Indian for a day – apparently there is a notable segment of society that wishes it could be so.
But I don’t really think they would like it, not the reality – it isn’t about Running Bear and Little White Dove, buxom e card “princesses”, or stoic warriors with six pack abs, both surrounded by adoring wolves or romping with horses as a raptor sits on their shoulder.
It isn’t about the one percenters of the AIM leadership, or those who live in comparative comfort having ascended to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow known as a tribal government position.
It’s about the struggle, about poverty and unemployment, over the top teen suicide, gangs, alcohol and drug abuse.
Liars and thieves in your midst hustling everything you or your ancestors ever stood for, ever believed in, and calling themselves warriors and liberators.
It’s about cold in the winter, commodities,spam, peanut butter and other government issued delicacies like that slimy brick referred to as cheese.
It’s about the health related issues and the heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, birth deformities, the still born this diet and the stress from the aforementioned problems will lead to.
Doesn’t sound all that romantic does it?
It’s about no running water or contaminated water, outhouses or outbushes, and in places no electricity – that means no internet, no boob tube, no electric toothbrush.
You want to go to the Mall? Then scrounge up the money for gas to get you there, hope the tires hold together and you can window shop to your hearts content.
It’s about propane, having the money to purchase it and then waiting your turn.
Hungry children and elders in the house? No problem, pop open a can of spam, or slap some peanut mortar on a piece of bread. Little one crying? Pop a bottle of that powdered milk in their mouth and swallow the parental desperation in knowing there isn’t enough of anything.
Your sister or wife got raped? Hey no big deal she probably “asked for it”, and it wouldn’t due to assail a fellow warrior that he and his entire family will swear to is as a fine an upstanding man as Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull were.
Maybe he’s merely burdened with the Dennis Banks syndrome of “elk medicine” and not really to blame.
It’s about night crawlers, broken bottles strewn everywhere, syringes, and neighborhoods decorated with graffiti.
Yet in the midst of this, even this, good people survive and remain, they are the last real Indians, a vanishing breed that knows and accepts the responsibility of being one of “the people”.
If you want to be an Indian for a day trying being one of them. It won’t be glamorous, but it will be honest.