One of my friends recently asked me why I was interested in Native America…if I had a past life experience. The answer is no and a bit more complicated or maybe it just feels so.
When Clinton was president he visited Rosebud Indian reservation and the news did a story about it. I was sweeping or doing some sort of house cleaning while listening to the tv. The report said that Indians were the poorest people in the United States and they showed some pictures…I was flabbergasted! Thought it was some liberal propaganda. Indians were lazy drunks living off of my tax dollars. Period. Yeah I watched I WILL FIGHT NO MORE FOREVERin high school and thought how unfair….
But it was a long time ago…get over it… and for every negative you need 13 positives to change your mind…or a shift/miracle/fundamental change in how you view the world. I thought that it couldn’t possibly be true what the news was saying it went against everything I previously knew my entire world has changed because of that newscast. The next day I went to Borders and found the book WHERE WHITE MEN FEAR TO TREAD by Russell Means. Bought it as a sort of dare because of the title alone. Do I agree with all that Russel Means says? No but while I have the supreme white attitude, I’m working on just listening to others stories and truths. Not always easy for someone as opinionated as I. I haven’t turned into one of those people who think that Indians are all nature loving shamans who are connected with Earth and have magic powers to save the white people from ourselves. Native Americans do suffer high rates of addiction, poverty, abuse, pre-mature deaths and a long list of other issues. The reasons are not nearly as simple as being lazy or drunk but far more complex and has more weight and responsibility on the behavior of those who colonized their land.
I truly believe that as I become more willing to listen more stories reveal themselves…I discover more writers more history is unveiled. A new concept is introduced.
A few years ago one of my nephews was in a youth correctional facility and was attending native services as that is what most interested him. He also started to enjoy reading so one day at Costco I saw a book THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie. I bought it and read it before I sent it to him. (The ycf almost didn’t let him have it as there is a silhouette of a boy with a machine gun) The book was great so I bought more of his books. Sherman Alexie had something new to say…this was at a time when I had all but stopped reading fiction because it all sort of became the same…nothing new. Hard to explain but Sherman Alexie although he is writing about Indians…it is very familiar in the sense that what he writes about Indians on reservations is similar to rural redneck America where I grew up. Too much drinking, too much abuse, too much poverty, too many accidents, not enough food for some, country and western, and the odd characters that comes with it all…and the pain the pain of it all…Sherman Alexie has a way of making it all bearable with his sense of humor.
From there I moved to writers that Sherman Alexie admired like Leslie Marmon Silko, Joy Harjo, N. Scott Momaday and I was blown away by them all… Each discovery a new gift.
Almost a year ago Amazon suggested a Buffy Sainte-Marie album and on it was a song with lyrics about a woman whose hands were cut off.
I was writing a blog post at the time…and mentioned it literally like one sentence. This opened a whole new world here is the original post.
February 3, 2009
I listened to Bufffy Sainte-Marie again and some more lyrics caught my attention. Something about a woman being found dead,cutting her hands off and saying she died of exposure so I HAD to look it up. With a few key words I found this…ANNA MAE AQUASH(click here) Scary stuff.
And the comments
Mark McKinney said February 4, 2009 at 4:21 am
MURDERED BY THE SUITS-FBI’s
Stay By The Fire
Learn your Culture
Live Your Culture
BE Your Culture
That wikipedia site is guarded and maintained by Paul Demain who is on the side of the real killers, the FBI. Do your own research, much more research. The truth is out there. If you listen to her own words at the end, it was the fbi she was afraid of, not AIM or Leonard Peltier. Anna Mae deserves the truth. Not the lies that have buried her and kept her silent all these years.
Monica J Charles
That is how I “met” Monica Charles she has been a continual source of encouragement and support as I wade through the painful history the conflicting stories of Anna Mae and others who share her story.
Now even after all of this time…I’m not sure I agree with Monica 100% about Anna Mae but she has never told me to do anything other than find my own truth. It is a complicated story. I haven’t made any real judgments about who killed Anna Mae Aquash. The only opinion I can state with certainty is that the FBI had less than stellar behavior and intentions which I believe they continue to have in 2010…