Thursday, July 05, 2007

My 1st Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Native Americans

13 Types of Native American Within My Family
"I have Indian Blood in me. I have just enough white blood for you to question my honesty!"
Will Rogers aka "The Cherokee Kid"

I was the fifth living generation on one side when I was born. Counting the greats and the great-greats, I had 12 grandparents and innumerable aunts, uncles, and cousins, so I thought that for my first 13 I’d work with family to make up my list.

1. Casino Indian – A favorite aunt has always lived with flash, cash, sass, and reckless abandonment. Depending upon how you view her, whether it’s her ten to twelve marriages (even WE aren’t sure on this one) or her devilish desire to take risks, this can be good or bad.

2. Garth Brooks Indian – A close cousin to the Casino Indian, this one is Casino with a kick. Bright, bold shirts, pointy-toed footwear, beaded headband on the cowboy hats, the works.

3. Wal-Mart Indian – My mother fits this one. If it’s economical, thrifty, offers a variety, and doesn’t demand a lot of fuss, she’s all about it.

4. Dustbowl Indian – One sect of our family branched out during the depression, headed West, and lived nomadically until they settled in Bakersfield.

5. Lost Indian – Another aunt, not a favorite, married one of these. Sam was a mixture of Native American, Mexican, and something else we haven’t determined. There’s an Indian in there somewhere—we’re just not sure where or what kind.

6. Grass Roots Indian – My great-grandmother. The woman churned her own butter, grew her own vegetables, had Black Angus cattle, and farmed something like four-hundred acres (well, her husband handled most of the farming and cattle-raising). This is the grandmother who taught me what little of the language I learned back then.

7. Welfare Indian – Whether they’re on welfare or not, this is where my mind pigeon-holds this family. I’ve referred to them as Drinker of Long Necks, his wife Stomping Heifer, and their kids Two Tokes, Trouble, and Jailbait.

8. Activist NA – This woman is an in-your-face activist who knows more about civil liberties within the tribes than the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Don’t call her Indian – call her Native American. She’s the Indian who protests football, baseball, basketball teams calling themselves The Redskins or any variation thereof. If you’re already forming a prejudice, however, please understand that Wounded Knee impacted her heavily and that everything is black or white (well, mainly red) with this woman.

9. Artistic NA – There are actually several of these in my family. One even showed his work in the Smithsonian. Some paint, some carve, others are into pottery and weaving, but the majority of my family is creative, as are many friends. Just don’t look to me for any of that talent.

10. Archival NA – Okay, I’ll cop to this one. Nerd here has always been fascinated by stories, whether my family’s or anyone else’s. I’ve spent many hours digging through dusty library archives searching for one piece of evidence to complete an ancestral puzzle. While researching, though, I’ve found other literary forms depicting Indians that surprised me. This, for instance. Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you? – lol – Kinda shocked me as well. Who knew?

11. Hooked On Hollywood Indians – Celebrities charm us anyway, but when you’re a minority who rubs elbows with one, I guess it just changes you somehow. Who knows? But there is a Native American directory of actors, in case there are closet Hollywood Indians out there. This guy has somehow become dear to at least one elderly relative. They’ve corresponded, he’s sent her photos, that sort of thing. Oh, and my son broke his son’s leg in football back around 1990, if that gives me any claim to fame with him. *snort* I remember The Kid coming home, pale, worried. For a youngster, he’d already developed some strange notions, said he wondered if he’d have the Red Earth Mafia after his ass, told me it was an accident, but still…the boy’s father WAS the baddest-ass Indian in Hollywood at the time, so…should he worry? I told him that he was buying into reel world instead of real, but he was still shaken for a while.

12. Literary Indian – You already know that I write, so this is almost redundant – sorry. I just had to say that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some interesting Indian writers along the way. One was Grace Thorpe, who as far as I know never had a claim to fame of any sort as a writer, but she was working on a biography of her father last time I saw her. She died, alas, without accomplishing this, but her sister has a book about him. Grace brought her dad’s medals once and let my little boy touch them as she told him stories about Jim.

13. Diabetic Indians – The list wouldn’t be complete without this one. Diabetes is the curse, the bane of Native Americans. The figures are staggering, and I can only think of one woman in my own family who didn’t develop this disease. Diabetes affects millions of people all over the world, and many in my family have either lost their lives to it or have gone blind.

Not to end this on a depressing note, I just couldn’t in good conscience neglect listing that last one.

Thanks for visiting today and for reading my first Thursday 13 list.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



At 10:26 AM, Blogger Liz Wolfe said...

That's an interesting list. Thanks for mentioning the Diabetic Indian. My father was a half-breed and died of diabetic complications in his early 60s. I've been borderline for a few years and suspect I'm at least one toe over the line by now. I'm going to test more often and work at keeping it under control.
You should do that too, Lyn.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Yes, I should! I've tried to do better. Last month scared me - I've never been over around the 260 or whatever mark, and my glucose was 485 or something that day. ACK.

Glad you liked my first 13 - thanks for stopping by, Liz!!!!!


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