Brain Food Canku Ota is a copyright of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.
I find my way to the key board of this machine. It seems that my mind tends to fill up and I seek a way to empty
and make room. Usually after a good rip roaring pow wow, I find my mind over flowing. Not only has the season of
the pow wow began in earnest, but it is also election time for the various reservations. And so, here I sit this
morning armed with a hot cup of coffee and an over flowing mind.
It is a crisp, cool, damp morning here in the land of the Anishinaabe. I returned early this morning from attending the Cass Lake pow wow. I can still hear the drums and songs. The weather on the first day of the pow wow, was rainy, cold and unfit for humans. But still the pow wow proceeded. On the second day, the sky cleared, the sun burst forth, and I know Creator smiled down on the festivities. The grounds were over flowing with children, feathers, and people balancing Indian Tacos with one hand, while waving to friends with the other.
I of course got some hot soup, and fry bread, found a great seat, and planted myself. My friend mentioned that I always turn into a sponge at a pow wow and absorb everything. And, of course I giggled when my favorite dance took place. The tiny tots. Some wore feathers longer than their little legs. They would run around the dance grounds and would stop and dance as the music grabbed them. There were of course those little ones that would sit on the side lines and suddenly bolt into the dance arena as though the spirit grabbed them. They didn't care much for protocol, they just needed to dance. There parents would drag them kicking and screaming should "the spirit" move them to join at the wrong time. As always the pow wow was a refueling station to my blood. The pow wow is a most positive thing. It continues to prove that my culture is alive and growing. It shows us all that there IS a place for us, and always will be. It is one of the few places on earth that speaks volumes just by showing up. Not to mention, all this accomplished while having a good time, good food, and catching up on gossip.
While in Cass Lake I had time to visit with the people I know there and sit quietly and listen to the election time views. These sometime heated talks were filled with learning and cold awareness. I listened to voices of my people while they struggled with the chore of finding leaders that will benefit the whole. One thing that was belatedly absent in all that I heard was one little word. A simple word. One that should not be absent, especially when we are dealing with each other. As I sat and listened, a sadness filled my very soul at the absence of this word. I found myself loosing some of that positive attitude that I am often teased about. Then as always, I began to wonder why, and how this happened.
I then made a decision to speak up about this missing word. It must be restored to my people. Without it, unity is doomed. The word is Trust. Trust in one another is gone. Trust that honor, unselfishness, and caring for the whole is still alive deep in the soul of all the people. The native politics are filled with sinister deeds, self serving decisions and desire to control the pitiful pile of money that belong to us all. Native politics are, I am sorry to say, not unlike the white world. With one exception. No one outside cares what happens to the people. It is as they say, "that's your problem". And a problem it is indeed! And not a quick fix problem either. I am not exactly sure what we need to do to restore trust within the workings of the reservations, but you can be sure I will be tuned into this problem searching for solutions. I would think the best place to start is with the youth. So once again we place another heavy burden on the little ones. They already have the enormous task of saving, restoring, and rebuilding the frayed pieces of the people. Now we must also ask them to do all this without damaging trust. I pray that Creator will walk close to our little ones, for indeed, they will need it. As for us adults, the time of sitting back grumbling is over. We have licked our wounds long enough and our time of morning is over. Get up off your behinds, put the bottle down, stand tall, stomp your feet, get involved, put yourself out just a little to benefit the whole. Teach our little ones by example. Group together towards a single goal, and your voice becomes like the thunder, unable to be ignored. Do this for the children, do this for the elders, do this for yourself, and do this for the tomorrows that face our already overwhelmed children.
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Canku Ota is a copyright of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.