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Velma's Work
Valiantly Velma - Page 16

Indian Homes - An inanimate particular-race?

“Mathee lost her husband, as you all know,” Velma addressed the board of the rural water association. “You, I’m sure, have a good understanding about our traditions and ways as American Indians (the term used at the time). Some of you have kids who are married into the tribe. If I can make sense of how you respect your dead, then you are sure to be aware of how we bury our own. Our ways aren’t that much different from yours. You take flowers and we have a feast. Both traditions have a way of mercifully soothing those who are in mourning.”

Velma glanced around the room to see if she was making any impression on the men. The blank expressions on the men’s impassive countenances revealed nothing.

Velma continued, “While Mathee and her family grieved, their family could not give in to any emotions. They had to carry water in large cans for cooking food. The children of this now widowed woman were the ones who had to do this. This house in which they plan to live is ready but H.U.D. (Housing Urban Development) will not allow them to live in it without water.”

“You men know how this government works. This provision of rural water is a wonderful thing. How long have many of you had to depend on wells that could go dry during drought? All phases of the government are working together at this time so there can be water provided for these “Indian Homes,” and by the way, I don’t exactly know what that means. Last time I heard, an inanimate house was not of any particular race.” Velma had a ripple of laughter with that. “As your families benefit from the rural water being provided can you find it in your hearts to see that this newly widowed Indian woman can have water, too?”

The moderator called on one of the workers and asked, “How far are you away from Mathee’s house with that line?”

“Maybe a couple of miles?” The man replied.

“How soon can you get that line down?”

“Tomorrow!” The contractor gave them a positive answer.

Applause ran through the crowd when Velma sat down and gave the meeting back over to the group.

So it happened. Mathee had her water into the house and in a timely manner.

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