Thursday, December 10, 2009

When Wanda was little


When I was little, my mother would not let me cut my hair.  She wanted a little girl who's hair she could braid and put pretty ribbons in.   She would parade me around like I was a doll.  I can't recall what I looked like to my mothers high society friends, but when I look at pictures, I imagine I am Sacagewea visiting the Old World.  The faces of my childhood looked nothing like mine, yet I didn't feel different.  One year I even dressed in some faux suede fringy dress, that was the rage at the time, for school pictures, by hair in tiny braids on either side of my head.  What was I thinking?   Did I not know I was indian?  Was I taking a stance?  For which side I'm not sure, but a stance all the same.   Did this long hair make me more indian and I didn't know it?   I did eventually cut my hair.  I walked into the hair dressers alone, my mother couldn't bare the horror of a lifetimes worth hair being chopped in one fell swoop.  Andrea, my family stylist, asked me several times before she actually did it.   I assured her that yes, this is what I wanted as I showed her the photo of some hair model I had found "hair catalogue" that salons carry.  I was 12, how was I supposed to know that I had an odd shaped head, and that hair is not supposed to go that short.  Regardless, she braided my hair in a long braid that almost reached my lower back.  She tied it nicely with a bow, and asked one last time if I was sure.  I nodded and she began to chop through my massive braid.  Once done, she handed it to me.  I didn't cry, I just placed it in my lap, content the did was done.
I watched as Andrea combed my now ear length hair.

 When I got home, I rolled it into a tight coil and placed in a ziplock bag.  Every day for the rest of the school year, I carried that piece of me around. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

my little indian

Most days I feel no need to be indian, I am just a "regular" person. But today having conversations about Twilight and New Moon I am drawn to the subject. As I have not seen these movies I have no opinion on the movies themselves, but rather the movie industry in general.
I have never felt embarrassed to be indian before, but today I felt dirty. I read post after post about the casting of the film, and how misunderstood it is out there. I wanted to cry. I understand the feeling of most people and the comment on how it shouldn't matter what ethnicity the actor is to play the part, but tell me, doesn't it cheapen one's cultural upbringing by using another group? Casting tries to be open minded, but are shut down by the executives who sadly must have sold their souls to the devil. When entering the industry I'm sure there were some that were idealistic and wanted to change the world, and now they are beat down by wanting to keep their job and they have forgotten their long ago wish to change the world. This lackadasical feeling extends to the general public, who insist on not simply being (insert citizenship here), but cling to their ethnic roots like they knew something about them. So why is it that these same people balk at American Indians? What are we lesser because we didn't emigrate here? Ironic isn't it? This is our land, yet we are no more a citizen then someone who has just passed through customs. Our history is the stuff of legend. My people are in your history book, but yet I am still a visitor. There is no customs agent when I leave my part of this world, but yet when I do walk the streets I am still treated like a visitor.
Are we not a visible enough minority? What will it take? And just because we are brown, does not mean that any tan face can play our part.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

hair

I have a confession to make. I carry around a lock of my own hair. It's in a plastic bag in my purse, tied very loosely in with an elastic in a simple pony tail. Some days I forget about it and wonder when will I open up my bag and find that the bag has exploded and there is hair stuck to everything due to the static electricity of this dry day.
At first I had totally forgotten about it. I have had my hair long since I moved here. At first it was due to complacancy and not knowing what to do with myself, I have no fashion sense.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Anna


What do I want to do?  What do I want to be?  I want to be remembered.   I want to be a star.  I want to be a household name.  I want little indian kids to know my name and hang posters of me in their room.  I want people to want to be me.  What am I doing towards this?  Nothing.  Nothing at all and everything at the same time.  I am trying to get to my  imfamy in any way I can.  But instead of focusing my energies in one direction, I am accept any challenge that is presented to me in the hopes that this will be the one.  My holy grail to instant stardom.  Today I was stopped in my tracks by a friend and person whose opinion I value.  She asked "What do you want to do?".  Tears welled in my eyes.  I tried to fight them back, I didn't want this ridiculous question to melt me, but it did.  I stood there in silence, just shaking my head, I don't know.  She stood in front of me feeling my pain knowing exactly how I felt.  She asked "what did you want to be when you were 9?"  This question was in the hopes of helping me figure out what I wanted to be.  But it didn't.  My answer "an astronaut".  This answer stopped her.  "Well, that doesn't help".  I guess you could still be an astronaut.  Was there anything else?  I stopped and took another deep look inside.  Well there is something else.  I wanted to be a model.  I had forgotten about that.  Why was that?  Have you ever stopped to think where those dreams come from and why?  An actor, a model.  I wanted to be that face up there.  So there is my answer right?  So don't take the job.  Don't do it.  That isn't something you want to do for the rest of your life.  But...but...but...but.........what do I do?  I don't like not having money.  I don't like thinking of myself as poor and limiting luxuries I once didn't think twice of.  But I am in this self imposed hell by myself.  My partner has not accepted this.  Does she not understand our predicament.  YOU DON'T HAVE A JOB ANYMORE!  You don't work!  You cannot still live like you used to.  Maybe you should stop smoking?  How much is a pack of cigarette?  Why didn't you pack your lunch today?  You ate out again?  No, we cannot go our for mojitos!  Do you know how much those fuckers are?  and especially since you can't just stop at one.  You become a sloppy drunk that I just want to slap.  So yes I have to take the job, and perhaps shortcut my childhood dreams because I am thinking of us and our future and you are being a selfish bitch.  Yes, I am a martyr.  I have sacrificed for us.  You, you selfish c-word are considering me.  You are not thinking of me, of us, of our future.  Fine you want some comforts of life, but what about when we're old and gray what will we do then.  I don't want to be some crazy old bag lady that hs to live on the streets.  We don't have kids, so I can't go and mooch off them.  Yes, I am being selfish!  But it's only because no one is thinking about me, but me!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pooley Speaks


Hey little one, ya wanna see a picture of my daughter?  This one is when she graduated from high school.  She had just won a scholarship, and she was so happy since it would pay for all her books, which was nice since she wanted to be pre-med.   This one is when she broke her arm when she fell off the monkey bars.  It was a miserable summer, she couldn't go swimming like all the other kids, she even tied a garbage bag over her arm one time, silly girl.  She was always at the hospital for some reason or another, maybe that's why she wants to be a doctor.  This one is my favorite! She was eight, and she had begged her mom and me to be a dancer.  So Catherine, her mom made her this dress.  Nova was so excited that she went to see my mother-in-law and they started making the jewelry and decoration for her dress.  After her first day she came home with earrings that she didn't take off for a week, finally one night she musta had a bad dream because in the morning her cheeks were all scratched up. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Part 2

I can't answer him right now. I have had a hard day, too many decisions being made today. This is not supposed to be my life. Why am I overanalyzing and truly giving a rats ass?
I can remember when I was little, I would tell my mom about my perfect grown-up life. The wedding would be fairytale like. A huge flowy wedding dress, beaded and silky, a tiny tiara holding up my veil. The whole thing would take place in a large cathedral with tons of people there. Funny how I never really thought about who all these people were, much less that I was getting married in a church by a priest, something which 8 year old me struggled with daily. My groom would be someone who adored me, he would be tall, dark and handsome. The exact likeness of the prince in Cinderella, blue jacket, white pants and all. I would be ripped back to reality when my mother would ask how I was going to pay for this lavish affair. I would answer with "isn't that where you come in". She answered "no" every time, and every time I would tell her she would not be invited then. Funny how when it came time to getting married, I actually thought back to that and did not want to go back on my word of not inviting her. She laughed when I told her this and she said she'd find out and disrupt the wedding anyway.

I was 10 when I discovered I had to marry an Indian guy or lose my status. How absurd is that? It's the 1980s, not the 1880s this was still a law. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) policy was "that if a native woman married a non-native man, she would lose her status". If a native man married a non-native woman it was perfectly fine. The non-native woman could even apply for Indian status without having an inkling of blood quantum. I was furious at this. I think this is when my crusade for urban Indians began, but I can't be sure. My first letter to INAC was written when I was 10. I wanted them to know how they were messing with my self esteem and my impressionable young mind. Were these not the 80s, when women were taking to the workforce, becoming captains of industry as well as the perfect homemaker. They could do it all. But as an Indian woman I could not have it all. My love life was being dictated by some bureaucrat. You're probably thinking "no it wasn't". But yes it kind of was. For me to honor my heritage and be true to my family, I would have to marry another indian. I do have to admit, my young mind wandered and likened the romance to once again a fairytale, where the princess had to marry someone of nobility, leaving behind her true love, who would come in and profess his love during the ceremony and then they would run off and live happily ever after. In the late 80s the law was changed, and all the women who had lost their status due to marriage could apply to get it back. But nothing happened to the non-native women who were now still carrying around their tribal status cards. They got to stay indian, and what about their kids? How does the math work on their blood quantum? I don't think it matters, since according to INAC I am 80% indian and my younger sister is 60%? They are bureaucrats after all and not mathematicians.

My childhood fantasy also included two children, twins of course, a boy and a girl so I could have my perfect family all at once and only have to suffer through the pain of labor once. (I would only realize later in life that I could pay someone to endure the imperfections of pregnancy). But now as an adult, I really don't want to do it. First off, I'm too old, my mother had me at a young age and I liked our proximity in age. Secondly, I am way too selfish, and lastly I don't want my child to be less indian. I have this hidden sense of indian pride that peeks its head out on occaision.

When I was younger and dating, I always envisioned what my kids would look like with whomever I was dating at the moment. Their blood quantum never entered into my thoughts. They were just bundles of joy from this perfect union. But when the reality of it's status hit me, my ex didn't like me very much. I knew I was doomed when I awoke feeling nautious. What was I going to do? I could not bring a baby into this world? It would be 1/2 of 80, then their children would be 1/2 of that and so on, and soon any glimmer of indianness and heritage would be gone.

I stared at the old man contemplating the actions of my day and he just stared back, still waiting for my answer. "Vic, I'll have another".

Questions:
Do you understand the last part and did she have the baby?"
If she was still pregnant and drinking would you like her less?
Did she have an abortion. would you like her less?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Helper?

With all this writing and ideas popping into my head, I need something to help me keep everything in check. It's wonderful how, as much as things progress we always long for things we once had.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It’s just a movie

Ok, we’ll go see the film, but I think it’ll make me cry, so we should pack some tissues.  Remind me, ok?  You know what, I don’t want to go, it’s too far and I’ll have to get dressed since they’ll be people there…pizza, we should have pizza tonight, since Monday is fried chicken night.  Umm, yeah, the pizza’ll take at least 20 minutes and since we’re taking the subway, we have to leave soon, so…I guess it’s pizza!  Yeah, pizza!!! Ok, just kidding you warm something up in the microwave and I’ll go get dressed.  Fuck, fuck, fuck!!!! Ok, calm down we’re really going so…fuck I gotta look indian, what do I have to look indian?  Damn…Ok, there’s these cheesy dream catcher earrings my mom just sent me (snicker) what self respecting indian wears copper etched silver earrings?  I guess they’re cool in a futuristic indian  of the 21st century way, oh, I could wear the shell earrings the kids from camp made me with the shells?  I wish I had more turquoise.  I’m gonna wear a scarf, because I may get cold, that works since I don’t have any necklaces except the two bone chokers and that would be too much.  Oh, there’s this one, the tan/bone looking beads that look normal but could pass for indian.

 

 

So Vic, tell me about documentaries? You went to film school right? I mean what's the point when you follow your subjects around for a day, then cut that down to grueling hour and a half. I rather not name names, but the title rhymes with "the SCHM-exiles". The program said it was released in 1961 and nothing much came of it's director afterwards, and it was filmed in the mid 50s when he, the director, was still a student. Not that I am a cinefile by any stretch of the imagination, and I can't or don't, wax poetic about a film..."oooh it was beautifully shot...the chemistry between the actors was unbelievable..." I am sure that I should have seen some cinematic greatness in the film, but to me it's just like a really bad home movie.

While watching it I am reminded of the weekend drives to the rez, when I would visit my boyfriend. I couldn't call him to tell him I was coming, because they didn't have a phone. So then I would worry sometimes when the cab dropped me off and drove away, what if no one was home? I'd have to then hope the store was still open, so I could call for a ride back to town. My walk through the snow, on the worn path between the houses was long and cold. I'm not sure why I never got dropped off in front of the house, maybe it was because I didn't want to pay extra or that I didn't want the cab driver to know where I was going, because then my dad might find out, then I'd be grounded again for another month. He didn't grow up on the rez, neither did I, but I did have contact with it and he didn't really like that. Looking back, the secret trips made me sad. My boyfriend was the middle child, 17, and he and his brothers pretty much fended for themselves. His parents worked out of town, and for all the times I'd been there I'd never met them. Their uncle, who was strung out most of the time, was supposed to keep an eye on them, but he usually brought the people over to party. It was sad, there was rarely food in the house, the fridge didn't have food, but a few beer, I always had to bundle up, because the heat was rarely on.

intro to pooley

hey Vic, you went to film school right?  tell me the point of the documentary, b/c dude I don’t get I mean if it’s supposed to bore you for two hours by telling you what the fuck these people have done for the past 12 hours, then it sure as fuck did that for me.

yeah yeah yeah old man, I hear you.  Just go get him what he wants, I’m cool.

 

Hey Victor!  Wanch’a set me up again? yeah yeah the usual, A SHOT OF WHISKEY AND A BEER. I come in here ever’y day how can you forget that?   So like I was telling you about the casino money, ummm, the check didn’t come in this week, so I’ma gonna have to put this one on my tab ok?  yeah i know I owe you some money… I know, I know this is my last drink.  ok enough victor, I’ll drink real slow, watch.  thanks man.  hey little one, what movie did you see?  was it into the west? where they show all them indians coming across or was it dreamcatcher or weaver, where they had all mystical and spiritual shit and why is it when they make a movie they have to make it in 5 parts, seriously they’re only telling the one story, the same god damn story every time.  these white people they don’t get it little one, like dream catcher or keeper or whatever the fuck that one was supposed to be.  they’re sharing our stories but but you think the white man saw anything in that?  I don’t think so…so anyway little one, tell me this movie you saw.

um well its a documentary based here in L.A. in the 50s some film student hung out with these indians for a night and he filmed them, and I didn’t grow up on the rez, but I went to school with them it was just and it was just I mean if thats what they wanted to show, they didn’t have to waste 2 hours of my life showing all we do is drink beer and figure out who we’re going to mooch off next, those were the indians I knew and the fights and hey lets throw in some traditional dancing and drumming I think  for the time 1950-something, yeah it was good, but really it was just sad and pathetic.  it was just another day on the reservation i think, that’s what you do.  I guess it’s kinda nice to see no matter where you go, that’s your life you know you don’t change, you don’t assimilate.  you know, i just, I wanted to know…more about the people, what it did make me think of was the presenters and what they talked about before hand, and it’s not just this particular movie, but I think it’s people in general they always make this assumption of what this movie is supposed to be, ok my first problem, dude, they’re indians they’re not native americans that term was not even in use at the time of the movie in the mid 50s.  people should know that at this period in american history we as a people where being forced into submission, treaties that had given us some dignity were now being taken away from us because it was good land, everyone being p.c. i’m just fn indian.

Really little one, what tribe are ya? 

Oh I’m ojibwe

oh nishnab

yeah I guess

what’sa matter little one?

look, i don’t…you know …ok here’s my problem, I don’t …I just…i hate being indian today, I hate having to prove myself everytime I turn around…

well why’dja gotta prove yourself?

b/c!!!! because I have to prove myself to all these other friken people who want to be indian. i want to understand why they want to be indian. there’s no glory to it, you know, theirs' no..no..we don’t get a parade on columbus day, oh our great festival is thanksgiving because the indians whatever that mythic story is…it’s a joke to be indian i don’t get it.

so ahhh, so why do you want to be indian then?  why do you walk around with your all your silver and junk, bone chocker, it’s a nice one btw

ok look, i want…i just want ppl to know i’m indian, i don’t want ppl to think i’m mexican, i’m not fn mexican.  and you’re mexican you’re not indian, native american, you have your own country. fine! fine you’re indian from down there why do you want a piece of this shit.  i don’t  get anything, I get a motherfucking headache if anything oh i get to have a pow wow yeah!, i get to have frybread, you know ok dont get me wrong i love frybread, i know…i get to cry everytime I watch an indian movie b/c of it’s simplification and you know people don’t know even we exist!  you know maybe that’s it, that’s why i have to walk around and be indian, to show people we exist and we’re still around.  I EXIST.  I don’t live on the tiny little patch of land, this glorious spread of land that the government has so kindly given to me, in my huge mansion that i can buy with my casino money, i don’t, i don’t live that life, i don’t talk the talk.

why don’t you learn little one?

b/c i don’t. you know i really really want to know more, but I wnat to know more for the right reasons, i want to know more b/c i want to know, not b/c i have some point to prove that I’m indian, so i can out indian the wannabees, you know, dude ,there is a tiny little indian in my head.  you know most people have an angel and a devil on either shoulder, well I have a little white person, and no, we’ll just call him neutral, if neutrals a colour and on my other shoulder is my litle indian.  she’s all dressed up, she lookes like a little cupie doll of an indian, her little braids ,her tiny buckskin dress with fringe, the single feahter at the side of her head the long braids just brushing her shoulders…that’s the little indian in my head that talks to me.  i’m not sure if you had to equate the indian to, the angel or the devil, i’m not sure which one she would be

really little one, you wanna be indian?  hey victor, set her up with my usual.. see that shot there in front of you?  drink it. then come back tomorrow and drink another, and the day after that another, you know what, welcome to my being indian, oh then maybe later we’ll go to the doctor, so he can me what a fat ass I am and how i oughta be eatin better, and that if i don’t get my weight down, i’m sure to get diabetes like everybody else in my family.  i’m the last one who doesn’t y’a know.  my older sister had to have her leg amputated cuz she had diabetes you wanna know what it is to be indian little one?  come home with me to the reservation when I visit people when i visit my family, come home with me and drive down the unpaved roads that have pot holes that will swallow your car whole, when we get outta the car, the dogs run up to you looking for love, who do they belong to? who knows? and they just run around free.  we’ll bring some groceries to my mother who’s still there we’ll bring her some milk and vegetables, we’ll pay her bills so that’s what my being indian is little one

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

10 min. writing prompt – Headache

Wanda scrunched her head into the pillow, her arms wrapping around.  “Just make the pain stop, I hate being sthick” she muttered through a stuffy nose.  It was the middle of summer and Wanda wanted to be outside with her friends, but grandma wouldn’t let her out of the house.  The only thing that made the day pleasant was being able to get cozy on the couch, a big no-no usually, but here she was fluffy comforted piled onto of her tiny frame, Wiggles her faithful pig tucked under her arm and the t.v. remote in her hand.  A tiny t.v. tray sit next to her, covered in a variety of drink concoctions her grandmother had tried to make her drink in an attempt to make her feel better.  But every time she brought the glass close to her lips for a swig, she was magically able to smell the putrid mix, she shouldn’t guessed it smelled like that considering it’s green, chunky appearance in the glass.  Cartoons played in the background as she read her latest issue of Archie & the Gang that her mother had picked up for her at the grocery store.  But right now she just wanted the throbbing to stop.  She wanted to get up and go look in the mirror, because she was sure she would see her brain pulsing, since that’s what it felt like.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Script writing links

Zhura
Online playwriting
www.zhura.com

Plugin for Word
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scriptsmart/

Celtex
Free piece of downloadable scriptwriting software that functions a lot like a stripped-down version of Final Draft
http://www.celtx.com/

Scriptwriting software
http://www.vcu.edu/arts/playwriting/software.html

Script Frenzy
Write a script in a month. Also has a lot of information on various types of writing formats.
http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/

Scripped Writer
A free web-based script writing software application that requires no downloading of software to your computer.
http://scripped.com/

Teaching resources:
http://www.youngplaywrightstheater.org/Resources/TeacherResource/index_E.html

Various playwriting links:
http://www.ehow.com/search.aspx?s=playwriting&Options=0

http://www.heniford.net/1234/links.htm#playwriting_resources

http://www.playwritingopportunities.com/Playwriting_Theatre_Resources.htm

http://www.dmoz.org/Arts/Writers_Resources/Playwriting/

http://www.playwritingopportunities.com/

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sustenance?

Read (7/2/09)

This being Indian stuff is hard when you’re not surrounded by them.  You’d like to just sit there and be yourself and not have to worry about others around you, but make no mistake you do.  (It’s always them-notice that, why is she always the outsider, does she not have a tribe)

You could just carry on your everyday activities with not a care in the world, like it doesn’t bother you, but in a moment of total bliss, you’ll be called back to the who you are, when someone comes up to you and tries to speak a foreign language to you.  “Excuse me?, no, no, E-N-G-L-I-S-H” you say pointing to yourself as you shake your head with a sympathetic grin.  Really, I want to help, but I’m not “one of you”.  It kinda bothers me to say the least.  Why?  Because we, as a society, walk around and wax poetic on how open minded and p.c. we are, yet we sit in our bubble  not wanting the rest of the world to penetrate our soapy wall

But when you’re sitting in a room full of them comfort and anxiety fight for the spotlight. (what does it take to enter that threshold, does she bring armor, patience? why is she battling? is she one of them? i can trick them to believe it)

  You can turn to left and hear a conversation and understand the colloquialisms and the jocularity of the story.  Then turn to your right and be submerged into an in-depth talk on the socio-economic circumstances (not the right word) of the American Indian, and why Andrew Jackson shouldn’t be revered with a place of honor on currency.  History and it’s interpretations can be amusing and misleading, and should be taken with a grain of salt, because it’s just like a game of telephone that has been occurring over days, months and years.  And depending on the last person, will depend on how the story is told.  If you’re on the white side, you’re just trying to survive in a hostile new country.  If you’re on the brown side, you’re just trying to save your family, your home and ultimately your entire being of who you are and have been for hundreds of years (what’s at stake, what’s the affront and confrontation, what is happening to bring the narrator of fighting and fear, how is that battle in her, who’s attacking).

Technically, this was our country, just like the Europe you left was yours because you were being subjugated and now you turn around and “return the favor”?  I enjoy the fact that America stands so proud and noble in the global market…

Are there any real Indians left?  I ponder this  when outsiders want to claim their inner Indian.  It’s been over 100 years, can people truly claim to still be 100% Indian?  How can that be?  I’d

what’s the difference between and American and and an American Indian and does she have an effect on American, how does that affect her

is she self sustaining?

it’s a way of life and is it threatened, is it sustainable?  what are you longing for?  look at the longing and the loss, what is under the loss? what is she searching for? what is she hoping to get? is she extinct? is she a dinosaur? does she wish she could go back and fix in.  constant duality of knowing, yet she gets sucked up into and does she get mad at herself.

What does Want say to me when I cry and get upset?  “just shut up and move on.  Why do you want to be friends with people like that?  What’s with the title “sustenance”  what does she need to sustain her?

I want to belong to something that doesn’t exist anymore (Sue’s comment)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another day...

The music plays in the background, the drumming, the melodic cries harmonize. One-two, one-two, shuffle shuffle, one-two, one-two, step lightly to the music. Wanda tries to follow her aunt as they round the bend. The shooshing and knocking of the shells on her shawl shake with her every step. What a way to spend your summer vacation, traveling around from pow wow to pow wow, camping out every night under the stars and eating smores nightly. There really was no lessons learned. Just day after day of of indians and frybread and new agey white people marveling at what a cute little girl she was. She and her mom would visit the booths, checking out the local handiwork and trying to figure how you make that. Always resorting to buy something in lieu of making it, because where does one get porcupine quills. The summer culminated in staying with her grandparents. Why hadn't she taken advantage of the time with her and learned all she could about the culture? or why hadn't her grandmother tried to share her skills and language? She did pass down her recipe for frybread, but she can't even do that right, it always comes out like tiny hockey pucks.

Now Wanda wonders where it all went. Where the time and knowledge has gone? It's too late to learn anything. The "they" don't want you coming back as much as they say they'll receive you with open arms. Sure "they" say that you aren't like those wannabees who've just found their culture and are tracing their lineage back to the early setllers. But these people scare me because I think they are better than me, becuase they are less indian than me and have less claim to the indian crown than me, but they know more than me. I was born indian, into the tribe even though I was not raised on the rez. When I

Research links

http://www.native-languages.org/ojibwe.htm
http://www.bigorrin.org/chippewa_kids.htm
http://www.nativetech.org/clothing/regions/region7.html
http://www.snowwowl.com/naartmoccasins.html
http://www.indians.org/welker/chippewa.htm
http://www.tolatsga.org/ojib.html
http://www.ocbtp.com/canada.html
http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/history/mncultures/anishinabe.html




Check out this commercial:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New and old

Lil' Wanda
How I spent my summer vacation. OMG OMG OMG, my summer was so great!!! I went
I don't, I...I...I...I just...I don't wanna go! I can't. Look, I am just eight years old and I have a whole life ahead of me. I don't like her. She just sits there. She doesn't talk to me. She just stares out into the nothing. She kinda scares me. But if you want me to go...OK. As long as Jupiter can come with me.
Ol' Wanda
Knit one, purl two, knit one, purl two. That makes me sad that she doesn't want to come. I remember being 8. My parents had just gotten married.

I am trying to write, trying to create, but I can't I don't know what to say. Wanda wanda wanda wanda......fuck fuck fuck!!!!!!! I don't know, I don't want to talk about this, I don't want the world to know what a failure I am. I discovered today that I have given up, I have stopped fighting and working. What's the point

Today's Tao

Yeah! I got a different one today, hopefully this means I've moved on.
excerpt from

Chapter 33
Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.

If you realize that you have enough,
you are truly rich.
If you stay in the center
and embrace death with your whole heart,
you will endure forever.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My doll on the shelf!

My mother tells me that she was a gift when I was little. I can't remember when I got her, I just know that I can't get rid of her. I remember when I was little, I would look at her all the time. She had her place on the bookshelf with the other toys. I didn't play with her much. I was always careful with the things I loved and she has help up over the years. My friends would come over and want to play dolls, and they would try an clim to reach her. I always stopped them. They wanted to take her hair out of her perfect little braids, a thought I could not bear! Her hair was black, black, black, like Ms. Higgins' cat Precious. But my dolly, her hair was shiny, and it went down to her leather braided belt. It was parted perfectly down the middle, the ends of the tiny braids were covered with faux fox hide, my favorite part, they matched with her books and mittens to a tee! Her dress was the color of my pet gerbil Fred, a light tan color.

Chapter 25 - again...

I keep re-reading this one randomly in class, what does it mean...
an excerpt of

There was something formless and perfect
before the universe was born.
It is serene. Empty.
Solitary. Unchanging.
Infinite. Eternally present.
It is the mother of the universe.
For lack of a better name,
I call it the Tao.

It flows through all things,
inside and outside, and returns
to the origin of all things.

The Tao is great.
The universe is great.
Earth is great.
Man is great.
These are the four great powers.

Man follows the earth.
Earth follows the universe.
The universe follows the Tao.
The Tao follows only itself.

My head

Is everyone like this? A constant battle in their head about their place in the world? For several years now I have been trying to write my epic tale. I don't use the word epic in an attempt to scare myself, I've just always the liked the word, it makes it sound important and maybe that's all it is, my one person show, my attempt to feel important in the world. Kinda sad and pathetic really?
I was fine and happy with myself before I moved to the world of make-believe. But it's something I've always wanted since I was little.
Make-believe, pretending to be someone else, I guess that's the point, you're never really yourself.

As I look back and try to remember earth shattering events from my life, which I suck at by the way, I am finding myself gravitating towards certain ages. 8 when my parent's got married, 12 or 13 when my brother was born and I started my rebellion against authority and the world, 16 is next and I think that's where I stop. I haven't aged since then. At 16 I was on top of the world, I had just gotten my drivers license, my first ticket, days after getting my drivers license, captain of the volleyball team, a monster at the net. I'm not sure if I was cool or not, I think I was, I usually am, though I make friends with everyone and everyone liked me, I went to all the parties, knew everyone. It's funny looking back now and trying to recall what you talked about with these people..

Figuring it out

OK, I've figured it out, it's all about labeling. Everyone here in Hollywood feels the need to label the other, I guess there is a need and it makes sense because nothing would get cast without it (insert example of breakdown). Prior to moving to Los Angeles I was indian, I was born indian and will die indian (what is it to die indian, if she's not indian what is she?), unlike citizenship it cannot be renounced, although I do it all the time. I renounce my indianess out of shame of the actions of some and out of embarrassment for my own (what is my embarrassment)
I'm OK with it, with being indian, I just never felt the need to justify it constantly like I do here in Hollywood.
I think my official rebellion began the day I chopped off my hair. Let's back-track, you see growing up in a small town, not on a reservation, I never had long hair. I was the little boy my parent's didn't have (what's the lie, what's the truth). Much to the chagrin of my mother the longest my hair got was the buster brown style of the time, it's ends tickling my earlobes at most.
I was a tomboy, playing softball and other sports, though I slipped in an occasional figure skating or gymnastic class, why I'm not sure. Perhaps they were more prevalent in the media and it was more accepted.
(Where is she with her hair? did it meet her expectations? Does she trot out her Indian or does she refuse? What if the labelling was reversed?)

Foundation

I confirmed my suspicions today, I am not really Indian. Maybe that’s why all those Indians I see at the pow-wows at home are covered in silver and turquoise so it will be easier to be picked out of the crowd and there won’t be any doubt then. Mental note gotta get me some. The really huge pieces too, the ones that look like a huge boulder is on your hand instead of the precious stone carved from hundreds of years in the earth. I am not Indian. I was out shopping and a man with the prettiest hair asked if I needed help. Of course I did, I was buying make-up, does this face look like it comprehends make-up? Anyway, the whole time he is helping me choose foundation, I feel so pale and bland next to his rich, dark skin. He offered two pots of some beige and tawny concoctions and asked if I had planned to get darker. Was this an assault on my indianness? Oh no, he can tell I'm a phony; soon I will hear the whoops of the Indian cops coming to take me away for fraud. I stood in shock for a moment and replied "of course I want to get darker, this is just my winter coloring" I quantified to him.

What I really wanted to do though was ask "so what tribe?” but I didn't. In that single moment I felt like I only image others do when they're curious about my nativeness.

So instead I stared at his ruddy skin, that reminded me of my dad, his roman nose, his flat-ironed hair that was so pretty I wanted to touch it. I tried to catch his eye in the hopes that he would ask, but didn't. I was in there a total of 10 minutes. I feel brushed off and put away by him, I want to feel this kinship with him, but I am embarrassed to ask him, in fear that he finds me out.

The day has finally arrived. I chopped off 8” of my hair, without a thought or a whimper. The stylist place a rubber band at the 8” line and sawed thru my thick mane. I caught a glimpse of the receptionist as she walked by, the look of shock and disbelief on her face as the stylist chopped. I looked at her reflection and smiled. No fear. No thought of what she was doing, or what it signified. I was not Sampson, I now had more power now. I let go of my wanting and needing to be Indian. I can’t recall the last time I cut my hair. Most of my life my hair has been short, never going below my ears, but now here I am in Los Angeles, my hair is the longest it’s ever been, long layers to my mid-back. When I played the Indian in Berlin Blues, my hair braided into to tight tails hanging from either side of me, I dare not cut my hair, I couldn’t play those parts anymore. You always see the Indian maiden in the movies, her long hair tied back with sinew and leather lace, then at night by the fire loose or when she has a fight with her lover, she is running away from him, her black flaxen hair catching the wind and her wildness. My short hair now, will no longer feel that freedom. It now hangs playfully by my ears, not being restrained in a single ponytail. Did hair make me more or less Indian? Most of my counterparts have hair that hangs below their shoulders and it is never tied back, now can they move or see, do they think that long hair is necessary? Even men have longer hair than me, they are always the bare chested loin cloth wearing braves in the movies.

Somedays I wish I were indian. I think t would be really cool.

Long brown hair, carefully tied into two neat braids.

I'm not sure what I was thinking the day I decided to cut my hair. My hair was down to the middle of my back. Most days I wore it up in a pony-tail, or as I recently figured out how to do a bun. Some days as I lazily put my hair up, I wondered when I became a librarian. At first I had grown my hair, or just not cut it because I was on a show, and I braided my hair for each into two neat braids, but after 6 weeks of that and then a traveling show, you've tricked yourself into believing that you are really indian since you've pulled it off for this long and you can't stop the charade now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

jingle dress

Research

Native American tribes have always had a tradition of dance as part of their culture. One interesting story comes from the Chippewa and Anishnabe tribes in the areas of northern Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. The jingle dance is one of the traditional dances still practiced today. Jingle dresses are so called because of the hundreds of “bells” lovingly and laboriously attached to the dress, and which make the distinctive jingling sound as the dancer performs.

There are differences between the original dance and contemporary interpretations, but the meanings and symbolism remain the same.

Variously known as a prayer, singing, medicine or healing dress, the jingle dress is a formidable work of art. Jingle dresses are intended for both physical and spiritual healing purposes. The jingle dress and dance is also to pray for and commemorate loved ones who have already passed from this world.

Tradition holds that the inspiration for such a dress must come from a dream, wherein the dreamer is instructed to make the dress so that someone who is ill may be cured. Only through a dream is the wearer entitled to make, or have made, such a dress and perform the traditional healing or prayer dance. Jingle dresses, by virtue of these conditions, hold spiritual and medicinal powers.

The legends and traditions of jingle dresses have been passed down from generation to generation. There are many stories, uncannily similar in nature, whereby the dreamer has a vision resulting in one or more dresses to be made and the jingle dance performed with the subsequent healing of the afflicted person.

The traditional materials used for jingle dresses include cotton prints and broadcloth, in times past very valuable trade items. The fabric used takes second place in importance to the actual jingles. The jingles consist of the lids from snuff cans, which are collected or received as gifts, and number in the hundreds for each dress. The lids of the snuff cans are rolled tightly into a cone shape and suspended with a ribbon. The finished cone is then sewn to the dress by the ribbon, carefully arranged in a artful scalloped or geometric shape. The jingles must be sewn closely together, so that they strike each other during the movements of the dance. Jewelry, leggings and ankle moccasins are worn to complete the outfit.

The original jingle dance is accompanied by drums, but did not include fans, feathers or plumes as are sometimes used today. The jingle dance is a stunning performance and the jingles are the starring element. The sound produced by the hundreds of jingles chiming can be described as the sound of rain hitting tin, a sweet musical sound like no other.

If you have the opportunity to see the magical performance of the jingle dance, it's highly recommended.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Home?

A few months after college I picked the pieces and decided I had to move on with my life. Sure things were good were I lived, but couldn't imagine spending my life there, I was going to be someone, I had to be! Our plan had always been to move to Arizona and now I had not other plan, so I stuck to the plan. I was taking a weekend vacation with some friends to go to Chicago, so I altered my itinerary to leave there and go to Phoenix! I quickly lined up some job interviews and I was off! I'd been to Arizona once before and enjoyed it, there was no other option.
It all happened so quickly. After a cross country drive I arrived in Phoenix March 13 and was to start my new job a week later.
Like I've said before, I never felt the need to have to walk around in my buckskin and leather, I loved Arizona, because "they" or "we" were all over. Looking back now I also enjoy the whiteness of Arizona. It's not creepy, soccer mom-ish, where you have to dress up and put your make-up on before leaving the house. It's more laid back and you're not looked upon like the help like I am mostly. I dread going into my favorite grocery store because the clerks always talk to me in mexican. How presumptuous of them to assume I'm like them!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jupiter Thunder!

I look out over my kingdom from high atop my perch. I survey my world and how quiet it is. My neighbor Ted sits with me. Our days are usually spent just hanging out and enjoying the view, we rarely speak. I'm new to the neighborhood, I'd love to meet others, there are mixers occasionally that Wanda hosts, she makes the best tea ever. My name is Jupiter Thunder, isn't it pretty, it evokes such grandness and power!

I remember when I was little, I would look at her all the time. She was on the top shelf in the bookshelf in the living at my grandmother's. Sometimes if I was good, my mother would let me take her down and out of her plastic world. (what was being good)
"Now be careful with her and make sure she doesn't leave the house" my mother warned (what world is she leaving, are you taking her or stealing her)
I would nod my head as I reached for her - first I would make sure her hair was perfect, which it always was, I would then brush off imaginary dust while my mother was still in the room, then I would brush her suede dress so all the tiny fibers of tanned cow hide dress faced in one direction, then brush again in the opposite direction to see which shade of tan we would like to wear today. her name was Jupiter Thunder (what was her name? Where does it come from?). I always thought her so mysterious (not the word) and worldly.
If I had been exceptionally good that day, I would be allowed to take out her rabbit fur coat out of its protective home (why is it in the fridge) in the back of the fridge. I never understood why my mother never displayed her with the coat, what use was that lump of fur in the fridge next to the pickles? No one could enjoy it's beauty and craftsmanship.
Jupiter and I would sit in my playroom. She sat legs splayed in the only direction they would move in a V-shape. Her tiny white cotton frilly underwear peeking out. It's only now I wonder how historically accurate that was or if it was a remnant of my mother's childhood.
Today we were playing classroom and I was the teacher and Jupiter the troubled student. Our lesson plan for the day was Math then recess, then story time.
My chalkboard in front of the makeshift classroom, Jupiter at her desk. What I can only now comment on is its smallness. My grandfather brought it home from me when they were remodelling the elementary school. I remember how I used to be able to fit into the seat and tuck my tiny self under the desk. Now I look at it in amazement that I was ever that small.
When Jupiter sat in the desk, I made sure she had a pillow or two underneath her so she could take note of the day's lesson. When we would go outside, I held on tightly, to her hand.
(Why mom had an indian doll, how big was Jupiter, would she wear the goad, did she get cold)

Forget that

No! I cannot be happy! I refuse to be. Waking up at 5am with thoughts swimming through your head then reading that another role has been filled by some white looking actress. Maybe I'm just pissed off, and jealous, but regardless I'm sure nepotism is at work as well as the fact that you have twins that are constantly out meeting the world. WTF why am I so angry, I should be happy, but I'm not. This sucks.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Used car saleman?

Today I had oddest experience and I'm still processing it. Ok, fine I make jewelry and other crafty things, I sell at craft fairs, roller derby and on Etsy, I even had my stuff in a store last year. But today I had a meeting with a woman who just opened the cutest store in my neighborhood. Not thinking that I was an actual vendor or salesman, I walked in with my case full of jewelry and bag of tshirts and onesies. I took each item out and gave an explanation of what I was thinking when I made the item. The whole time I was doing this, I felt so uncomfortable. Uncomfortable with what I'm not sure, the idea that I was putting my whole creativeness out there for the world to see? Afraid that they, general public whom I don't know, would be judging?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hate

How do I hate thee, let me count the ways, she thinks to herself. Hate, just such a strong word to use for another, but sometimes it's ok, especially when the person is yourself. Have you just sat and stared at yourself in the mirror, when Wanda does it, she is analyzing and dissecting the imperfections, staring into the same eyes every day for a 1/3 of a century, always seeing the same person, but not. Trying to figure out where she went and when she left. The fun girl, the fearless girl occasionally stopped by to say hi, but she always left in a rush running to help someone else, never taking a moment for her. She never really stopped to worry about love. It's always out there, and she had enough for the world, but now as age begins to creep up on her, she worries about love all the time. Will she find love, will it love her back, do they love her? will they love her if she does A, B, and C? How does one carry on the in the world?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Class notes

how do they not view me as a threat?
do I wish they thought I was a threat? when do I want it and when don't

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Searching for Hiawatha

Native American, Indian, American Indian. I want to be Indian. I am. I have papers to prove it.

I am a card carrying of the Missisaugi First Nation. 80% Indian in fact. But what does that mean? To mean it means everything and nothing at all. I didn't grow up on the rez. I really didn't grow up with all the traditions then eigher. I knew a few words in Ojibew, enough for me to say "Hello pig!" but what do you want, I was only 5.
Growing up I didn't think I was different. My parent were young when I was born and my grandmother raised me. She was french Canadian so I went to french school. Looking backing at my school picutres I am the little brown one in the back. But never was I considered different.

As a child I would go to the pow wows, because with my father being a new artist, he took advantage of any venue he could to display his wares. Ths was the only exposure to my culutre I had. Now I walk around with a self-rightchious chip on my shoulder at anyone proclaiming their indianess to me. "Reaaly I say" as I wait for the typical answer. Everyone in California is Cherokee. Since I don't know much about American History, it just makes sense that most are, but most don't know their history except that they are.

I feel like a hypocrite though most days. Walking around passing judgement flashing my card to all those wannabees. But then when they ask me about my people, I nothing to say but "Hello Pig".

I want to know who I am and where my people are.

Things to explore:
  • Everyone is more indian than me
  • describe pow-wows
  • describe my father's art, describe use visual his art
  • describe what the difference is between being indian and not white people don't get it
  • find the question that I missed, is it my pride? or my search?
  • How do you choose your identity and what makes you do it?
  • Incorporate the song "one little, two little, three little indians...."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ugh

It's another of those days. I can't recall the last time I've actually sat down to write. After the last class, which was March 26 (3 weeks ago) I left inspired and encouraged and now I am defeated and lost. Too much introspection and self-pity. Party of one. I sit in here in the ultimate cliche, who am I, why am I here? I never thought that that would be me. But now thoughts of why even bother enter my head. The other day, after sitting around in my pjs all day working from home. I finally through some clothes on (not much effort taken) and went out as I had a meeting to get to in an hour and a half. Since I had a drive ahead of me, and my car had been stalling lately, I went to the Oil Change Place, who out of respect for their INCOMPETENCE, I will not name them. I will only say that they are located at the corner of Buena Vista and Olive. They are supposed to be quick lube places, in and out in 15 minutes. Yeah right! 3:56 PM, meeting starts at 4PM with a 20 minute drive in rush hour traffic, I drove into the place at 2:54 PM. Here I am worried about some stupid job that I despise. I have been on my own working freelance since October of 2007. At that time I thought it would be the coolest. I could focus on my acting career, I would get in shape and exercise every day, my house would be the cleanest thing around...and everything else you imagine you would do with your perfect day. Well here I am 18 months later no further along in my career. Actually I am further in the dumps that I was before. I get my usual 1 big audition a year, but now, I'm not even in class and have become complacent about it, 200 emails fill my inbox for auditions and I have no ambition to submit myself and I'm questioning when you stop wanting to be an actor and start being real.
And then there's the bullshit about my whole existential crisis. Why am here? and what's the point of it all? Hence the Ugh!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Class 1- 1-8-09

My Brain and me
Welcome, welcome come right in, I've been expecting you. Today is the first time I have seen the sun, isn't it glorious. It has been so stuffy in here, I was glad to be able to open the window today and get some cobwebs out. So how are things in the world today? There's been a lot of grey around here lately and I can't figure out why. I've been visiting the books on the

Sillyness10-25-08

Sillyness. I don't know why but I feel silly right now that and silly is just a funny word that adults shouldn't say lest they want to seem like a fuddy duddy. OMG I am full of strange words today. It is Saturday, yet it feels like it should be a weekday! But I guess that's what it's like when you don't have a real job. I don't feel like I am a contributing memeber of my family since I don't draw a paycheck. I'm sure my partner resents my being home all the time while he wakes at the buttass crack of dawn to drive 45 minutes to his job.

Class exercise 2-5-09

My body was just relieved to stop and not think anymore, as soon as I closed my eyes calm set over me. I could hear the noises outside but they were like a distant echo. I take a breath and settle in, nerves pinching in my leg, gotta move, gotta stop. My head is cloudy trying to go back to that time, an age of innocence, when was that where was that? When do you lose that innoncence? I thought perhaps it would be when I was a teenager, but really, there is no innocence there, you're always up to something scheming and plotting away. Innoncence is 5th grade, the school yard on a May day. The air is warm, the wind blows and kicks up dirt. We're playing some silly jump rope game. You know the one where you name your boyfriend? How truly innocent is that? You spell his name and all the girls around you wonder who he is. "He doesn't go to this school" she says puffing her chest with pride. "He's older, our dad's work together". All of a sudden you are mysterious, a world traveller. Innocence is lost when this same boy, years after "your relationship" has ended, dies. He was so young, not troublesome, how do you end up shooting yourself?

Random Notes

2/5/09
The rain drops on the tin roof, the water as it flows down the gutter, splashing through puddles, walking somewhere, splashing each other with puddles, trying not to get wet. It's the gang, we're together walking by the high school to ChicChar. It starts raining harder now, we order more fries so we can wait out the storm. Tammy peeks out the steam covered window to Chucker's across the street. Silly boys smoking in the rain. Nancy brings out fries as we get ready to chow down.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rant

That's it. I have lost faith in all of humanity. Well, if you consider casting human. WTF is going on in the world. American indians have endured and lived on this land for hundreds of years, yet know one really know what an indian is, that or everyone is one. Indians are portrayed in mainstream movies only in period pieces, where the majority of characters are shirtless peck bulging men and few women who consist of the chiefs daughter and the old woman whom she seeks advice from. Believe it or not, there are movies out there with indian themes, but they don't get mainstream play, because the lingo and colloquialisms are very distinct. Of course, if the movie contains a role that can be filled by some popular non-indian actor that can sell the movie, well that one will be picked up by a studio.
My latest rant is due to the fact that I'm checking out recent casting in the movies. This latest one is due to the fact that on this woman's IMDB page, she is listed as Japanese, no mention of indian, which is fine, she's brown, she has high cheek bones, her name asian sounding, her website lists nothing about her ethinicty. I am fine with this anonymity, I understand that. But on my quest I find out WHY GOD WHY, there it is in some article, listing out her heritage. Japanese/Irish/Cherokee.

So here is my quandry. I want to yell and scream at her for not telling everyone that she is native, should we just assume (which when it comes to someone brown is the wrong assumption to make that she is indian) that she is? and on the other side, I want to yell and scream at her that she is NOT indian, please everyone is cherokee. Everyone is indian when it is convenient for them.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I am now 8

Why I focus on being an 8 year old, I'm not sure. But while reading a foundation update today, I think I've figured it out. Young children see the whole world in front of them, no judgement, no prejudice, just opportunity. As we age, the world around us encroaches upon these things. Some can keep the dream alive, but at some point, usually mid-life they realize that they are not happy with where they are at, or that they have lost their way completely.

These young girls, participating in an afterschool drop-in program come together to share their plight of growing up, by exploring the world of art and conversation. One girl didn't not want to take her doll project home, due to the fact it would unveil parts of herself she is not ready for the rest of the world to see. This is how I feel while attempting to write my epic tale. Right now, all my story and vision is safely tucked away in my head. If you could climb in there and check it out, that would be cool, as long as I didn't have to say it out loud. Once you say things out loud, there out there for the world to scruntinize and critic. If you check it out while it is still in the warm confines of my head, no one gets hurt.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

There is no I in Indian

Time is slipping away. I don't know what to do or feel anymore?! I am done. While trying to write my epic tale and searching through the annals of my memories I have found nothing. I have found how little I know about my heritage that I am so proud of.
I am indian. American indian if you prefer to be politically correct, which I don't really care either way about. I don't get caught up in the technicalities of it, dude, I'm indian, no big.

I came to acting to show the world what an indian looks like, but no one really wants to know. Hollywood is still black and white. People just assume that we still wear buckskin, have long dark braided hair and have a direct line to the creator. When casting sends out their casting calls they put ethnic tags onto their character description, but it doesn't matter, every actor out there will submit to it because after all everyone is "indian". Maybe it's because I'm especially sensitive to it, but the conversation does happens a lot, maybe it's just because I'm an ass and enjoy the hypocracy of it all. While in class when someone poses the awkward question ..."so what are you?" as they try to ask in the most p.c. way, my ears perk up! It's always an interesting answer. Why can't you just say American? But now the long list of what some long lost relatives were begins. "Well, I'm French, German, Swedish, Italian, Irish, Scottish, oh yeah, and Choctaw". Then of course I have to look, because I think, oooh a new friend. I think this because obviously since we're both indians we are long lost friends and will realize this the minute we start to talk as our connection to the creator will bring us together. But then I turn around and see my new friend. She has dirty blond hair, is fair complected and her eyes sparkle like sapphires. Really, really I think? Of all the heritages you just mentioned, you talk more about being indian, as if trying to relate to me. I haven't said I was indian yet? You just made the assumption that we are some kindered spirit, because of the color of my skin. Granted I formed some opinion of you by simply looking at you. But my assumptions never jumped to indian.

I feel like such a hypocrite. Here I am passing judgement on this blond bimbo who may know all about her heritage as I sit way up here on my soapbox. Fine you wanna know the truth, I know stuff. I know how to say hello and thank you, and to call someone a pig, I know what my grandmother used to call me when I was small instead of Wanda. I know when I think of my high school boyfriend, Toby and his brothers how much sadness I feel. Toby lived on the rez, he went to the english school, he was in grade 12. I went to the french school and was only in grade 11. Like any tragic teen love story, my father didn't want me to date him, just for the simple fact that he was from the rez and wasn't the stellar student I was, I was going to go to law school after all, while he could barely pass basic math and english. On the weekends, I would meet-up with a friend from work, whose boyfriend was indian too, and we would take a taxi to the rez, since I was still too young to drive and she didn't have her permit either. I'd have to either make sure that the cabby came back for me at a specific time, or make sure I made it to the corner store before it closed so I could use their phone since there was no phone at Toby's. It was only him and his 2 other brothers that lived there. His parents worked in other towns and they were left there alone most of the time. Barely any heat in the winter, somedays they had no power because the bill hadn't been paid. Their uncle, who was maybe 25, was supposed to be the responsible adult in their life. That was a joke. He would come over and sell his drugs out of the house. I know this because I was there one night, and was relegated to reading and listening to music in the bedroom, while they "talked" in the livingroom, Toby coming in periodically to make sure I was ok. At least he cared for me enough to not want to expose me to that world, so I guess I'm thankful for that. But what I can't stop thinking of now when I think of him, was the squalor that they lived in. I feel guilty because I didn't live this empoverished life, I had all the opportunity in the world. So did they though. They got paid to go to school. Every kid that lived on the rez would get a stipend from Indian Affairs. Sure it wasn't much, but I remember being pissed because here they were, always skipping class, having barely passing grades and they got money every month. Fine they needed the money, but they didn't use it for anything useful, it was usually used for beer and drugs.

I want to return to being the eight-year old. Whose whole world was ahead of her, and there was nothing in her way.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lost in a fog...

I see Wanda sitting on the edge of the dock, her tiny legs dangle over the edge. The summer air is warm and sticky, with each inhale you can almost taste the cotton candy from the fair on the river's edge. I contemplate how to approach her, I don't want to scare her, so I make as much noise as I can as I approach. "What's up little one?" I ask. "Not much, just thinking" she answers without even looking at me, "just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Everyone seems so concerned with making that decision and wanting to know, what if I'm wrong? what if it doesn't work out? what if I can't find a job and make any money and I have to live in my car and I don't haven money for food? What if I lose my job and have no skills and I'm too old and no one wants a geez working for them? How do you know? How do you know what's right?" she asks me in a frantic tone as if the I just opened the flood gates. "Wow, I thought you were just bummed because you didn't win that big stuffed animal, I joke and try to lighten the mood, you have a lot on your mind."
"Well, daddy keeps telling people that I'm gonna be lawyer when I grow up.