As some of my readers may know, I’m a wise old Indian – well I’m at least two of those things.
All three of these personal stats have given me a very unique prospective on life. The first thing we should talk about is the Indian in the room – it wasn’t easy growing up being brown.
If the priests didn’t get you, it was the red-necks trying to get with your sister, and don’t get me started on those wild cowboys.
From time to time I’ll meet an uninformed member of society, who begins to rant about how good the government treats us “Injuns.”
Just for the shock value I pretend to agree with them: “You’re right, it’s not fair! The government gave us free land to live on, taught us the missionary’s possession and offered us all of the tax free cigarettes we could smoke – what’s not to love?”
I never tell these numb noggins the truth because it’s just easier to let them live on Rumor street, Bliss city in the state of Denial. As we all know facts and fools are like mixing oil and water. If I do take the time to calmly explain the truth to this type of person, it’s like telling a charging pit bull to sit, stay and roll over.
Then there are the enlightened hippie types who just want to hug me and express their sorrow for what their great, great, great grandfather did to me. These sad, remorseful folk say things like oh you poor, poor man – but they’ve never once given me any money?
Age has given me the ability to laugh at being brown. There was a time when I would have gone on the warpath with the feeble minded, fork tongued pale faces. But times have changed over my many moons of a life.
A good gage of how things have changed over the years is by noting the names we’ve been called. It has evolved from: “the only good Injun is a dead Injun” to “I’m proud to be part Native on my great, great, great grandmother’s side.”
Over time people have progressed from calling us godless heathens, to Injuns to the less derogatory greeting of, “Eh, chief.” Then more politically correct names like Indians, Natives to First Nations people. It makes me wonder what they’ll call us in the future.
Over time society has started to take a second look at the heathen’s way of life and how they used to live in harmony with nature. Instead of nuclear powered electricity, indigenous people used the nuclear powered sun for their light source. Natives used local plants and animals instead of trucking in loads of expensive beads and trinkets from far off lands – and water came from clean, clear creeks.
Personally, I hope Natives reconnect with the land and once again begin to understand mother earth’s secrets. For example: moss only grows on the north side of a tree, in case you get lost. If you want to start a fire, dry grass is just under the snow and mating season happens only once a year. Well, at least two out of three are worth noting.
I’ve also noted over my lifetime that winters have changed. If things continue at this rate spring will arrive after a very cold autumn.
Please feel free to contact Bernie Bates at: firstname.lastname@example.org