2017-04-19 / Letters to the Editor

Grandma Kay feels there is no respect for the elders

To the Editor,

I have worked for the RAI (Rural America) Head start for many years through the “Experience Work Program” I love working with the kids. But it’s getting harder to go to work because of the “gossiping” and “innuendos” of me being an “elder.” I am writing today, because as an elder I feel that I’m being disrespected. I will call it elder abuse and age discrimination.

Jackie Haufman told me that I was old and that I should stay home and take care of my grandchildren. And the teachers are telling Kim Cook, Director of Experience Work, to let me go because I am mad about the drum. But I was concerned about the children jumping on the drum. I think teachers should teach the children not to play on the drum but to respect the drum, it is the heartbeat of the people and I speak as a Traditional LAKOTA elder.

I was let go without written notice from Rural America Initiative and told not to return to work. I don’t plan on returning to work at RAI because of disrespect and elder abuse. They talk about being Lakota but they don’t practice it. I think they should provide staff training on their policies and Lakota values. The gossiping affects the moral of the staff, so where is their respect?

As an elder I feel that I brought some experience and knowledge of the Lakota culture and language to the children. I feel good about my work with the children. All of the children call me Grandma.


Grandma Kay Allison
Rapid City

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