Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Adjusting back to "Rez Life"

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.


Wild Oglala said...

I don't know what the hecks goin on between u and brother but thanks for coming back (you are pretty much the only reason I read blogs). There is a lot of truth in his point of view, and I didn't know it was in response to something you wrote (which one was it?) I never thought of you as 'crying around' more like telling it like it is. (Except when you CRY AROUND about your Yankee this and that!) He was pretty much telling it like it is too, but like happens all to many times in this world points of view differ and often clash (even if they are to the same end, the betterment of our people, right?). His point of view is big picture, truthful and ruthless and yours is small picture, much more detail and feeling. Like the proverbial "two sides of the same coin". These kind of "conflicts" often end in some of the best writings. Keep it up! (not the fighting of course, but the writings!!) Knowledge is power, and the more points of view the more options we have, as humans and Lakota! And why won't you accept me as your friend on Multiply?? HAPPY NEW YEAR!! GO TWINS!!! GO VIKES!!! GO ANYBODY PLAYING THE YANKEES!!


Dana Dane said...

Alot of what I wrote was repeated in his blog entry. I won't even go back there because alot of what I talked about to him, he put down...like being defiant. which no matter what he says he is too. How is he looking at the bigger picture when he only looks from the outside with hate towards his own people? But yet say he doesn't hate them?
I NEVER cry around about my Yankees.
And as for my Multiply account it is under my Gmail account

Anonymous said...

Your right, if your not living within the community, it becomes very hard to criticize.
But at least he cares. If he didn't there wouldn't be any feeling one way or the other, right?
And his point of view hit home with me big time! I remember thinking the same things when I was younger, I was angry for how we are looked upon from the outside world(drunks, addicts, bums). But as life played out I came to my senses and realized it wasn't entirely our peoples fault we are like this. But what is our fault is our inability as a people to simply agree and compromise on solutions that would better our reservation and the quality of life for Natives.

Yankee this Yankee that all I hear is CRY CRY CRY!! lol.

Wild Oglala lives in the small community of Manderson. Manderson (Aka: Manderville, MurdaVille) is the drug, murder, suicide, bootlegger and panhandler capitol of the Pine Ridge Indian reservation located in Southwest South Dakota, USA! Home of the $5 scudz and $3 Big Cans!

Jesse said...

What I wrote, had nothing to do with what you write. My blog was more like a wake up call. I will write my response later tonight..two sides, one coin.

Waki said...

Ur bro duz have sum totz,i was told dat REAL warriorz live on da Rez,part of why i came home after 15 yrs from da world of push buttons,Da elder,s sumtimez really confuse me but i,ve come to da conclusion da dey also have to earn da respect:{ All my chickletz are flyin da coop but i think i,ll stick it out here 2 left but dey go home to mommy in da past 2 summerz,my 16 yr ole still askes me if were related to so and so,z family i guess i know wa dat meanz a new girlfriend LOL I also have to find out who my blood relatives are cus before i left 15 yrs ago i just existed now i,m learnin dis thing call,d life,,is,nt it Grand:>