Tony claims to be a great-grandson of Crazy Horse. This is plausible enough. Lakota chiefhood was never hereditary, and if it was what good would it do Tony now? So the fact that Tony doesn't have a sequin-suited retinue to carry him home at night does nothing to disprove his claim. Of course, this also means that neither he nor Eddie, Bryan, or Robert had the authority to adopt us into the tribe. They simply took it upon themselves to do so.
What do I say to that? I can only speak for myself on the matter and let my comrades do the same. The honor I felt was real. These men had taken us into their lives and freely shared it with us. They hid nothing, they have no social veils, which is traditionally unthinkible here in the on-grid world. That's changed a bit in the age of narcisism, of course. The age of writing concept albums about ourselves and building 5th amendment-defying photo dossiers of ourselves and writing endless tomes about ourselves. (Yes I know.)
But it was completely different with these men. they shared the details of their lives not out of vanity, not to keep themselves in the head of some girl they drank with and dude I totally know she likes me. They share themselves not out of vanity but the fatal lack of it. They live shamefully. Honesty is all they have, and I cannot excuse their suicides after building a friendship built on honesty. They live shamefully and they know it. Their ancestors who fought for them damn their surrender and they know it. So they die.
I too, live with shame. I'm a 26-year-old undergrad for God's sake. I've lied, cheated, been to jail. How then can I lecture older men? Because friends lecture each other, when there's a need to. I live with my shame gentlemen, I live with it. I do all I can to turn it into knowledge and fight with it. I strive to face my own putrid humanity in the mirror and laugh at it, with it. I strive to make others see themselves for what they are as well, to tear down the walls of tradition and pride and materialism, to deny them the opportunity to dilute themselves in the larger society and force them to take a look at what they are.
No, I am no Lakota. I thank you for the gesture but you know you don't have that power. I havn't lived without heat or plumbing, in a moldering or burned out shack.
What I am, what we are, is Whiteclaysians. The stumbling drunks and the fat-thieves, vagrant shells and rubbernecking arrogant hedonists. Singing together, laughing together, brothers in honest depravity.
Strip away society's justification myths and see your human skin for what it is. Then weep. Then laugh. Here is our unity. Here is our brotherhood. There, you have real morality now.
Wherever I stand I stand with you. Wherever I walk I walk with you. Now fight, Goddamn you. Get the fuck out of those plague-traps you live in. Stop offering tobacco to the smell of your own deaths as if it will make a difference. Track down whatever family will still have you at least hold them before the last elastic piece of your liver hardens. Live.