It ain't easy being Indian... (April 2016)

By Ricey Wild
News From Indian Country
I'm hoping to see dandelions soon because I feel happy when I do. Their appearance means Spring has come and Summer follows. Powwow Season will also be here because even if we dance indoors during cold weather I know Indians of this Turtle Island like to feel our Mother under our feet.
Again I quote a non-Indian friend photographer from back in college: "I have never seen people step so lightly upon the ground". I treasure his observation and I remember his words every time I see Our Peoples' Native Nations dancing. Still dancing even though we were to have been exterminated, erased from history we are still dancing. Dancing for our Ancestors who fought bravely and to the death for our homelands; dancing for the generations to come so they too can dance in their honor.
In Native country there is always a Veterans' Honor Guard that lead the Powwow to show appreciation for the the people who chose to serve our country. I could quote statistics here but per capita Indian's have volunteered for military service more than any other 'race'. I used to wonder why some did after all the U.S. government did to kill us and got this answer: THIS IS WAS OUR COUNTRY FIRST. Even before we became legal U.S. citizens Our People volunteered for the military and fight America's enemies. Let that sink in for a bit.
Of all the Powwow's coming up this summer I must mention in particular one in Minnesota on Fond du Lac Reservation. It IS  a Veterans Powwow and has been attracting more people year after year but this one will be different. I don't have exact dates or time as of this writing but the Vietnam Traveling Wall will be on display days before the Powwows Grand Entry on July 8 at 7 p.m. The Wall itself will have an escort of hundreds of Bikers until it's placement. The Fond du Lac Veterans Powwow will be July 8-10, 2016.
Having met and know Vietnam Veterans I tear up because of the hostile political environment they returned to here in the States. It was undeserved misdirected hate and they deserve our acknowledgement and atonement for it including putting themselves in deadly harm on orders. I have been to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. twice and the magnitude of the loss does not become less; rather it is more relevant considering our current situation in the Middle East.
My own father, Jerome George Charette served in the U.S. Air Force and was on a fuel re-charging plane where his airplane refueled another one IN THE AIR. I can't even imagine. I can only hope I inherited his genes of bravery and resilience. Fuel, that's what I need to beat....!!!
I encourage anyone and everyone who has never attended a Powwow find one near them and do plz GO! Bring your families, eat moose or buffalo stew and the iconic frybread that is everywhere in Indian Country especially acknowledge that is where you are standing, living, working, playing, hunting, fishing and honor US, the First Peoples of this bountiful land.
Okay, the rules. When you see the Indians stand up, you do too. When they are quiet you zip it. No filming during Grand Entries or when spiritual blessings are going on. No, that is not and has never been cannabis being smoked in the "Peace Pipe". We pray to the Four Directions and each has it's special meaning. We offer the smoke up to the Skies and to Our Mother Earth in gratefulness for the blessings bestowed so that we may live well.
Other than that I offer yooz no other advice except honor your life-source which is what we Indigenous Peoples call Turtle Island. Hey, we went through THE GREAT FLOOD also; it's not just biblical. Before organized religions we were more alike than not, think and feel that especially like hi-jacked holidays were not Christian in origin. I pray that for yooz all.
As for me, I graduated to using a cane to walk so I don't imagine myself actually dancing at the Powwow this summer but I can at least shuffle around and get me some hugs n frybread. Hey! Now I have something to look forward to! Been alone too long I need to hear the drums and jingles.
We never left, we are still here and the Revolution has begun.

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