A Matter of Trust
~ Raven Sanchez 
 
I have learned many things in this life.

Truth continues to teach me more with

each passing day. There is no end to

learning. It is a daily experience that will

bring both good and bad lessons.
 
I believe that the greatest lesson I have learned in my life’s often rocky journey is to be who I am, regardless of the opinions of others expecting me to be someone else, someone more to their liking, easier to accept – in other words, a carbon copy of what society dictates to us to be. The Great Spirit made me who I am, so, that is who I am.
 
I refuse to submit my soul to the plastic status quo.
 
My story reflects those of all Native people. For so long we have been taught – beaten down – to be doormats for a dominant culture that refuses to acknowledge our very existence. This has been the case in my own life, and brutally so. Before spreading my wings, so-to-speak, I had grown used to be used then discarded. This served me well, because now, as I stand, wiser for the lessons learned, I can see through deception with greater clarity. It runs in the DNA. Our people trusted the government to keep promises they had, and have, no intentions to keep. So in my own personal life, I have learned the difference between promise-keepers, and promise-breakers. I know who to trust, and who not to trust.
 
This is a live-saving lesson.
 
A friend is one you can trust. One who cannot be trusted, in my experience, cannot be called a friend. If friends don’t let friends drive drunk, then a friend will not betray your trust. The lowest thing a person can do is to call you friend, to then betray you when you need them most. Yes, this is true of people of all colors, but in this case, it’s an “Indian thing the white man could never understand.” After centuries of broken promises made to Native people, I personally take to heart any and all promises made to me. Lesson learned the hard way, I guess.
 
With betrayal, whether on a tribal or personal level, you become more aware of truth told, or lies sold. It becomes second nature, with physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual wounds serving as the “gate keepers” of our personal relationships.
 
I consider words spoken by actions that follow. I do not regret turning away good words when they amount to contrary actions. Perhaps we all, as Native peoples, have reached this conclusion, as well. Just look at Standing Rock.
 
No, I have no regrets telling some to take their lies, and leave through the exit door of my life, but I find great strength in knowing the difference between truth and lies. I am able to appreciate good people in spite of those that deliberately hurt me. Despite the pain I have had to endure at the hands of friends that are not, I have learned to love and appreciate those that enter my space in a good and sacred manner. Certainly, in every relationship there are ups and downs, but true friendship endures, no matter what. I am grateful.
 
Through the lessons I have learned throughout my often rocky, and tumultuous life, I have learned to protect my heart, but also learned how to truly love and appreciate the truly great people that come into my life. All my Relations.