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Monday, August 7, 2017

America's Throw Away Indian Project: My Battles


I choose my battles carefully.  Each day, I embrace the good fight.  I challenge my natural tendencies and strive to be the best person I can be.  In this daily struggle, I obligate myself and aspire to BECOME THE VERY BEST VERSION OF ME I CAN BE TODAY.  Fighting the battle of me vs. me, this is a fight to which I desire to be a participant.

What I consider triumph, in this exclusive internal crusade, is my insides matching my outsides.  For me, this is a daily feud I find worthy, and it occupies a sense of silent dignity.  Does this have any meaning to you?  Can any part of you identify with what I am striving to describe?  I hope to make sense.  It certainly makes sense in my head.   I hope it translates to others.  My desire is never to feel alone in this journey of life.

I want to look squarely at myself and face myself as I am, all of me.  Facing the "Me" that is less than desirable and the "Me" that is fiercely determined to be an honorable person.  The person, my parents, worked their lives to teach me to be, a woman they could be proud of.  Wish me luck as I am a formidable opponent.  Wish me luck as I attempt to infuse and integrate and find a balance where peace becomes my bedfellow.



Traditionally, my people, meaning my tribe, Lake Cowichan First Nation, they lived in long houses.  My people lived in a communal lifestyle.  I believe I am genetically set up for this style of living.  Creator had different plans for me.  I have ceased trying to understand why Creator made a life for me where I am alone without a large family and accept my place, my station, and I do the very best I can do.

I count myself as blessed as this life journey of being a wolf without a pack has made me incredibly strong.  So tenacious that my presence makes others feel nervous and sometimes scared of me.  I am no one to be trifled with for sure.  I am very loving and very nurturing.  Many times, I do not understand why people are scared of me.  It is a mystery to me.  It is another mystery I spend no time trying to figure out.  I am diligent at monitoring my presence to put others at ease.

I am now fifty years old.  For the most part, I am finally at peace with who I have matured into.  I find peace with who I am and what I do.  I do not live my life for others.  I did live my life for others for many, many years and found I was a constant disappointment.  Now THAT was a hard way to live.  It wasn't even me who was the disappointment.  I was a reflection to others their own failure of self-actualization and integration of the design Creator intended.

I am adopted.  I have my biological family and my adopted family.  I speak to neither family.  Maybe it is they do not talk to me.  This is another mystery I gave up trying to understand.  I created this page to publicly discuss how it feels to be an Aboriginal woman from Canada.  Born a female without honor or reverence Native Americans and First Nation people boast so frequently in public.  Nope.  I am a Lake Cowichan First Nation woman without an identity aside from the identity I carved for myself along my life's journey.  Sometimes the woman you will see is angry, sad, resentful, confused, lost, lonely, longing for my biological family just to want me.  Longing for my biological family to even say hello.  Longing for my biological family to be curious about me and reach out to me.  But I have accepted this will NEVER happen.  I am a ghost to them.



My adopted family, they do not speak to me either.  My adoptive parents are dead now.  My brother who was their biological son hates me and has since they day they brought me home in 1969.  I have occasional contact with a couple cousins in my adopted family.  For the most part, though, I am not accepted in my adopted family's life.  I do not fit in.  They do not like me.  They certainly do not like me talking about my feelings of being taken and the feelings I have of being stripped of my culture and heritage.  To them, speaking of this, is a slap in their face, as if I am ungrateful for their love and ungrateful to the family in general.

So I live in a small world.  I married a man who accepts me and all of my sadness.  I have a daughter that LOVES me so much, it is what saves me.  She understands the grief I carry isn't either one of my families fault.  She is fifteen now, and she completely understands that what I feel is the result of the assimilation laws of the U.S. and Canadian governments.  The sadness will never leave me.  I have diligently made it clear to my daughter not to allow my sadness to infect her.  The sadness I carry is mine and mine alone.



The sadness I carry, it is assimilation and not hers.  I have raised my daughter to identify as white.  I have consciously and very much designed her life to be "WHITE" & not Lake Cowichan First Nation.  My daughter, she will bear none of the pain I carry.  I am the first generation of the reserve.  In American, the government calls Indian land reservations.  In Canada, the Aboriginal land is called reserves.  I am the bridge to the HORRENDOUS PAST OF ASSIMILATION AND GENOCIDE.  I WILL CARRY ALL OF THAT FOR MY CHILDREN.  MY KIDS WILL BE FREE OF THIS PAIN.

THE GOVERNMENT WINS.

I WILL TELL MY STORY BEFORE I DIE.  I WILL TELL THE WORLD HOW PAINFUL IT IS TO BE AN ABORIGINAL ADOPTEE.  I WILL EXPLAIN HOW IF FEELS TO HAVE LIVED,  BUT THIS "LIVING" IS A WHAT I CALL A WALKING DEATH.  EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE IS ANOTHER DAY OF LIVING-GENOCIDE.  AND THIS MY FAIR READERS, IS MORE PAINFUL THAN BROKEN BONES, CHILDBIRTH, TORTURE, IT IS A DAILY LIFE LIVED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF HOW I AM THE GENOCIDE BOTH THE U.S. AND CANADIAN GOVERNMENTS SET OUT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH MY RACE.  IT IS A PRISON.  THIS IS HOW I CAN DESCRIBE IT TO THOSE WITH LITTLE KNOWLEDGE OR FALSE KNOWLEDGE:  I AM TOO RED FOR THE WHITE WORLD AND TOO WHITE FOR THE RED WORLD.  I WILL NEVER FIT INTO EITHER WORLD.

WHY CREATOR DIDN'T LET ME DIE IN THE CAR ACCIDENT MY MOTHER DIED IN ON DECEMBER 21ST, 1967, WHY CREATOR HAS MADE ME LIVE THIS LIFE ALONE AND REJECTED, WELL THIS IS A MYSTERY I WILL NEVER COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND.

SO I SAY THIS, MY STORY WILL NOT ONLYCONSIT OF DESCRIBING MY LIFE AS AN ADOPTED PERSON ROBBED OF HERITAGE, LANGUAGE, CULTURE, LARGE FAMILY, FAMILY TIES, BUT I AM GOING TO WRITE DOWN ALL OF THE UGLIES PERSONAL THINGS THAT HAPPENED TOME ALONG THE WAY.

I HAVE SURVIVED PHYSICAL ABUSE, SEX ABUSE, DRUG ABUSE, ATTEMPTED SUICIDES, PROMESCRUITY, ABORTIONS, VIOLENCE, ALCOHOL BINGE DRINKING, DROPPING OUT OF COLLEGE IN MY SENIOR YEAR.  MY STORY WILL SHOW I CHOSE A MARRIAGE THAT FOR THE MOST PART, MY HUSBAND IS GOOD TO ME, BUT HE TOO HAS A DARKNESS INSIDE HIM.  HE IS NOT ABSENT OF A NASTY TEMPER.  HE HAS OUTBURSTS, AND HE HAS A MEANNESS THAT NO ONE SEES OUTSIDE OF CLOSED DOORS.  I HAVE NOWHERE TO GO.  I HAVE NO MONEY TO GET ME THERE IF I HAD SOMEWHERE TO GO.

I USED TO BELIEVE THERE WAS PHILANTHTOPISTS EXISTED THAT WOULD HEAR MY STORY AND WOULD WANT TO HELPME CONNECT WITH MY FAMILY.  A PHILANTHROPIST THAT WOULD HELP ME BUY A CAR, ELECTRONICS TO RECORD MY JOURNEY AND PRODUCE A FILM OF THAT JOURNEY TO USE AS A PRODUCTION TO ENCOURAGE THE GROWTH OF HURH.RUP.org.  A PHILANTHROPIST WITH ENOUGH MONEY TO ASSIST ME IN KEEPING MY HOME HERE IN THE U.S. SO MY CHILDREN AND I HAVE A HOME TO RETURN TO AFTER OUR JOURNEY TO CANADA.



A PHILANTHROPIST THAT WOULD PROVIDE ME WITH MONEY FOR A PASSPORT, FAIRY MONEY, LODGING, FOOD, GIFTS TO GIVE MY BIOLOGICAL FAMILY SO I DIDN'T GO HOME EMPTY HANDED, MONEY TO BY MYSELF AND MY CHILDREN FOOD WHILE IN CANADA.  A PHILANTHROPIST THAT HAD SO MUCH MONEY, THEY COULD MAKE MY DREAMS COME TRUE AND THAT THEY WOULD HELP ME TRAVEL THE 10 HOURS IT TAKES TO GET TO MY HOMELANDS.  YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY.  THE FAMILY I WAS STOLEN FROM, THE HERITAGE, CULTURE, AND MY BLOODLANDS ARE A MEASLY TEN HOURS FROM WHERE I LIVE NOW.  I HAVE GIVEN UP THIS DREAM OF RETURNING HOME.  I HAVE FINALLY COME TO TERMS WITH THE FACT THAT THERE ARE ZERO PHIOLANTHROPIST IN THIS WORLD WITH ANY INTEREST IN SEEING INDIGENOUS PEOPLE BEING REUNITED WITH THEIR PAST, THEIR OWN MYSTERIES.  IF THERE IS A PHILANTHROPIST OUT THERE IN THE WORLD, I HAVEN'T THE FIRST IDEA HOW TO FIND THEM.  

I HAVE GIVEN UP THE DREAM OF EVER BEING ABLE TO MAKE THAT TEN HOUR DRIVE.  I HAVE GIVEN THAT DREAM UP, I HAVE GIVEN UP HOPE.  THE REALITY IS, I WILL DIE RIGHT WHERE I AM.  I WILL DIE IN A LITTLE TOWN, AND WITH ME ONE MORE PIECE OF MY TRIBE WILL DIE.  IT IS MY WALKING DEATH.  THIS STORY TURNED DARK.  WHEN I WRITE ABOUT MY STORY AND HOW IT FEELS IT ALWAYS TURNS DARK.    I HAVE GIVEN UP ON HAVING A HUMOROUS, BUBBLY STORY TO WRITE.

I  LIVE MY LIFE IN SERVICE TO OTHERS.  IT SOFTENS THE SADNESS, AND SOMETIMES THE ANGER RESIDING  INSIDE ME.  I FINALLY HAVE COME TO TERMS I CAN ONLY PUT THOSE FEELINGS TO BED.  I HAVE COME TO TERMS THAT I AM UNABLE TO EXTINGUISH ENTIRELY THE SADNESS THAT SATURATES MY SOUL.  AS SOON AS I BEGIN TO WRITE DOWN WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME, MY STORY BECOMES DARK.

I WILL BE SHOCKED IF PEOPLE WHO FIND THEIR WAY TO #ATAIP WILL BE ABLE TO FOLLOW THE DARKNESS AND HANG IN THERE WITH ME UNTIL I AM ABLE TO LEAD THEM TO THE LIGHT I FOUND AFTER FORTY YEARS OF LEARNING HOW TO LIVE WITH THE LIVING DEATH.  WHAT IS #ATAIP, YOU ASK?

AMERICA'S THROW AWAY INDIAN PROJECT #ATAIP...MORE LATER, I FIND MYSELF EMPTY NOW.  I MUST RECHARGE.  IT TAKES A LOT OUT OF A PERSON TO WRITE THIS STUFF DOWN.  A LOT OF FEAR ACCOMPANIES THIS JOURNEY.  IT HAS ALSO BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THAT EXPLAINING OR TELLING MY STORY IS LIKE HUMAN REPELLANT.  PEOPLE FLEE WHEN THEY BEGIN TO HEAR THIS STUFF.

~BigMamaBlaze





P.S.
All caps was purposeful.  It is my anger that jumps out of me when I begin to open myself up about my darkness.  It is my shock and disappointment in myself for feeling the way I do when I write about my darkness.  Finally, it is the awakening of pain inside me that I have put to bed.  It is that duality inside me of being a matured woman who has learned to cope and keep quiet, and when speaking about my experience I have an explosion of feelings, and it's embarrassing.  I feel humiliated.  I make no promises of how telling my story is going to sound.  I do promise I will continue to define what  #ATAIP  means to me.

I ALSO PRAY THAT OTHER ADOPTED FIRST NATION AND NATIVE AMERICAN MEAN AND WOMEN WHO FIND THIS, I PRAY THEY WILL SUBMIT THEIR STORIES TOO, SO I DO NOT SOUND LIKE A MENTAL PATIENT.  I HOPE OTHERS WILL SHRE THEIR STORIES.  (THIS ONE IS FEAR)

I once had a dream of an organization I created and called it HURH.RUP.org.  This organization was a sustainable, green company, filled with teams of people dedicated to assisting adoptees reuniting with their biological families.  I designed it as a non-profit company that uses footage of journey of those who made it home and their experience to train others to build more offices built with recycled products to help more adoptees to find their way to their blood lands.
Each group would train more people, constructing more HURH.RUP.org centers, eventually erected in every state.  All of these would be designed for the sole purpose of assisting others like me to be reunified.  The films would launch into a television series or a movie series and eventually become self-sustainable.  The money had to come from my "fantasized" philanthropist that I now know doesn't exist.  The HURH.RUP.org is "Help Us Return Home Re - Unification Project.  Like #ATAIP #HURH.RUP is just that, dreams of an Indian that America threw away and buried in the graveyard of red tape.





Wednesday, July 26, 2017

VISIT MY NEW PAGE AND HELP ME TELL THE WORLD THE TRUTH.

PLEASE SHARE YOUR OWN PERSONAL STORIES, THE STORIES YOU GREW UP LISTENING TO.  SHARE HEALING PRAYERS, SONGS, POEMS, ARTWORK, ANYTHING YOU WANT TO.  HELP ME TELL THE WORLD THE TRUTH.





Sunday, July 9, 2017

Crow Necklace and His Medicine Ceremony




There was a party of Gros Ventre Indians who went out for a hunt From Knife River where the old camp was, and while they were hunting, the Assiniboins came and attacked the hunters. Some getaway and were saved. A young man among them looked for his sister and could not find her. So he trailed them to their camp. This man was an Assiniboin who had been a little boy captured by the GrosVentre and made a slave.



Sister
Artist:  Susan Seddon Boulet



The girl called him brother but was not really related to him. When all was quiet at night he went through the camp to look for his sister. He came to a big teepee and heard talking. Looking through a hole, he saw two men wounded whom he recognized as his own brothers. Now he had shot two Assiniboin in the conflict (and he recognized these two as the ones he shot).  Drawing his robe over his head, he entered and sat down beside their father, who was his father too. The wounded men told their father to fill his pipe and smoke with the stranger. The boy had not forgotten his own language, so he spoke to the old man and said, "Father, it is I." When he told what had happened to him, the father put his hands about his neck and fainted; the mother did the same. When he told them it was he who had shot the two brothers, they all laughed over it. He told them that he was looking for his sister, and the wounded men advised the father to call in the chiefs and tell them about her.




Smoke
Artist:  Susan Seddon Boulet



So the chiefs arranged not to move camp for four days, but to have a feast and call together all the slaves taken from theirs Ventre and let them eat. Then they had a dance called the Scalp-Dance, but the sister was not there. According to the old custom, slaves are supposed to belong to the tribe by which they are captured, so the slaves too got up and danced with them. All the slaves knew the young man. They called him "Crow Necklace.



Crow Necklace
Artist: Susan Seddon Boulet



“Before the four days were passed he said to the slaves, "Go steal some moccasins and dry meat and one of these nights we will run away." On the last of the four nights, they were all prepared. They stole sinew and cut pieces of Buffalo hide from the tents for moccasins. It was storming when they left - young women, old, and children, the young women carrying the children on their backs -and they ran North instead of East in the direction from which they came. Coming to a dry lake, they laid down in the deep grass and the snow covered them. Meanwhile, the Assiniboin discovered their absence and tracked after them but could not find them. They came to the lake but, seeing nothing of them, went home except one who stood looking. Crow Necklace crept up and killed him and took his scalp.



Scalp
Artist;  Susan Seddon Boulet



That night they went until daylight, traveling North-East until they came to another dry lake thick with grass. There they stayed allay. Four days they traveled in the night and hid all day. By this time they were up at the headwaters. From there they came around toward the Missouri River and came out at a place we call "Timber Coulee." At that time it was full of timber. Crow Necklace was about to push down an old tree which had an Owl's nest on top. An old Owl said, "Don't push that tree or my young ones will get cold. We are the ones who have helped you get around to your home again. It ill be best for you to go back to your own tribe: there you will find chief's daughter waiting to marry you." So when they wanted him to marry some of the women he refused and said, "No! The young ones are my sisters and the old ones are my mothers. The Owl directed him, “After leaving this place, go directly to the Short Missouri to camp, then on to Wood-Trap (right across the river West from here).Here all the Spirits will set traps to catch all kinds of wild animals for you to eat. When you get there, build a tipi out in the bush. Go inside and do not go out, and they will bring you meat themselves." So they did this - fixed up nice and went in. Outside they could hear the noise of butchering going on around them.



Owl
Artist: Susan Seddon Boulet


When the noise ceased they went out and found meat cut up or wrapped in hides and laid up on scaffolds. The Owl told Crow Necklace that they were now not far from the tribe - at the next move they would reach home. The next day they moved until they came to a high hill. Crow Necklace fixed up a skull and painted their faces black. Astley approached, they saw a woman crying on top of a hill and someone pointed her out to Cow Necklace; it was his sister. He called to her, and when she saw him she fainted. Then the whole camp came out to meet them and everybody made much of Crow Necklace. Herold the story of their adventures and brought food for them to eat.



Artist Unkown



All the hides he had asked to have tanned in order to make Medicine after he got back home. Among them was a White Buffalo hide. Softer he had married a chief's daughter as had been foretold, he made Medicine in order to understand all the mysterious beings and leave out none of them. And that cost him everything he had prepared - a hundred moccasins, a hundred robes, and a hundred blankets- everything in hundreds.