There was another funeral on the rez last week. This time it was my cousin, Sonny Bobb. This is the fifth death this year, and it's only April. I'm tired of death, and there's no respite.
I engaged in a pitched, life-and-death, brutal, bloody battle with four racist young white men on a lonely dark rural road in Creek County, Oklahoma in 1971. I was a 22-year-old college student and a citizen of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.
What does it take to succeed in life when everyone, in your formative years, abandoned you? It takes determination, smarts and a bit of luck. My life began in January 1954 to a military father and an Inupiaq mother.
Back in 1998 when I was last spending a solid chunk of time at my mom’s in Molino, Florida, I drove 26 miles north to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians tribal offices near Atmore, Alabama to see if I could volunteer in some capacity while I was home.
Buying a car will always be a big deal to me.
New Year’s at ICTMN finds me at home, shuttling between the computer, the woodpile outside, the kitchen where I hope to sautee some mushrooms soon, and the enticing couch with its open invitation to me to enjoy a brief afternoon snooze.
Boozhoo, Aniin! Denay Makinitook!
Welcome, My Relatives, to the Centre, the heart of Turtle Island, the sacred place of Manito Api. Today we come forward to share a gift from the Original People.
“What are you writing?” the man at the bar asked me.
“A piece on Turkey’s president who recently said Muslims – not Columbus – discovered America.”
“Well …. did they?”
“Of course not!” I blurted. “And neither did the Jews.”
“So it was Columbus, then. …”
I haven't participated in Thanksgiving for many years now. It is hard to celebrate the holiday when you know that it was created to commemorate the massacre of Indian people.
I live and sleep in the mountains. Been living this way for a year now, so I guess that technically makes me homeless. I know an Indian who was similarly homeless, but she got a PhD and now does research at MIT. So there's always hope for Indians in my situation.
This morning as I sit in front of my eggs, corn beef hash and yerba mate, I am thinking about my next step.
I have been spending less time with my writing as of late as I have been prepping for a second round with the Veteran's Administration.
Sometimes bravery is the smallest of things, a grain of sand lying under a mountain of regret. This, I felt as I watched my mother die. Exactly two years before the moment she left this world, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It started with a pain in her breast that wouldn’t go away.
I remember my first week at Dartmouth College. It was after a week-long bus ride from California. Dartmouth, the Ivies, the East Coast, College in general, they are all worlds away from the reality of the California Rez (American Indian Reservation).