Sunday, August 12, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

In so many ways, I don't really have a place to call "home", a place where I belong fully. Having spent most of my growing up years in California, I used to consider that state home. But after living in Utah for 13 years, Cali no longer feels like home anymore. But Utah certainly isn't home either. In my heart, the place that feels the most like home now is the rez. There is a culture on the rez I can't belong to, because I don't live there. But with the bulk of my family still there, it is closest thing to belonging and the sense of home I have in my life. Enough like home that I plan to be buried there, in the family plot.
We are off tomorrow to go home. The purpose of the trip is two-fold.We have two new family members who have yet to be introduced to the the family Matriarch, my mom.
Brown Boy:

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And June Bug:

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The second purpose is my Bald Man's skills. Just think about this for a second. What would you do if you had a good handyman coming to your house for a week, just to do all the stuff you need/want done? Oh yeah man, my mom can't wait!!! So far, he is replacing all her windows in her house and fixing a roof. I am sure she will keep him busy from sunup to sundown. I really appreciate the good relationship between my husband and my mom. She likes him so much, if we ever got a divorce, I think she would dump me and keep him!
Things I am dreading:
*Little Man's behavior in the car and at my mom's
*The Pea in the car, that child is a terrible traveler
*Being more than 100 miles (one way!) from the nearest large box store
Things I am looking foward to:
*Having my kids all gathered with their relatives and me
*Introducing Brown Boy and Girlfriend to our culture and family
*Spending time with my sisters, aunts, cousins and my mom
Something I need to get done while I am there. My tribal ID is still in my maiden name, and I have been married for almost 27 years! I need to bring my marriage certificate in to the tribal office and have it redone. We shall see if I do it!
Blog posts will probably be sparse, as my mom has dial up! Dial up people! Don't know about that one...
And yes, we still have buffalo there.
Here is an assignment for all of ya. Leave me some questions you want answered about my culture. Feel free to ask anything, I won't take offense, I promise!

I can't wait to see my sweet Pygmy Child! And she can't wait to see her new niece!

8 Kids Who Want To Play:

elizasmom said...

That sounds likea beautiful trip that awaits you, Jo. Having left the very continent where I was born, I like your take on what home is. I hope the good parts of the trip that you are expecting are awesome and the worst parts merely little annoyances.

As for questions:

1. Do you prefer Indian, Native American, or something else entirely?

2. I think it's fair to say that people who aren't part of your culture hold a variety of stereotypes about it. What are the stereotypes that bug you the most, that you want to set people straight about (here, have a soapbox to stand on!)?

Josi said...

I like elizasmom's questions--I'm sure this is on your blog somewhere but what tribe are you from? And what aspects from your Native American culture have you continued in your life away from the rez?

K J and the kids said...

What a beautiful wedding picture.
How fun to go home.
Poor bald man. You had better be thinking of ways to make it up to him :)

I have heard and I'm sure it doesn't carry on in all tribes. Gay people are treated equally and at one time were treated on a higher platform ?

Are you tax exempt ?

Could you kill someone and go to the reservation and take safe haven ?

Melissa said...

Sounds like a fantastic trip, Jo! I can't wait to read all about it when you get back. :)

Questions, huh? I have a million! So I guess tell me anything you'd like to share about the Lakota culture because I love learning new things.

Oh wait, here's one:

Is it considered offensive in your culture to compliment someone's spouse? I work with a woman who is Native American, although I am not sure of which tribe. One of the girls said her husband was a hotty-he is, and she WAS just being friendly- and she thanked her but said that was unacceptable in her culture.

So I guess I'm wondering if that's a tribal thing, a Native American thing or a "I'm kinda insecure because my husband is a cutie" thing. ;)

Eliza said...

Well since it's always a topic of interest among the severely-depressed and temporarily antidepressant-bereft MRSA-infected (MY VERY OWN MINORITY!), let's talk about DEATH! You brought it up, yo. So...buried? Not put up on a platform of sticks in the sun or eaten by local scavengers? Coffin? Yes? No?

I wanna know.

Ooo and since people in my minority never get any...premarital sex? Yes? No? Also, circumcision? Male? Female? Either? Ever?

And if I, as a non-whatchamacallit (American Indian?), upped and killed someone (theoretically--for the moment the MIL and I are friendly...ish) and your mom said I could crash at her place could the feds came and get ME?

*cackles evilly*

Jessi Louise said...

This post made me laugh because my mom is the same way with my husband when we come to town. She has a chore list for him, which she presents in a very polite, subtle way shortly after we arrive. She lives alone, so there are many things she needs a hand with.
As far as native american culture goes...I have always been intrigued by the spiritual aspect and the connection with nature. I am pretty much unaffiliated as far as religion goes and I'd love to hear more about native american beliefs. I know that's not a simple thing to answer, but if you could just shed a little more light, that would be wonderful.

Heather said...

I am always interested in people's reasons for becoming midwives or doulas, so my question for you is...

Does your cultural background have anything to do with the reason you chose to work as a midwife?

I hope you have a safe trip, and that your mother's house is shipshape before you leave, but that she doesn't wear your husband completely out. :-) I hope your son does well on the trip, and the new babe, also.

Ooh! I thought of another question! What percentage of your heritage has to be Native American to qualify to live on the reservation and get benefits? My mother and I have looked into this several times (we're Cree and Cherokee as far as we can tell, but an adoption in our family has made families trees hard to trace) but always seem to get conflicting answers. Also, some things say that you have to be one tribe completely, but then others say it can be a mix (like we are). Any knowledge you can pass down about that?

Manuela said...

Gosh... questions.


I think... I think I'd want to know what additional hardships or challenges you face as an American Indian WOMAN as opposed to a man. Or... in a larger sense... what challenges do you feel American Indian women in GENERAL (as distinct from your own personal experiences) might describe.

Unfortuantely, I ask this coming from a very sad place... here in Canada we are currently in the midst of a trial of one of the worst serial murder cases in our history. 50 women that are known of... although there are probably more... and the vast majority of them were aboriginal women living in Canada's poorest postal code, and survived by working in the sex trade. These women were so marginalized by society as a whole, that their disappearances were largely ignored by police for a very long time.

What is it about these women that made society think of them as disposable?? Is it because they are First Nations? Sex trade workers? Both? Of course I don't expect you to have answers... but I'd love to hear your perspective.

I'm sure I'll have more questions... but that's the first that comes to mind.