Friday, November 27, 2009

Should Non-Indians Write About the Indian Boarding School Experience?

Today is National Indian Heritage Day and ironically, I was contacted by a non-Indian woman who wanted to interview me re: Indian Boarding Schools and the legacy left to the progeny of the attendees. Her seeming assumption that Indian people's families are inheirently flawed due to their mother's and father's incarceration in the residential schools irked me. What frustrated me even more was that her thesis appeared to be designed to cure the ills of indigenous families that have resulted from the experiences of the Indian Boarding Schools. I couldn't help but wonder if she thought she could cure us with an academic attempt at reporting out our problems? Or could she make it all better with a finger stroke on a keyboard?

Clearly, there are problems relating to the after effects of the imprisonment of our family members that remain in our families today. However, a question that I wondered at is; would an Indian person writing a book on the same topic assume that our families are elementally flawed or more acurately assert, that we are heroic survivors who face generational challenges that are not of our own creation? As I continued to try and understand my negative response to the woman's request I became concerned that I have not read one report where a writer has thought to interpret the majority population's historic attempt to imprison, dehumanize, and torture small indigenous children as what it will always be---demonic acts of depravity against the most vulnerable segment of humanity. Children.

The actions taken against our families were nothing less than war crimes perpetrated against the most innocent. Beatings, rapes, brutilization, isolation, and outright hatred of an innocent child for no other reason than who she or he is, has to be defined as a crime against nature. Perhaps a book should be written recreating a reality that is more truthful, one where these horrific educational insitutions of physical and emotional torture would be described as what they really were, charnel houses purposefully designed to strip Indian youth of identity, family, humanity, and ultimately life.

Destruction and maiming of young children for no other purpose than land aquisition should not be seen as an admirable and patriotic act of an emerging nation. If the real story of heartbreak and sorrow were to be written of the Indian children forced into residential schools, would non-NDNZ be angry? Would they be frustrated? Would their hearts break when they read of the little boys and girls broken, bruised, and buried in forgotten secret graves without tradition in fields surrounding the schools? Would they feel shame? Would they weep for the broken hearts of the mothers, the fathers, the grandmothers, the grandfatheres, the brothers, the sisters, the aunties, the uncles, the brothers, the sisters, those who loved and remembered them?

As a community, a country, a world, we are only as honorable as the way in which we treat the most vulnerable segments of our population. What can be said of a country that built its honor, its political philosphy, and its memories of history on the burial ground of chilhood lost?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Love is...

Love is beautiful, love is kind, love is like an earwig burrowing in my mind.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Oregon in the summer is always an opportunity to discover what Mother Nature will give to us. For two days it was above 110 in our front yard. Yesterday cooled down a bit and it is strange to think 95 degrees doesn't feel so hot when compared to the record of 115 at the Eugene Airport from a few days ago! I long for a kiddie pool to submerge myself.

I never thought I would say that I miss the rain, but there it is. When we first moved here we noticed that folks would walk around with shorts and t-tops the first time the sun would break through the clouds-even if it was the middle of February! It is easier to understand now.

Inspite of the heat it is back to painting for the weekend. But first I am doing some intensive rewrites to the Native American Leadership curriculum that I am writing. Good and honorable work.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Native American Twins Win Gates Scholarship

Twin granddaughters of a friend of mine were awarded the Gates Scholarship. Go to this site to read the story:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Native American Leadership

If you show up are you a leader? If you disengage are you a leader? Yes? No?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thunder and Lightning

The clouds opened up and the rain fell down. Torrents of rain! Street was flooded and the water ran down the hill three inches deep. Then the thunder started. The air electric and thick. Came inside and took a nap so I wouldn't be afraid.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Musings On A Cloudy Morning

It rained a few hours ago and things are still damp. There is an unnatural stillness in the air and I wonder if we will have lightening strikes again today. Going into the studio is what I should do. Turn the lights up all the way, bedamn Al Gore and his environmental suggestions about saving the planet, and get to painting.

What happens when you paint? When I paint I lose myself in the moment. My feelings of the good and bad of life disappear and from those few hours that I am lost, I emerge from the studio renewed and full of hope.

Monday, May 4, 2009

How Crazy Was This Morning? Pretty Crazy!

Received a call this morning at 8:45am. The call went directly to the answering machine cause I couldn't get to it in time. Tripped over the ottoman and fell across the dining table and still missed the call by the fourth ring.

Grabbing the handset and punching buttons, I hear an eerie electronic voice announcing, "This is Carolyn (not her real name), I need help!" What a way to start the morning. The thought flashed through my mind that although I do know a Carolyn, her voice is less robotic and more NDN like. So perhaps it was a wrong number? Please let it be a wrong number. I am too old and tired for real stress this early in the morning.

My mind immediately goes to that place where paranoia reigns and I began this a joke, is it sun spots, is it a conspiracy? I couldn't figure it out so I dialed *69 and received another mechanical message telling me the number that called is not functioning. Now I am really worried. So I call 911. Very polite police type person answers and assures me that if Carolyn is in trouble he will help to track her down. Whew, now I can relax, the Mounties are on the job!

Ten minutes later, Carolyn connects by strong arming the 76 gas station owner into letting her use his phone. Picture a small NDN woman, barefoot, wrapped in a polyester blanket coated with green fuzzy pills and she has had her car impounded. It happened at 2:00am and she slept under a bridge. Man, why didn't she call? I was awake at that time! Good thing the 76 station owner is a nice guy and I am sure they are grateful for the non-NDN guy who befriended them under the bridge. But he sure scared me.

Seems she and three other guys, met up with some folks at Biggs on the river and gave them a ride clear down here for the cost of gas. As they were leaving Eugene, they were followed up on the freeway by one of Eugene's finest and stopped for DUI. Car impounded, them stranded on I-5. No shoes, no coats, no money. Walking, walking, walking until they found an exit and a bridge. Three to a blanket for warmth. The other guy busted and detained for an outstanding warrant was the fourth. Their biggest crime drinking. Their second biggest crime being brown.

We find money and bail the car out and buy the certification from the cops. $265.00 later the young, Good Samaratans pile into the van and head for home. I will pray for their safety. I caution them to change their lifestyle and wave good bye. They listen politely and wave back. I am still praying for their safety. Bye.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Native American Art Show, Fry Bread, NDN Talk Radio, and Twitter, Oh My!

May 22nd is the first day of Chinook Winds Casino's 2nd All Indian Art Show. Four days of Indian artists trading their wares. All of the folks who will be selling their work are "real Indian" artists! As a painter, doll maker, and writer I look forward to opportunities where large groups of talented NDN peoples gather. Like goin home. Pow Wows are always fun but I work most weekends so miss out on a lot of them. Am ready to publish a book of Fry Bread recipes and will have the new book at Chinook Winds.

Been thinking about starting an Internet Indian Talk-Radio Program. Wouldn't that be a trip? Will keep folks entertained with interviews of NDN folks and random indigenous musings. Am now so social networking tied in that I have acquired a follower or three. Think of what can happen when Indians speak their truth!

Thought for the day... love those you can and bless and release those you can't.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Been Working So Hard Haven't Been Able to Blog

Life is funny. When I was doing organizational development consulting, or practicing at being moderately unemployed as it were, there always seemed to be enough time to write on a blog. However, when I got a full time job, the extra moments just seemed to slip away and I forget to do all of the things that make my life fun. It is for this reason that I am revisiting my blog and will tell you, dear readers a new story.

This year I will be old enough, and then some, to qualify for the senior discount at all retail establishments including restaurants and, on Tuesday, at every Ross store in the US. To mess with folks, I tell a small white lie and declare that I am five to ten years older than I am. People who don't know me will turn and with a shocked expression exclaim, " I can't believe you are 70 years old!" It is sick but I always feel better after being told I look so good for my age. Trust me compliments are more and more difficult to come by after you reach the tender age of 50 so store them up in your heart, like a little squirrel storing nuts for the winter. It will pay off untold benefits as you sit in your rocker and bring to mind your glory days.

As a means of staving off the ravages of age, I am using a very expensive, for me, brand of makeup that has a product called, The LIFT. It is fabulous. It pulls up every part of the sagging under eye area that shows up on older than 25 year old women and makes you look like you have just rubbed on a quart of Preparation H onto your face with exceptional tightening results. It is great stuff and I do not share this miracle product with anyone except for my darling husband.

And here is the rub... He is using my "LIFT" and being accosted in the Bi-Mart Store by old and skanky women who think he is just so cute and young looking! I will tell you that I am not amused. It appears that he was in line checking out with a bag of something and an old woman, probably my age but he swears she was really, really, old, started to talk to him and ask him what he was going to do for the weekend.

Now darling husband is not so unaware that he does not know when a woman is trying to make time with him but he was polite and answered her by saying, " I don't know. My wife and I haven't decided as yet. " Where upon, the skanky witch offered him her card and said, " Well if you decide you need some company...give ME a call'!

Well, after he told me the story of his escape from the clutches of the old woman in Bi-Mart, I decided to take action. No I did not stake out the store and lie in wait for to accost and bruise her. If he had taken her card, I might have thought about calling her and divorcing him but I decided to take defensive action non, the less. I took another bottle of the "LIFT" and watered down the contents. It has been fun to see him pour the stuff on his face and to know that it is not working as well as it used to for him. I defy the old heifer roaming the aisles of Bi-Mart to try it on him again.

Just imagine the way my mind works; she recognizes him from the back as she stands in line at the Bi-Mart and touches him gently on the shoulder to get his attention. Whereupon he turns slowly and with a face that only Dorian Gray's mother could love greets her smile with a wrinkly faced grin. Gotcha you old woman.

I love my man and I don't want to share. Next week he can use the undiluted LIFT again as I do appreciate a man with looks. Plus he promised me that he will no longer frequent the Bi-Mart store on River Road ever again. We shall see...