It Ain’t Easy Being Indian

photo of ricey wild

By Ricey Wild

“Well, we made it this far” is a family quote now since my nephew, who was seven, said repeatedly on a vacation trip up north. It was amusing and I still wonder if he thought he and my son, four at the time, would have to push the car out of a ditch or something. Anyhow we did make it and I apply that sentiment to our collective experiences this past year. (Deep sigh and shudder.)

What seems like long ago in the winter time I would sit at my Aunt Mary’s kitchen table sipping cocoa. She told me stories of her childhood, including the horrors of Indian child concentration camps (my words) and what the children went through. To me, it was inconceivable that she and so many others suffered so badly and many babies died. Mary said even little ones would try to run away in sub-zero temperatures like what we are experiencing here now and most did not make it that far.

They froze to death escaping a living Hell and I feel ancestral pain. I have their blood in my veins but also their courage and resilience. The children who did manage to survive carried PTSD and many other mental, emotional and physical illnesses the rest of their lives. All caused by the U.S. government’s policy of “Kill the Indian, save the child” and the war on Indigenous people when they could not win by genocide alone. Still, they made it that far.

As I sit here and reflect on this past year, I am drinking hot cocoa with Purrince on my lap. I am comforted by the snores of Mitzi, Rose and sweet peace in my home. I know that I am fortunate in my many creature comforts and am deeply grateful for Creators gifts. Oh ya, I had my hard times too but I made it this far. I have to add it wasn’t easy at all but here I am, a big ole slap on colonists’ pink faces. And I flaunt it.

Since I have such memories, I distract myself by watching YouTube and I am currently watching paranormal videos, Hoarders, and Dave Chapelle (who is a master storyteller using humor). I liken him to Charlie Hill, whom I met several times – who did the same minus the profanity. I know why I love Charlie and sometimes am shocked at what comes out of Dave’s mouth, but the others?

Pondering that I realized that I’m a true voyeur because I always look at the inside of those peoples’ houses and judge them. Like why did they place a certain picture or sofa right there and who can really live with tons of garbage they say is so important to them? I dunno, it either stuns me or scares me. Yikes!

Almost two years ago now I was in a wheelchair and my own house got out of control because I had very little help to clean stuff up or even wash clothes. Good thing I have lots of rags to cover up with. When I watch Hoarders I say to myself, “Self, at least my place ain’t THAT funky” despite my limitations. I’m finally getting some real help now and I am so appreciative for that.

When I watch paranormal videos, I get riled up and yell at the investigators who I think are naive and just plain stupid for annoying the ghosts they are seeking, then get scared and run when the spooks do show up. So foolish! I’ve had my share of weird things I witnessed but never have I gone looking to see if anyone is in the graveyard who may want to chat a bit about the afterlife. Don’t get me started on UFOs or cryptids because I believe in them. (Goose pimples!)

In stark contrast to my previous life, I rarely go out in public. Back when I was a party girl, dancing and romancing, I felt happy and I don’t regret a bit of it. I’m just glad I did alla that so I have some racy stories to shock the younger people with. Now? I have entered my mindimooye (Old Lady in Ojibwe) years and am happy that I made it this far, given my previous close calls with death and youthful indiscretions. Ayy!!!

Since y’all made it this far, I pray that yooz have a wonderful year and find the peace and comfort you deserve. As for myself, I’m booked up petting my Fuzz-Butts and letting the dogs outside/inside on repeat. I do need to find a new hobby like poetry, painting, and writing the spill-all book that is still in my head.
Let’s all hope that this year is better. I’m so sickened by world events and everyone just needs to settle down! We made it this far, ennit?