It ain’t easy being Indian… (May 2014)

By Ricey Wild
News From Indian Country
Woke up this morning, turned on the news and watched the story about the Sterling guy (owner of the LA Clippers) who made racist comments that were recorded and is now banned from anything to do with the NBA. In the same moment I thought ‘good enough for him’ I wondered how is that different from the Washington Red$kin$? Answer: we don’t have that much money aka power for one thing, and our culture is still actively degraded by the willingly ignorant. Grrrrr! I saw Native News Today put the story out on facebook; sure it will get the word out but beyond that what can we do? It seems the only thing the dominant culture takes notice of is what billionaires want and violence. But…using other means to change the hateful team name isn’t impossible either. Let me think about it some more.
Words have such power that goes unnoticed because we are all institutionalized to ignore the meanings. I used to hate ‘aboriginal’ and ‘indigenous’ because the former implied AB-normal to me and the latter sounds like indigent. Progress will happen when we are spoken to and written about by the Native Nation we are born to. When I lived in the Big City Indians there would open with the classic, “Where you from?” and one would answer what rez we come from and then the questioner asks: hey! Do you know Bright Sun-Robe? Lazy Pony? How about Fred? The conversation goes on like that until they find a common acquaintance or relative which invariably happens. Up here in Rezberry only enrollment matters; sad to say many blondes are enrolled while others who have every right of blood and place are not due to blood quantum on paper, another thing whitey created to de facto erase ‘Indians’ as individuals in sovereign nations. Ayeeeeee! Me big heap angry! LOL! Just kidding but you get what I mean? Words!
On a good note Minneapolis, Minn. has changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day!!! The bill was passed unanimously and my heart feels really happy for the change that honors our collective indigenous history and how written history got it so wrong. Chii Miigwech Minneapolis my former beloved city. I miss stomping around there and the friends I left very much but I have to believe that I am right where I’m supposed to be. BTW-I ‘get’ how the word indigenous is cool, it happened when the rock band Indigenous came on the scene. :D
There only a few topics that cross cultural lines up here and the main one is weather. I live in a place of extremes: cold, really cold, snot-freezing cold, Jack Nicholson frozen-in-the-snow bank-cold (The Shining movie) and not-too-cold. Here it is May when spring arrives with warm hugs and flowers to bless us with. But nooooo! It’s still snowing and outside is wet, really cold and I along with others’ who suffer seasonal affective disorder are barely holding on to our sanity. All I want to do is lie in bed and only wake up when I hear birdsong and smell lilacs. Heh. Nope!
Words! LOL! I taught my friend the word ‘zoogipoon’ it means ‘it’s snowing’ in Ojibwe; she asked Siri what was the meaning and Siri came back with “Let’s make love”!!! Oh did we laugh! Well that’s better than it’s snowing I guess….
I love that the Cowboy and Indian Alliance went to D.C. together to protest the Keystone XL pipeline that would affect their homelands. I kinda teared up even, that the squatter’s descendants have come to understand just how the pipeline would poison the earth they call theirs. I hope that someday they will come to cherish our Turtle Island as being a part of her, not just ‘on’ her. I am a satirical optimist I ‘spose. Rock on my anti-KXL warriors! I may just go rustle me up a horse and come camp with ya’ll. Rustling is in my genes yanno. Just kidding! I’m Ojibwe, I have canoe rusting in my genes.
My beloved Gramma Rose’s birthday is this month as is my friends and mine. I will celebrate theirs and mine but now I’m kinda leery about going out and about cuz I may have cursed my own self. I take transit to work and one day I found out another rider has the same birthday! (May 26). She asked what was I gonna do that day-I flippantly answered that if I didn’t wake up the next day in county jail I did it all wrong! IKR? Well, I may just stay home and see if the cats and Mitzi the dog have a surprise party for me. You never know. ;D
It ain’t easy being Indian but yanno what? I love and admire the ones who get up in the morning and make it better. Yooz know who you are.