Everything I Say Is True: Poetic Bibliography

"There's no Indigenous AI that's been built yet. There’s a completely different trajectory of what technology is, and what its values are."


Performance artist Kite presents her script for Everything I Say Is True, now annotated as part of the Creative AI Lab’s database.

The Oglála Lakȟóta artist, composer and scholar Suzanne Kite (aka Kite) is quick to point out that the groundwork for her contribution to Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not obviously about technology: “I can’t point to specific papers about AI that I’m building my work on top of because I’m not building it on a history of technology. I’m building it on this other history of knowledge.” Kite and others in her network of thinkers are writing a theoretical framework for AI that isn’t just a deviation from existing technological protocols, but a new one altogether, built on Oglála Lakȟóta and other indigenous knowledge systems.

Kite’s pursuit to build an indigenous AI directly confronts prevailing Western anthropocentric ideologies that position humans as dominant over the resources and systems around them and technology as a tool used to solely meet human needs. In Making Kin With the Machines, Kite and her co-authors ask how they might conceive of technologies like AI as kin, with an obligation to situate the ‘computational creations’ of AI in partnership with their wider community.

Critical theories of knowledge inform how we distribute power not only in our personal relationships but ultimately in the technological infrastructure built around us. But critique alone doesn’t leave us with an alternative. Kite works generatively, employing the principles and ethics of Lakȟóta methodology to build new frameworks and technologies.

Her commission for the Creative AI Lab, Everything I Say Is True: Poetic Bibliography takes the form of an annotated script from her 2017 performance, Everything I Say Is True, originally commissioned by the Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff. Kite borrows a four-part framework for building collective truth from her grandfather’s sweat lodge ceremonies: first, teaching, then providing evidence, followed by the display of that truth, and finally an accusation to non-believers which introduces critical reflection. Using family ephemera and historical documents she considers truth in relation to Oglála Lakȟóta knowledge systems. These systems in turn signal an ethical method for the development of new advanced technologies.

Pahá kiŋ lená wakháŋ (detail), 2017. Curtesy of Kite.

A. Teaching

When I was 12 I kept a dream journal
One night I dreamt it is a sunny day[1]
I am in a garden and I look down
I see the green grass, the leaves and branches of the trees
Below me is a picnic table with an umbrella
People sit around it in a circle[2]
When I was 14 I went to Ojai with my mother and my uncle to meet my grandfather[3]
We sweat and it was intense, lots of lights, lots of medicine[4]
I was invited to smoke the pipe but I did not[5]
We sat down for lunch around a shaded picnic table but no one ate
I looked up and there is a blue bird jumping from tree to tree[6]

Looking down,
Trying to get a closer look at us.[7]

Every time you look away I disappear and reappear
Look here, I can prove it to you
There is a need for constant vigilance, they say
FBI calls, they watch
Don’t forget COINTELPRO
No bullshit, suicide by force is real
They set fire to his family’s house during the speech, they say
This is a long chain of events, of evidence
Manifest destiny, they say[8]

Ogle wakhan kin iyuha kic’unpi
They all wore the sacred shirt, they say[9]

How can I think in Lakota if I cannot speak Lakota?
How could I have thought in Lakota if I could not have spoken in Lakota?

I’ll teach you some Lakota words I have taught myself
Ehánni: always
Wihiyayela: time
Tohanyan: how long[10]
Wowicala: belief
Wochekiye: prayer
Wakhan: sacred
Zintkatho: blue jay
Woihanble: dream
Wakhangli: lightning

Ay what does this have to do with me?
My auntie has to pee outside a gas station
They won’t let her ndn mother come inside,
It is so cold

Pahá kiŋ lená wakháŋ (detail), 2017. Curtesy of Kite.

B. Evidence

Okay, so.
I wanted to share the evidence.
How can I be Oglala Lakota?
Membership Card?
Enrollment documents?

What does it mean to make something that is Oglala?[11]
This, right now, is a piece of art.
How can I make it Oglala?[12]
How am I supposed to be Lakota, here?
These are Lakota art object.
Lakota Flute
Lakota Beads

Does making something Oglala require thinking in Lakota?
Require wowicala? Belief?
Wowicakhe? Truth?[14]
If I am Oglala because of location, where am I?
Am I in Kyle?
Am I in Portland?
Am I at my parents’ house?
What about events, experience?
The Indian Child Welfare Act?
The Indian Relocation Act?
Counter Intelligence Program?

In Lakota, past and present are much closer together.
For example: -ble means “I went/ and I go” and -mni kte- “I will go”.
If I think in Lakota, is there a difference between past and present?
Time encircles my body on a flat plane, intrinsically connected with space.[15]
Time, while appearing to be linear, is a flat circle.
If time is collapsed, what has happened is happening NOW.

Maybe the Peltier Trial is happening now.[16]
Wanted poster
Map of Compound
Affidavit of Wilson
Bullet casings

FBI says COINTELPRO ended in 1971;
Still NOW it continues today albeit under other code-names.
Extremist Matters

Right to continue investigation
Investigate all Indians

Those Programs are designed to destroy individuals they find objectionable
Official lying and disinformation,
False charges,
Manufacturing evidence,
Withholding evidence,
Occasional assassination.

Still NOW there is radiation in the water supply.
Nitrates and Uranium[17]
Resident risk
Mine Reclamation

If ‘destiny’ is a “natural” unfolding of events, ‘conspiracy’ is its opposite.
‘Conspiracy’ requires an enemy with a preconceived plot;[18]

But ‘destiny’ is the fulfillment of a natural order.
‘destiny’ requires a beginning point and an end point:
Linear time.[19]

Einstein proposed there were two mirrors.
Einstein’s two mirrors act as a clock.
With a photon bouncing in the in-between.
In this model of spacetime,[20]
The expanding distance is relativity.[21]
Our perspective is faster
Light’s perspective is slower.
Future is unfolding light photo by light photon
Einstein’s mirror, they say.

Are you still with me?

A light cone is the path that a flash of light
From a single event
Traveling in all directions
Takes through spacetime.
On a two-dimensional plane,
The light from the flash
Spreads out in a circle.

These are all the points I ever reach.[22]

The calculation of all the stars Kite could have reached so far in her lifetime if she was a flash of light at the moment of birth

All points which are the speed of light away from me at birth.

Speed of light is our limit.[23]

This dark part is everything outside our speed limit
Relativity says you must go faster than the speed of light to exit the light cone;
To see into the dark.
To experience what cannot occur in linear time.[24]

Still now I am a blue bird.[25]
Still now buffalo are coming over the hills.[26]

To think in Lakota is for it to be responsibly true for time to cease to be linear[27]
For the actions of our past to be unified with the present.

To be eternally responsible for the decisions we make,
responsible to ourselves, to our locations, to our communities.

These are decisions.[28]
My grandfather constantly tells me to stop thinking.[29]
I cannot. I am too indoctrinated.

But I have done the math,
and I have designed the models,[30]
and I have read the texts,
and I have reviewed the articles,
and I have come to the most logical conclusion.

This is the shortest distance on the light cone.
Most efficient place to exit is NOW.

"Ziŋtkátȟó, wíhiyayela", 2017. Courtesy of Kite.
On the dress at the waistband are the sections of the piece. On the waistband it says “teaching evidence display accusation.” And then on the outside are all the demarcations in the animation, where you've got all the events, all the fork in the road sort of events I think are necessary for me to exist actually during the performance.

C. Display

∞ -∞

ehánni, long ago, already

Light cone edge

Linear time

Band separating in winter

Manifest destiny

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Bull Bear to Fort William

Bureau found corrupt

Wovoka Prophecy

Aleta Jo

Indian Relocation Act

Carol Jean[31]


Wounded Knee

Fire set

Leonard Peltier in prison

Cynthia Anne

Standing Cloud hears

Suzanne Nicole

blue bird seen[32]

bison appear

Teaching Evidence Display Accusation[33]

D. Accusation

Ah! One of you does not believe!

This conspiracy is an endless one.

They cut off her hands!

You don’t believe me?

I cannot lie.

This is given to me

I am just a conduit.


There is no ending.

Tona akhigle opagipi kin he iyena wochekiya kagapi.

Each time they filled the pipe they make a prayer.

Everything I say is true.[34]


Here I am going to do a magic trick.[35]

The performance of Everything I Say Is True was originally commissioned by the Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff, Alberta March 27th, 2017

Poetic Bibliography


We always gather to feast after ceremonies, practicing gratitude and reciprocity. Deloria and DeMallie, Waterlily.


Dr. Stephen Johnson, “Standing Cloud Speaks” preview.


Kite, Suzanne. 2020. “How to Build Anything Ethically.” In “Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence Position Paper.”, edited by Jason Edward Lewis, 75–84. Honolulu, Hawai‘i: Initiative for Indigenous Futures and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).


Pipe stone. Don Hill, “Listening to Stones-Learning in Leroy Little Bear’s Laboratory: Dialogue in the World Outside.”, Alberta Views – The Magazine for Engaged Citizens.


Jason Edward Lewis, Noelani Arista, Archer Pechawis, and Suzanne Kite. “Making Kin with the Machines.”, Journal of Design and Science.


Suzanne Kite and Maȟpíya Nážiƞ, “It’s Not Done Through Our Mind, It’s Done Through Our Spirit,” South as a State of Mind.


Suzanne Kite, “Who Believes in Indians?”, Un. Magazine.


Mark Rifkin, Beyond Settler Time: Temporal Sovereignty and Indigenous Self-Determination.


John Rieder, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. (Chapter available or purchase the book here.)


Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples.


Lewis, Jason Edward, ed. 2020. “Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence Position Paper.” Honolulu, Hawaiʻi: The Initiative for Indigenous Futures and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).


Jolene Rickard, “Visualizing Sovereignty in the Time of Biometric Sensors,” South Atlantic Quarterly.


Lee Hester and Jim Cheney, “Truth and Native American Epistemology.” Social Epistemology.


Images are shown above, Pahá kiŋ lená wakháŋ (detail), 2017.


Douglas O. Linder, “Famous Trials: The Leonard Peltier Trial (2006)”, UMKC School of Law.


Lou Cornum, “Irradiated International.”, Data Society.


Suzanne Kite, “What’s on the Earth is in the Stars and What’s in the Stars is on the Earth,” Forthcoming.


Vine Deloria, Leslie Silko, and George E. Tinker, God Is Red: A Native View of Religion.


Little Bear and Heavy Head, “A Conceptual Anatomy of the Blackfoot Word.” ReVision.


Ronald Goodman, Lakota Star Knowledge.


Neihardt, John G., Black Elk, and Raymond J. DeMallie, The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk’s Teachings given to John G. Neihardt.


Kite, “tȟokȟáŋtaŋhaŋ (from elsewhere)”, installation version. Video and sound. 8 min 32 seconds. https://vimeo.com/400358520


Lee Hester and Jim Cheney, “Truth and Native American Epistemology.” Social Epistemology.


Jason Edward Lewis, Noelani Arista, Archer Pechawis, and Suzanne Kite. “Making Kin with the Machines.”, Journal of Design and Science.


Kite, “Pahá kiŋ lená wakháŋ”, Kite, 2017. Carbon fiber sculpture, sonar sensor, video, sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sveZ6SoCEC8&t=1s


Suzanne Kite, “Three Diffractions of LA,”, Fulcrum Arts.


Kim TallBear, “Disrupting Settlement, Sex, and Nature.”, Initiative for Indigenous Futures.


The dress worn during the performance is shown above. ziŋtkátȟó, wíhiyayela (bluebird, time), Kite, 2017, China silk, silk chiffon, embroidery thread, glass beads.


Kite, “Everything I Say is True”, performance, Kite, 2017, 30 minutes. “Everything I say is true” is a sentence my grandfather said to us during a sweat lodge (inipi) ceremony in California in 2016. That specific ceremony, which I was the only family member present at, was a teaching ceremony to teach others how to perform a sweat lodge. That event’s structure became this piece’s structure, but evacuated of Lakota content and imbued with the borders of belief and truth.


Kite, “Coin Trick, Kite, 2017”, video, 2017. 2 minutes.

"There's no Indigenous AI that's been built yet. There’s a completely different trajectory of what technology is, and what its values are."



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