UFO Sightings in Indian Country

Ruth Hopkins

Ancient Indigenous Peoples around the globe have reported unidentified lights in the sky, and even contact with star beings, for millennia. Corroborations of these interactions are found in petroglyphs and related through myths and legends preserved by their descendants who live today.

Whether early U.F.O. (Unidentified Flying Object) accounts are accurate is open to speculation. However, no one should make the mistake of assuming that U.F.O. sightings over Indian country ended hundreds of years ago. Natives still witness strange, unidentified flying objects in the sky every year.

These sightings, for a myriad of reasons, go largely unreported. Sightings usually occur in rural areas. Since some reservations where sightings have transpired are patchwork quilts of trust or fee land where jurisdiction may differ from one acre to next, reporting a U.F.O. probably seems like an unnecessary headache. Many Natives would rather not deal with the government or law enforcement to begin with. Not to mention, there’s some folks who simply don’t feel comfortable having it on record that they’ve spotted a U.F.O.

Who’s witnessed unexplained phenomena in the sky over Indian country? Teachers, doctors, lawyers, casino workers, children, elders, tribal cops, and even wicasa wakan (medicine men), among others, fall among the list of Natives who are U.F.O. eyewitnesses. Clearly, I’m not talking about a few intoxicated teenagers with overactive imaginations who have mistaken a falling star or a jet fly overhead as a legitimate U.F.O. sighting.

A few years ago, I attended a memorial service for my husband’s grandfather on The Crow Creek Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Now, Crow Creek has had a stunning amount of U.F.O. sightings over the past decade. Personally, I’m shocked that the sightings there haven’t received more media attention. Still, I’m a skeptic.

We were staying at the Lode Star Casino Hotel, on the second floor. My husband saw it first, at around midnight.

He was staring out the window, when he said, “What is that?”

I went to the window. Off to the south, there was a solid, large, orange, bright light. It was stationary for several minutes. Then the light shot off with amazing speed directly to the east, in a straight line. It stopped abruptly, moving with intelligence. Suddenly, the light broke off into three separate smaller orange lights, equidistant from one another. They streaked across the sky in opposite directions: one traveled east, another one north, and the last one, west. We’d just seen a U.F.O. Then we realized that my husband was standing in front of the picture window with the curtains wide open, in his chonies (underwear). There was a small crowd of older Native ladies in the parking lot taking in the view, laughing, with mouths covered. He’d put on a show of his own while we were awestruck by the U.F.O.

I won’t say it was an alien spacecraft, but I do know that it wasn’t any earthly man-made flying vessel I’d seen before, nor was it a natural phenomenon. As a scientist trained in observation and experimentation, I know this to be true.

On every Native reservation in the United States, you will find stories of unexplained objects in the sky, traveling directionally at high rates of speed. Here are just a few examples:

“My oldest brother saw a U.F.O. after dark. My mom asked him to run out to the car to get her lighter and just a few moments after he left, the power in the house went. I felt a weird surge through my body when it happened. My mom had gone to the breaker when the lights came back on. She met him in the hallway as he came in the back door, and he was white as a ghost. She asked what happened. He told her that something as big as our property and the neighbor's...was hovering right over our place. Both properties were about 1/2 acre total.” —College student, Umatilla Indian Reservation

“Two years ago my husband and I were watching stars. It was 11:55 pm on an August night. An incredibly bright light was moving slowly across the sky at approximately the same elevation as an airplane. I explained it away. Then, it suddenly made a perfect turn at a 90 degree angle and stopped completely for about 3 seconds. Then it reversed course and streaked across the sky.” —Professor, Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

“We were all sleeping in the living room. One of us noticed a bright light in the sky, hovering. We asked dad if it was a helicopter. He told us no, it stayed in one place too long. We watched it for 20 minutes. Then it took off, leaving behind a vapor trail. We ran to the back window and saw it hovering over the Tribal college. It had a really bright light around it. It was a triangle-shaped object.” —Former Tribal cop, Lake Traverse Reservation

Current estimates suggest there are as many as 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way Galaxy alone. Is it conceivable that more advanced alien civilizations from other worlds, dimensions, or times have visited our planet? While I doubt they’d travel light years to perform anal probes on rednecks, I think it would be a mistake to discount that possibility. After all, mitakuye oyasin (we are all related), is a universal tenet.

Ruth Hopkins (Sisseton-Wahpeton/Mdewakanton/Hunkpapa) is a writer, speaker, former science professor and tribal attorney. She is a columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network and LastRealIndians.com.

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swrussel's picture
For what it's worth, Ruth, I don't think the aliens are picking on us. I think most of Indian country is still rural, which means less light pollution, and most everybody now can tell the differences among regular flying machines. Between ease of seeing and people paying attention, it just looks like they are after us...on the other hand, Indians have vast historical experience with aliens, so maybe they DO want to contact us rather than have NORAD shooting at them!
beaver's picture
And with this column, you have seriously undermined your credibility as a woman of science!
rezican88's picture
To Beaver: Scientists continually undermine their own credibility as scientists, by constantly disregarding the facts of empirical observation that do not fit within their worldview. Scientists rarely follow their pseudo-sacred "scientific method" when it comes to topics such as "ufo's," "bigfoot" and other phenomena that have been observed since prehistoric times. Rather than acknowledge the data, or attempt to gather data of their own to build a foundation upon which to base their dismissals, they all too frequently dismiss such evidence as "superstitious" or "anecdotal." I find these dismissals quite troubling, and extremely antithetical to that which is preached by the most out-spoken of the "rational scientific" community. Ruth Hopkins is one hell of a writer, and there is nothing about her writings that undermines her status as a writer, attorney, Indian, or scientist.
rezican88's picture
Furthermore, the thought of Ruth's husband giving a chonies-exhibition was humorous enough to make me laugh out loud--and warrant a few dirty looks from fellow students in the library from which I am reading this response.
n4tiv3's picture
There are still universes and worlds yet undiscovered that maybe will take forever to investigate. Science is based on and limited to the material plane which does not include the soul, spiritual truths, emotions, imagination, mentality and vibrations etc. With its own limitations it is set up for failure.
Anonymous's picture
I am from the Lower Brule reservation, and I, along with other tribal members have been seeing a lot of "UFO" sightings, my first time really seeing a "UFO" and believing!! I met up with some friends on the Crow Creek reservation, we were sitting in our cars at "the flags" by the river, i couldnt believe my eyes at first, so i asked if they were seeing what i was..and they all saw the same thing, to me it looked like a boomerang shaped object with blue lights all over it, i know there was more than one, i wasnt sure how many there was because they were moving but i couldnt stop looking at them. i couldnt move. i had a cold chill going down my spine. They ended up disappearing, but lately iv been hearing from some other friends of mine that are from the Lower Brule Sioux reservation that they have been seeing weird objects in the sky by Reliance S.D, by the "towers" which isnt far from Lower Brule, also in surrounding areas. I will keep you updated on any other sightings or if i see any. Pilamiya