My name is Nancy Shippentower, I am Puyallup. My parents are Donald & Janet McCloud. They were big leaders in the fishing rights struggle and they both went to jail for their beliefs, my dad for 60 days and my mom for 6 days. When we were kids they would talked to us about the struggles and how important they were. Sometimes we would not agree but we would sacrifice.
As the fishing struggle became more violent on the agents side, many of our people were harassed, put in jail or beaten. I witnessed this first hand. One of the first encampments was on the capitol grounds in Olympia WA. My mom's camp was finally raided by the state troopers, they arrested 7 teenagers.
Dick Gregory was in jail and on a fast to uphold the treaty rights on Medicine Creek. He was dying and many celebrities came to try to get the judge to let him out... finally when he went to the hospital they sent for his wife but she refused to sign the papers for him to get fed thru a tube. The judge finally said Dick Gregory is not dying here so he released him. He lost a lot of weight but he did get recognition. Marlon Brando was upset because when he got arrested they just asked for his autograph and he wanted to go to jail for the cause.
I grew up with 7 siblings. I will not say we anymore because this is my story.
I graduated from Evergreen College in Native Studies. I grew up in the time of the fishing rights struggles, Wounded Knee, Alcatraz, Daybreak , etc. My mom, Janet McCloud, had many spiritual unity conferences, sometimes with Audrey Shenandoah and we learned many different ceremonies. I was very blessed to have uncles like Dennis Banks, Floyd Westerman, Leon Shenandoah, Oren Lyons Louie Farmer, Thomas Banayaca and more. The strength came from the women. I remember my mom getting up and telling the men what to do. (I get that a little because I find myself telling these young leaders what to do and they call me BOSSY with humor).
I believe that leaders are born not elected.
I am an 8 year Sundancer. When my father died from cancer, my mom could not overcome her grief so Dennis Banks brought Wilmer Mesthe "Stampede" over and we had Sundances on her property for 4 years. On the 4th year, my husband died so did several people in our family, my sister was hit by a car but he warned us that the 4th years would be the hardest. I was 38 years old when I lost him. Not a day goes by that I don't think of those who have gone before…
I was on the tribal council for two-terms, one was during the land claim's settlement of the Puyallup Tribe. That was hard, it was a very controversial time. Would I run again? NO. it's too much stress hiring and firing. In my opinion, we need to be involved in what's going on in the world and in the USA. Some of our leaders are small minded and don’t look at the big picture but only at what they can get for themselves.
When I went to Standing Rock recently, I knew I was entering sacred grounds, I could feel it overwhelming my spirit. Finally someone, doing something. Whatever the outcome, we will all benefit or suffer. I no longer look at being indigenous but being human. Our children are at risk and so is their future.
Please check back occasionally for some future thoughts.