Happy New Year!
Back with new stories posted at News Magazine. No pictures on these new ones.
First Part of : Fry Bread and
Working the news desk reading feeds filled with sorrow and suffering in the face of antipathetic industry and government only magnified the stark reality. I, like so many other American’s had cut expenses, lost retirement accounts and took a major hit financially. With insurmountable losses and struggling to keep afloat in the troubled tide of corrupt government and corporate factions a pall of futility had begun to extinguish what remnant of hope I had left. Embittered by the death of my sister Pamela a couple months back, in part from the callous disregard by the medical/insurance community, my losses were beyond the material consequence. I’ve been haunted by how she was denied life saving medication and treatment then left to die a slow and agonizing death. Spiritually it was time to take a journey to “The Stronghold” and recalibrate my senses. Gathering up my kids I decided to spend time with my people back on the reservation then visit our Burmese friends.
Jokingly I told my kids were going to take a National Geographic journey since both my tribal nation and the Burmese communities were a cultural cornucopia. Upon arrival at my home “back on the rez” we were struck by the absolute contrast from the contemporary world we were escaping from. As if being transported to a land where time forgot we found ourselves in a third world nation. Ever so impoverished and not the sparkling metropolis my rez would seem foreboding to some but to me it was home fore I had arrived in our last stronghold. Though many homes could use a coat of paint, or in some cases torn down, this was the last stronghold of my people. 10 miles down the road was the Washita Battle (massacre) site where Custer tried in earnest to eliminate the final traces of my people who survived an earlier massacre at Sand Creek Colorado. Ah but like the coyote we still survived in spite of the US Government’s campaign of genocide. Of course my kids and I made our pilgrimage to the Washita and made tobacco offerings to our relations who were killed with impunity. I also made a prayer for humanities sake in light of the world’s direction. It was a somber reality check which still brings tears to my eyes whence I recall the stories my elders taught me. Funny how so much history never made the history books, ours and other tribal nations anyway.
In spite of the horrific history and impoverished conditions many of my people live on the rez this is where I call sanctuary. Though some homes are powered by extension cords and need water hauled in by buckets our spirit is strong. Duck Tape and plastic adorn many windows in preparation for the bitter cold winters we have, yet we have a sense of humor about it all, especially now during this economical melt down. My people thrive regardless of the lack of material wealth and have learned many years ago how to survive on nothing fore we have been in “recession” since the time of conquest. But with all the hardships and social ills that plague my people we still have our dances and give-aways. It’s funny how people with less than nothing can still find a way to make baskets filled with commodities, blankets and food stuffs for our give-aways. If we lived for anything we lived for these gatherings and Cheyenne’s love to gourd dance, moi included.
I forgot my regalia and found myself without my eagle feather fan and gourd rattle. Fortunately my cousin had a couple spares so my son and I could dance. I did manage to bring a shawl for my daughter though. To have my kids dance with me and our people was an absolute blessing for me and I was honored to have my poop butt kids along. As usual we had a banquet with victuals to die for. You can’t beat a Cheyenne feed bag and again I was taken back by how people with so little managed to feed the hungry hordes who converged on our dance. I’m a firm believer that best fry bread in the universe comes from the Red Moon Agency Oklahoma.
When the drum began to beat we honored our soldiers and I could no help but feel proud of our people who sacrificed their all in America’s wars. I also could not help but feel a bit of irony fore they fought with valor for a nation who would soon forget their sacrifice. With anger and irony put aside I was elated to dance with my children in our traditional way. To see my son & daughter dancing beside me filled my heart with joy as we danced around Stewy and the boys, our drum group. As they played our sacred songs our singers took us back in time as we were transported to a time when we were one with nature and the land was truly free. I found my sanctuary as peace befell my tattered spirit. I came full circle and replenished my heart with love and hope for the future of humanity.