How times have changed since my hair was as black as a crow’s feathers. The reservation I grew up on isn’t the same nor are the people; manicured lawns have replaced broken down cars, rampant alcoholism is shunned and education is prized.
Natives now have a seat at the table, when it comes to our future as well as our past – we’re literally digging up the past for all to witness – or ignore.
As an example of the ‘old ways’ becoming the ‘new way’ of preventing future fires. The fire season is approaching us faster than a grass fire on a windy day, and to help fight the fire-breathing dragon, ancient methods are finally being recognized as well as utilized. Ironically, if used correctly, a grass fire can save your home, animals and the family jewels.
When I left this 100,000-horse cow-town, some 40-odd years ago, there were three kinds of people.
You were either a logger, a cowboy or an Injun — and you could bet your bottom dollar there would be a fight every Saturday night.
Now-a-days, only rich folks can afford to ride hay-burner. Cows are now rounded up by ATVs, Natives prefer to be referred to as First Nations, but there are still IQ fights every Saturday night.
As a child I was subjugated by the church, the Crown and enforced by the law. I had to escape my station in life.
During that time in our shared history, being a brown brother had its limitations.
Like a lot of youth, the bright lights of the big city called, and I answered: “Sex, drugs and rock and roll? Hell yeah!”
The miles rolled by, friends came and went, and before I knew it a grey-haired man stared at me in the mirror. If a person has no regrets, they’re either one dull son of a bitch or an immoral, lying politician.
My regrets came as hard-earned lessons that are chiseled in stone. I can’t erase them or ignore them, I can only teach them. The ironic twist in life is that a wise old man can scream at a young man, and the kid won’t hear a single word, but he can hear a girl giggle his name over the sound from the juke-box at the ol’ malt shop.
As a reader, depending upon your age, you’re either grinning at my antiquated references or asking yourself ‘what the hell is a juke-box’? Like I said times have changed — the life I escaped is the lights of the big city.
The sunsets here are beautiful, and as I ride into them; I’m finding peace of mind, a slower pace and finally my place in the sun.
With all the strife and uncertainty in the world today, I feel safer here in the country; sitting on this bag of seeds. We have access to fresh fish, meat on the hoof and sweet berries for dessert. Here in the country, they shoot as straight as they talk, and if you step out of line, your reputation will be reined faster than a fast girl in high school.
From my front door I can hear the rapids of the creek, not the rush and hustle of traffic. People nod as they pass, both white and brown alike, and they do it without a second thought of a person’s station in life.
There was a time when kids played Cowboys and Injuns.