Sunday, November 16, 2008

Guest Post

Hi, this Jo, blogging from the heart of Indian Country. I have a guest blogger today, my mom, also to be known as Wise Owl. Culturally, the Lakota believe their elders are wise, and you learn at a young age to listen to them.
This format will take place as question and answers.
Jo:If you were speaking to a group of people, (known as my blogger friends) who knew very little about the Lakota Culture, what concept(s) would you feel would be the most important to share with them?
Wise Owl: We don't live in Tipi's. While you may laugh and my family is laughing as they say it, there are people out there who think that Native Americans are living the life they read about in history books. The Lakota still build tipi's, engage in old rituals and practices, and dress up in feathers and buckskins, but these activities are mainly to preserve and honor our culture.
Otherwise, we are just like other people. Some of us are highly educated, and have professions.
We believe in the extended family. By extended family, I mean, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. In addition, we believe in adopting relatives if we don't have enough or you want more.
Jo:Generations explained.
Jo: What are the expectations for being in the family?
This is my sister, Little but Loud chiming in here: That you take care of each other! (As if this were the most obvious of explanations)
Jo: As I gaze around the living room where I sit typing, I am surrounded by evidence of this. My grandparent's picture is on the wall, my sister is taking pictures of her granddaughter. Five generations are present in the room, with all the love and caring in the world connecting us.
Jo: What would you tell your grandchildren?
Wise Owl: That they respect each other and most of all themselves.
Jo: Which one of your many accomplishments are you the most proud of? T
Wise Owl: That I managed to set an example for the rest of my family. And all four of my daughters have college degrees.
Jo: Can you share something you love about your home?
Wise Owl: The prairie.
Jo: Many people think of the prairie as being flat and boring. But it is actually filled with rolling hills and streams. When the wind blows, the grass ripples like waves on a dry shore.
Jo: What has changed since you were young?
Wise Owl: Racism has diminished, but not disappeared.
Jo: How has this directly affected you?
Wise Owl: (laughing) Some of my children have married white men!
Jo: Has the diminishing of racism affected how people treat you?
Wise Owl: Probably not, now I realize it's not the other people's attitude, but my own attitude that has changed.
Jo: Are you saying when you were younger you felt like you were less than because you were Native American?
Wise Owl:I was treated badly too, which created my attitude.
When I went to a school where the other students were Indian, I wasn't any different than the other students. But as I attended the white schools and no one would talk to me, wouldn't that make you feel bad? The racists are more polite now. They don't say it to your face anymore.
Jo: It seems to me like it has become cool in the last few decades to be Native American, do you think that has helped?
Wise Owl: Not on the reservation.
Jo: So the racism between the Indians and the white people in this area is alive and well?
Wise Owl: Yes.
Jo: One last bit of wisdom?
Wise Owl: I would wish for everyone to have a family like mine. That includes the international scope of my family. We have asian family members, black family members, white, (Right Bald Man? laughing) Indians, (laughing again)multi-tribal, and hispanic.
Jo:Thanks mom!

10 Kids Who Want To Play:

Kristina P. said...

Thank you for this post. It was extremely interesting. Your mom sounds amazing.

Me said...

Great post Jo! There is a lot to be learned from your mom -Wise Owl. Very touching, and inspirational. You have a natural ability to do that, did you know that? Thanks again!

Rychelle said...

what a great post!

thank you both for sharing.

Coach B. said...

Tell the princess hi for me. Evan misses her "sister".

I'm glad you got to visit your mom. I know you were worried about her health. Have a safe return trip ;)

elizasmom said...

Thank you for this post; it's exactly the sorts of stuff I was hoping to read more about when I made my request a couple of posts back! I will say in my defense that I did NOT think you lived in tipis, but it was very interesting to read your mom's perspective about the racism she encountered. It's intriguing to me that she talks about her own attitude toward racism and how it changed her life, because that's actually one of my favorite teachings in Buddhism to, this idea that you can't control what happens to you, but you CAN control how you react to it. I admire her for having the presence of mind to be able to think that clearly in the face of something SO negative.

Baggage said...

That was really interesting to read! Thanks :)

K J and the kids said...

Clearly wise for a reason.
I can see where your charm, family and strengths come from....just in her answers.
Great example

Adcock Circus said...

My son loved the this post.

Jessica G. said...

I would really love to meet your mom! She sounds like a great lady.

Amber said...

That was awesome. I'm glad you've had a good trip. I believe that in order to end racism we need to get to know people and cultures different from our own. When we know them (and love them) we'll have a harder time 'fearing' them (or worse.)

I hope you're traveling safely!