the 1920’s and one of few African American boxers during that time. His amateur record was 85 wins – with no loses! Sixty-nine of those wins came by knock outs and 40 of those knock outs were in the first round! At the age of 19 he became a professional fighter (e.g., he was paid for fighting) and when he finally retired some 25 years later he had about 200 fights. Sugar Ray Robinson was an amazing fighter and overall good person.  
In 1947 he was preparing to fight a guy named Jimmy Doyle. At this time in his professional career, Sugar Ray had won 75 fights with only one loss. As he was training to fight Jimmy, Sugar Ray had a dream about his and Jimmy Doyle’s upcoming fight. Sugar Ray dreamed that he accidently killed Jimmy in the boxing ring. After some thought, Sugar Ray decided he was not going to fight Jimmy. After word got out that the fight was going to be cancelled, two ministers met with Sugar Ray to discuss his dream. It was not reported what was said during the meeting, but these two holy men convinced Sugar Ray to fight Jimmy Doyle.  
These two boxers entered the ring on June 26th 1947 in Cleveland Ohio. Up until the eighth round, Sugar Ray won every round except in the sixth when Jimmy landed several punches and staggered Sugar Ray. During the eighth round Sugar Ray hit Jimmy with a hard left hook.

Jimmy crashed onto the canvas. As Jimmy remained motionless, the referee counted 10. Sugar Ray added one more win to his record. Jimmy lost consciousness while still in the ring. He was quickly rushed to the local hospital in Cleveland. Jimmy never regained consciousness and within a couple hours of being knocked out by that hard left hook, he died. Sugar Ray’s dream came to life. It was said that Sugar Ray was never the same person after that night in Cleveland.  
It turned out that Jimmy was fighting against doctor’s orders. There were concerns that after suffering a recent beating, Jimmy was in no physical condition to fight. However, Jimmy was fighting for the money so he could buy his mother a decent house to live. When Sugar Ray was informed of Jimmy’s plan, he used the money from his next few fights to buy Jimmy’s mom a home. It seems Sugar Ray ignored his own dream – but acted on Jimmy’s.  
Sitting Bull Sees Crickets Falling
Tatanka-Iyotanka was a leader and warrior. His first fight was at the age of 14 and he was involved in many more during his life. When he was about 40 years old, Tatanka-Iyotanka participated in a Sundance ceremony. During the ceremony he sliced his arms about 100 times as a sign of sacrifice.

During that ceremony he had a vision. He saw American soldiers falling on the ground like “grasshoppers falling from the sky.” When others became aware of Tatanka-Iyotanka’s vision, they followed him to the land of Little Big Horn. Soon after, General George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Calvary showed up to fight, which fulfilled Tatanka-Iyotanka’s vision. Hopefully everyone knows the story of Little Big Horn. If not, you can read some information about it HERE.
Sugar Ray Robinson and Tatanka-Iyotanka (Sitting Bull) had many things in common. They were both young warriors who were very skilled and successful. They were both focused and had special gifts. The one major difference between the two, Sugar Ray had a dream -- Sitting Bull had a vision. There is a huge difference between these two perspectives.
“Indians Don’t Dream – We Have Visions!” 
At some level, I have always dealt with dreams and visions. When I kid and finally got up the courage to say something to an adult about feeling like I had experienced a current event in the past, I was told it was Déjà vu.
That title is a French term meaning “already seen.” Now…I won’t or can’t explain all of the mysteries behind having already seen something. As a matter of fact, I don’t think solving this mystery is so important. As an example, would it have mattered “why” Sugar Ray had his dream? No! What mattered is what he did about it. The same was true for Sitting Bull.  
As a kid, the message about dreams and visions was to brush them aside. When I became an adult, got clean & sober and came back to my People’s ways, I brought this subject back up. I asked an elder to help explain a dream I had. Before I could tell of my experience, he stopped me and stated, “Indians don’t dream, we have visions.” That was stunning and profound. Since that day, I have taken these already seen events much more seriously.
When I lived in Kentucky we had weekly Inipis (sweat lodges), regardless if we needed them or not! At that time I was very close to completing my PhD and was on the job market. I interviewed at three different universities in three different cities. This was back in 2006 when universities had multiple job openings. So, all three made an offer within a few days of each other. My wife and I were excited as well as stressed about picking the best place to work and live. We had a few weeks to decide. 
I arrived at our usual lodge night with all these scenarios swirling around in my head. The elder who always poured the Inipi was from North Dakota and there were typically seven or so Native & Non-Native men crowed into a small, hot lodge. I was asked to carry in the Grandfathers that night. This was a nice, additional thing to distract me from all the stressors. During the first round and after the door was closed, a stranger came into the lodge and sat next to me. I thought nothing of it. The only thing I saw was the reflection of his profile coming off the glow of the searing rocks. I thought nothing of it. During each round, after the door closed, he was sitting next to me. He didn’t say anything. He was non-threatening. He just sat next to me. For some reason, I mainly ignored this and went on about the business of participating in an Inipi.
A few months after living in Buffalo, I was talking to a new friend I met at Seven Clan. This is a place on the Tuscarora Reservation that hosts many Native health & wellness-related activities. He was showing me around the area and we had been together for a couple of hours. As the sun was going down and we were standing next to our vehicles, I glanced up to catch his profile against the darkening sky and backdrop of trees. The site of this buckled my knees. This was the same profile sitting next to me in that lodge six months or so earlier in Kentucky. These events converged in my mind and came crashing in on me. The current and past entangled themselves together.  
I have never written about any of this before and have only discussed this with a few trusted people. I have struggled with finding the correct words and sentence stucture that would best define what happened. There is no way to clearly explain something like this to someone who has never experienced this. And those who have, there’s no need to clearly explain.
I have had these mind benders many times in my past and still do. Some are more significant than others. Some of these “seen before” experiences happen when I’m awake and others happen during times when I’m asleep. There are some that last 20 seconds or so and others that are more like drive-by bursts. Regardless, I have regularly taken the advice of the elder who explained the difference between dreams and visions. To ignore these visions would be unwise on my part. There are many folks who have these experiences and they direct their course of action. I only mentioned two above, but those two are very good examples of what happens when someone is faced with a vision. 
If you have never experienced a vision, it may be that it did not arrive into your mind but rather presented itself in your gut. I am sure you have "felt" something was not right or something was right. I'm not talking about having a vague sense that cheating on your spouse was not right! Again, if you have had a gut feeling about something, that event is hard to expalin to someone who has never had it.
We Are All On A Path To Somewhere 
It has been explained to me that we are all on a path, regardless if we believe it or not. We decide which path to take on a regular basis during our lives. When my wife and I were deciding which job offer to take, resulting in relocating to a new city with our two boys, we were at a fork in our path. We were worried, excited, nervous, and overall stressed about making the right decision for our family. After we moved to Buffalo, it took several months before we began meeting and developing relationships with people. The stress was not released once we decided on Buffalo and moved there. We still regularly questioned whether our decision was the correct one, even after we already began living there.
When I was talking with my new friend on the Tuscarora Reservation at Seven Clan and his profile and overall essence came forth, linking my vision in the lodge, I knew I was on the right path. To me, if anything connects these experiences, seen befores, visions, or whatever label one decides to use, it is that they offer a chance to evaluate the path we are on.  
Sugar Ray was given a chance to see his path placement before arriving there. It was a chance to alter his and Jimmy’s future. Instead, he ignored it. I'm sure he regretted his past and questioned his future. Sitting Bull took advantage of his vision and altered the lives of many.
It’s Déjà vu All Over Again 
My oldest son, who is 12 years old, came home from school a few months ago and I asked him how his day went. He said he had a math test and did great on it. When I asked how he knew he did so well, he said, “When I opened the test, the questions and answers were in my dream. For some reason, I saw the questions in my dream and already knew the answers.”
Being a typical 12 year old boy, school and especially math are near bottom of his priority list. Over the school year we worked together studying math problems and developing strategies for test taking. When he told me of his dream I briefly explained some of my past and how these events help us along our path. I wanted him to know that when we do things that improve our lives, we get extra help. When we try to do the right things and care for others throughout our lives, sometimes we are helped and given a gift of being able to see things before they happen.

I believe this for myself, my son and everyone. When we are traveling a good path, we get helped along our way. We can see around corners. We can see things on our paths before arriving at that spot on our path. It is a wonderful gift and having people around that supports and encourages traveling a good path is essential to taking advantage of these gifts.  
Like most parents, I want to teach my children things early in their lives so they don't have to learn them later in life, like I had. The final statement I made to my son as he was rushing outside to play was, “Native Americans don’t dream, we have visions!”
Peace, DAP