Everyone Must Stand on
Their Own Two Feet
I was raised with the
teaching: Children in subjection to their the mother and father, mother
in subjection to her husband, husband in subjection to the Christ and
Christ in subjection to the Father. It wasnít a weighty principle but
was one to give freedom for everyone involved.
My sister gave me
information she had received from an Osage girl her tribe was taking
applications for housing. This was a time for me to make a decision on
my own without the help of my husband. All the times I had stood at
deathís door caused me to want to put my children and their father in a
place where they could be protected should I not be with them. These
were the reasons I listed when I spoke with the director of the Osage
Housing then called H.U.D., Housing Urban Development.
The man who sat behind
his desk was quiet, deliberate and thoughtful as he listened to me.
"Iím Ponca but my land is
in the Osage." I told him. "Do you think it will be possible to apply
for housing here?" I wanted to know.
"This will make the
difference." He told me as he tapped the paper showing I owned my land.
You will be put on a waiting list and because this is under the Osage
tribe those of their people will have to be given the first
opportunities for housing, but if you wait, sooner or later your name
will come up.
The year of 1976 began
the most difficult juggling acts ever to be confronted in my entire
life. Before, I was charging, going forward against powers but in an
individual way. This was not against authorities but I was pitted
against the under penningís of a cultural history that had held a quiet,
unnamed war between Native Americans and like so many tribes of Europe
it would be impossible to name them all. The resulting sub-culture had
grown up like Topsy who felt no one could love her. I was unbelievably
naive when I aligned myself with a tribe and took on that game with no
rules like in a formal battle.
I embraced a love for my
Creator and his son, Jesus, who taught me from childhood through my
earthly father that love holds no place for prejudice. This was the only
way we struggled through that game. If I wasnít new to all the trials at
least I was a teen-ager to it.
My husband was a babe in
every sense of the word. When I think of the slights and slings he
suffered it makes me sad, not angry. His parentís faith and mine were in
agreement on standing against fear as far as association of races was
concerned and I believe the God who takes care of all of us enlightened
them on that issue.
They always treated me
with great respect and as a Witness I will stand to testify before God
on that and wait with my love I had for them to enjoy their
The tolerance for
injustice was harder to maintain for the people of the Flood family.
Only two or three generations ago theirís were the genes going back to
the Danes, off shoots of the Vikings or is it visa versa? Their loyalty
to God, truth, country, was unbreakable and had served the royalty of
England with bended knee but then, arose to stand in another place and
that was America.
Here I was, not strong
physically, trapped in a place where I was dealing with all these
thorns. The Osage, once mighty warriors, were now educated and
intelligent. I managed to get along with them by practicing what I had
learned, "The meek shall inherit the earth."
Not only did I practice
this principle but I stood between my husband and any confrontation he
might make in regards to some or another minor issue. I broke away from
my values as far as coming under his headship and didnít let anything
happen to cause any dissension thus slowing the process of having our
home built. I did not allow it.
The Osages were willing
to accept someone not of their tribe into their vast land holdings of
that county. The least we could do was to show our gratitude with
civilized behavior. My having been raised in an Osage home gave me the
edge. I knew how fun loving the people were and how theirís was a
culture centered around family and tradition just as was my motherís
Homer Big Eagle did some
of the work on our home. He was surprised to see pictures of his family
my grandmother saved.
Forever after that when I
saw him he called me, "Sister." This is quite the way of the people.
Respect is passed down from generation to generation and to experience
this is such a nice thing.
Rhonda was seventeen when
we moved into our new home.
"How about this classy
ramp, Rhonda?" I joked with her because she had used a shaky, home made
one for years at her great-grandmotherís house.
"Wait until you see the
extra wide doors all over the house and especially the bathrooms. You
will have no more battling to get your chair through a door. And guess
what? Look! You have your own room and bathroom. It will be easy to roll
your wheelchair right into the shower."
The easy thing about this
was it was not all entirely for Rhonda. My back from having to lift her
in and out of the bathtub would be given a rest and that was the
wonderful thing for me about this new bathroom.
Rhondaís smile and the
twinkle in her eyes as she whipped around the house in her wheelchair
made all the sweat equity, issues that will remain unnamed, crude
remarks even from family members some of whom were so conservative. All
were like so much confetti and we just blew it away and shook it off our
shoulders. Maybe I was accepting help from tax payers money and surely I
knew was so against my hard core teachings to tell, "Everyone must stand
on their own two feet."
Rhonda couldnít stand on
her own two feet and so much for that philosophy.