This past week I have had fry bread three different days. That is usually how much fry bread I get in a whole year! Needless to say that it was a good week to be indigenous!
However, it got me to thinking about a plethora of topics that affect that Native American today.
I ate this delicious fry bread taco as I sat in a lunch room at my old work’s fall picnic. I saw some of the kids who I thoroughly enjoyed working with and hope to be their homies some day and come to the realization some of the barriers that they as Native students are facing: mental illness, poverty and proof of enrollment. These things have plagued or community for generations and they all are a product of the historical trauma we have faced as a people.
I realize that proof of enrollment is a strange one but how would you feel if you know you are a certain amount of something and someone tells you no? There are many kids out there who are unable to prove their ancestry (which is dumb and shouldn’t be disputed to begin with) because of instances they cannot control– absent fathers, improper documentation, denial of parentage, etc. I don’t believe that there is any other race that has issues with saying who is or is not their race besides the American Indian community. Correct me if I’m wrong. My big thing is that without proof of enrollment (or descendancy) some Native youth will miss out on opportunities that they could have had if this was not a problem. Sigh.
Now poverty and mental illness are not unique to just the Native community but it seems to have a high number for us compared to the nation as a whole. The problem I see is that people choose to ignore these things if it does not directly affect them. And that is just too bad. I don’t know enough about the numbers/statistics of the Native community with poverty and mental illness to comment more but I know that it is an issue and I know it does not seem to have gotten better and I know that it is a problem.
This is just me talking about 3 kids. 3 KIDS! Who I love oh so dearly and want the world for them. I just want to make everything better for them but what can I do? That is what I am trying to figure out.
Anwho… next fry bread experience. I made my own! For the very first time! Yay me! It was for my only indigenous friend (which is a lie bc I technically have many but I either worked with them or they are my sisters coworkers) who requested it and I thought I would do it for her because she turned 30 (!). I was super nervous but I finally got the hang of it and it got easier. I think I need to make them a little less thick and then will double the recipe for some insane fry breadness.
It made me realize that I need to make more traditional foods (I know fry bread isn’t exactly “traditional” since they are the product of commodities but it is traditional still). I have had a few pounds of wild rice sitting around so I need to get on making some soup and some casserole and stuff and feed people. Since that is the best part of cooking–feeding people. Plus traditional food is usually healthier and I’m all about health.
Finally I had my last fry bread at Mankato Wacipi (pow wow). I like getting the hot ham and cheese but in the hot summer pow wows it is harder to eat. It was a little toasty (especially after dancing) but I ate most of it and it was DELICIOUS! Need to make my fry bread big enough to make ham and cheese.
This is when I realized I am sooooo happy that I started dancing (my first year!). I have wanted to start for many years but didn’t have the 1) time, 2) connections for regalia and 3) the spunk. A lot has happened to me over the past year and I believe I got my spunk from the craptacularness and realized that spunk is awesome.
The best part of me dancing? My mom going to pow wow. She is Native but in my life I have not really witnessed her being Native (if that makes sense). I feel that my sister and I are allowing her to be part of the community that she never could be a part of because of assimilation policies (my Gramma went to Flandreau I believe) and growing up in the cities. My mom has been interested in me dancing and going to pow wows even if they are far away. This year marked the first time I have ever been to the reservation with my mother since all the other times I went with friends or other relatives. I think it goes to show that you are never too old to reconnect with who you are and I am so happy to be part of that.
Other Native topics I’ve been bothered about this past fry bread week:
–Halloween– should I protest at Party City or would that just be nutty? Have to check the interwebs to see how people are handling that. The 6 costumes online are under the ‘Back in time’ category of ‘Western.’ Hmmm…..
–What historical trauma has done to me personally– still having trouble with this since I feel that many use historical trauma in ways that they shouldn’t. I’ll have to do more research on this one.
–The movie Avatar and how it is going to have a sequel.
–How I am like Spock– I will write about this sooner than later.
Anyway had a good fry bread week got me thinking about lots of things and what I should do. Need to blog more and write more in general. And read more. But I need some suggestions on what I should be reading.