We never lived on a reservation; English is our native language. Teepees and tomahawks are as much Hollywood for me as for other Americans. Although we were different, Mom and Dad never said why we were different. I suppose my parents were confident, since they never scolded or spanked us for things that matter. Doing chores, going camping, or learning how to sew or tie a knot had their inherent value, unrelated to the overt conspiracies of polite adults. They demanded that we keep our elbows off the table and not talk with our mouths full, but my impression is that they were silent on things that really matter. They took us to church but never asked us whether we believed. I always thought, when Mom said something about Jesus or Heaven, because of something cute and sly in her voice, that I could believe it if I wanted to, but it wasn't necessarily true. Mom was more persuasive that she had seen ghosts in her aunt's attic, although this was less a matter of belief than personal experience. What does it mean to be an Indian? Is this in one's blood, Can anyone be an Indian, or does one need a tribe, or land? I felt cut off from Christianity and being an “American.” Both had committed atrocities against not only my ancestors. I thought I figured it out on my own; if I were to realize a god, it wouldn't be from what I saw on television or read in a storybook. We never lived on a reservation; English is our native language. Teepees and tomahawks are as much Hollywood for me as for other Americans.
26 May 1986