It Ain’t Easy Being Indian – June 2022

photo of ricey wild

By Ricey Wild

My memory says it was late May, it could have been early June when I heard a parade approaching on Blaisdell Avenue where my son and I used to live. I do know it was a Saturday. I got my son and nephew outside to the street just in time to see some floats that were throwing candies.

We scooped them up and then I saw a former college classmate marching and I ran out to hug her. She was marching in a PRIDE parade; she is from Tanzania! I’m still so proud of her even though I don’t remember her name. We connected.

Later my nephew was looking at a float with airline stewardesses in full Drag and asked me, “Auntie, are those men?” Here I hadn’t even thought about that and so I answered, “Yes!” Then we all went back inside and ate candy. I have thought about that day for decades now. I want it back, NOW!!!

Now look, I want the days back when militarized police violence was not a factor against peaceful protesters. There has to come a time when Black, Brown and Immigrant mothers don’t have to wonder if they will ever see their child again and live with that pain and anxiety.

I have, ever since my son, my only child was born.

How do I explain to this bright, beautiful child the horrors of USA culture he will experience through no fault of his own? I’ve gone through so much and had to navigate on my own for many years. The American Indian Movement (AIM) is directly responsible for my beginning to learn Anishinaabemowin my ancestors’ language. In the 70’s the Older Ones were grasping at what last vestiges of actual culture we had left after colonialism.
*note: don’t believe all of them*

The rest just assimilated and I have a few good names for them: Born-again Indians is my favorite. Oh ya! They were good, law-abiding Honky looking families until gaming in Indian Country came along, mm-hmm!!! Aghh!!! The sickness. Entitled and ignorant they are. I remember bumper stickers like, “I was Indian before Indian was cool”. LOL! So was I.

I gotta tell ya that I’m quite at a loss of finding humor in anything lately except my past when I actually lived through the shenanigans I went experienced…or initiated. Hehehehe! Picture this: I’m in Arlington, TX, in a sports bar standing on a bar chair in front of a giant TV all yelling about The Vikings who spanked the Cowboys that night and no one killed me. Yet. Naw I can’t go back just yet with Cruz-ty still in office. (think cruzz-tee feet.)
Ack! Here I was all chirpy this morning until I fired up thee olde laptop. So much horror! I still need to cry, more. I sleep a lot and for me it no longer matters when I do get up or not. It’s mostly tryna figure out who and where I am. W’all, tell ya what folks, if you don’t hear from me soon? Either I’m sleeping really hard or dead.

Ya. Maybe I’m being over-dramatic Sarah Bernhart or just me. All I know for sure toddler hysterics got me the little apron with cute colored clothespins on it from my Gramma Rose. I remember being on the floor in a tantrum and my Gramma looking at me in pity, then buying me the apron.

Gram kept that apron for me for over 50 years. I may have done one chore wearing it and was then like, “Naw!” Next! And that’s when I wanted to be a ballerina and not a maid. I have her treasured apron next to me, on my corn tree. I can only look at it and laugh, chuckle and cry. I was never meant to be a housewife, I just needed one.

I give thanks on the daily. Even and especially when my dog The Mitz is snoring and the other Fuzz-butts are well-fed and content. They all deserve the safety and well-being they have now. We can actually have that for all sentient beings when you stop being afraid of your own government.

Y’all are mostly of European descent, meaning this is NOT your land. Y’all gave your greedy souls and have denied, raped and murdered natural resources to become wealthy in the here and now. That is ugly in so many ways, Selfish in the least.

Now, I’m not one to go off on tangents or whatever but get out of your safety shells and interact with the world as best you can. Here we are. This is it. Do you wanna have safe places for you to play with your grandkids?

Do you wanna have PRIDE parades again or do you go back underground in fear?
Do not fear, we are here.