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

By Ricey Wild
News From Indian Country
My dear readers it must be very obvious that I love to laugh tell stories and joke and tease. I love other people who do that too and it is they whom I seek and I ignore the haters. This is my world and I get to say who’s in it. That being said there are times that intrude on my contentedness like that awful Lone Ranger movie starring Johnny Depp. At these times I have to reach back to my own memories of being terrorized in every way by the colonials’ descendants.
I’m writing specifically about the recent backlash against rapper Emerson Windy and his ‘song’ and video of him in dressed in Redface, eagle headdress and all rapping about ‘smoking that weed’ and using a Peace Pipe to do it. To be fair which I try to do even in the face of my extreme disgust at the video which even used actual powwow footage in psychedelic graphics. I watched the video of his apology on the facebook page petition to make him take that disgusting video down.
What struck me most is that Mr. Windy seemed really taken aback by the outrage directed at him regarding the video. He kept referring to it as a “piece of art” and that he meant no offense to the beautiful Native American culture. Windy also expressed astonishment that people had written words about him and to him that “even I can’t say” obviously the ‘N’ word which is taboo unlike the ‘R’ word which is not. I’ve pondered all my life why in the heck do black people and other oppressed races in this country not get how we Indians feel being subject to this? And no, ignorance is not your excuse. Google Native American; American Indian; even Wiki it if you want to learn about our loving complex culture, customs, technology, language, style of dress and dancing. It will only be the tip of the wigwam, tipi and longhouse but it’s a start.
Okay, so Windy gave a public apology, great. It was the following comments that I am so sickened by. As a cynical optimist I like to think that we, the American Indian community have come a long ways in speaking for ourselves and that it’s meaningful because we do vociferously…mostly. Obviously centuries of colonial entrenched racism and denial of our rights as human beings is sadly, still far into the future. Most of the comments were the usual hateful and stupid like statements; ‘get over it’ ‘Indians should be thankful we took this country, they were dumb savages that didn’t know how to develop the resources’ and that we should assimilate and shut the $#@! Up.
Those are by far the ugliest words by people whose ancestors only survived because Tribes took pity on them and their ignorance. Ingrates. By the time our ancestors realized they were dealing with homicidal sociopaths from Europe it was too late. Yeah, I went there.
Now about my childhood; it was great! I grew up in a loving family and as first grandchild I am Princess Inkapunk (my Gram’s nickname for me) and I was adored only as Indian families do who have grandkids. Then I went to public schools which is where and how I learned that Indians are bad, lazy no-good alcoholics that don’t take care of their children. Of course this depiction was completely contrary to my experience as a little kid but what did I know? I was just another dirty Indian girl.
By the time I hit 4th or 5th grade it was instilled in me that black people were bad, no-good lazy porch simians that don’t take care of their children. I and everyone I knew freely referred to them collectively as…the ‘N’ word and thought nothing of it. In fact when I was about ten or eleven I went with my Mom and her friend to a Halloween party all dressed in Blackface ala Uncle Remus. The room got quiet when we strutted in and at first I didn’t understand why people seemed mad at us. THAT instance was true ignorance and the beginning of my conscious spiritual awakening.
I understand now how we the oppressed were with evil intent told to oppress other non-whites so we kept fighting against each other rather than organize to make null and void our common adversary; WhitePeople. I sincerely apologize to people whom I have never met whose culture I degraded. I truly did not know but when I did learn I stopped that behavior and became interested and respectful of others’ human experiences and history. Just so you know? When I say or write WhitePeople I mean the culture of greed and hate they cultivate. Word.