Nebraska Appleseed hosted this year’s Good Apple Awards on Thursday, October 22. The celebrations honor Nebraskans who have “stood up for justice and opportunity for all”. Winnebago tribal member Frank LaMere was honor with the 2015 Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award at Thursday evening’s awards ceremony. Please see below for Mr. LaMere’s acceptance remarks for the award.
Friends, family, guests, all my relations,
Upon the loss of my daughter Lexie Wakan in January 2014 I told my family, the Winnebago people and some gathered here that all I do and all I hope to do will be done in her name with her courage and dreams for the people uppermost in my mind. I reaffirm that as I accept this acknowledgement tonight.
In the past, I have rhetorically stated at gatherings like this, that if things were different perhaps she would be here talking to you now! I am wrong in doing that! She is here! She will whisper in your ear and challenge all of you saying, “This is my father. This is who he is, and this is what he does for the people! He does the best that he can. He is bold! We should all be that way.” That is what I believe.
On Saturday, along with some of you, I hiked, and I climbed, and I staggered to the top of Hinhan Kaga, what you know as Harney Peak, in the sacred Black Hills. It is the holiest of places to the Lakota people. I am not young, and I do not walk well. It was very hard for me, but it was good. I felt very close to god.
Led by my son, prayers and petitions were offered up for ourselves, our families, for our work and for those who suffer at Whiteclay. We remembered especially the children.
As we descended we came across a dozen young men, all native and all from across North America who were going up to pray. They stopped to talk to me and to let me encourage them. They knew of my work. I told them to strive for humility and to do those things that would help the people. We all shook hands and went away. As I reflect back it was odd to me that as I reached the base of Hinhan Kaga young men were starting up. Maybe it was supposed to be that way! Maybe I am to understand!
Every chance I get I remind us all that everything we do is preordained. I have come to know that! There is no coincidence! We are brought together under this Appleseed Center banner to continue the work for our families, our extended families and for all of the people. We are privileged to do it, as I am privileged to accept this Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award. I am humbled! I stand on the shoulders of many. I do the best I can! I am bold!
Thank you. Pi-nah-gi-gi.