I do not consider myself as having been born in the USA – I have no patriotic songs to sing other than those of my own people.
I was born on the rez, on ndn land, of a sovereign people within imaginary lines to mark the boundaries of not only this country but of land “alloted” to us- a people if not physically free then free and sovereign in our hearts.
I didn’t grow up with a phone of any kind, television, dvd player, or computer. No Sunday drives just for the sake of going somewhere, no MacDonalds happy meals, or Saturday matinees at the local theater.
We didn’t observe the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Founders Day, Lincoln or Washington’s birthday or any other “national holiday”.
We remembered and would not, could not forget.
I grew up with an understanding of who and what I was, where I came from, that I was a part of the land and all things of the natural order, that was something to honor and be proud of.
The differences were glaring, made more so by the poverty forced upon as a people and nations.
But there was never a time I would have changed places, granted I saw things, possessions I was envious of, successes others enjoyed, jobs and a steady income – but they served only to instill a drive in me to overcome inequities while remaining true to my origins.
I’ll never be a millionaire, never even drive a new vehicle, wear those high dollar jogging shoes from Nike or shop at Abercrombie & Fitch, and I’m fine with that because such things aren’t important to me.
I shop at WalMart, Thrift stores, and wear home made more proudly than I ever would anything with a designers label or logo sewn into it.
For those who do if you earned it no problem and enjoy the fruits of your labor, it’s the least you deserve after everything that’s been taken from us.
Stay strong and pay it forward in as much as you can….never forget you are not native American you are indigenous, a difference as profound as night and day.