Catholic Church Removes "Suicide Prevention" Radio Program on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation

This article was published in the Dakota/Lakota Journal in April 0/7 

by Richard Boyden

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Part 1 and Part 2

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Rosebud Sioux Tribe declares state of emergency on reservation suicides

"The suicide issue also caught the eye of local leaders, prompting Rosebud Sioux Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux to declare a state of emergency on suicides and attempted suicides during a Tribal Council meeting"

"According to Rosebud Economic Development Corporation, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement responded to three suicides and 193 attempted suicides from Jan. 1, 2006, to Dec. 31, 2006; and three suicides and 51 attempted from Jan. 1 to March 13 this year." Quote from above article in Rapid City Journal

The "Holy Roman Catholic Church" in St. Francis South Dakota, removed an affective "suicide prevention" program from radio station KINI on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. The program addressed the subject of suicide among young Lakota youth living on the Reservation..

I had prayerfully responded to a “State Of Emergency On Reservation Suicides” article I read in the Rapid City Journal and came to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Reservation on March 16th. There I met with a number of Rosebud Tribal members including Leo Campbell, John Spotted Tail, Debbie Black Lance, and later the Tribal President, Rodney Bordeaux, his wife Jodi Waln, as well as employees of the Education Department among others. During the week (March 19-27th) the program was aired, not one of these individuals or other Tribal Members I met and who had heard the program, told me that they thought the program was offensive in any way towards the Lakota or the Catholic Church.

During my meeting with Leo Campbell, he introduced me to Richard Iyotte, the then station manager of KINI 96.1 FM in St. Francis. Iyotte invited me to the station and wanted to interview me because I was an “attempted suicide survivor”. The interview was 1 hour long in 2 parts. I had prayed to the Creator I would be led in what I shared for the blessing of the youth. Immediately when the program was aired, calls were received by the KINI receptionist from concerned Lakota parents and relatives of  Lakota youth. They were worried because there was talk among the youth about taking their own lives. According to Iyotte, a “Traditional Lakota”, no calls were received from listeners of the program complaining about anything said on the program and that he personally felt the program talked about suicide from a “Traditional” point of view.  

I discovered to my amazement, that KINI 96.1 FM was a "Catholic Church owned station" on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation and that programming is controlled, monitored, and must be "Catholic approved" by the Catholic Church through Robert Doody, "Vice President of Programs". According to “sources”, Doody had no experience in radio. Richard Iyotte, with close to 10 years of radio experience as a station manager, has since resigned because of this “dictatorship policy” of Doody as condoned and sanctioned by President of the St. Francis Mission, John Hatcher.

According to Iyotte, it was Doody who issued the "order" to remove the program. Doody fabricated a LIE in stating that the reason why the program was removed was because it "defamed" the Catholic Church. In my subsequent personal meeting with Hatcher, he told me that Doody stated to him that the "sacraments" of the Church were discussed in a denigrating way. That is a simply a LIE. Not one word was stated about "sacraments"!

The only mention of the Catholic Church was in the context of discussing Lakota Spirituality. I had stated in the program, that the Lakota traditions of love, generosity, respect, and honor, taking care of the poor, elderly, widows, feeding the hungry etc., were in place, operative, and a way of life among the Lakota LONG BEFORE White European Christians came to "Turtle Island" i.e.. "America". I said  that this "spiritual tradition" was taught by and learned from the Creator direct, not from "White Christians". In fact, I said, Lakota spirituality in how they treated one another was more after the example of Jesus then from the majority of experiences the Lakota have had with “Christianity”.

I also said that the love demonstrated between the Lakota was a way of life that was not taught to them by "Billy Graham" or the "Pope". That statement is a historical fact. I also mentioned that the Lakota could pray to God direct. My understanding is that the Lakota always have prayed to the Creator direct before there were “priests” or “ministers” representing “White Christianity”.

Evidently, Doody did not listen to the WHOLE program and the "context" in which those statements were made. Furthermore, he lied to Hatcher in telling him why he pulled the program. Hatcher in turn, "believed automatically" what Doody told him, rather then listening to the program himself.

I met with Hatcher after the program was pulled and I asked him if he had listened to the program to verify what Doody had told him. He said no. I asked him if he would listen to it and he said yes. I also asked him to reconsider the decision and have the program restored. I also stated that, given the "alleged defamatory statement" was but "one sentence in a hour program", that if it was so "offensive", then simply delete that statement, reinstate the program,  and everyone would be happy. And then the Lakota youth and families would continue to have an opportunity to listen to those understandings the Creator had given me as an attempted suicide survivor that they had not heard before and for their blessing..

Hatcher did not do as I had asked because the program was neither “edited” to remove the alleged “offensive statement”, nor was it put back on the air.

The airing of the program produced immediate results with meetings between two young Lakota teens and their Grandmother, a family of teens and their mother, a nine year old girl and her guardian. Each young one had discussed committing suicide. The Grandmother had heard the program and asked if I would meet with her grandsons. I did and shared my own experience as an “attempted suicide survivor with them as well as the other young people. Those meetings were blessed by God and in a good way and because their families had heard the program.

Also, because of the radio program, I was allowed to speak with Lakota youth at the Wanbli Wiconi Tipi which is the Rosebud Youth Wellness and Renewal Detention Center. Patricia Broken Leg was my contact. The youth there, like most young Lakota, are constantly struggling with "life on the rez" in the form of no jobs, few if any fun and wholesome activities, dysfunctional families using drugs, alcohol and who gambled, as well as "gangs" etc. This then causes the subsequent White man’s term called “depression”. I describe it rather as a natural response to a not natural social, economic, and spiritual environment. In fact, I call this incognito spiritual genocide which is engineered by the very powers of evil that created “reservations” in the first place. In my readings, I understand that Hitler used the model of “reservations” to create “concentration camps”.

I told the youth “that the evil spirit which the White man listened to in spiritually engineering reservations, had one goal only, and that was that they would end up exactly where they were now, with the hope that, “you would continue your pattern of non-Lakota thoughts and behavior, and eventually end up in prison”. In other words, “the created reservation environment was designed to kill you first spiritually and then physically, so that that if you did not first kill yourself or someone else, that for sure you would be exposed to and use drugs and alcohol and commit crimes against your OWN PEOPLE resulting in guaranteed time in prison. This plan I said, “is intentionally designed to destroy the Lakota Oyate in destroying the last generation which YOU represent”. After all, the same “plan” is working wonders in African American and Hispanic “reservations” and interestingly enough, “rap music” is THE “dark mind and power source” which allows for this plan to work as evidenced in those communities.

I told them that “not being Lakota is why you are here in this detention center” That in being Lakota, if you would live out and share that love and those traditions taught by the Creator to your people, then you would be Lakota and anything less would be a contradiction of and a denial of being Lakota. It is one thing to “look and talk as a Lakota and it is another to live and love as a Lakota”. Basically I said, “the White mans system is inspired by Satan direct from the throne of hell to make sure you lose your Lakota spirit of love for yourself and one another. 

As an "attempted suicide survivor", I told them I understood the thoughts and feelings of suicide that overpower oneself, where they spiritually come from, and how to overcome them. I have done personal battle with those "demons” representing the forces of darkness that work fervently to destroy Lakota souls. I was one such targeted soul and I gave in to those "Satan inspired thoughts". Some may question that statement but I ask, from where do self-destructive thoughts originate from? Are they built into drugs or alcohol? And yes, they may be “taught” by outsiders but even then, who or what “inspired” them? I said that when I feel those thoughts, that I pray to the Creator in the name of Jesus to have those feelings removed.

I related to them that the Creator allowed me to feel His displeasure because I had tried to kill myself when my wife left me. He allowed me to feel His displeasure, which I personally call “hell”, during which I was shown all the other things that I had done in my life not pleasing to Him. I experienced this for 3 ½ hours with no escape, time out, or place to run. It was scary to say the least. Close to the end of this time, I began to feel His love, forgiveness, and compassion and that He must have felt I learned my lesson. This is a lesson I will never forget and would not wish it on anyone.

I next shared the experience of a man who had “died” for 7 minutes while in a hospital in Texas. He said his spirit was taken out of his body and that he met the Creator who showed him a scene where a young man and an older man were attempting to talk to their families and friends who were lamenting and crying and mourning. These two were trying to tell their families that they were sorry for what they had done but their families could not hear or see them. These two were those that committed suicide as pointed out by Jesus and this was their spiritual condition in the “spirit world” until the Creator relieved them of that torment. They were allowed by the Creator to personally feel the pain of each one affected by their suicide as if it was their own. THAT is why they were in such torment. I also said, that I believed that the family and friends affected by those who committed suicide, could pray to the Creator for them to be forgiven and that those prayers would be heard.

I then asked the youth if they would want to “hurt their loved ones, their parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, nieces and nephews and family and friends, those that love you, that much? They  said NO! I said there was always someone to talk to that loved them in their family or among friends. The Creator loved them and I loved them with the love the Creator put on my heart for them and that under no circumstances, do not allow for those dark and destructive thoughts to overcome you because if you choose to believe the LIE of those thoughts and feelings, and then take your own life, you will NOT be escaping this one as you thought but will see and experience the consequences of listening to a voice that is not of the Creator.

Also I said, that same man who was with the Creator was next shown a scene in a bar where men were drinking. One man he noticed was drinking heavily. While sitting there, another man attempted to reach for his drink and pick it up. He was unable to as his hand passed through the glass each time he tried to pick it up. It was pointed out that the man trying to drink had “passed away” but now was in his “spirit body” and was still craving to drink. Then the man who was drinking heavily passed out and fell to the floor. Immediately on his forehead, there appeared a “spiritual opening” and the man in his “spirit body” who had tried to drink but could not, entered into the man that passed out.

I shared that I understood this to mean that alcohol and drugs (including anti-depressant drugs), allow for this spiritual happening to take place and this is why when one is “under the influence”, they then are more easily inspired by those bad spirits that can now influence them to become more violent, abusive, and self-destructive as well as having thoughts that lead to suicide, murder, and murder suicide because using alcohol and drugs allow for evil spirits to inspire non-Lakota behavior.

I also shared that I personally did not come from a "loving family background". I know the destructive affects of alcohol in a family. For the first 6 years of my life as a only child, I saw and felt it first hand because both my parents drank. My father was an abuser who beat my mother and myself for as long as I could remember. I also know what drinking is on a personal level as well as other "sins" which I have tried to change throughout my life. I never started drinking myself until I witnessed my mother lying on a hospital bed “burnt black like a “marshmallow” from the top of her head to her ankles She lived that way for three days. She had just been released from a hospital for treatment of her liver because of heavy drinking. Being weak, she had tried to light a cigarette and her clothes caught on fire.

After the hour meeting with the youth, it was given a “10” by them in what was shared about “suicide” and the spiritual elements of.

Upon returning home, I sent an email to Hatcher asking him if he and Doody had a testimony from Jesus (being they are supposed to “believe in Him") to remove the “suicide ministry” program from KINI? Interestingly but not surprisingly, I received no answer. Personally, I would stake my soul on the fact they did not! I told him that my purpose in coming to the Rosebud Sioux Reservation was not to "condemn and judge" the Catholic Church. Almighty God will do that for the sins it is guilty of in "Indian Country" and elsewhere.

It is my opinion that the Holy Roman Catholic Church, in removing the “suicide prevention program”, have clearly shown that they do NOT in the least have a genuine interest or concern over the "suicide" struggles among the Sicangu Lakota Oyate and in particular among their youth. If they did, the program would never have been pulled and by now it would have been restored.

I have downloaded the program on my website for any and all to listen. You can be the judge of what was said and if I defamed the "Holy Roman Catholic Church". Personally, I find it "historically repugnant" that this entity whose "history in Indian Country" has been more destructive then anything else, would DARE to remove a program which had as it sole purpose, the saving of lives, even the souls of young Lakota youth!. Do I need say more?