Bee in the Bonnet – Support Your Local Native

Written by December 26, 2001 by

As I sit at my desk with my mighty pen in hand, I have to remind myself that I’m a humorist and to keep it light. Because what I’ve chosen to write about, is all the in-fighting amongst natives. The title almost read “You Blankity Blank, Back Stabbing, Blankity Blank!”

As you can probably tell, I’m a victim of the one thing that keeps a lot of natives down on the rez. The major reason you rarely see the words successful, happy and native in the same sentence. If you’re a native, you know of the affliction I’m talking about. Even if you’ve never done it yourself, you’re probably a carrier. Because I’ve seen it infect every generation I can remember.

If you’re a young native that wants to do something with your life, I suggest you get fitted for a Hatchet proof vest because, unfortunately, there are those who will want to stick it to you! If you’re strong willed, some will call you bossy. If you’re clever, you’re a smart ass, witty – mouthy, quiet – stuck up, sociable – show off. I won’t even write what would be said about you, if you’re kind to your mother.

It’s a no-win situation. So what’s a poor little rez boy (or gal) to do move to the big city? Reservation Brain Drain! (He writes, then looks out his window at the brightly lit skyscrapers.) But in my own defense, the city was the only place I could ply my trade. I used to paint windows for car dealerships. I no longer paint sale, sale, sale‚ on windows. So why do I stay in the city? Love, I suppose, is the main reason. You see, many moons ago when I first arrived in the city, I bumped into the most beautiful girl in the world and she introduced me to my wife. (I’m just kidding keep it light remember).

Let’s say that you don’t give a damn what people say. You don’t like city life and you’re determined to start your own business on the rez. Here’s a few things you should consider for your business plan.

Let’s say, you raise chickens and sell the eggs. Then one day Mrs. Runs With Deer walks in, demands credit. After all (she thinks), this is our business, because it’s on our reservation. But you know this woman and you know the odds of getting paid are slim to none. You also know she carries a lot of clout with her family, which just happens to be the dominant clan on the rez. (Representing fifty five percent of your total egg sales).

What do you do? Give her the eggs, or flip her the bird? It’s the age old question what comes first, the egg or the bird?

I hope I haven’t scared off any young native entrepreneurs. If you work hard and smart, you will succeed. And, as they say . . . success breeds success. Who knows, maybe we can tame the green eyed monster (jealousy) and make it work for us. Because, for every native that makes it, there’ll be another native saying “Ah, hell! If he can do it, I can do it too!”

If I may, I’d like to pass along a personal bit of advice, it may help you achieve a successful business on your rez. Don’t punch the future Chief in the nose!