It Ain’t Easy Being Indian – May 2020

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By Ricey Wild

So, how are yooz all doing? Bored at being in ‘lockup?’ Tired of not doing what you want to anytime you feel like it? Getting fatter? Arguing with family? Taught your dog’s calculus by now? Well then, bless your loving souls! You are hunkering down and by doing so may be saving many lives; your families, friends and other people. I am one of the lucky ones who has a home, very loving family, loving friends and my fur-amily whom keep me from constant crying. I can’t stop thinking of the homeless, those in jails, prisons, immigrant detention centers and nursing homes who have no choice to distance. Please join me in praying for them in whatever way you pray. Miigwech.

How am I? Well… My gawd, how I miss hugs and human contact but I know I could harm them because I may have the Rona (Corona/Covid-19). I don’t thus far. So, echoing all the current advice for a virus that is killing thousands I can’t hug you yet. I love and respect yooz and need you in my world. I live in Rezberry and there are a lot of vulnerable people with pre-existing comorbidities including moi.

The Reservation Business Committee wisely shut down the casinos and are still feeding us as best they can. That is community love. The revenue is non-existent right now but our beloved ones are safe thus far. We Indigenous People have been through viral pandemics before brought here by immigrants from Europe. Google ‘Smallpox blankets’, learn real history. You have time.

Auntie Ricey sez “Stay home!” Or you could come over and we can shout at each other from a distance. We Native women have the best laughs ever, we can get our message across with just a giggle, a wink and a subtle innuendo. I look forward to that time it’s one of my wishes when we can gather again. On a personal note I’ve been hungrily reading about how Spring is supposed to be here while there is still snow in my yard. I think it’s an anti-insanity kind of thing. Not sure but I think I heard a bee the other day while I was sitting on my mini-porch. I saw a few flies too, so maybe?

Life on this Earth, our Turtle Island, thrives without human interference and destruction. My Indigenous ancestors learned this many millennia ago, lost in time but not in blood memories. That existence may be the answer to the current pandemic of how, not only can we shelter at home but turn those lawns into food gardens. Some are already doing this and I admire that. I’m too broken myself to tend anything like that but I could shuck corn, sort beads or something. Everyone has a place in what I pray will become a bright, new world.

In the past weeks I’ve been blessed with generous, compassionate and loving gifts. My friends and family have been right here for me and I’m humbled by their understanding my plight and for going out of their way to save my hide. I have no surprise at their extra efforts to help me out, no, I know them to be all exceptionally awesome human beings. My Unk, cuzzin Adam, Vanessa N, Nikki C, Robert K, Mary D, Shannon J-K and Jo O. I have no words how to thank you for your love and love. I’m a certified pessimist but now I can’t be. I have proof that people are some of my favorite critters.

Just when I gave up on humans the above-mentioned angels grabbed me out of the depths of despair. This quarantine has brought out the best in people, well, some people and I pray this action does not go away from our daily lives once we are able to get out and about again. Until that day, let’s distance physically. I love you all and maybe even more though I make a conscious effort not to take anyone for granted.

I miss my Gramma Rose so much (She died last year at 100 years) but am selfishly glad she did not live to experience this horrific, deadly pandemic. I would not have been allowed to see her.

Rose Theresa LaPrairie Shotley was born in 1918. It was the year of the ‘Spanish Flu”, start of WWI and the Great Fire Storm in northern Minnesota. That ‘widdle’ woman survived all that plus many more catastrophic events thereafter, and still came out unburnt with love and affection, understanding and prayers for we wayward kin. If she can do that so can I, and ya’ll too.

Just know that it has been an amazing 20+ years writing this column. I hold you all precious to me.