It Ain’t Easy Being Indian – February 2023

photo of ricey wild

By Ricey Wild

When I die, I plan to be cremated. I think about it often without being morbid. In fact, I even made myself laugh when I wondered if my metal parts will be recycled? That should be in my will. They do it with human bones so why not? Now that I think about it the surgeon may have told me he had to use a bit of bone in my foot. Weird and wonderful what they can do nowadays.

Of course intricate medical procedures are found in antiquity like in Peru, ancient Egypt and other civilizations where the people even practiced trepanning, the opening of the skull! Our collective ancestors were very skilled and knowledgeable of the human body back then. In time the Catholic Church put an end to all who practiced what they considered sorcery and witchcraft by burning them alive. Western civilization? No thanks, I will happily remain a savage.

Indigenous cultures practiced medicine with natural herbal remedies and I read that the people used tree branches to splint up a broken limb. Practical cures were widely known but we also went to Holy People if the illness was not natural. We humans are fragile beings and knowing these practices were a matter of life and death. How else did we survive?

Now we go to the hospital or clinic and it’s mostly pink people who are the staff. One time, I was at the Indian clinic and the doctor told me, “Get some spirituality!” Huh?! I literally gaped at her and afterward went to tattle on her extreme arrogance devoid of empathy. Telling an Indian to ‘get spirituality?’ I was born with it and can only go further to learn more. Indigenous healers treat the whole person, not just wounds. We need more of that and less judgment, even if unspoken.

Indigenous people are treated terribly by most hospital staff, high and low. The racist behavior pisses me off, especially when I remember a nurse who ripped off my Gramma’s wig and shouted at her, and when I was unceremoniously taken out of an empty ER with no shoes in the winter. It’s the community hospital near the Rez and they hate Indians. I call it “The Place Where Indians Go to Die.”

I do admire most nurses who bear the brunt of the workload. Yay nurses!

I just remembered that my Gramma Rose and her siblings were all born at home in a farmhouse with local midwives to attend her mother. I have read that Doolas as practitioners is coming back. Good! Many of the old ways are also making reappearances now that we can sing and dance, and our relationship with Earth is not banned anymore. “They” did not win and that annoys them so much that they are disappearing us via blood quantum, which I have written about is happening now.

The reason I’m writing about medicine, death and procedures is that I’m trying to talk myself into going to the hospital ER for severe pain in my back and legs. I know they won’t get better on their own so I hafta go to the Bigger City hospital, not the one that I call Death’s Door, to put it nicely. I am sick and tired of being in hospital and I’m afraid once they get me they will keep me.

I’ve been through 13+surgeries thus far and while I always knew there was a possibility of more I’ve been extremely cautious so as to not fall again (and then definitely have to go in for surgery). Again. I wrote before that my bones are like a 90-year old woman’s according to one surgeon and the other says my bones are like Styrofoam, so you can best believe I take it easy! I have no choice but to, ennit?

Yeah, I’ve been soo good and I’m tired of that too. I want to gamble, smoke, swear and dance up a sweat, you know, just to feel alive again. Now I’m too old and disabled so that’s not gonna happen, even with corrective surgery or whatever it is they can do for sciatica because that’s what I think is hurting so awfully.

My self-image is that I’m TUFF! Look what I have already been through and I made it out better for it (but not the same as I had been.) My self-image is crumbling into a whiny little whiner who can only talk about her ailments like the old ladies on the bus did and that I scoffed at as a teen.

To them I deeply apologize for the meanness my young, healthy body and mind felt for them. I am paying for it now. Next month I will let you know how it goes.
Candy heart kisses and marshmallow hugs to you all!