Monday, September 29, 2008

I am who I am

"Are you the one that writes for the paper?" A lady asked me as I was in line at the gas station.

"Yup." I said.

She looked me up and down as if she just ate a lemon.

"You don't look nothing at all like your picture." She rolled her eyes and sighed, as if the she was disgusted with the whole world, even including me.

"I know." I laughed. "I used a good picture of me, not one where I look like I do everyday. By the way, do you read my column? Or do you just look at my picture?"

She looked at me and said "Do you know who I am?" I swear her eyes were glowing.

"I know who you are, nice to finally meet you." I said all sugary as if she was a customer and I was a waitress, averting her glare.

She sighed again and snapped her eyes at me. Next she zeroed in on the cashier. "What the hell is taking her so long to check us out? Is she stupid?"
The young girl that was the cashier was already flustered but when she heard that she dropped change all over and tears welled in her eyes.
"What's wrong with you? Are you new or dumb?" She hollered in the middle of the gas station.
The girl said "I'm new." Her face was red and her voice shaky. I was in line before the Evil Queen so I told her she was doing a good job. She smiled weakly before going to battle the Evil Queen.
It got me to thinking how unhappy some people must be to treat others so wrongly, without even knowing them. I happen to like my picture I used for the paper. I recently updated it, so you could see my chin, or both of them. I admit, most of the time I go around looking like the sea hag from Pop Eye. Like the Sea Hag Who Just Finished Frying Bread For 4 Families. I could go on and on and make it worse but like Popeye says "I am who I am." That's me, whether you like me for my freckles or not, I don't care because my spirit is real and caring and I hope it shows through my writing.
The Mean Lady in The Gas Station threw me for a loop. I started thinking, does anyone read the column? Or do they look at my picture and analyze it? I got writer's block real bad, for a few weeks.
Then people started asking me if I quit. I even had my old boss from Rapid City call me at work and ask why I quit. Last weekend in the grocery store a man walked up to me in the produce aisle.
He shook my hand and asked how it's going. I said good, I knew who he was but didn't know him personally.
"Can you start writing again, I appreciate it."
"Thanks. I will."
I started thinking that there really are still nice people on this rez. I just let one person, who probably wasn't upset at me or the cashier but maybe upset with her hair stylist for the dye job she just got, upset my whole apple cart. And I don't need my apple cart upset.
I am who I am. Read me for who I am. Don't try to think who I am is that little picture. Because then if you see me in the post office with my hair all over, flour all over my shirt, smelling like frybread.... then your apple cart will be upset...apples everywhere. Eeeza....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Once Were Warriors

*pic of Warrior and Horse by Marty Cuny, Oglala Lakota

We was all sitting around being artsy and crafty last night. My boyfriend....his friend, and me. My boyfriend and I are working on these quill/bead combo bracelets and his friend was like "Man, you are so lucky you have a woman like her. You guys just laugh, you have the same sense of humor, and you both love art."

He just smiled and said I know.

Which made me smile.

Then they started talking about how winter was coming up, and how nobody was going to buy anything anymore and how they needed jobs.

They talked of a new high school addition that the school is groundbreaking for next Monday. They talked of how they were told they could go see the contractor after the 15th of next month to see about getting a job.

Then they talked of how it was too hard to get a job, because tribal politics here rules everything. They talked of how it is to have kids to feed, bills to pay and every month was a struggle here. I know this. even though I have a job, I still barely pay bills. everyone that read me before knows I had it hard. I struggled to pay for internet, sometimes even logging on from the library. I talked of the struggles I had with welfare. I wasn't using the system, just surviving.

It got me thinking of our reservation.

So many people want to come here and "feel" our culture. I see them coming in everyday. Buy our arts and crafts and experience our spirituality. They are in awe of how long and tight we have held onto what is ours. They want to sit beside this pride we have still to this day even amongst the alcohol and poverty and other stats. People want to know the Lakota Sioux.

And all we are doing is surviving.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I once wrote about the statistics that you see on our reservation. I pleaded for someone to tell me how to change this. You can google it on the internet. You can find it in old media files or articles.

Pine Ridge Reservation...blah, blah, blah etc.

High School drop out rate-blah, blah, blah.

Infant mortality rate-blah blah blah.

Diabetes rate- blah, blah, blah.

Alcoholism rate-blah, blah, blah.

Unemployment rate-blah, blah, blah.

Poverty rate-blah, blah, blah.

Ok, maybe I went too far. Maybe the unemploymet rate will never change. Maybe because the government wants us to have a high rating there.

But sometimes I think we focus so much on the bad and negative that we have no room for improvement. As a tribe we all want to fight among ourselves as if it was the LNI and one family member's kid was on one team and another family member's kid was on the rival team. We act as if we the Oglala Lakota will always hate on each other and never work together to improve ourslves as a society. Where is the Lakota way of life in that? Why fight? Why put each other down?

Are we so far gone into greed and this need to be better than the neighbor that our Lakota values have demised?

You do remember these values and what they stand for, right?

Somebody prove me wrong.

How do we move forward, when all we do is put our own people down?

The essence of art

We need art in our lives, to show us how beautiful life can be.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Life on the rez

So I woke up this morning, there was a horse in my front yard...eating...the yard.

This is life on the rez.

The shoulder of the highway to the dump has been nicknamed "the trash lane" so whoever has a big load of trash drives slowly on the shoulder.

This is life on the rez.

There is a man who jumps in circles when you holler a certain number to him.

This is life on the rez.

There is a dog they call horse, he belongs to nobody.

This is life on the rez.

I hollered "whats up" to my neighbors dog and not my neighbors when I cruised by one time.

This is life on the rez.

Nobody ever has tinfoil to loan out.

This is life on the rez.

If anyone owes you money, hang out at the post office on grant day.
This is life on the rez.

You see a car with half glass, half plexiglass for a windshield.
This is life on the rez.

The Wateca Warrior Princess walks down main street with shades, not knowing she is legendary.
This is life on the rez.

Tribal presidents are accused of being "too political."
This is life on the rez.

Don't get me wrong, I love my rez. But it is the only rez I ever saw where the casino puts the tribe in debt and doesn't profit for the tribe.

This is life on the Pine Ridge Rez.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

You're turning into your mother

Didn't you used to hate it when people would say that?

I used to think, I will never turn into my mom.
My mom thinks I act like my auntie.

I think I am a combination of everyone that had a hand in raising me.

Here are some things I get from my mom that I thought I never would.

I have her sense of a way out. No matter how hard life seems. I know, there is a way out of any situation and I am smart enough to know this.

News Junkie-I have to hear news all the time while I bead or whatever. I have to listen to it at night when I sleep.

Creamer-I always would drink my coffee black. My mom always used a ton of cream. Then she discovered International Delights Southern Butter Pecan. I hated it. It used to make me gag. The other day I sent for a big bottle of it (it is sold out of town) now I drink it like my mom.

Trail mix-I never cared for it. Always picked out what I wanted of my mom's. Except for the kind she made herself with peanut butter and honey, it was the BEST. The other day I bought some out of lonlieness.

My auntie
I have her nose and her laugh

My dad
I have his walk and his wicked sense of humor.

My grandpa
I have his love of cooking and jazz and blues.

My grandma
I have her wit, charm, impatience and ability to "just know." I also have her love of baseball and football.

Everyone shaped me to who I am. No matter how small they contributed to making me who I am, they made me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


i don't know why I get cut from the paper everytime I get opinionated. I do write for the "opinion page."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Magic of Fry Bread

I was getting last minute details from my boss before he left for vacation when two students walk into the store. I thought they were trying to sell artwork, when they said "Would you like to buy a taco?"
I said "What?"
"To support the Senior Class here at Red Cloud, we deliver." the girl said sweetly.

"OK" I say and order any dark soda they carry.

I waited about a good long hour before they showed up. It was a cold Indian Taco and a warm coke they gave me, which, I could work with. I started to dig around the top layer of the taco with my plastic fork. There was a bunch of lettuce to dig through. Then I realized that even though it was an Indian Taco, it wasn't really an Indian Taco. There was beans of course, a lot of beans, some meat...few strings of cheese, and two pieces of tomato.


Who made these? I was offered no sour cream and hot sauce, but that didn't matter, I thought at first because it was still an Indian Taco. When I saw the weak amount of ingredients that was invested in this Indian Taco, I was wishing for sour cream, hot sauce, even peanut butter.
Oh well, I did pay for it, so I had to make the best of it.
We all eat our Indian Tacos different. Some act like it's a taco from Taco John's and roll it up and wolf it down. Some use a fork and knife...hahahaha. Sometear it apart piece by piece like they hadn't eaten in days. I saw one girl eat straight through the middle without stopping until it looked like the Indian Taco was hugging her face. I scrape my ingredients off, tear the bread into pieces and top it with the scraped ingredients.
So I did this with my hurt Indian Taco. It was ok, but it wasn't flavorful enough. Finally, I scrapped my scraps and just ate the bread. It wasn't the best bread but it was warm, soft, sweet fry bread...and it made my lunch hour.

And that peeps, is the magic of fry bread.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I am back

Not connected at home yet, but that should be soon.
I just am not in the writing mode plus too busy at work.
I am also sick of uptight fuckers that read my column locally, but oh well, you can't rule the mindset of your readers.
Anyway backk to work, hope all is well with everyone.
peace out girl scouts.