It ain’t easy being Indian… (November 2016)

By Ricey Wild
News From Indian Country
I’ve had a difficult time beginning this column but I feel I have to address what is so disgusting to me and draining on my spirit. The rape culture commentary in Trump and Billy Bush’s tape from 2005 has brought all my raw emotions to the fore of having been raped myself and my immediate family members having been raped and victimized by close friends.
People who were trusted by our small family circle were the perpetrators of heinous crimes and have never had to answer for it. In fact it is their closeness to the victims that make it much more likely they will commit rape than walking alone and being attacked by a stranger, that situation just gets all the press.
Rape is rape no matter how old you are or what gender. I trusted and loved a person for 26 years and they preyed upon someone close to me who was very vulnerable and that is beyond unforgivable no matter what protestations or reasons are spoken.
That betrayal still causes me to retch when I think about it.
I have seen the damage up close and would turn back Time if I could because it’s done irreparable damage to my family. Remember there are enablers who are every bit as responsible for the rapists themselves. One person I know made the devastation of another’s rape about themselves’ and sought to garner sympathy in addition to having blasted the victim’s heinous experience to anyone who would listen without their permission.
Another person brought in a sexual predator to our circle and was well aware that person’s disgusting actions yet chose to stand with them. Sadly, these scenario’s are not by any means unique to my family alone. This happens all the time and I believe it’s time to open up, being the victim carries no shame so let’s end it forever. This is NOT our collective Native American Indian culture. I ask you all to look out for the innocents and believe the victim when they tell you the truth.
I am going to keep on speaking up for the victims and I will not allow myself to become blasé or ignore it any longer. I’m angry and plan to write more about it. For more information please check the link below to learn more about Rape Culture.

A sample:
“And although rape culture has its roots in long-standing patriarchal power structures that were designed to benefit men, today's rape culture burdens men too — for instance, by ignoring the fact that men can be victims of rape and sexual assault, and women can be perpetrators of it. That means that male victims are also left without legal protection and social support”.
On another rant I am very concerned about the Water Protectors in Standing Rock, ND, who are being constantly harassed by local, State and other police forces using armored vehicles and tactical equipment on innocent people. I know of many, many people Native and non-Native who have been to the encampments and have come away changed forever and whom plan to return there. To all of you I say chii miigwech and I’m grateful for your phenomenal  loving stance in protecting our precious water for all to enjoy.
FYI: to all the money-grubbing land grabbers your people tried to kill we Natives off by gruesome massacres, intimidation, legislation and blood quantum quotas. That hasn’t worked in the 500+ years in the past and will not now, not ever.
I don’t know of any more tenacious People than we are and now we have Allies that really get what our true message is. For me, it’s take care of our Mother and Her gifts to us in every way. We are responsible. We are strong and indefatigable.
We are here to stay.
I have to happily write that as of this month I’ve been writing my column for 18 years!!! It has been a wonderful time and some terrible times like when I literally could not write because of depression and other illnesses but here I am now! I wonder now what great future I have to create because I ain’t done yet by any means.
Of course I will write about my experiences and trials in life and my hope is that all of you will do so too…begin by keeping a journal, submit story ideas, (note to self) and be present in your life. Easy to say, I know, but doing so is therapeutic and can be uplifting. If you don’t tell your own stories who will?
Well…I’m preparing for another freezing, snowy winter season but hey, what else can I do? Rezberry is soon to become “Freezeberry” in a short time.
Happy Native American Heritage Month!!!

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