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I had a point here, but I lost it somewhere in the ranting and raving

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  • I had a point here, but I lost it somewhere in the ranting and raving

    If I were told today that I would no longer be recognized by the Federal government as an enrolled member of any tribe in this country, I would go on living as a Native person belonging to the Pend d’Oreille and Northern Arapaho people. Nobody can ever deny my existence. I was born this way and I will die this way. The experiences I have encountered in the world and in my life have led me to this path of the Native way of life. It is in my heart, engrained in my brain chemistry, and causes me to make the choices to behave the way that I do.
    I don’t speak for all Native people, or even all Pend d’Oreille or Arapaho people either. I can’t speak for all people living on this reservation, because I only speak what I believe to be true in my heart. Maybe some people would be devastated if he or she were not an enrolled member of a tribe and didn’t receive all these so-called benefits. I don’t know.
    There are a lot of things that…really make me angry and disgusted about people who claim to be Indian. They don’t embody any kind of spirit that would lead me to believe they are Indian. Being an Indian doesn’t really mean you have jet black braids and brown skin. In fact, the differences that exist among Native people are so infinite that there are full-blood Indians with blonde hair and green eyes. Being an Indian person means that you have a way of thinking that defines you as an Indian. It goes beyond blood quantum, enrollment, and even language. There is an energy that drives you to succeed and to be the best. As survivors of genocide, assimilation, termination, relocation, famine, drought, Christianization, colonialism, disease, and intertribal warfare, some Native people have become strengthened and others have been weakened. I tend to regard the weak as people who need help in remembering their history, culture, and purpose. Being an Indian is in your heart and a part of your thinking. Who cares about tribal ID’s and Indian Health Service? It’s really not that great anyways. If all that were taken away, who and what would you really be? Would you still hold your head up with pride and say that you are an Indian?
    In some ways, in today’s world being an enrolled member of a tribe is a privilege. Not everyone can meet the requirements in order to be enrolled. However, the point I want to make is that people who abandon their children, abuse their children, abuse themselves, steal, lie, murder, assault, rape, drink, do drugs, molest, and manipulate others on a daily basis hardly meet the criteria for a human being, let alone a Native person. I think that if people belonging to my tribe commit such crimes, they should be given a chance to tell their sob story, but in the end, they should be kicked out of the tribe.
    A long time ago, when we lived closely to one another in camps and bands of people, if there were such people amongst us, we wouldn’t let it fly! How could we stand to live among a pervert who preys on children? How could we ever feel safe with thieves in our presence? It’s not like we could lock our tipis or wigwams and arm them with fancy burglar alarms. I’m guessing that people knew that if they ever did stuff like that, there were HUGE consequences to pay. For one, everyone would know. Secondly, the shame that one would feel for messing up like that would make one never want to mess up again. Thirdly, one might not ever get a chance to mess up like that again because their dumb *** would be kicked out of the tribe especially if the crime was horrendous enough. I’m sure there was forgiveness, but if a person kept doing the same stupid thing, I’m sure his or her dumb *** would have been dealt with.
    Nowadays people who claim to be Native and are enrolled members commit crimes like these with no conscience repeatedly, These people are constantly in tribal and county jail, some are even in prison for stupid things they did because of drinking and doing drugs. Some men and women are facing their second and third counts of domestic abuse. Some people make kids that they have no interest in raising and go on living their own stupid lives, dragging these poor children along or abandoning them with all kinds of issues that may never be resolved. I can only look on in exasperation and desperation. I feel like there is nothing I can do about it. I mostly pray for these people because I don’t know what else to do.
    I hate reading newspaper articles that spell it out very plainly whether a rape or murder suspect is Native or lives on a reservation. I hate seeing statistics that dwell on substance abuse and Native Americans. I hate hearing about the tragedy, poverty, and hopelessness that is present on reservations. I hate it because an entire country, race of people, and society see those same headlines and they hate it too. The majority of this country loves to hate others. In fact, don’t we all like to look down at others so as to uplift the image of ourselves in our own minds? I’m guilty of doing it right now.
    You know why I hate those articles and reports so much? I hate them because they are not representative of me and who I am. I represent Native people because I am a Native person by birth, so-called blood quantum, enrollment, and, more importantly, because of my way of thinking, doing, and living. I did graduate high school. I was one of the smartest people in my graduating class. I did not struggle. I don’t have diabetes. I am not obese. I don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. I do participate in my culture. I know some of my language and will learn it until the day I die. I am a good person. Most importantly, I love my reservation. I think it is the most beautiful place in the world. I don’t see poverty, hopelessness, or tragedy. I see people I love and care about. I see land and resources. I see good people. I see positive things taking place. However, news reports like those make it seem like none of that exists or ever can exist on a reservation full of Indian people.
    Reports and articles like those paint a picture of what I am supposed to be and because I am neither of those things, should I feel like my identity as an Indian is a sham? Heck no. If anything, the people who paint that ugly picture of what Native people are like today are a sham! We should be doing something about these people who make us look bad. I’m not talking about locking them up and throwing away the key. I’m not saying to build bigger jails or even treatment centers for them. We should simply terminate them from our tribal rolls. I’m so sick of their **** that I want them to start thinking about what it is to represent Native people, the tribe they are enrolled in, and, most of all, THEMSELVES.
    Another thing we need to do is bring back the aspect of shame. That’s right. I want to do away with confidentiality, especially when it concerns child molesters, neglectful parents, druggies, and all-around scandalous people. I want to know who is a pervert. I want to know which parents are abandoning their children. Heck, we should make these people go in front of the tribal council and membership at quarterly meetings and introduce themselves for all to see. I’ll bet they wouldn’t want to face anybody after an ordeal like that. Hopefully, it would make them think twice before they do the stupid things they do. I know that we all make mistakes. I’m guilty of making millions, but the point is that I try to learn from every mistake in the hopes that I don’t repeat it ever again. Some people seem to never learn and it is those people who need help learning by seeing how it affects everyone around them, their family, friends, and society. These people should be accountable for what they do. Most of all, we as tribal members should be able to confront those people to let them know exactly what we think of their behavior. How else will they know the affect they have on us if we can never address them?
    When all the enrollment numbers disappear, the blood quanta ceases to exist, and our languages breathe their last breath, what will remain of Native people? Those things can disappear forever, but it doesn’t mean we cease to be Native. If we can at least preserve our way of thinking, acting, and doing, that is more important than a fraction indicating the amount of Indian blood we have flowing through our bodies.
    Last edited by marichriaddi; 11-07-2007, 07:48 PM. Reason: forgot the last words.

  • #2
    I'm new here, wanted to say you wrote very powerful words that lots of people can relate too.


    • #3
      I'm new here too. Today is my first day posting. Your words are words of wisdom. I love wisdom.
      "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is not a path and leave a trail."---Ralph Waldo Emerson


      • #4
        Ah, here is yet another example of how I know I raised you right...and I'm thankful to my mother and father for raising me right. Love you, my daughter!


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