a refrigerator is hilarious

a refrigerator is hilarious, this computer is a trip, electricity is a riot, our car is a fun toy,

this soft living makes me a butterfly in a warm glass house, no scorching sun, no wind or storm, no raindrops.

So I find the vent and escape…for a bit.

When my hands are rolling clay, scraping down a bow, fletching an arrow, harvesting dogbane stalks, mouth softening a string of sinew,

when  splashing naked unashamed, in the creek with every other naked living thing crawling, flying, swimming around me

its at these moments, ancient memory rips me to the bone, and i see through the lies of the big glass house.

i remember me! a true human walking with feet touching the earth, reaching for berries, alert to every sound and sensation.

ahh…so this is who I am,  son of true human-beings walking here, loving here, killing here, dying here for 1000s of years.

Walking twisting an elm bark string, sitting flaking a piece of creek chert, twirling a spindle into fire…. now they are all around me.

I return to the glass house through the vent…walk past the silly refrigerator, to this funny computer…    and miss them…already

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11 responses

  1. Wow! So well put. Your words make me speechless. Tizhameh. –Caitlin

    January 15, 2013 at 4:56 am

  2. I think you are getting at an understanding that has been lost in American culture, which I have certainly lost. We are cut off from our roots and drifting. I think that is one of the things that the genealogies in the Old Testament were meant to preserve. Now there are no genealogies. I hardly knew my grandparents, much less further back than that. You are blessed to have recovered some sense of it all. I wrote a poem about something like this called White Man’s Burden that I posted maybe last year, but you have said it better.

    February 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    • thanks Carroll,
      For many of us its imperative that we feel a rooted connection to ancestors. if we don’t know them, its easy to borrow or adopt ancestors, which I think is what happens here for many who have no ancient roots on this continent. Among African Americans and European Americans who have lost tribal ties of their homelands, it’s possible within Christianity to become included in “the ancestors of Abraham”, even if it’s a kind of spiritual ancestry. I guess for many individuals , its all they have.

      February 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      • Yes, being sons and daughters of Abraham is a spiritual identity that becomes as important as the tribal one. One of the calls of Christianity is to leave our nation, emotionally if not literally, to gain a bigger identity; just like Abraham who had to leave his tribal connections and move to a new land. There is a sense of loss in the world when anyone does that; immigrants know it full well, but there is a gain as well in the community of faith that shouldn’t be underestimated. It has the advantage of being a connection that unites people across tribe – at least when it is genuinely experienced.
        On the other hand, my ancestors were English, for the most part. They and the other European tribes were pretty warlike and destructive. It is the nature of a tribe to both give a sense of inclusion and belonging, but also a sense of exclusion of others. I think ancestral connections tend to make us exclusive and warlike except when a faith identity can raise it up to a more inclusive and world wide connection.
        Of course, my English ancestors screwed that up pretty well. They thought they could make Christianity English rather than making the English Christian. Don’t get me wrong. I love my English ancestry and heritage. But I am ashamed of it as well.

        February 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm

  3. Sorry. I get long-winded sometimes. That is why I became a teacher, I guess. Then I have a captive audience.

    February 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm

  4. Unfortunately the idea of leaving your tribe and nation to become a Christian(seed of Abraham) has been one of the most destructive forces against indigenous peoples and has been used to divide our indigenous peoples into two factions “Christians and Heathens.” This divisive action (still happening today) along with the enforced and violent Manifest Destiny by ones who saw themselves as “soldiers of the cross” broke tribal cohesion within villages and created suspicions and distrust between the converted and the traditionalists. Christianity brought in a kind of dualism “you are of God , but you are not” (which inferred saved and damned) . Our Traditional paradigms did not have concepts of “all good”, “all evil”, because life was considered more complex than that. Our own stories don’t have devils(all bad) and angels(all good). Instead there are those who had “power” (oki) . Some used it constructively to heal or do good deeds and others used the same power to break things and destroy. a very different paradigm.

    I doubt the indigenous British were any more violent than any others, including the historical church and its quest for absolute power spreading from Rome to “civilize” Europe and the world. I see Christianity very differently than when i was once imbedded in it.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:49 am

  5. Your point is well taken. I know a bit of the history of missions among indigenous peoples, but even more I grew up in Mississippi and saw first hand the way the churches treated the black people, even a hundred years after slavery was “abolished”. It made me bitter and alienated from Christianity for a long time. A lot of that alienation is still there, but for me the point is Jesus and not Christianity. It is hard to get past the atrocities done in his name but that was a critical point for me. I am convinced he hates the misuse of his name more than I do.
    The only other thing I can say is that I am really sorry for what my ancestors have done to yours and I hope that you and others can forgive me.

    February 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  6. I think you’ll find Native Americans to be the most forgiving of peoples. Not being raised traditionally, it actually frustrated me to see such tolerance at times! I think i understand it better today. Traditionally our ancestors didn’t paint people as “righteous” people and “evil” people. Even our enemies we had skirmishes with were not thought of as “evil” but traditional tribal adversaries. (these skirmishes defined territories and proved the prowess of village defenders) Today things are a bit different because of the horrid sex abuse perpetuated against children in Catholic and protestant boarding schools. Sure one can say “those aren’t REAL Christians” just as Muslims can say “terrorists aren’t REAL Muslims” but the despicable actions of those using religious justification taint any image or perception of how TRUE followers of a GOOD religion are supposed to be discerned.

    February 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm

  7. Yes, the taint is there. I can only try to not participate or encourage the evil that is perpetrated in my name – all who take the name Christian are defiled by the evil, not merely Jesus – and I can work against it within my power. But the past cannot be erased nor easily healed.
    To judge whether Muslim terrorists are true Muslims or not we would have to study the Qu’ran since that is the defining standard for Islam, and the same study of the New Testament is necessary to judge Christian terrorists. I can see how people might be inclined to give up on it all as not worth the effort. But it is still true what you say in your article about proselytizing in schools, that it is best to know what and why we agree or disagree with an idea. Not so easy to do if the idea has been used against you like a bullet.
    For my part, I esteem your website here and I respect your feelings and opinions and it is not my intent to come here and try to convert anyone. God’s peace be on you and your household.

    February 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

  8. Carroll,
    no offense taken at all, I welcome all kinds of people and various opinions.
    I think there are many ways of “seeing” the same elephant. There is also no “one-size-fits-all” Native American point of view . Personal beliefs are as various as there are individuals. No one speaks for all. When anyone is foolish enough to say “the Indians believe…” you know they probably are stereotyping. 🙂

    February 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm

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