|Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 11:22 am Post subject:|
|JUST ANOTHER DRUNKEN INDIANWell, she might be just another drunken Indian to some. But she is my sister and this is my journey. It’s been about a month since I first got wind my sister was dying of cirrhosis of the liver. Cumulatively I’ve traveled well over 10,000 miles between Colorado, Oklahoma and Virginia. And at one point I had my elders with me, a most memorable encounter I will always cherish I might add.
After visiting my sis in the hospital back in Virginia, she appeared to get better and was released. We took her home to her family. Both my folks and I did not like the medicine where she was living. There were other factors within the medicine of that place as well. In short, the place sucked. When you enter the apartmrnt, you’re engulfed with this feeling of pale, hard to describe, guess it’s an Indin thing. Neighbors were all drunks, dealers and Wiccian Princesses. The princess was a bisexual witch married to a Christian and she was knocked up big time, shades of Damian. To me, this was Dysfunction Junction, Oy Vey. Go figure, the Shenandoah Valley had its share of weird medicine already. All the forest and greenery was fertilized with human blood and there were many restless spirits.
The first trip was filled with adventures though. My folks and I were booted from a Holiday Inn restaurant. They simply refused to serve us. I held my tongue since I was salivating at the story I will write here at VUE in the future. After all, I was a journalist, we were in Milk Toast Town, Charlottesville, VA, and we looked very “ethnic”. We also got a chance to enjoy Southern Racism at it’s best in Arkansas, Tennessee and good ole Oklahoma but that’s normal in Okie for us eh. Walk into Homeland sometime, if you’re a Skin. The looks are very telling indeed.
In any event my sister’s health took a turn for the worse. So I decided to take her out of the environment she was living. When I picked her up this last time, she was toast. The shroud of death was all around her. She was almost floresant yellow. Her body was nothing but skin and bone but her belly was bloated to monstrous proportions. Such a hideous contrast like a nit affixed to a frail strand of hair. Ascites; the accumulation of fluids in the abdomen, what a reward for years of beer drinking. Ironicly, the fluid that was drained from her belly looked like Beer.
There are things within my culture that I’m not at liberty to make mention of. And it’s a good thing since I’m still at a loss for words to describe them. All I can say is, it’s all about the Medicine. And I had no choice but to remove her from the negative medicine she lived around. Her medicine was already weak so she had no chance of survival there. So our odyssey has begun. She was so weak and frail and her voice was soft. When I held her, I felt every bone in her body. Her long raven black hair caressed a skeleton where a once youthful woman resided. Though she was ever so yellow, her eyes still reflected her distinct Native beauty. Her eyes also told of the pain she suffered as well. Yet she still handled herself in the typically stoic and dignified manner of a Native woman. I call it Native Grace and my baby sister wore the shroud of death gracefully.
In need of sanctuary, we went to Muncie Indiana where I knew a Cherokee family. It was important we found a place with good medicine so she could recharge for the remainder of our journey since we still had 1,300 miles to go. As it were, she began to feel much better when we got to sanctuary. Then as if on cue, she took another turn for the worse. So it was off to the emergency room, by this time we knew the drill. I had the list of meds and the last words from the previous hospital. Also had some input from her primary doctor, what a schmuck.
When the doctors got the lab results they were astonished at the results. Her red blood count was beyond dangerously low. With a count of 4, the doctor told me in private, “She should not be conscious, let along walking and talking”. It was a miracle she was able to make the trip to Muncie. It was later determined the doctors in Virginia sent her home to die. And if I did not get her when I did, she would have lapsed into a coma. Only by shear determination did this frail Cheyenne girl survive to walk into an emergency room in Muncie Indiana to receive 6 pints of blood.
The trip to Colorado was a most endearing one since we had the opportunity to exchange stories of life and what we’ve endured over time. Why in the hell was she in this situation when I would be more deserving of such a fate. Her crime or toil was coping with our realities. She spent the first part of he life dealing with abuses people only read about. Shear hatred for our people and pure racism haunted her memories of our youth. So compelling where they, my baby sister used the White Man’s liquor to mask her sorrow. The more she encountered the absolute hatred people had for us, them more she found the need to mask her shame. And what was she shameful for you might ask. Well that answer is quite simple; we’ve been conditioned to be ashamed of being native. Living in foster care, and in white schools added to our grief as we both struggled to find a place of sanctuary as children.
Her and I enjoyed the feel of hot spit on our faces. Enjoyed the feel of people tossing manure and raw garbage at us. We remembered how it was like to have people accuse us of stealing even when we were not around. We remembered how it was like to be considered “dirty” and not allowed to play with other kids. How people would make a point to exclude us from parties and school games with other kids. And for good reason to, we were dirty brown people and had lice possibly TB or other third world diseases. We were Native’s and we had to know our place in society fore we were a conquered people and this was the White man’s world. Ultimately, we both surrendered and faced our executioners. She chose death by bottle I chose death by streets and became a gangster and for the life of me, I can’t see why I survived. My path was filled with anger, hers of sorrow. If I got whacked tomorrow, I would know I had it coming. But my baby sister was a mommy with three beautiful babies.
Now my sister is living with me. I am making good medicine for her as well as struggling with doctors, herbs and her mortality. Am I just delaying the inevitable? Physical death is a guarantee but the spirit lives forever. We’ve survived Custer, Chivington only to face General Budwiser and the wicked temptress Cirrhosis. And if anything comes of this, it will be in her knowing she is not just another drunken Indin. She is my sister and we will face impossible odds together fore I am her Dogman. All I ask for is one more miracle.
Your Devil’s Advocate