Most members of the Oglala tribe have roots tracing back to the great Lakota chiefs: Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and others.
Read part one of Julz' story here.
Julz Rich is no exception to this rule; in fact, her great, great grandmother, Susie Shot-in-the-Eye, fought alongside her husband, Chief High Wolf, and her sons in battle in an effort to keep their lands.
Another important member of Julz’s clan is Chief Red Cloud; the high school Julz attended in Pine Ridge Village bears his name. Chief Red Cloud led a complex life and fought for the autonomy of his people until his death in 1909.
Like Chief Red Cloud and many of her family members, Julz believes in the preservation of Lakota lands, culture, and people. She, like others, calls it “The Lakota Way.”
What is “The Lakota Way”? Joseph Marshall, author of The Lakota Way of Strength and Courage says the Lakota Way rests in the principles of transformation, simplicity, strength, resiliency, and purpose.
Those who follow the true Lakota Way believe “spiritual wisdom will nourish the soul” and substance abuse and other distractions have no place in the lives of Native Americans.
Chief Red Cloud believed all Native people should be proud of their heritage and should preserve their way of life by following the aforementioned principles of the Lakota people.
In her own way, Julz hopes to fulfill Red Cloud’s dream for all Native Americans. Her vision includes a reservation and people who are free from the the evils of meth, alcohol, and prescription drug abuse.
As we know, accomplishing such a vision requires an army with strength and courage.