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Wisdom from Granddad
~ Fox Northstar
Whatever you do...do not retire! I thought I would
have more time to just do...and I get asked to do so
much! I really need to learn to say NO! Daughter pointed
out that even my post its has post its.
Sorry Im late again...my own overwhelmed confusion
is the cause. At any rate. here you go!
Well, wouldn’t you just know it? I vent about some of my minor pet
peeves, and a couple of major ones get dropped into my lap. So, here
we go again….
As many of you know, I believe that our traditions evolve to the needs
of the people, and that comes through our tradition of oral teachings.
Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Think about it….as teachings are
passed along, the teacher tries to tell it as he/she originally heard
it. So far, so good. But teachings we carry from our distant pass
will be influenced by other experiences we have had since we first got
the teaching. It is normal and can’t be helped (unless it written
down, then [uh-oh] it becomes gospel and set in stone. I also believe
some traditions should be, and have remained, relatively unchanged.
Let me share one example I had to deal with of late.
Last year, we lost an elder/teacher/mentor I had spent decades with. I
believe I wrote about him at the time here. Oddly enough, he crossed
on Granddad’s birthday. He had asked me to be firekeeper at his
memorial, and I was honoured to do so. That went well.
Fast forward to the following December. His walk beside had battled
cancer, and with Grandfather gone, she was ready to cross. She asked
me to firekeep at her memorial as well, and once again, I was honoured
to be asked. Shortly after she crossed (on my Gram’s birthday…go
figure), I was informed that I would only be welcome at the gravesite
ceremony, but not the feast or gathering. I should have seen it
coming as her daughter (apparently) has never liked me….for whatever
her reasons are. But no one else in the group stood up to her….and I
chose to pass. I do not need to walk through energy fields of that
nature, even though I am well equipped to protect myself. It is not
my karma that will take a hit.
And since, I have heard very little from the rest of that group. Am I
upset? Of course. Am I hurt? Would you not be? This only goes to
show how many give only lip service to our traditions when it serves
their purposes. I have forgiven as I refuse you carry that kind of
negativity with me. Time WILL tell…
Another thing that has come to my attention is Native ID cards. This
one is a hot topic, for sure. I have mine, but did not even know I
had one until Mom crossed. The story I got was this….at 18 I was
enrolled shortly after my 18th birthday. I remember going to the band
office and being fingerprinted, but was so hungover I still do not
remember details. My fault, I own that. At any rate, when sister was
cleaning out the family safe, she found my tribal card. Apparently my
grandparents and Mom didn’t trust me to hold onto it so it was locked
in the family safe. When Sis found it, she made sure I got it. My
guess is I had matured enough by my mid-40s to be trusted with it at
last! Oh yeah, it resides now in my safe here. But I really do not
need a card as I know WHO I am (as do many of you)….but it was nice to
have that verified.
Now, back to the tirade. A friend recently let me know she was
getting a Nations card, just from having one Native ancestor! First,
that goes against all tribal guidelines I have ever heard from, and I
have been told it is also against federal law. Come to find out, the
nation that is issuing it is not federally recognized, and this is a
ploy to amass the numbers for that. So much for traditions, eh?
Unfortunately, my friend was disappointed to learn that, but wisely
chose to pass.
But, it gets even better. There is a Méti group nearby that will
issue anyone a card who pays a $25 fee. People I know who have paid
years ago are still waiting for their cards. Keep in mind, there are
only two recognized Méti groups, one on each side of the border. The
fellow who created this mess tried to get his group recognized by the
US group first, and when that failed tried the Canadian group with
equal success. So he did the next best thing….created his own! To
me, that smacks of ego! OK, I won’t go there again…..but why do
crybabies who don’t get their own way take the easy way instead of
fighting for their beliefs? That, I will never understand.
Well, powwow season has started, and it won’t be long before I am out
on that trail. I hope yours is pleasant and that you all have safe
travels. Do your best to walk in balance….we all know that isn’t easy!