Rambling days wandered
through times passage as quickly as a child grows. All the tribal politics
swished back and forth from one side to another like someone panning for
gold. It was enough to make a person question what was the reason for the
decisions that were made. With a set jaw Dee maintained her stance of
neutrality. Because family was involved, it was a difficult thing to do.
The natural love for brothers and sister touched her heart as she watched
from a distance and saw the suffering they were enduring.
Ugly articles in the local
news were slashed, back and forth and served no purpose but to sell the
white man's papers. Where are the men of old? Were their honorable ways
lost in those dark shadows of yesterday? Not completely she mused.
All the old ways are not
completely gone, washed away by the tide of bureaucracy where the designs
of some higher powers have, (yes maybe even up to that high), dictated a
regimen of paperwork. Those systems initiated for progress but, in
reality, simply act as slow moving wheels going no where. Still, we few
women can make decisions to sit calmly in agreement with the teaching of
the old ones. These were the times when men who took on the negotiations
with the governments and were striding out to meet the enemy, unafraid.
The women and their children were confident their leaders would protect
them even with their lives. This is the real minority now, these women who
are true to their ancestor's way. They are rare and fewer than any
endangered species. Those were those who had a quiet and mild spirit but
were the backbone of their husband's bravery. If you are ever gifted with
the opportunity to make their acquaintance don't hesitate to meet them.
Study their ways, observe how quickly they can act after having measured
each word of the meeting before they add a sentence or two for solving the
The old aunt's Dee's mother
spoke about, Aunt Annie, Aunt Creth, Aunt Fannie, they were the one's from
whom the word matriarch took its pattern. Their lives were totally
immersed in the ways and traditions of ancestors. It was more of a duty to
them than any Christian's requirement was to them. No wonder they had no
time for the men's jobs involving hunting, smoking the pipe with enemies
while negotiating, orin warfare itself.
Flip the coin, bring the
video camera to our day. What a change. Every tribal office's function has
been easily manned by the women. The ordinary routines have been mastered.
If it speaks of habitual, laborious tiresome work then, so be it.
Once Dee had the advantage
of studying with a famous artist. His comment was, “I felt fearful of
approaching kings of countries, presidents of corporations or others whose
wealth was phenomenal, that is, until I looked over one of their shoulders
to see the appointment books in which they were turning pages were
actually, empty. These giants had no binding schedules. All their work was
delegated to their employees. These men had no problem finding time to sit
for me while I painted their portrait.”
So it is with the women of
the tribe. They can take up the slack of so much of the work which frees
their leaders to put their minds to heavier matters. It could be said that
the changes aren't that great, then. There still is the same obedience and
respect today's Native American woman gives to her leader. On this Dee
felt she could truthfully live with a clear conscience.
As much as she did not
agree with the rude government she had to listen to her Native American
Mother. “Wait now! There will be a different time. All will come out as it
should, just be patient.” But then, isn't this the way of things no matter
whether Native American or any other. And, so it was.
Dee's daughter had tried in
the old regime to get her status as being Indian only to be turned away by
someone who, for what ever reason, personally, didn't want to give her
rightful enrollment to the younger woman. To say the girl had ordinarily
reverted to her ancestor's quiet personalities was almost an
understatement. When Dee saw her yell and throw the letter she had
received in the mail up into the air it was with considerable interest she
watched her daughter.
“Got my enrollment card!”
She grinned. “I'm officially, Indian.”
“Hmmmm! New enrollment
officer, new government, is this a good sign?” Dee grinned to her
The ways of the old one's
were taught that day. The quiet and mild spirit win out.