Dana Lone Hill, An Inspiring Lakota Writer, Activist
Fast-forward to 1973, Dana also has connections to both sides of the contentious Wounded Knee standoff. On her mother’s side she is related to Richard “Dick” Wilson who was the president of the tribe at the time. On her father’s side she is related to Pedro Bissonnette, one of the leaders and organizers of the American Indian Movement.
Most recently Dana has published her first fiction novel, “Pointing With Lips” (PWL), set on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Because of the great success the book has found, and despite her adamant stance that there would not be a sequel, Dana is currently working on part two of “Pointing With Lips”.
"You can find hundreds of books, stories, and information written about the Lakota people, but hardly none written by a Lakota person. This is why it is so important to write, we have our own stories. This is why our youth need to learn our stories, our ways, and to use their voices."
“Pointing With Lips” is not Dana’s first foray into writing. She has been a freelance writer for the Lakota Country Times since 2006, and actually had her first published piece of poetry in the Rapid City Journal at the tender age of eight.
“It is rare that you come across a new voice as authentic as Dana Lone Hill. She writes with passion and determination about a side of America that few will ever see. But Lonehill takes you there with emotion and raw power. Pointing With Lips is a startling debut.” ~Paul Harris
Pointing With Lips covers a week in the life of Sincere Strongheart in Pine Ridge, interacting with many unforgettable characters in her large family. Sincere’s story is funny, raw, sad, even suspenseful, but the main struggle lives inside her as she hopes to overcome the buried demons of her past.
“Dana Lone Hill is a powerful new voice from Lakota Country that has so often been confined to historical stereotype or painted in a contemporary setting with a one dimensional brush. Dana shatters those shackles and forms a deeply personal, raw and moving narrative that takes the reader deep into contemporary life on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one of the world’s most complex and engaging societies.” ~Steven Lewis Simpson, director of the Native films Rez Bomb
In 2011 she started contributing to The Guardian. A short story of hers will be included in the upcoming release of Off The Pass 2, which is a collection of Native writers. In addition to her writing, Dana Lone Hill is a very vocal activist for various causes in and around Indian Country. Recently one of the most sacred sites in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Pesla, came up for sale or auction. Dana used her platform as a writer with founding writers Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle, Chase Iron Eyes, and Ruth Hopkins for Last Real Indians to call together the various tribes to help spearhead a campaign to bring that site back under the guardianship of Lakota tribes. The campaign was successful and the site is now under the protection of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
“Pesla has the most meaning to me because we did it and it was so historic with the tribes coming together and listening to the people,” explains Dana.” Plus all the celebrities we were able to get to help us promote and get the awareness out there.”
Dana Lone Hill is currently using her platform to promote a petition to rescind the “medals of honor” given to those soldiers who were involved in the brutal massacre at Wounded Knee.
Dana Lone Hill is definitely one of “The People’s Voices” due to her ability to speak the minds of the typical reservation resident as well as impart the value and use of “Indian Humor” that has helped her people sustain their existence despite it all.
Dana Lone Hill is the mother of four and currently has an award winning column for Lakota Country Times called Rez In The City.
A new literary journal in indigenous studies, Transmotion, has published its first issue today and Blue Hand Books author Dana Lone Hill has her book Pointing with Lips: A Week in the Life of a Rez Chick reviewed.
Pointing with Lips is filled with wonderful inside jokes about PSA Indians, recycling owls, commod cheese, wateca, and pointing with lips, but there are also Lakota lessons being passed along in the picturesque descriptions of the Black Hills, Badlands, and even the Pine Ridge Reservation. In our interview, Lone Hill told me, "People see our reservations and they see poverty, broken down communities and families. What they do not see is the beauty I see and respect. Landscapes tell a story, they tell [us] we need to continue with educating the next generation that we belong to this land and we need to care for the land that feeds us, shelters us, gives us water." The stories are passed down from generation to generation in the novel and in Lone Hill's life, "I think my biggest influences for storytelling were two of my grandfathers. I was never presented them in written form, always oral and I try to remember them and tell them to my children. It is a way of keeping our history... alive." The story Lone Hill passes down and the stories Sis narrates are Lakota histories recorded for survivance.
via Pointing with Lips: A Week in the Life of a Rez Chick (Dana Lone Hill) | Twenter | Transmotion.