Monday, April 11, 2011

Wanda's new background

The ethnogeographical and anthropomorphic migration pattern of early Anishnabeck people post glacial movement and precontact with of Nordic man

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

columbus Day

Columbus Day is marked as a national holiday in the United States, with most banks, some financial markets, federal agencies such as the US Postal Service, most state government offices, and many school districts closed for the day. It is celebrated throughout the Americas (North America, Central America and South America) on the same day, although the celebration, and its reasons, varies widely.

For example, in Hawaii, it is Discoverer’s Day, combining Christopher Columbus’s explorations with those of Captain James Cook, who charted the Hawaiian Islands and celebrated the ancient people and their culture. In most states in the U.S., Columbus Day is met with parades and salutes to Italian American Culture.

The teachers told us: “In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America.” That is, of course politically and technically incorrect, as native cultures had already been thriving for centuries by the time Columbus's three ships arrived from Europe. A more accurate way of explaining it to children would be to say that "In 1492, Christopher Columbus had his first encounter with the Americas."

What exactly is the point of Columbus day and why is it stil a national holiday when it has become increasingly refocused on a celebration of Italian American culture?

Columbus Day is also met with great protest throughout the Americas. Those opposing the day take the opportunity to reveal the unpleasant treatment that some European settlers subjected upon the indigenous people, including mass religious conversions and genocide.

For many in the United States, the celebration been refocused as a celebration of Italian American culture, particularly in areas with a high concentration of people with Italian lineage. This transition officially began in New York in 1866 and San Francisco in 1869, and has spread to Boston and other large cities. This has resulted in Italian-American themed celebrations, parades, and events.

Some have argued that the responsibility of contemporary governments and their citizens for allegedly ongoing acts of genocide against Native Americans are masked by positive Columbus myths and celebrations.

It is a day in which we celebrated Christopher Columbus' trip from Spain to Hispaniola, North America in 1492

Crazy you tube comments

Crazy youtube comments

Native Americans are the greatest people!!! I have native roots, Blackfoot. My great great grandmother was fullblooded, married a french man... So i am indian and french...I love Natives!!! I wish I lived where there were some. The white ways of life really s*ck!! Our government is horrible.. I give the natives all the respect in the world!!!

Long ago White men came to this land and were starving after awhile, indian showed them how to survive, They got fat and then told indian they had to join their Church,That they had the wrong gods, and must go to white church and be like white man or they would be killed , They rounded them up and began to treat them very bad and killed a lot and put the rest on reservations where they would not be seen, and they are still there!!!!!
  • Im white , but also part Lipan Apache ( legally quarter blood ). My Grandfather is full Apache. I don't hate anyone , and you would be foolish to not respect even those you want to kill . But I do hate some peoples views of life . The way they think . White people have made mistakes , but they don't know any better . Not all white people are bad just like not all Native Americans are good .
  • I dont have native roots..but have always as long as I can remember ,respected and admired the native people and what they stand for..this video is awesome btw


It was a frozen, hostile wasteland and there was much work to be done if we were to survive the elements after boring a hole through the ice
To find food, my good friend Nantook and I would build an igloo to proctect ourselves from the polar bears\
And flying hockey pucks
Then we would drink a lot of beer
And then nantook would tell me the story of the great moose who said to the squirrel
Hey rockie watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat

You’re not _(Blank)_____!

I loved watching Wanda.  I would just sit back Fill in the blank to suit you.  Maybe my problem is that I am both of these things and it’s no big deal, but everyone else wants to be a part of it.    Am I just that self-centered that I don’t appreciate who I am and where I came from?   
I don’t see the glamour in either of them.  Sure I’m Canadian, woo hoo, I lived in a world where my money was worth 1/2 of the american dollar and I saw poverty and alcoholism affect my friends.  I saw friends with tons of potential and opportunity piss it away, as they became involved in drugs or got pregnant or both.  My every day was not filled with trips to the sweatlodge and my mystical long haired grandfather did not wave smoke and surround me with spirits of the ancient ones.  Sure it was nice to go to the hospital whenever I hurt myself on the playground, and trust me it was often, but as an adult you don’t necessarily require that daily upkeep all the time.
Be it Columbus in 1492, or Jacques Cartier who discovered the St. Lawrence river and inner Canada in 1534 are the white guy who started all my pain.  Or did they? 
What to do, what to write?  I don’t know know anymore what the heck my point is.  There is a story in my head that has to be told.  It has so many different versions and avenues to explore.  It all seems to go around in circles, everytime I take pen to paper, fingers to keys, I’m writing something new or a variation on something that’s already been written. 
Bottom line…I am a registered indian who did not grow up on the reservation, who went to a french speaking school my entire life.
I just want to be famous, unforgettable, immortalized forever in history.  I want to leave my mark on the world.
What nation are you?  hhhmmmm….I wonder how do you answer that?   I want to immediately answer, but what is my answer?  Ojibway would be the correct answer, but I feel uneasy proclaiming.

Writing Prompt

Write a love letter to the moon.
Write about your dream home.
Include the following words=steak, tomato, butter, beige, and saddle sore.
Create a new drug, what will it cure? what are its side effects?
Write about the ache behind your eyes.
Write about something you learned as an adult from watching a child.
Clean house=what can you never seem to get clean?
Give yourself a gift you wish you could return.
Write yourself like an elixir …how would an old time merchant sell you to a crowd. What ailment could you cure? What would you taste like? Would you be a pill or a liquid? Describe your packaging.
Include the following words=follow, floor, fawn, fever, and fiddle.
Use the following words=eggs, hairline, skip, knuckle and wobble.
How would you spend your last night earth? (focus on tastes, textures, smells)
If your house was on fire and you could only save ONE thing…what would it be, and why…
Cleaning house=what can you never seem to get clean?
Be in debt to someone for something other than money.
Write a love letter to yourself when you were a teen.
If you could ask your pet a question what would it be…how would they never answer?
Write about receiving instructions for something you already know how to do.
Write a to-do list for your life.
Write about losing track of time.
Write about your experience at the fair.
Use melting ice to mark to mark time in a story.
Walk down the street and pick two different people on different sides of the street. Study them for a moment and write their background, make their lives intertwine somehow.
write about how a physical illness has affected you emotionally.
You wake up in a room you have never been in before. You have a key on a chain around your neck. And a box with a lock on it. And a door with a lock on it. …use this as a jumping off place for a “choose your own adventure” type of story.
write from the shadow of depression. focus on your senses. what does depression smell like? sound like? taste like?
write about a cab ride
focus on colors to enhance setting.
write about someone mending your broken pieces.

Why I am done...

(read 7.9.09)
Last straw this time, seriously, no wonder it is so difficult to get anything done.  Wanda thought to herself.  Trying to be an actor is difficult, but when you’re a minority it’s even more difficult.  And you really shouldn’t even be called a minority, because everyone claims some sort of minority so they can get a leg up.  I am a hippocrite, Wanda thought, as she had her daily conversation with herself.  It was barely afternoon, about the time the rest of the world is beginning to work and Wanda was wrapping up her 8 hour day.  That’s what I get for being a morning person.  Here I am an actual indian, by this I mean an actual federally registered indian, recognized by the federal government, and all I want to do is be indian on Film or in TV, yet I can’t.  And now I understand why. 
It’s not that no one knows we exist, it’s that no one can find us.  I’m sure there are a few casting agents who are in the know, but their in the know is very limited, I’m sure their folder of indians is bigger than the same one or two they always offer up to the world.  I hate being indian.  It sucks.  I hate the fact that people only want to be indian when it is convenient for them, when being indian can do something for them.  Such as the latte-skinned beauty who claims to be Cherokee, because there’s a good part on the breakdowns, or the parents who are just looking for money for their child’s education.  When I was in college, my sorority sister and I were out doing our weekly grocery shopping, I had to go with her, because I didn’t have a car, and she told me she had a quick stop to make.  How funny that she had to do this with me in the car.  I know she had been past this very location several times in the past week, but here I was in the parking lot at the tribal council, while she ran in so she could pick up her paperwork so she could get papers.  Her papers consisted of registration information, so she could enroll in the tribe.  I’d known her for years, yet all of a sudden she wanted to be indian.  Why?  Because she needed money for school.  Sure, you’re saying, maybe she was just trying to connect with her relatives Wanda, you’re being a little hard on her aren’t you?  No, no, no, actually I’m not, because she flat out told me that’s the only reason she was doing all this work to register.  She sat there and told me this TO MY FACE.  I sat there in shock, speechless, my mind was processing her words. .
what choke med? was it the system or was it her, did i feel angry, did i feel she was conning me or them, it was my first, know how she used me, and at what moment did i feel this, cultrual robbery, get away car.
This was my first encounter with this.  My friend by the way was a tall blond girl, blue eyes and skin that burned the moment she stepped outside.
I quit!  Here’s my card back.  You can have it.  I want out of this “club”.  That’s what it feels like most days.  You’re either in or you’re out.  You have to be popular to get any notice, otherwise you’re part of the unpopular crowd, always wanting a crumb of attention, notice and recognition from one of the cheerleaders or jocks.
can i quit?  have i tried to quit? what would happen if i did quit and is it literally possible, would i lose somehting of me?  is your card for life or do you have to keep registering.  are there popular inidan and how are they different? is it the same social stuff, what is the heirarchy that makes them popular, what are the geek indians like.
There is no honor left in the world.  The world has become all about me.  No, not me per se, but me.  I was just little when I wanted to become an actor.  I sat watching the Kids of Degrassi Street, imagining that on one of my trips to Toronto, we would be driving around in Cabbage Town and Riverdale and I would run into Wheels and Caitlin.
I have to turn my card in.  I don’t deserve it.  (why don’t I?)  I don’t understand why my frybread turn out as hard little hockey pucks.  I stand in the long frybread line, where a short older white-ish woman, who is always at these events and loves to flaunts her being indian and knowing a lot, how does she flaunt it? how much does it annoy me and how do i react to it?  stands behind me telling an even older white grandma looking who just jumped in line in front about frybread and how good they make it at other places and what it’s purpose is in life.  what is the purpose of life of frybread? look at the gender conditioning, do native women need to be good homemakers? is that what she expect from herself, does that mean she’s not a good indian or woman?  What does my frybread taste like and has she gotten advice?  Is it hard to make? has she given up making it?  what does it taste like when its good?  tell the story about my making frybread for the DDG luncheaon and how I made everyone eat even though they knew it was aweful?  associations of the original memory of frybread.
(We hate to be different, we need to fit in) 

Why do I cry?

I feel like such a freak?  It is 6am I am working on the computer, my coffee cup next to me and some t.v. movie playing in the background.  I realize it’s just started and stop to watch.  I recognize the film as one I worked on when they were doing pick up shots in L.A., I’ve never seen this part of the movie, so I watch playing my version of “Where’s Waldo?”, and look for myself as one of the Wounded Knee background Indians.  Oh, I saw the huge tomahawk that I had in my hand.  Yeahhh! There’s my hand!  Unbeleiveable!  We were there an entire day, covered in dirt, clothed in leather and  fur, and huge wig and  you get to see my hand.  Ahhhh, the magic of Hollywood.
Now back to why I feel like a freak. From the TV, there are gun shots and screams in what I can only imagine is Lakota (which seems to be the only indian dialect that Hollywood Indians speak) and tears well up in my eyes.  I can’t even tell you this story without having an overwhelming feeling to cry.  An older man sits while an soldier comes up to him and say “Yeah, you’d probably eat our liver”.  This is horrible.  Tears are now streaming down my face. 

How come when some other ethnic group get a month, a-la-black heritage month, hispanice month, their movies are of varied themes.  When indian movies are shown, they are from some point in history, and always include horses, tepees and a bunch of indians being killed.  Wounded Knee, Sitting Bull,


(read 12/10/08)
Who in the fuck do you think you are?  You call yourself Indian?  really why?  what do you need from us?  We don’t need you.  We don’t want you.  We are in search of the pureness not the wannabees of the world, what is a wannabee?  Well let me see, someone who has never lived on the reservation, burns easily, tans never, has never, has never visited the reservation, has had no clue that they were Indian until someone pointed it out them and now is now in the search of the Indian princess inside them, that has been denied them by some pooer outside themselves and they feel they’ve been cheated.  They’ve been living their lives like their normal that the world owes them nothing but now because of this new found toy they have discovered a spiritual, tree hugger in them, like they knew it was always there.  But they walk around in the world no differently every day.  While me and my brown cloud walk with looks and question at every turn.  “Oh you have long brown hair, you’re very tanned…(I’ve just resolved to calling myself brown to make it easier on me.  It wasn’t until I moved her to L.A that I had to realize how Indian I am.  I had to stand in a room of my peers and declare my tribal affiliation.  Sure, fuck yeah I’m proud, but as I listen to person after person let me know who they are, I am reduced to a mere footnote in Ojibwa history.  I luck out because I am a rare tribe in the room.  Everyone is Navajo or Cherokee, with the old Alaskan tribe the other one there.  My husband the history buff can recite to me the power my people once wielded.  Dude I’m Ojibwa, I live on the outskirts of a rez my parents never left me alone without adult supervision, I don’t do drugs, sure I drink, but that’s just to fit in, my BF Fuck yeah he’s rez!  Looking back I can see why my dad didn’t want me going out there and understand the poverty and desperation that is there.  Toby, Keith and Jason were left to their devices  most of the time.  It was now November and there was no heat in the house, parties were common place, as were the drugs, but luckily Toby thought he loved me enough to realize that that wasn’t me.  I drank.  Drugs were a way to nowhere and fuck, I was going somewhere.  I didn’t understand their poverty until now.  What kind of person has to leave their three children to provide for them.  These boys, now men are still living there mere existence perpetuation the Native myth.  Can this white person who claims to have Indian in them somewhere understand this?  WTF?  Really do you see them?  Can you feel their pain?  There mere existence, living day to day.  They are Indians, living in reservation housing and continuing on and you you sit back and want to a part of this world.  Really why?  What glamour and romance do you see in it?  the pain, the tears come from knowing these people and hearts they have.  Do you realize that my people were still roaming the great basis as “free Indians” until the early part of the 19th century?  Until of course they were massacred.  Or is it for the free house and casino or money?  What would you do with it all? 
There are (XXX) numbers of casinos here in the U.S. some even owned by the tribe, so by the outsider interests wanting to exploit this loophole in the gambling system.  But there are (XXXX) amount of reservations with (XXXXX) amount of people living there and they try.  When I think of the treatment of these people, my people, I am…

(Fuck just realized this.  I am like those wannabees, I cry for them, I feel for them, just like I’m sure the wannabee feels when he hears their plight but has not lived it.  I feel bad for having lived a good life, I feel guilt because you have to have suffered to be Indian, like the hundreds that have died in fighting for their land)

I am an angry Indian, I know it and try to move past it, but it was brought to my attention today, I am angry.  Why can’t I just be grateful and think of it as a complement that all these wannabees want to be Indian, but my response to that is “Fuck that!”  Why? Why do you want to be Indian today? Why not yesterday?  Di you just wake up and think that we would you accept you into our fold?  WTF?  Why couldn’t it be yesterday?  I don’t want you!  You don’t know the pain I cry I feel the pain, do you?  I just want to know!  because I don’t know who my people are I don’t have stories of my people, my people founding the country.  I’m a bad person.  I am a selfish Fuck!
I am at a loss of what to write anymore.  I have talked to different people, and had differing opinions shared with me and now I got the other side of the coin.  Before I  was just angry at these people wanting in, but now I think I’m still angry.  I try to recall the conversation and can’t.  After telling my story the last time, I concluded I felt guilt and it made my heart break to feel that.  I drove away from class and was upset because I felt guilt.  I needed to unburden myself and not feel this way anymore, so I called home.  It didn’t help, it just added to the confusion.  I explained to my mother my predicament and read to her my rant.  She sat quiet, I hoped I hadn’t shocked her too much, but it wasn't shock, she was contemplating trying to understand.  She explained to me the reason we didn’t live on the rez, it’s because my family never did, my father grew up in town and prior to that they lived in the bush and didn't really do business with the Indians.  My father grew up poor and didn’t want that life for his family.  I never really considered his poverty, they a family of 10, lived in a 3 bedroom house, the only times I heard of poverty were when I was sneaking in after curfew and my dad who’d been drinking met me at the door and grabbed me by the shirt and yelled in my face at how ungrateful I was, as he slurred in my face, how he didn’t want me hanging out with them because I was better than that, maybe I was just searching for an Indian connection even then, wanting into  that world by whatever means I could find. 
My mother went on to ask me what I missed out on, I replied that I wasn’t really Indian because I couldn’t feel or hadn’t felt their pain, suffered their poverty, it had nothing to do with ceremony, it had more to do with suffering.  My teen suffering consisted of being grounded for months at a time because I missed curfew, then given a reprieve half way through my sentence, I’d come in late again and get another month added to my sentence.  Looking back, there were things I didn’t get, but I never whined and cried about it, I understood our circumstances.  I had a car to drive at age 16, whenever I wanted .  I had a job, spending money, I was worldly for what that was in my tiny town (we ventured to the big city constantly, my father was an artist, so we traveled from show to show during the summer, I think he was looking for his indianness as well.
I can’t be Indian.  I don’t know anything about Indians, sure I have a card that says so, I have paperwork giving me a percentage, but in my heart of hearts I don’t think I can call myself Indian.  This only happened when I moved to L.A. because it seems that were more brown.


I can’t tell you the last time I saw her.  I am trying to remember our last face to face encounter and I can’t.  I can recall certain stories about her adventures, or how she would react in a certain situation, but I can’t remember the last time we were in the same room together.
I wish she were here.  When we were out together she was fearless, never questioning or wondering what to do next.  She was my rock, my strength, the person who wouldn’t have to be dared to do anything, you would just be sitting there thinking “wouldn’t that be cool if someone…” and you turn around there she was doing it. 
I miss her.  I don’t know when we lost touch.  I want to remember the moment I lost her, because I dwell in it’s aftermath daily.  I want this pain to go away.  I remember when we were little when things wouldn’t be going my way, you know when your parents aren’t letting you do what you want to do or they’re not buying you that pair of jeans you must absolutely need to have, I would just want to run away.  I had a bag that was constantly packed, tucked in the corner of my closet.  I would imagine my adventures as if I was a little hobo her bag on a stick wandering the country walking on the side of the road, a sunny day, tall grass would be blowing in the wind as I marched to my next adventure.  I would want to run away to teach all those people who are ignoring me, or think I’m not worth it a lesson.  I would show them!  That’d teach ‘em, to dismiss me.  But I never left.  I never hurt myself.  I just carried on.  Wanda was there with me, letting me know how stupid I was for wanting to do it, laughing at me, telling me that if I were to do it, it would not be like one of those afterschool specials we watch every Saturday afternoon after a morning of cartoons.
I miss her.  I just realized it.  I don’t know who I am without her.  Wait, I do, I’m nothing, I am a ship drifting at sea, no motor, no utter, no sail.  I spend my days  riding the waves, letting the wind and tides rule me and have their way with me.  I have things I’d like to do, but I can’t reach the shore.  I see it in the distance, a different shoreline everyday.  A different possible adventure, but I can’t reach it.  Should I jump out and swim? 
I miss her…The day we met is like a lifetime ago.  We were at a track meet, I think we raced each other in the 100 meter dash, she beat me of course.  She was fast!  She was everything I wanted to be and everything I wasn’t. 
We were in grade 8 at the time, kings of the playground.  She had a presence about her.
Why I feel that I am drifting with the tide and the wind? 
Question to others:
  1. Do you see Wanda?
  2. Does it sounds like I’m talking to myself? 

Wanda #2

Hey Vic!  Y’ever take a pregnancy test.  How accurate do you think they are?  How many do you think you need to take if you get an answer each time?  (beat) No, I didn’t go to the doctor.  What the heck, it’s only been a few days.  Hey, don’t forget my drink. 
(take out doll)
I can’t be a parent.  Are you kidding me?  Seriously, no one would trust me with a child, and if they did, they should not blame me for the condition the kid comes back in and the things he or she has learned.  You know some people tell me that I should have a kid, especially if I’m selfish, they say that I’ll change.  I don’t think so.  I feel ok to hold the kid, but when they’re fresh outta the oven, I always think I’m gonna snap their neck if I don’t support it just so.  That and as they get older I would be the worst.  I would want, no wait, I would demanemand and expect perfection and it would be brutal.  The child would be expected to be an awesome athlete.  I would be the loud  obnoxious parent yelling in the stands.  I know I would.  And what if, god forbid, this spawn of mine did not live up to all the hype?  I would most certainly be a mean son-of-a-bitch.  Which is just wrong.  A child should not have to be live up to my unheathly expectations.  And it is by no means living the live I would have wished on me, but simply carrying on the Big Canoe legacy. 
(beat)  Vic!  refill please.  Huh?  No I haven’t told the father yet.  Because, I’m not even sure if I’m pregnant so why would I want to get his hopes up?  God, yes!  he so wants to be a dad it’s crazy.  I mean I love kids too, but he’s just crazy for ‘em.  I think he’s the only one in his family that doesn’t have kids and at family holidays he’s the one keeping the kids entertained.  Me I usually make friends with the host to ensure my wine glass does not go empty the entire night.  His family is some crazy Irish Catholic family.  So you have to take that into account as well when you’re mixing up all those genetic juices right?   I mean come on, him Irish, me Indian, poor kid doesn’t have a chance, mind as well start ‘em off with whiskey from the bottle.  Good thing I’m drinking. haha.
Who am I kidding?  What if after incubating this tiny person for 9 months out of my life.  Having him or her reek havoc on my body, the baby comes out…well you know…not tan?  not brown?    That would make me feel uneasy…is that wrong?  Then when you get down to the paperwork of the kid, what happens then?  Will he or she still be indian?  Then if they don’t regain that latte color, they’ll be walking around like those people that bother me so much now.  Indians are brown! 
When you pick up one of those photography books, with photos from the turn of the 20th century.  Stoic nearly black weathered faces stare back at you.  Varying lengths of dark black hair, cover the coal eyes of the client.  The…I would say proud, but I don’t think they were…the quiet…no, the…the…the prisoner, yeah, since they are rarely smiling, they sit as if posing for a mug shot in all their feather and leather glory.  But always a dark face staring back at your from the pages of history.
But what if my little face come out…well pale…will I love him or her as much?  and what if I don’t?  huh?  what if I can’t?  what do I do then?  Fuck!  This is exactly why I didn’t want to have children.  So I wouldn’t have to be faced with these ethical dilemmas.  The wondering, the decision making.  Fuck.  I do not have unsafe, unprotected sex.  How could this possibly happen to me?  Fuck. 
What?  Are you kidding me?  Of course I haven’t told Charlie?  Have you not heard a word I have said?  I would be a crazy alcoholic racist parent.   Having that conversation with Charlie, heck no.  I hate it when he cries and I don’t want to make him cry.  Of course he loves me.  He loves me a lot.  Which makes it all the more painful I were to actually be…well you know…
Victor!  ‘nother round!

This one

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.

Piece of Pottery

(Class assignment 7/7/09, most prized possession)
It wasn’t until years after his death that I recognized this piece of clay was my most prized possession.  This tiny shard given to me by grandfather holds hundreds of years of history I cannot even begin to know about.  Grandpa Big Cheech was my world and I his.  He was a fountain of knowledge I never tapped into.  “Wanda, he said in his gravelly voice, I want you to have this.  Keep it safe”  I held this flat rock in my hand and wondered why I had to keep it safe.  I looked closely at it examining it for some clue of its preciousness.  Nothing! and why would I have to keep a rock safe?  I wondered to myself.  I nodded politely and put it in my pocket, grandpa wouldn’t steer me wrong. 
It was only one day when I needed something for who and tell that I dug this pebble out of my jewelry box and called my aunt to see if she knew the story.  She gasped when I told I had it.  She continued with it’s story.  Grandpa was travelling in the southwest U.S. during our winters to find work.  One year he worked on a construction crew that had discovered what they thought was an Indian burial ground.

How can I be Indian?

I sit in a room with brilliant natives, I feel inadequate, they talk, they discuss, the deepness of being indian.  

Thoughts and ideas from the reading:
Leave them in poverty and they’ll destroy themselves.
It’s always about choice, your own volition you have no where to go, how are you going to get there.
Child Abuse, spousal abuse
  • Intellectual warrior
  • Our land was lined with wagon wheels
  • How to become a whole person
  • The new people will no stop coming
  • What being indian means to each person
  • the noise of villages ceased
  • they made reservations for us

Class Notes

Introduce all these crazy indians.  Are all indians crazy?  Yes they are in there own.  Not neurotic.  The different types of indians.  The militant indian, the spiritual indian…The year is 5010…we’re in a museum. 
No, it’s about pow-wow.  The huge pow-wow that takes place every year at the museum of the southwest has been cancelled.  and everyone is concerned about it. 
We’re going to pow-wow.  I was on set with this indian electrician guy I know and he wanted to know what I knew about pow-wow being canceled, then there’s Ralph “what ? pow-wow is cancelled?”  There are indians on set, yes, b/c the show Saving Grace is set in Oklahoma, so of course casting needs “token” indians.  What is it like to be a token Indian?
Saving Grace?  Pow-wow Cancelled?  Can you recognize the indians from the non-indians there? Or is it muted?  No, b/c I know everybody.  Then you see the one crazy indian, with his long greying black hair tied back with a single barrett on the top of his head, and a bone choker and huge leather cuff on his wrist.  And the wardrobe people didn’t make him take it off.  He was playing a frickin patient?  Really?  The other times I’ve worked, the patients only had their tiny hospital gown as wardrobe and a robe, their only prop a hospital i.d. bracelet, and this guy, I think he even had mocassins on.  He’s talking loud and has to be told several times by the A.D. to quiet down.  He talks to me and ask who my people are.  He’s crazy indian guy.  Please step away from me…
Do I feel misrepresented by him?  Yes, he just knows everything.
Does he make me angry? does he make me sad?  No, I just cringe, b/c it’s like his indian suit.  I didn’t see the point of him doing that.  Did wardrobe ask him to do that?  No, its’ just how he is.  But they don’t tell him not to do.
Are we indians?  or token indians?  or are we marginalized? (don’t understand the word)    Was Oklahom ever run by indians and then the white man slaughtered them?  b/c the indians got kicked out of oklahoma.  why are there token indians?
am I an imposter? No b/c I know who I am and I know where I’m from.    Am I playing a cherokee?  No, I’m playing a nurse.  That’s why I was hired today.  I know the only reason I got called was b/c I was registered at Central as Native American. 
Was I glad that I got called?  Oh yeah, then I kept getting called back and it took me a few times before I realized “oh, I’m supposed to be indian”  Did I play it differently? When am I an indian and when am I a person?  are they distinct and separate or not?  and what is it to be cast as a native american and then does it count if you don’t speak? are you just furniture? are you landscape?  That’s why I say token, b/c there’s a quota they have to fulfill.  I don’t think of it, no one gets to see you.  You’re the fuzz in the background, you’re the blurr that goes by.  What is that like?  and Do I identify with that?  No, no I don’t.  I don’t think so.  b/c for the show, i was called b/c i was indian, is that success? no it’s not, b/c your’re background, your furniture, nobody really sees you. being in Hollywood, people know “oh, you just played background”  but in the rest of the world they don’t know any better, they just know they saw your face, ssuccess is subjected at that point, it’s just a paycheck and yeah I got called b/c I’m actually native american, unlike I’m sure many of the people that register
time 30:55

Aug 29th show

I can’t remember the day I met him.  I just started coming here once a week, they played cool music and it was on my way home from work.  After a while the people in the bar start talking to you, you know there name, what time they come into the bar, where they sit and what they drink.   He used to sit at the end of the bar, right on the corner, facing the door.   I never thought much of him.  He was a nice old man, never mean or rude.  Sometimes he’d get really chatty, but he never talked to me.  I would come into the bar, sit at my spot at the bar, he would nod in my direction as if we shared a secret.  I’d smile and sit and give my drink order to ‘ol Vic here.  One day, I was telling Vic about this documentary I had just seen.  It was from the mid 50s.  Some student filmmaker followed around a group of Indians that had just moved to Los Angeles from their respective reservations.  It was the worst movie EVER!  I think that’s the day he decided it was ok to talk to me. 
Hey little one,  what we’re they? the Indians, Navajo or just a bunch of them ther’ urban Indians. hehehe.   Me, I’m Mohawk, from upstate New York.  Don’t meet others skins in here very much.  Hey Victor, give my new friend here a drink.  Whatever she wants!  and while you’re at it, set me up again too.   My casino money check came in today, so I have a bit of celebrating to do.  Casino business was good this month.  Your rez have a casino? No?  Hmm, when I lived back there, I use’ta hang out in one of the lounges there after work, they had the best juke box in town, it had all the greats, you know Merle, Johnny, Waylon, Conway Twitty, oh and Tammy Wynette and her Standing by her man, she reminded me of my wife and you, you remind me of my  Nova.  My little girl!  Not the car.  She’s off at Med. school now, then she’s gonna go back to the rez and work with the elders there to learn the old ways.  I miss her.   So  little one, what’s your story? 
Eh?  My story?  I don’t have a story.  I don’t know what to tell you?
Talking to myself
I’ve lost my mind.  Why am I even contemplating answering this man, look at him.  He’s slumped over the bar and doesn’t look as if he’s changed his clothes in days.  He looks a bit like grandpa, kind eyes, a bear of a man, that if he were to hugged you you would feel safe and nothing bad would happen to you, but … but I can’t  do it.  I can’t tell that old man about me.  Look at him.  He is most certainly Indian.  I know this, because it’s like sixth sense, you just know when you’re around another.  That and aside from the full head of midnight black that covers his entire head, it’s bushy like an out of control brush.  Looking into his face I wonder about the world he has seen.  He looks beat down.  Deep crevasses fill his tanned face.  Are they laugh lines or worry wrinkles?  His catcher’s mitt of a hand shadow the half full glass of beer.  He looks at me, waiting.  His deep set eyes have seen a different world than I.  Maybe if we were to chat, I would get a better understanding of being of the world, dispel my myths…
I don’t want to tell him I’m Indian.  Then he’ll ask me questions that I won’t be able to answer.
Tribe?  ok, sure I can answer that one.  Anishnabe – the original people.  See I’m a joke already.  My people come from the original turtle island and that’s all I know.  Maybe my struggle is more with the stories themselves.  Reading one, it sounds eerily like the bible.  I don’t believe in God, so how can I then believe in the creator?  Some mystical presence that helped form the earth after the flood with just the dirt recovered by a tiny otter, then placed upon the back of a turtle.  How can I reconcile this in my head?  I am a person of science.  The big bang theory, Darwin.  Not the randomness of stories. 
I can’t talk to the old man.  He’ll find out I’m a fraud.  A FAKE.  Not a real Indian.  How can I be judge and jury to all the wannabee Indians, and in the same breath tell people about how Indian I am, about how Indians live, when I know nothing.  This fact makes me sad.  I am not a real Indian because I have not suffered.  I think suffering is a large part of being of my people’s history.  Not like other people’s suffering.  Their ancestors came here looking for a new opportunity.  My people were already here, a life taken away.  A hundred years ago, you say?  No, this has occurred within my lifetime.   There was no choice.  How can I be Indian?  They suffered.  My suffering?  I had parents who took care of me, warmth at night, food on my table.  My life was not filled with alcohol and drug filled days and nights.  See no suffering. 
I can’t be Indian.  I am a fraud.  My language, my history, I am a blank slate.  I know nothing.   Sure symbols of it surround me, I have made sure of that.  My bookcase is full “History of the Ojibwa People”, “Ojibwa to English Dictionary”, “Island of the Anishnabeg, books by Tompson Highway, Basil Johnston and Joy Harjo, braids of sweetgrass hang from my wall, their tiny charcoal ends brush the wall leaving black marks are reminders of my attempts to be Indian and honor my grandparents death in ceremony every year.  My jewelry box if full of an assortment of bone chokers and strands of turquoise, silver rings and bracelets and long dangly beaded earrings.  I have purchased them all in an effort to be the Indian I want to be.  You know the all knowing one.  The one who knows her language, more than saying hello and thank you, every w, z, i and g of it, how they’re pronounced and what they mean.  I would be able to quote dates and historical events of my people, to tell you that they were once the most feared and outnumbered even the Sioux.  I would be a fancy dancer, or maybe own a jingle dress.  I would two step (DANCE) oh, and I would learn to drum and sing (heyya)  I would be able to make traditional jewelry and string porcupine quills and bead like nobody’s business, I would be the Frybread Queen. 
I just stare at the old man in front of me.  “Hey Vic!  I’ll have what he’s having”.  Not knowing what I was really asking for, Vic slides a very tall glass of amber liquid in front of me.  The old man continues to stare at me, waiting for an answer and lifts his class.