It Ain't Easy Being Indian

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ricey wild.jpgMy dear readers it must be very

obvious that I love to laugh tell stories and joke and tease. I love

other people who do that too and it is they whom I seek and I ignore

the haters. This is my world and I get to say who’s in it. That

being said there are times that intrude on my contentedness like that

awful Lone Ranger movie starring Johnny Depp. At these times I have

to reach back to my own memories of being terrorized in every way by

the colonials’ descendants.

I’m writing specifically about the

recent backlash against rapper Emerson Windy and his “song” and

video of him in dressed in redface, eagle headdress and all rapping

about “smoking that weed” and using a peace pipe to do it. To be

fair, which I try to do even in the face of my extreme disgust at the

video, which even used actual pow wow footage in psychedelic

graphics. I watched the video of his apology on the Facebook page

petition to make him take that disgusting video down.

What struck me most is that Mr. Windy

seemed really taken aback by the outrage directed at him regarding

the video. He kept referring to it as a “piece of art” and that

he meant no offense to the beautiful Native American culture. Windy

also expressed astonishment that people had written words about him

and to him that “even I can’t say” obviously the N-word, which

is taboo unlike the R-word, which is not. I’ve pondered all my life

why in the heck do black people and other oppressed races in this

country not get how we Indians feel being subject to this? And no,

ignorance is not your excuse. Google Native American; American

Indian; even Wiki it if you want to learn about our loving complex

culture, customs, technology, language, style of dress and dancing.

It will only be the tip of the wigwam, tipi and longhouse but it’s

a start.

Okay, so Windy gave a public apology,

great. It was the following comments on YouTube that I am so sickened

by. As a cynical optimist I like to think that we, the American

Indian community have come a long ways in speaking for ourselves and

that it’s meaningful because we do vociferously … mostly.

Obviously centuries of colonial entrenched racism and denial of our

rights as human beings is sadly, still far into the future. Most of

the comments were the usual hateful and stupid like statements: “get

over it,” “Indians should be thankful we took this country, they

were dumb savages that didn’t know how to develop the resources”

and that we should assimilate and shut the $#@! Up.

Those are by far the ugliest words by

people whose ancestors only survived because tribes took pity on them

and their ignorance. Ingrates. By the time our ancestors realized

they were dealing with homicidal sociopaths from Europe it was too

late. Yeah, I went there.

Now about my childhood; it was great!

I grew up in a loving family and as first grandchild I am Princess

Inkapunk (my Gram’s nickname for me) and I was adored only as

Indian families do who have grandkids. Then I went to public schools,

which is where and how I learned that Indians are bad, lazy no-good

alcoholics that don’t take care of their children. Of course this

depiction was completely contrary to my experience as a little kid

but what did I know? I was just another dirty Indian girl.

By the time I hit fourth or fifth

grade it was instilled in me that Black people were bad, no-good lazy

porch simians that don’t take care of their children. I and

everyone I knew freely referred to them collectively as … the

N-word and thought nothing of it. In fact when I was about 10 or 11 I

went with my mom and her friend to a Halloween party all dressed in

Blackface à la Uncle Remus. The room got quiet when we strutted in

and at first I didn’t understand why people seemed mad at us. THAT

instance was true ignorance and the beginning of my conscious

spiritual awakening.

I understand now how we the oppressed

were with evil intent told to oppress other non-whites so we kept

fighting against each other rather than organize to make null and

void our common adversary; White people. I sincerely apologize to

people whom I have never met whose culture I degraded. I truly did

not know but when I did learn I stopped that behavior and became

interested and respectful of others’ human experiences and history.

Just so you know? When I say or write White people I mean the culture

of greed and hate they cultivate. Word.