Cutcha Risling Baldy in Native Condition. Discussion »
I can't. I physically, emotionally, mentally haven't been able to write in the last few days about the Veronica Brown custody/adoption situation. I've tried. I woke up at 3 in the morning and after I hugged my Indian baby daughter tight, kissed her on her forehead, tucked her tightly in to bed, hugged her again and smoothed her hair away from her face I went out to my porch and sat in the cold night air. The sky was filled with stars. I kept thinking I'd found new stars but they were mostly planes. I watched clouds move. I wondered why the guy across the way from me was awake with his lights on watching TV and reading a book. Maybe he was like me. Maybe he was too full to sleep.
Full. I felt physically full. I had tried to dull the uneasy feeling in my stomach earlier that night with good food and fun and laughter and conversation, friends and family who would listen to me rant about this thing or that and then make a funny joke about it. Indian people are funny in the best of times, but we are hilarious in the worst of times. We had, among many other things, humor to help us survive the consistent and ever present injustice that came with settler colonialism, racism, prejudice, genocide, and Federal Indian Law. We continue to laugh. They take, they take, they kidnap, they maneuver, they disregard, they pain, they attempt destruction and assimilation, and we fight/ resist/ revitalize/ decolonize and we laugh.
At dinner one of my friends said to me that she once got a call from someone at her job who said to her "I just found out that I am part Indian. I'm calling to see what I am entitled to."
And we laughed. The misinformed assumptions of people who think they know anything about what Indians are "entitled to." (And this - I could write epic entries about WHY this happens and the continued mis-education perpetuated about Native people, their history and their contemporary cultures.)
Coming so close to the Veronica Brown news of the day we laughed and my other friend said. "Tell him, oh so you're part Indian now and you want to know what you are entitled to? Well, you are entitled to have your children taken away from you."
We continued on! you're entitled to be given land that is unable to actually grow anything, you are entitled to be removed from your home and walked hundreds of miles, you're entitled to be stolen from your family, put into boarding school and beaten for speaking your language, you're entitled to not be protected under the constitution, you're entitled to have violence committed against you 2.5X more than any other group in the United States, you are entitled to be disregarded as a real Indian because you don't look like Indians in the movies, you are entitled to be told to "get over" everything
As I was sitting in my chair on my back porch I thought about laughter. I thought about how good it would feel to laugh instead of cry, or scream, or rage. I thought about how I could laugh. I could laugh at the ridiculousness of this "adoptive couple." I could make jokes about their arrogance, their selfishness, their unconscionable execution of an illegal and immoral adoption. I could do it in my own "tongue in cheek" or "sassy" way (both words used to describe the blog lately.)
I tried. I started writing. I typed furiously on my phone but as soon as I would start writing I would just I can't.
posted September 26, 2013 2:20 pm edt