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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 38


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 problems.

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 daughter.

The ways of the old one's were taught that day. The quiet and mild spirit win out.


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