13 comments on “PAYING IT FORWARD

  1. There is some irony here…my adoptive father was a minister and from my first actual memories, I remember him standing me on a podium in front of a lot of people and giving a talk about Natives. He would introduce me and say,”This is my Indian daughter, I got her from the Rosebud Reservation and there are many more like her out there and they are starving and in need of money so they can eat, be educated, have access to medicine, and be given the chance to have a normal life…They would pass out the buffalo banks and collect money for the Brainerd Indian School.

    I now have a different view of that “school” and it’s purposes. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to help and really…to try to understand the Native culture that is there now. I have looked up absolutely everything about Rosebud and google earthed it… It’s difficult to understand. I have read a lot of facebook posts from young Natives and it seems that they are trying to be more like other races as opposed to being Lakota. It seems they see themselves as being oppressed, and I know they are-but in a different way than some other cultures. They need to see that.

    I have family that lives in SD-not on the reservation and they say they only go there for funerals and pow-wows. When I first learned about them, I questioned them about the rest of my family. It seems that once they leave the reservation, they lose track of the people who are still there… I know more about my family from Ancestry.com than from my actual relatives. I can tell them the names of people that they don’t know…

    I am doing ok. Definitely middle-class but not rich. I would love to help but I’m not sure of the best way.
    I know there are a lot more of us (adopted) out here that feel the same way.

    • The history following the landing of the first euro boat people leaves a lot
      to be desired-but it seems to me many have “embraced” for lack of better
      word the concept of being victims- that is a dead end, and something poverty
      pimps among us have milked for all it’s worth.
      Ultimately it must be about empowering ourselves-something that has to begin
      in our communities and flow outward from there.
      An instrument of empowerment is education, something I am lacking in only
      having completed the seventh grade . School may be a tribulation for some,
      for those it is learning a job skill will help to open doors that may otherwise be
      closed.
      We cannot speak of being sovereign nations as long as were are dependent,
      changing the present won’t be an easy task, but what is done today creates
      the future- a debt we owe not only to those in the past who fought and died
      for us, but for the generations to come that will compose our future.
      We should utilize those things the world has to offer that will facilitate our
      daily lives, just as we did with iron kettles and the horse-the rest we should
      leave for others to do with as they will.
      In the midst of poverty everything looks good, everything is to be envied,
      but such things, the bells and whistles, can also be a snare, and as nations
      we would do well to remember that.
      How you live your life and the decisions you make are yours, there are many
      ways to help, and not all of them involving money- a good starting point would be
      to claim your heritage and be the best person you can.
      If you can raise your voice in advocacy for the people and the issues that exist
      that is more than some will do, and more meaningful than those who do so
      for self enrichment.

  2. oh these are the good word rezinate from this one Lialynn and from
    you, and they have made us to think of many things.

  3. You are very intelligent. You write better than most of the people I went to college with and I can tell that your words are well-thought out. If you want more education-reach for it. Get your GED and go to college. It really is that simple. I know because I did it.

    I live every day to be the best person I can be. Some things I know nothing about…but I want to. How do I claim my heritage?

    • I would say by verbalizing and living it as much as you can
      in the day to day-if possible, and if you can verify your heritage
      seek enrollment at RB-but perhaps above all learn the language
      and traditions to the best of your ability and as circumstance
      allows.
      I suspect you live in an urban environment- if there are “urban
      ndns” in your community try to familiarize yourself with them
      and events they sponsor, but be aware too that there may well
      be pretenders among them.
      In the initial blush of this you may feel inspired to align
      yourself with various groups or “charities”-you would do yourself
      and the nations a service to spend a little time researching
      before doing so.
      There is a pervasive romanticism that we somehow walk on water,
      but the truth is we are human beings with many of the same
      shortcomings and foibles others share, and there are unscrupulous
      people among us just as there are with any other.
      To have attained the education you have and the effort put forth
      doing so speaks well of you-I’ve toyed with the idea of furthering
      my education but am content to do so through reading, and I thoroughly
      enjoy the work I do,that of sawing wood and hammering nails,I would
      say I’m more inclined to commonsense than intelligent.

  4. I live in PA-it is kind of backwoods and there are No Indians here- but me. My mother was full-blooded and enrolled. I have to have my original birth certificate to enroll and SD will not give me that. They are one of the few states that won’t. I do not feel inspired to align with anyone-yet. I stand alone and only I will know what is right. I’m too old and have been through too much to be romantic. I know I am human and I don’t walk on water-lol. I know what you mean though, as I have had many men try to date me because I am “Indian” 🙂 My husband is a carpenter and he is the salt of the earth. He also has no college degree. I didn’t really need one, I just had an abusive first husband who used to call me stupid and well, at the time it became one of my goals to graduate from college.

    Here are a few things that I was thinking about at work today. I am not against groups and charities, and that is how some people contribute so more power to them. I’m sure it helps somewhat but from what I know of the nonprofits around here, the people who run them get the most money. I am full of ideas but I don’t know how they apply to the situation on Rosebud. Are there internet connections available to most people there? Do they have computers? I could keep myself completely, without leaving my house as long as I had a computer and internet access. There are jobs that pay decent money that anyone can do from home. The internet is a great way to start a business as long as there is a product or service to sell. I think the best resource the Natives have out there is that they are Natives. There are many of us scattered all over the US and most of us want to be Indian. Teach us how. Write e-books and sell them-I would buy one-that explains the complexities of being an Indian in our original territory. A lot of what is available now to read, are articles about what happened, what wasn’t fair, who hasn’t paid, etc, etc. I’m aware of that and not happy about it, but life goes on. I leave a small area in my life for fighting just causes, but it’s not a huge part of what I am. If I were weary and just wanted to go to the land of my forefathers and hang out and be an Indian for a little while, where would I go. Does such a place exist? A place where I could live in a wigwam and hunt for deer in the traditional way? And forget the busyness and despair of the world around me? Where could I buy and original set of clothing. Authentic-not a costume…and have the knowledge to tell my children about it. All of the things that Rosebud Yellow Robe taught the children in New York could be in e-book form. How to quill, weave, build a teepee, etc. As an Indian in a white world, I don’t know any of that.

    This are some things I have wondered about. Is it illegal to live in a teepee on the reservation? Why did people quit? Who is the chief or chiefs? When I read the minutes of the meetings of the tribe and people vote, why do half of them tear their ballots up? Why do the leaders allow alcohol on the reservation. Why don’t the Indians have their own rehab on the reservation? What is the school system like? Where I live, there are many Amish. They live in their own culture. They don’t send their kids to public school, they have their own tiny one-room old fashioned school houses where only Amish kids go and they teach them the usual subjects, but also about their heritage. They are all bilingual (German and English), they only speak German to each other. They have no electric (by choice) and they do not marry outside their culture. They have always seemed tribal to me. Nowadays there are computer schools and you don’t even have to leave the house.

    Sorry for such a long post.

    • There is a long history of agencies like Child Welfare overreaching their “mandated
      authority”, and could be a reason why SD won’t release birth certificates- you could
      access the Dawes Role which you can find access to on the net.
      Internet access is available on most rezes, but spotty in a lot of areas and non
      existent in others.
      PR has just “approved” alcohol on the rez after having outlawed it in the ’70s for the problems and social disruption it caused-approval now is, among other things, being presented as an example of sovereignty, but the reality is it is about greed and profit-following this approval of sales on PR will predictably follow, as will rez based
      privately own liquor stores.
      Such stores and the licensing of them of will be based on cronyism and nepotism, and
      there will be no difference between the infamous misery inducing profit taking
      practiced by places like White Clay and what will occur by their counterparts on
      the rez.
      The rez in many ways is a closed society with a percentage of people being suspicious
      of strangers, if you have relatives on RB I would suggest developing a rapport with them-communicate with and explain your circumstances, your side of the story, and your desire to reconnect.
      Rehab and even access to decent medical care is often comparable to that of a third
      world country, physicians primarily operate on a contract basis with the federal government, and money in the form of allocated grants or funding aren’t always delivered
      or applied as they should be.
      No restrictions on tepee dwelling on any rez that I know of-it could in fact be a step
      up in comparison to some of the housing that exists or the lack of it. People quit I suppose as a part of the assimilation process and the perks like electricity, plumbing, heat, and the like.
      A part of the assimilation process was to make us white, or as near to that as possible,
      it was important if that were to be achieved to remove us from language, or beliefs, and our traditional way of living and sheltering ourselves.
      Some nations offer language courses on the net, I’ve never really looked at one but
      assume they are interactive and would at least cover the fundamentals-that could be something for you consider as I can’t stress enough the importance of it to facilitate communication and convey your sincerity.
      There are shared commonalities among the nations as well as differences-tribalism, or
      the vestiges of it still remain, but more and more it is about being of a nation, in
      that context there are tribes in Pa. that will hold gatherings and pow wows, something
      you might attend if possible to meet peopleand form friendships-some may have been
      adopted and facing the same issues as you, maybe have insights on how to proceed.
      An arbitrary decision by a state or the national government does nothing to change a persons heritage, there was a time when people would identify themselves as being
      something other than ndn thinking to avoid discrimination and pave the way for their children. What it did was to create a generation(s) of displaced people with little or
      no recourse.
      As to clothes a pow wow or gathering would be a good place to find something or someone
      who makessuch articles-most of women do and a number of men as well.I’ve even sites on
      the net related to that.
      Every nation has at least one tribal attorney well versed in laws that affect us and
      could advise you on how to proceed re attaining a birth certificate-contacting one or
      maybe even a member of the tribal council on RB would be a good idea.
      In the blog I get a little edgy at times as result of the issues I address, a product
      of that is that I’ve been called everything from a fed to thinking I’m “great”, neither
      of which are true, and I do not think of myself as a “teacher” or qualified to be one.
      I’m not an author or a journalist,have no desire to be one, and content to be what I am.
      I claim only to be what I am, a human being, and do so in the same context the nations
      have always employed the term, that and nothing more. I’m not pursuing a name or a reputation, only speaking what I believe to be the truth.

  5. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you- a reality is
    there exists a lateral oppression to some degree or another
    on the rez having to do with blood quantum.
    Some nations are very “lenient” about the amount when it comes
    enrollment -others are telling those who are a quarter or less
    they can’t live on the rez even if they are married to a full blood.
    While I may not agree in principal I believe ultimately as a
    “sovereign” nation each has the right to set the standard they
    believe best suits them.
    Such standards have led to federally unrecognized tribes-but
    many of them are what a European friend refers to as hobbyists,
    people not of any nation but staging a performance.
    For some reason or another the Cherokee seem to attract of lot
    of these “hobbyists” as there are only three federally recognize
    Cherokee bands who also don’t recognize the two hundred plus
    self proclaimed ones.
    I would suggest in your attempts to learn the language to record
    yourself when pronouncing words and then play it back in an effort to
    see if you are doing so correctly.
    Of course you will need another reference to determine if you are but
    I assume the language courses we spoke of would provide examples.
    You may be able to track down your sisters and brothers from your
    bio mother and would probably be worth the effort to make the attempt
    if you haven’t already.
    The thing about the net is access,an almost unlimited one,there may
    be forums or sites that could offer insights and point out beneficial
    directions to pursue.

  6. Lialynn, NMAI might be a good place to start as they have events like workshops and culinary demonstrations everyday of the year both in NYC and D.C. You could always call ahead and speak with someone to see if what they offer is what you are looking for. Arranging an overnight or weekend trip by train from your area might be refreshing. If you are a student or perhaps identify yourself as an independent author looking to do research they would have the very best archives. I understand what you mean about feeling the DNA of your culture. I too, appreciate all Native culture but only my Shawnee culture truly draws me like a magnet. However, linking up with others who are discovering and honoring their cultures has helped me make connections I never thought would happen. I am attaching this link and perhaps you’ve already seen it. You have so much before you! It’s never too late to connect. I wish you all the wonder, surprise and happiness of a very enchanted journey! http://nmai.si.edu/calendar/

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