It ain’t easy being Indian... with an Indian car

By Ricey Wild
News From Indian Country 8-09

This past month on a glorious summer day I undertook a journey I thought would never happen in my life.  I drove for almost half an hour from home before I arrived at my destination. The Mitz, my adorable, foofy dog, was about to get her first professional grooming.

In May I fell on some glass, my left hand was slashed and I almost bled to death. So the very ‘daybenok’ (Ojibwe for ‘any old way’) grooming I had been able to give Mitzi was out of the question. I only had the one working hand yanno?

The predictable happened and the Mitz was lookied like she slept in a Rez ditch, only worse. She didn’t care but I did. People judge you on the condition of your dog, I know I do.

It took over an hour before she was done and I went to pick her up. My Mom Omi was with and we were kinda apprehensive but excited about how she would look (we don’t get out much). Cathy, the groomer came out, invited me in the house and presented a really funny looking dog. Turned out it was the Mitz.

I paid Cathy and tipped her as well, then I went outside with what was left of Mitzi and heard a bark of laughter from Omi. We both marveled at her new appearance, we could barely equate this shaved-down dog to the Bob Marleyish one we love so well. On the way home this thought occurred to me; I paid good money, cash, to get back only half a dog! Uh-huh!.... I am so on to the dog-grooming cartel.


Same day, driving back through the rez I made a wrong turn, backed up, and all of a sudden my car started grinding, sounding really angry. What now! sez I. It was only the previous week I paid for brake pads, etc., which cost $350 bucks, the amount I gave for the car, in blood, sweat and tears.

The next day I brought the car to its other home, the mechanics garage. I was informed that not only do the ball-bearings/joints (I’m sure theres a joke there) need to be replaced but I ran the risk of the tie-rods snapping and incurring a possibly fatal injury not only upon myself and loved ones but to other people! Hai!!!

Sadly, I looked at my pay schedule, hoping that I would be able to hang onto my job so I could keep getting my car fixed. After a four days long wait I picked up my car, and it sounded and felt the same. Grinding and unable to go over 14 MPH. What did I just pay for? OMG!

Mad? My anger was nothing compared to Omi’s, she applied her war paint, sharpened her tongue and told the mechanic what time of day it was. It was not the time or day that poor old Indian women get taken advantage of by decendants of the snake-tongued ones who said the treaties would stand ‘as long as the grass grows and water flows,’ but I digress...

Next day, me being car-less, my friend Bobbi generously offered to let me use her van so I could run critical errands. This is the point where I begin laughing hysterically.

My mom Omi and me went to the bank, I got my license renewed and we were on our way to grab some to-go lunch. Red light, I brought the van to a stop, the light turned green and it would not move. All of a sudden there was like 26 vehicles behind me full of mad, road raging white people.

If looks could kill... anywayz an old dude with a cane from the bar across the street tottered toward us. He gestured to the front tires and said, “your tie-rods broke.” Sure enough, both the van’s front tires were pointing inward, lookin’ all crazy, which is why the van was unable to move forward. What is an Indian to do?

I laughed my flat ass off, that’s what I did.

Well, it turns out that we, my Mom and me, not to mention Bobbi and her tribe, were very fortunate the breakdown happened the way it did. I am going to go so far as to claim that our Indian Nations all have our so-called mythical beings, of how the Earth came to be, why this and how come that, that nothing is random, its meant to be.

Like the powwow I went to this past month; the Annual Rezberry Veterans Powwow. Mere English words cannot describe how incredibly feel-good it was. Ya’ll Indians know what I’m talking about, so I say, “Ho-Wah!” Good job.
Because of the contributions and help of family and friends, I now drive a car born in this century. My Grampa Steve, who is passed on, left a dime in it to let us know he approves. I miss you Paw, and thanks, you know what for.

It ain’t easy being an Indian without other Indians around who ‘get it.’ Like my Gramma Rose sez, “we all help each other.” Call me if you need to be ‘hauled around.’ I am so there for you, I know what its like.