It Ain’t Easy Being Indian – March 2020

photo of ricey wild

By Ricey Wild

If ya’ll follow my column, you know I have not had it easy at all after falling back in November. Life has been so much more difficult than it already was, so it was nice to be discharged from home care. The nurses and therapy techs were awesome people and I do miss them and am deeply appreciative for their compassionate care of me when I was in such pain. I give a grateful Shout-Out to all the people who chose the health care occupation. Much love!

Now, however, I have a conundrum. The nurses would always check my vitals and I was somewhat relieved that they were normal. Then they had a check list of questions that quickly became exhausting to answer. “Do you feel dizzy? Any falls?” I even had to tell them about my bowel movements and describe my stools. I did have bouts of diarrhea and that was a concern, yes, and when I produced a regular specimen, I was very pleased to tell them so.

While being discharged it occurred to me that I would have no one to share one of the most intimate needs of being human any longer. I said that out loud to the nurse and she laughed, so I asked if I could call her office daily to report my bowel movements. We laughed together and my mind went to providing an answering service for people who are concerned about their waste material. I mean everyone is full of it, ennit? I may be onto something here so that I can become independently wealthy. LOL!

People who know me know I am obsessed with toilet paper. I don’t know what happened to me in the past but I always purchase the extra-large package of the softest brand, three-ply thank you! I have a story for you. Back in the Big City I was busy burying rolls of TP in the dirty laundry basket when my son came around the corner and asked what was I doing? I replied, “I’m hiding the toilet paper!” I will never forget his puzzled expression when he said, “From who?”

Yes, I was abashed and embarrassed (“What have I become?”), and since then I don’t hide any more TP from possible TP Bandits. In fact, I have even given a few rolls to those in need. I understand. Now I’m looking for hemp or bamboo TP products in my effort to save our trees. I am a conscientious consumer.

In another place they are resisting the Canadian theft of indigenous land for yet another pipeline. From coast to coast the original people are shutting down trains which are vital to commerce and travel. I pray for them all and give my deepest respect for their actions to protect their homelands. They prove that money doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody; in fact, paper money is useless. Think about that; we all must agree that numbers on printed paper or digitally on screen mean something. It’s a total scam.

When I was a kid, I found a $5 dollar confederate bill in the top shelf of the cupboard of the apartment we had just moved into. The former residents were from the South, I don’t remember where and I had been friends with the girl who used to live there. I showed my mom who showed it to everyone, and someone stole it. I still think about that, like how that piece of paper was worthless but must have important to the previous owner, for sentiment’s sake perhaps?

I ask now why is our culture saturated with the worship of wealth and the people who have it? Look, I like nice, pretty sparkly things too, but if it came down to it I’d rather have what I do: Clean air, water, food, a warm place to sleep and the ability to provide for my
furr-family. My people, my ancestors knew that the well-being of the tribe was good for all.

In fact, the leaders would ensure that the people were taken care before themselves. This concept is alien to the European colonists who hoard money and resources to the detriment of all others, especially those most in need. That is why the U.S. banned Potlatch Giveaways.

Both toilet paper and paper money are made from the same source. There they are equivalent. But should I go to purchase necessities with TP I would be kicked out of the store. When I purchase items with paper money or a plastic card then all is well. I could wipe my nether region with money because in the end, it’s just paper.

What matters is the land and its resources. If one is unable to hunt, gather or fish, we are still valuable for what we have to share and give. Even stories. Barter, anyone?