Share |
'The Altar' by Bobby Penn. Click to enlarge photo.
"The Altar" by Bobby Penn. Click to enlarge photo.

Ancestors of Tomorrow

Mar 20, 2012

When you write articles, editorials or blogs which people from all over the world might read you have to remember how much responsibility you carry. I truly believe all writers must have personal and professional integrity as far as their work is concerned.

I am an unofficial ambassador for Lakota people as well as the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. I take my role seriously. All tribal writers should remember they are ambassadors for their people. 

I live on the reservation. Addressing sensitive topics is very difficult. There is always someone out there who will find fault with my thinking. I never had the desire to be a journalist or a columnist, I just kind of wound up in this field because I am a writer. 

As a writer I view the internet as an amazing thing. It is a way for my work to be instantly exposed throughout the world. It is pretty awesome when I think about it. There are people from all over the globe who can read the words I write. I believe it would be unethical for me to abuse this responsibility.

I was never into sensationalism. I don’t believe it is right to print something for people to read when it isn’t true. Most people love drama. Inaccurate or dramatic newspaper articles, letters or editorials can often create issues where there may be none to begin with.

We have impressionable young people who might believe everything they read in the newspapers as the ultimate truth. We have a responsibility to them to present only the facts. How will our young people learn to walk with integrity and responsibility when we continue to show them it is okay to print distortions?

As writers we all enjoy our right to express ourselves in our work. The only way our Lakota descendants will learn is by watching us. We are tomorrow’s ancestors. Is your spoken and written word something you would want your children to carry on?

Thank you all so very much for reading this column. Some days the job I do is a very tough one. But I would rather leave a legacy of truth, integrity and Lakota spirit for my descendants than one of lies, speculation and deceit. We must be good ancestors. We pave the way for our unborn generations. We have the power to change their world. We have to take care of it. 


Vi Waln is Sicangu Lakota and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Hercolumns were awarded first place in the South Dakota Newspaper Association 2010 contest.She can be reached through email at


10:05 am - Tue, March 20 2012
Heidi said:
You're right Vi. We do have a very important responsibility in the journalism field. It's important to show all sides of a culture - challenges, victories, traditions, discoveries and sometimes even humor.
02:58 pm - Tue, March 20 2012
Laura said:
Thanks, Vi. The responsibility doesn't end with writers, of course. We should all be living lives of integrity.
07:19 am - Thu, March 22 2012
Bernie said:
I wish every bogger/writer/commentator on the Internet was as thoughtful and respectful as you. What a difference the online world would be. Instead, it sometimes reminds me of a messed-up culture as portrayed in sci-fi disaster movies where the survivors have all become rogues and cannibals.

Share your thoughts, post a comment to this story:

Your Name:
Your Email Address:  
Your Website:
2000 characters remaining
Web Design by Buildable