It Ain’t Easy Being Indian – July 2021

photo of ricey wild

By Ricey Wild

I know. I know, my loved ones, my relatives how it hurts; it is in our collective DNA and we carry the sorrow in our individual blood trauma. Let me share this; it is all I can do other than cry and mourn.

When I was a little kid, I must have absorbed some stories I did not understand but felt. At 13-14 years old, whenever I acted up, like skipping school, sneaking cigarettes and other teenage shenanigans, my mother would threaten that she would send me to boarding school. I knew what she meant. The Catholic nuns and priests kind; not the fancy ones white kids went to. I immediately said no! No, Mom! I’ll be good, don’t do that! I felt genuine terror until the next time I was awful.

It wasn’t until I was older that my Aunt Mary told me stories of her childhood and being in a boarding school in Odena, WI, that I heard the horror stories she knew of and experienced. Her face in the light over the kitchen table in her home illuminated the remembered pain as she shuffled her cards and looked into the past. I really didn’t want to know but I listened with respect and deep love.

Aunt Mary, my Gramma Rose’s elder sister was born 1908. She and her siblings were stolen and taken away from family at young ages by the U.S. Government to be erased as Indian people and become docile servants for the European descendants of immigrants who had lost the war to keep slavery.

The children, as young as four years-old were stolen and forced to not speak their languages or practice their culture. Sadly, that was not the least of the crimes committed upon the children’s little defenseless bodies. Mary told me that on a regular basis nun’s would come into the dorms and pick a child and take them away, some never to be seen again.

Never have I forgotten the deep sorrow I saw in my Aunts eyes as she told me how many children tried to escape the Christian Hell-hole they were in, sometimes in the deep, freezing winter. Some were caught, some not and never made it home. Little bodies who needed to be with their family, frozen in the snow, never to be reunited and buried with love.

What happened to these babies was nothing more than being sent to prison camps, gulags and continuing genocide. The U.S. and Candian tribes and other Indigenous Nations worldwide have experienced this by European immigrants and their descendants. Why? We were in their way for our natural resources and so the obvious actions to take is murder, scalps for bounty, biological warfare and if that does not work, then spiritual and cultural genocide.

Unchecked greed is an outright sin in the Christian theology but they always find a way to get around their own martyr’s original teachings. “Dear Pope, I have sinned. I killed many thousands of brown and black people in the name of God but here is some gold and jewels” Pope: “You are absolved my son.”

I cannot express how much I despise them but I do condemn them all to their white man’s Hell, for eternity.

Not only myself but every Indian person alive now lives with the knowledge we were not supposed to be here, as nations, as individuals with our own spiritual practices and beliefs. THAT my loved ones, my relatives, is something they could not eliminate and here are living proof of their failure to erase Creator’s people.

I once heard an Indian Elder say that all of the 100+million Indigenous People of Turtle Island who were killed are still here in other bodies. Yes, I do believe in reincarnation. So, where did the spirits of all the children and people whose land this originally was, ands still is, go? My soul says they never left.

That, my loved ones and relatives is what I choose to believe in my heart. Everywhere those babies are still dancing and being loved by family and friends in another incarnation. It could be you.

There is no denying the colossal tragedy of their young lives stolen any longer, no. I knew about them and did not dismiss it. I’ve been suffering since before I was in the womb. I’m not even supposed to be here now since I was born with the umbilical cord around my neck. Yet here I am.

Yanno how we Indians have ‘We were so poor’ stories? Ya, I have a few too. Like it’s a challenge or something and yanno what? The Indians telling them are still here. WE are still here and we grieve and honor those who are not.

Peace. Remember I love yooz.