maybe it's in my genes

[click image]


Having pieced together more information about my grandmother, it's semi-safe to say I'm a quarter indian now, but it turns out I'm from tribal members who walked away from the Dawes allotments and took up mining in the mountains of Colorado. This finally explains to me how so many white people can have so much indian blood and still be white people.

The ones who stayed and took the Dawes allotments are mad at the ones who left and made their own way rather than keep huddled in abjection to wasichu's whim. I see both sides. I know the pull to stick together and the push of frustration to get free. I am pretty sure I'd have picked freedom over abjection, even if it came with land I didn't want and some money.

But, see, it's not as simple as that. The Dawes Commission was not about to let people just turn their backs on their "largess". It was even made illegal to refuse your allotment... which would be why so many of the people who did refuse it didn't bring up the indian thing in public after that... why my grandmother was so closed lipped about it all her life.

You might think that's preposterous, that indians aren't exactly invisible, but you'd be wrong about that. Very many of us, and especially from the Five Civilized Tribes — a ridiculous moniker because ALL tribes are civilized — looked white even when The White Man arrived. My Chickasaw/Cherokee grandmother had lily white skin with freckles all over. Her son, half indian and half Portuguese, had lily white skin and freckles all over. I have lily white skin and freckles all over. Our feet have been the most "typical" indian features. Wide ball, narrow heel.

And, yes, "indians" is the preferred term by most of us... when you can't just call us "people"... beings... humans... and I'm a darn splendid mix of them, if I do say so myself. Dutch [grandmother born in the Netherlands], German [grandfather born Pennsylvania Dutch], Portuguese [great grandparents born in the Azores], Chickasaw and Cherokee [grandmother born in a Colorado mining town to Dawes Commission refugees]. Point being, I can attest to the human being of these different flavors.

It makes me pretty sick to see indians flapping their extended lower lips so vociferously over really stupid slights, and keeping people walking on eggs around them not to intensify their senses of ancestral victimization... instead of dropping that sickening mantle and creating better lives... lives filled with more than this fucking deathless abjection you're supposed to feel guilty about for the rest of time.

In fact, most indians don't hold with it either. Some are better than others at dealing with it on the rez, but most indians are not interested in earning a living that way... not denying their heritage or their pain, but wanting to move forward into the future instead of perpetually down into a past that isn't livable anymore. And there have been indians for hundreds of years who wouldn't take that route, who valued independence the most of all, and certainly over squabbling with their relatives over scraps on the rez.

Yes, yes, the people choosing their independence over the scraps made it even harder for the ones who took the scraps to keep their identity, to keep it and turn life back into what should have been their birthright. There was, and still is, SO much in our indian heritage that never should have been given up for even a day, but can be taken back at any time.

It seems to me the Dawes victims are on both sides of this divide, and the ones who walked have descendants well equipped, in spirit, to recover that... that maybe angry fucks like Sherman Alexie and Gyasi Ross ought to spit out their bitterness and consider how many white indians could, and would love to, actually help make life better for everyone, recover from the FUBAR past what is precious to life on this planet, maybe even mandatory to life continuing on this planet.

But, no, they prefer racism. Excuse the failure to recover lives in harmony with nature because my grandma fucked a white man, because her parents wouldn't just draw a blanket of abjection around them, stick out their lower lips and drink themselves to death with the friends and family and neighbors who couldn't muster the will to keep fighting.

This is why I loved John Trudell so much. He worked so hard to make people of all races see the good way forward, the spirit way. He wasn't as blunt about the victim trip, understanding it and working against it. I understand it too, but that doesn't make it okay to keep perpetuating the way so many are so vocally, and insultingly, avid to do. I have a pretty good idea how hard that was for him, how frustrating, how terrifying, how demoralizing. Still, his goal was the same as mine, and there are lots of injuns, red and white, who want that more than this deathless victim trip.

Justified or not, we're adult human beings. We don't do abjection. We do love and responsible action. No. Matter. What.

It would make me very happy if the Paiutes of Burns, Oregon would just start bringing food to both the Bundy people and the feds, see if they can't all sit down and make things better for everybody. The feds need to back off, let the ranchers out of jail and make some better land use arrangements with the locals... ALL of them.

always and any time....