In two weeks, I am going to present at a fortune 100 company as part of their diversity program. I have a half hour for my presentation and a four-by-eight table on which to place pictures or things. I get to talk about being “Indian”. (In my case, being a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and having ancestors from the Red lake, Leech Lake and White Earth bands as well.) I suppose my audience will be people I’ve met from a relative’s department, and perhaps some of the big wigs from the company.
Having lived on and off the reservation and having degrees in American Indian Studies and psychology, it would be easy for me to come up with my perception of what being Indian means. However, as part of the presentation, I would like to know and present two things. 1) What you would like to know about a person/people from these cultures if you are not from there, and 2) what you would like other people to know if you are.
For fellow Anishinabeg, I’m aware that we come from many different reservations, reserves, places and experiences, and want to take this into account. But I need your input in order to do so. If you would like me to keep your replies confidential, I can do that, as this blog is set up so that I have to approve, and can edit, your reply before posting it. I would however like to use your reply and at least note where it comes from.
Posted in American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Culture, Indian Values, Language, Native American, Ojibwemowin, Opinion, Religion, Spirituality, Stories | 3 Comments »
Migrate dying children.
Do you leave the parent of your birth,
or are you cast off?
Or is your separation by mutual agreement
while you still have some life left?
Fall to the Earth in ones and twos and multitudes,
until you finally expire.
Lie dessicate on the ground,
or rot in sopping wet,
Trod upon by uncaring feet.
Ground beneath the wheels of vehicles whose owners
have come to gawk at the casualties
of this yearly conflict.
Waste away as the cold and snow entomb you.
The irony is that most people will exclaim in wonder
at the color of the blood left behind at your death.
Or the golden glory as your spirit passes.
Posted in American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Native American, Nature, Poem, Poems, Poetry | Tagged American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Native American, Nature, Ojibwe, Poem, Poetry, Poetry Poems, Prose, Reflection | Leave a Comment »
then a door closes…
Time to get up and make lunches.
Where is the sun?
Posted in Poem, Poems, Poetry | Tagged Poem, Poems, Poetry | 1 Comment »
Nanabozhu decided to visit Maui on the spur of the moment. What he didn’t know was that Maui decided to visit Red Lake at the same time. So they missed each other. Nonetheless, Nanabozhu had a great time on Maui’s island. This morning Nanabozhu decided to greet the sun at the top of Haleakala, and take the bike tour down. He thought it was kinda funny that the tour guides slept in the van because the mountain was covered in clouds and they knew that no one would see the sun that morning from the top of the mountain.
Nanabozhu decided to check out the gift shop since it was open during the time the sun rose. He chanced upon a Hawaiian ranger chastising a white tourist who had (N. supposed) complained about not being able to see the sunrise. The ranger said in her best berating voice. “I’m Hawaiian, and we are taught from when we are very young to discern things with all six of our senses, not just our sight. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a duty to perform.” And with that she left.
“You go girl!” Nanabozhu thought. The term “Haoli”, coming to mind. Outsiders would always be Haoli to a native people. There would always be that sense of otherness between them. He had to smile at the irony. Here, Nanabozhu was haoli.
He then followed her outside to a crowd of about six hundred people who had gathered, and this is what he saw and said:
Cold impenetrable fog whips their hair.
A crowd and Japanese tour couples stand huddled.
Their windbreakers occasionally wrapped in ineffectually thin blankets.
Waiting in vain for a visible sunrise.
Posted in American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Culture, Hawaii, Hawaiian, Indian Values, Native American, Nature, Photography, Poem, Poems, Poetry | Tagged American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Culture, Haiku, Hawaii, Hawaiian, Native American, Nature, Ojibwe, Poem, Poems, Poetry, Reflection, Spirituality, Stories, Thoughts | Leave a Comment »
stratus clouds embrace Lanai
silhouettes before a setting sun
their edges chiaroscuro
Posted in American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Culture, Haiku, Hawaii, Hawaiian, Indian Values, Native American, Nature, Poem, Poems, Poetry | Tagged American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Culture, Haiku, Hawaii, Hawaiian, Native American, Nature, Ojibwe, Poem, Poems, Poetry, Poetry Poems | Leave a Comment »
I hear a finale of fireworks
crackle across the crown
of my blue and white umbrella.
Posted in Photography, Poem, Poems, Poetry | Tagged American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Native American, Nature, Ojibwe, Photography, Poem, Poems, Poetry | 7 Comments »
Nanabozhu is on his way to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, where the people are unique and peculiar.
“Can you pull up next to that guy driving that semi?” He rolls down the back passenger side window to the Chrysler Town and Country.
“I don’t think it’s going to accomplish anything.” Says the blond in the front seat.
“Well, I have to try,” he replies.
By now they are alongside the guy driving the semi at 75 miles an hour. Nanabozhu sticks his head out the window (which doesn’t quite open up all the way so he’s kinda squished through it.) The trucker looks down at them and sees an older Anishinabe fellow squinting with effort as Nanabozhu tries to make a rolling motion with the one hand he can get out of it.
The truck driver rolls down his window with a curious look on his face. With the wind whipping by, he thinks he hears Nanabozhu yell something like “Your barn door’s open!” (Which is a euphemism for “the zipper on your pants is undone”.) Nanabozhu can see him mouth “What?!” with an incredulous look on his face.
“Your back door is open!” Nanabozhu yells again. The trucker smiles and waves with that easygoing look of someone who has heard you say something but is too polite to tell you that they didn’t quite understand what you said.
Their Town and Country pulls ahead, leaving the truck behind with Ben their driver glancing back in the SUV’s rear view mirror to watch the trucker checking his side view mirrors looking like someone who, with a little thought, has finally figured out what you were trying to say, and the trucker finally begins to pull off the road.
Posted in American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Culture, Indian Values, Native American, Stories | Tagged American Indian, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Community, Culture, Native American, Ojibwe, respectful behavior, Stories | 2 Comments »