I had two things happen this weekend that inspired me to write this.First off, my little brother had a well written blog entry in his myspace account that really twisted my chonies in a bunch. In his "Open Letter To Indians." He talks of his love for his people but in the same sentence voices his disgust in his people. He writes of how we really all just like to cry around about the past and drink it away, when we should be worried about the future and how our culture isn't in our DNA but rather needs to conform to today's world. (I know for a fact if you see all the tape and superglue at a pow-wow, that we have conformed.)
Well after sending him a half dozen messages that just about boiled down to me egging his blog, I signed off the internet and decided not sign back in. After all he was born here, but never raised here and still don't live here. When I was twenty three I knew everything too, even more than I do now. Plus I really think it must be easy to be able to say what is right and wrong with the rez, when you don't live here. Then I found my brother's words in the hallway written with marker on a piece of paper. I asked my oldest son if he did that.
"Yes." he said.
I asked why.
"He (my uncle) made me so mad by writing that, I wanted to keep it and when I become somebody I want to show him I did it." he said, so now you all know we don't have a printer.
That's right. I thought as I walked away.
I guess I took a personal offense to my brother's blog entry because I have been writing for the paper for a year, blogging for almost three and many times I do honor the past by writing about it. At least I thought I was honoring it and not "crying around" about it. Then I finally open my email this morning and find a letter from a reader. He says my words inspire him and he wants to know how my children have adjusted to "rez life" after living off the rez all their lives.
They were all born off the rez. I was out in search of a better life, but like I said all the time denying what we have right here.
You see, what we have right here is a culture that is so proud and involved in who they are. Yes, I know sometimes the past comes up, we must honor it and move on, like most of us do. I mean how do you tell the elderly to forget the past that they lived through when most of them are still healing from it. Also, if you are anything like me or anyone in my family, you don't tell the elderly anything or surely you will get "ka tah-ed."
So because my children were born off the reservation, honestly this has always been a sanctuary for them. This is where their huge and I mean HUGE extended family is. If you know Pearl Cedar Face-Dixon's clan then you know how many relatives my kids have. And I think having family around every corner helps for children to adjust to rez life. Of course it probably won't be cool when it comes time for them to snag, which I hope is a looong way off. Because I remember back when you pretty much had to ask if you were related to someone before any of that. If having family around isn't the case.
My suggestion is to get involved in the community. If anybody knows me, I am pretty much of an introvert. I stay home, bead, and watch every reality show that was ever made on TV. But on the rare occasion that I do get out of the house to go to a celebration like the memorial Christmas dinner we had or to my dad's kettle dance last summer, there is nothing like it. Being around your own tiyospaye is one of the greatest feeling in the world.
When we was out on my dad's land, with the Lone Elk tiyospaye,after everything was over and everyone was digesting their food, smoking cigarettes and joking. I sat back and looked around. My daughter was chasing the daughters and granddaughters of my cousins through the fields and laughing. I remembered the days when I used to follow their mothers and grandmothers like that out in Porcupine. The funny thing was my daughter Justice, had only met those little girls just hours before that, they called her over, put make up on her, next thing we know here she was running and laughing with them like she knew them for all of her 3 years. That is how you know you are home and around family.
Here on the rez, even if you go out within your community, you run into family. And going to such cultural events will make your children feel at home. Soon the city will be nothing but a memory.And when you and your children start say eez, enet, and josh, then you know you all have adjusted and are home.