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It Ain't Easy Being Indian
Ojibwemowiin
Friday, October 02 2015
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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This month’s theme is language. Ahem! “Boozhoo! Ozaawanakwadookwe indizhinikaz. Niin doodem Ma’iingan.”
There! I just introduced myself to you in my own language; Ojibwemowiin. It’s my real name, not Ricey Wild – which is Manoominikwe or the name on my checks, which is Kristine Shotley. My name in Ojibwemowiin is how the Creator recognizes me. That name is the essence of my being and what the Medicine Man dreamed for me. No, I will not divulge any more than that, you don’t need to know. I regard it as sacred and not to be bandied about lightly because in my name there is also my purpose, the reason I’m here. Miigwech Gichii Manidoo!!!

My Gramma Rose has always told me stories and then repeated them, but not in the annoying way at all. It was more like our oral history culture where repetitive stories are passed down through generations, so that we know our history, so we know our environment and spirituality. Gramma told me a few times, “I was a bright little kid! When my folks talked Indian to each other I would sit underneath the kitchen table and listen to them. I knew what they were saying!”

Wow. So many particulars to this story. First, Gram called it “Talking Indian” not Ojibwemowiin, but her generation has always described the language as that. “So and so knows how to talk ‘Indian’.” She was not spoken to in ‘Indian’. Her parents wanted their children to speak English because they thought it would be better for her. So then was it in her bones, her skin or spirit that she understood what her folks were talking about? That boggles my mind.

There is direct evidence that we Native American Indians carry traumatic DNA from centuries of horrific, savage genocidal tactics from European Immigrants who saw no wrong in brutally murdering our ancestors. Well, as we know, the European immigrant savagery didn’t stop at all. It is still a very real entity but they are using less blatant ways to exterminate us. Incarceration, illegal drugs and medications to keep us numb and unmotivated, plus racist legislative policies that continue on from centuries ago, aka “The Indian Problem”. We experience daily suppression by the continental usurpers not acknowledging our legitimate history and rightful place on our own lands; read Howard Zinn and Jack Weatherford. Yes, I know there are Native writers and authors, but I cite these men in this case precisely because they are white.

Oppression of our cultures and our spiritual practices by European immigrants has been relentless since they got here. Here we were, living the good life in a clean environment, lots of natural resources and freedom to move about as we pleased. There were no demarcation lines between the US, Mexico and Canada; those are recent and made up. The immigrants think they won. Hah-hah!!! The majority of Americans don’t know that every day of their lives they speak a little “Indian”.

Oh yahhhh!!! Over half of the States are Native-named, as are places, animals and the flora and fauna. Too many to list here but I encourage you to Google “Native American place names” and “Native words we use today”. Long ago one of the most interesting things I found out is that there are no swear words in Native languages. Yep. Swearing was unnecessary. I suppose we had better things to say. So now I don’t feel bad when I swear in English or Spanish because…well…I just don’t.

These days it is critical to the survival of our collective Native cultures that we revive, speak and preserve our languages. It is more than just a thing; it’s who we are as a distinct people. In the government boarding schools children were horribly abused and punished for speaking their own languages. The children’s hair was cut; they were made to wear European-style clothing and were traumatized to the point of believing they were bad, sinful beings. Because that’s what they were told by the Churches or administrators whose job it was to kill the Indian to save the man. Talk about sinners.
The lasting effect of the spiritual scalping of Indian children resulted in decades of malevolent pervasive dysfunction in Indian families. How well can people who didn’t grow up in their own homes know how to be good parents? It has been generations and we are now addressing the violent sickness that happened to us; it has left no one unaffected or immune.

I know well that life is not static, nothing stays the same. So when I read my dear friend Nikki Crowe’s post on facebook that said, “Feeling miigwechful” Ojibwe/English meaning thankful I LMAO’d! I called the word ‘Ojiberish’ and it made my day. Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

It Ain't Easy Being Indian
Thursday, September 03 2015
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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ricey wild.jpgSovereignty is a powerful word. I believe it means more to Indian People than to anyone else in the United States. For my own refresher and further elucidation I looked up the precise meaning(s) to make sure I knew what the heck I’m writing about rather than thinking I already know and start yakking about it off the top of my head. So: sov-er-eign-ty noun 1. Supreme power or authority. A self-governing state. Okay den.

Speaking of my head I thought hey! I can use my own spirit/mind/body to describe how I understand and feel about the concept of sovereignty. My entire being is a Sovereign Nation. NO ONE tells me who/what to worship and how to do it. I have the right to an opinion on everything and I can say what I think and feel and it does not matter to me who chooses to be offended. NO ONE, especially old white men, has the privilege to legislate what I decide to do with my body. I do have to abide by some physical environmental constructs (that darn Matrix!) but no one, and I mean NO ONE has the power over me to say I can’t boogit when and where I please. It was in the early 1970’s that I first heard the word sovereignty in reference to American Indians. I was still a kid and I puzzled over it without any real comprehension as to its meaning.

A reservation was a place where a bunch of Indians lived; that much I knew and also that I had one but didn’t grow up there. I heard about ‘Indian Militants’ Wounded Knee and the American Indian Movement that all sounded kind of scary. All I wanted to do is the ‘butterfly’ dance at powwows and all I had was an ugly maxi-dress. Hai! I didn’t yet know how much my ancestors had fought for and sacrificed so that I could be here, just be here. Chii Miigwech Gichii Manidoog!

Ironically it was when we moved to the Big City that I learned the most about my own culture. It was there I met and interacted with kids from different Indian Nations, learned my first Ojibwe words and for the first time I can recall had my identity positively validated as an Indian girl publicly. I know I rant and rave about U.S. education and the blatant lies schools teach about Indians even now, but people, it’s one of the most important parts of our individual and collective lives and we need to understand that so we can continue as sovereign nations!!!

Historical fact: first the English and the French and later the United States negotiated treaties with Indians, nation-to-nation. Let that sink in. The whole of the North and South American continents were Indigenous lands. The European immigrants were violent, greedy and ruthless always wanting more land to exploit thinking we were too dumb to know what we had. Oh we knew but when facing annihilation and genocide our people had to sign treaties to survive but always made sure they retained the rights to hunt, fish and gather so that we, their descendants can continue our way of life.

Those who become educated and informed of American Indian Treaty Rights cannot be uneducated nor do they passively accept what the U.S. government or state says we can or cannot do on our own ancestral lands. Yes, we Indians have been savagely oppressed by whatever means necessary by the U.S. but that does not have to continue to be the situation. We need to fight for our children and theirs for a better life and set of circumstances.  

Just now I was reading about Minnesota Chippewa Tribal members who are going to gather manoomin-wild rice in a ceded territory without purchasing a Minnesota State permit to exercise their 1855 treaty rights. The state has warned them they may prosecute and seize their manoomin and equipment. The people know that and are preparing for it but the crux of the matter is … sovereignty. There is a paternalistic lie so often repeated still that Indians were GIVEN our rights by the United States in the treaties. NO. The Chiefs’ who signed them, under great duress I add, RETAINED those rights for us.

eah I get all choked up when I hear about or witness all the historically oppressed peoples who take a stand for their humanity. They are not only refusing to be victimized any longer but putting themselves out there to be recognized. To them I say thank you and I honor your presence, integrity and courage.
See yooz in Shock-tober when I will reveal my Halloween costume…I’m thinking one of the Koch brothers. Ewwwww!!!! Demonic!

It Ain't Easy Being Indian: September 2015
Friday, August 28 2015
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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riceywild-web.jpgSovereignty is a powerful word. I believe it means more to Indian people than to anyone else in the United States. For my own refresher and further elucidation I looked up the precise meaning(s) for myself to make sure I know what the heck I’m writing about rather than thinking I already know and start yakking about it off the top of my head. So: sov-er-eign-ty noun 1. Supreme power or authority. A self-governing state. Okay den.

Speaking of my head I thought hey! I can use my own spirit/mind/body to describe how I understand and feel about the concept of sovereignty. My entire being is a Sovereign Nation. NO ONE tells me who/what to worship and how to do it. I have the right to an opinion on everything and I can say what I think and feel and it does not matter to me who chooses to be offended. NO ONE, especially old white men, has the privilege to legislate what I decide to do with my body. I do have to abide by some physical environmental constructs (that darn Matrix!) but no one, and I mean NO ONE has the power over me to say I can’t boogit when and where I please. If I like you I will warn you well beforehand.

It was in the early 1970’s that I first heard the word sovereignty in reference to American Indians. I was still a kid and I puzzled over it without any real comprehension as to its meaning. A reservation was a place where a bunch of Indians lived; that much I knew and also that I had one but didn’t grow up there. I heard about ‘Indian Militants’ Wounded Knee and the American Indian Movement that all sounded kind of scary. All I wanted to do is the ‘butterfly’ dance at powwows and all I had was an ugly maxi-dress. Hai! I didn’t yet know how much my ancestors had fought for and sacrificed so that I could be here, just be here. Chii Miigwech Gichii Manidoog!

It Ain't Easy Being Indian: July 2015
Thursday, July 16 2015
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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riceywild-web.jpg If you were to ask me if I am an environmentalist I would shout, “Ooonh YAH!!! You betcha!” and I would describe my almost OCD passion for recycling, my disgust for all GMO products and my mission against Monsanto. I want to eat ‘clean’ because I already have enough miseries in my life to just passively accept more unwanted poisons. If you’re on my Facebook friends list you know I compulsively post everything anti-environmental because Someone, Someone somewhere may not have seen it. Plus we are bombarded with lies about the proposed KXL pipelines that completely annihilate the environment and yet with every new oil leak or spill we are told the whole process is completely safe.

When I was a kid about 12-13 years old I began learning the true history of this Turtle Island of ours and the atrocities being committed upon our Mother. I raged and cried; I stomped around uttering awful deaths for the people who were responsible for the degradation, knowingly destroying our Mother for material wealth. I told my mother I wanted to “go back to the blanket” which is a euphemism (I think) for Indians who just got sick of the white man’s alleged ‘civilization’ and went back to the old ways of being and living in accord with Turtle Island and continue the gifts of wisdom and respect down to our descendants and theirs.

So the Gal’s and I went a’campin by a lake in the north woods very far from the big city lights. Melissa had posted she was bringing the coffee maker and my brain did a little “huh?” Then I thought she meant a percolator. I wanted to listen to music while we were out there asked if someone had a boom box. Denise did so it was cool. I figured we would need to buy some batteries. Turns out the campsite was wired up with GASP! outlets for electric stuff!!! I admit now being completely astounded but didn’t say anything at the time. I was just glad I could charge up my phone. Turns out the campground had bathrooms, showers and laundry too. Not very hard core ennit?


It Ain't Easy Being Indian: June 2015
Friday, June 05 2015
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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riceywild-web.jpg Last month me and the ‘gals’ had a funktastic night out at a George Clinton concert at the famous Cabooze in the Big City. I insisted that for one night we refer to each other as D-Funk, M-Funk and K-Funk because I’m weird like that. Yah George, Bootsie and Parliament and Funkadelic were awesome as usual but oddly looked very young … as we three Funk Sisters agreed. Or were we just feeling the years in our bones? I know I did but I managed to wobble in time to the familiar beats and not fall down. I wore my sunglasses. You got to have your sunglasses … so you can feel cool.

It was a gorgeous night in the Big City where we three used to live but we now reside in small rural towns so it was a huge treat for me to be there. I felt happy just seeing the skyline and jostling for stage view with people who weren’t my cousins. Ya’ll Indians know what I mean; it’s why before snagging up we recite our lineage as we know it before applying any hickeys. So I was feeling da Funk and partying as hard as my old carcass could handle. When Bootsie came my way I reached for his hand and licked the back of it. He just laughed. That man is still fine!!!! M’wah!!!!

So it was a funktastic night out; no one needed to get bailed out and M-Funk was still with us and not aboard the band’s bus. We ended the night at a place the locals call “The Smelly Deli.” The late night boogitus emissions sleeping at the hotel proved that to be an apt name and the next day I insisted going to Popeye’s Chicken so I could bring some home, I gotta have red beans n rice.

The night before the show I got to hang out with my lovely friend Rachel sitting on her porch and watching humanity walk by. Rachel burned sage and sweet grass so the entire neighborhood was smudged. She and my ex, Dan, live in my old ‘hood’ so it was like going home for me; Rachel and I talked like we just saw each other and I so love and appreciate having good friends I share that with. Plus she and Dan spoiled me with the T.L.C. I needed and my Dear Daniel gave me $40 for drinks for us gals!!! It was money well spent my love!!! Miigwech!


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