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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Condolences for the Jumping Bulls

On behalf of Leonard Peltier and his Defense Committee, I would like to extend my condolences to the Jumping Bull family for the passing of Calvin Jumping Bull onto the spirit world. I also speak as a relation, since it was Calvin’s parents, Cecilia and Harry Jumping Bull that named me and sang the Hunka song when I became a relative of the Loud Hawk family. I will always remember Calvin as a tough taskmaster, who dedicated his life to The People and lived his life in reverence and free of vices. Calvin was a strong looking man with piercing eyes, and was always impeccably dressed with his ever present cowboy hat. He was one of the last survivors of the Porcupine singers, a drum group that counted amongst it members some of the key elders of the contemporary Oglala: Harry Jumping Bull (Calvin’s father), Max Blacksmith, Ambrose New Holy, Mathew Two Bulls, Russell Loud Hawk , Weasel Bear, Kills Enemy, Siebert Young Bear, Philip Wright, and Francis Menard, among others. Together they brought the social aspect of traditional singing to Pow Wows the way we hear it today. This developed after they performed as guests in Vermillion, SD., the first time a Native traditional singing group was ever invited to perform at a college, thousands of people listened spellbound. Calvin was an outstanding athlete and sports referee, which is a hard position to be in the Lakota reservation. He was the heart and soul of the Lakota Studies Program in the Oglala Lakota College and a tireless worker. A strict teacher, he told his students that if they were looking for a romanticized version of Native people, they were in the wrong class because they were going to learn traditions, the sacred ways, and that although they are tough, strict and unyielding, if you follow them, it will be evident, and that is how he lived his life. The Creator took him at the same time that Leonard was being removed and placed in solitary confinement. In the traditional way, the warriors do the hardest work and the holy men look after them. As he soars towards true freedom, I hope Calvin’s strong and immaculate spirit brings comfort and strength to my brother Leonard in this time of darkness and solitude.

Respectfully,

Wanbli Watakpe (aka Russ Redner)
Executive Director
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee