Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The Rez Will Always Be Home
I lived away from here for 16 years, between the ages of 18 and 34. I lived everywhere. Places that have more things to do recreationally, for both me and my kids. Places where I could sell my beadwork for more than I could get here, because here, everyone and their mama does some sort of artwork for a scheme.
I lived where trash doesn't blow freely and it's a crime to throw a gumwrapper or cigarette butt out the window. I lived where alcohol is legal and not as big of a problem as here. I lived where there are jobs, and maybe more opportunities. I lived where the cultures are diverse and everywhere you turn.
But I also lived amongst people that know nothing of who they are. They don't know that thier grandpa, who is buried across from Chief Red Cloud was one of the first to recieve a Christian name. They don't know how to make wasna. They don't know who their people are, so they buy it. They don't know that pointing with their lips is a local slang. They don't know that the shinier the man, the better the lover. They don't know that coffee in the morning goes with old country, pow wow music and the swap shop on the local radio station. They don't know that the waiting room at the hospital is where you find out what's going on with everyone you know. They don't know that cousins are really "brothers and sisters" and aunties and uncles are "moms and dads." They don't know that an extended family could include over 100 cousins and you're pretty much related to everyone, somehow, through marriage or jail time.
In the city, you might have the world at your access. In the city you rack up high phone bills to catch up on what's going on at home, even though the news is never good. But on the reservation your world is right here and there is no place like it.
Maybe we don't agree with some of the ways around here, or maybe we hate that it is so trashy, but I was born and raised here and feel proud to be from Pine Ridge Reservation.
It's like when someone leaves your block of commod cheese open and it takes on the flavor of an onion...you still eat it, because you love it and because it's still commod cheese and a whole block of it.
Pine Ridge will always be Pine Ridge, and it is home to me. I am from here.