Today Obama met with Tribal Nations. At work I couldn’t get a hold of what actually transpires. Call me a cynic, but I have a hankering suspicion that ABSOLUTELY nothing was accomplished. Developing a solid relationship takes time. Meeting with someone who is protected and in front of the media is not going to make headway.
For over a hundred years now, Native Nations have been waiting for some sort of formal apology and some behavior that would indicate the government has taken responsibility for past trauma and incidences.
I’m not waiting. I stopped waiting right around the time that I realized despite my love and admiration for political causes-I haven’t seen them take effect in my Nation recently. What I do see is a lot of talking. A lot of people planning to gather, planning to talk, talking and then there’s a long period of waiting, more planning to meet and talk and some more talk. Talk has always been cheap.
My father, uncle and grandfather were in the military. They were also very proud of our Nation and our culture. Each one told me at a young age-you must fight for your principles and beliefs, but you fight with commitment and action. They believed that service work was important. I thought they were crazy. I was wrong.
As I’ve gotten older and I’ve started to hate meetings. I’ve also grown to distaste minority entitlement. Being born into a an ethnic group makes you different but in the eyes of this country-you are not special. Believing a country and a group of people should give you something only leads to a greater sense of disempowerment.
I’ve worked with battered women in Ponca, Navajo youth on the reservation via tutoring, volunteer and summer jobs, youth at the Sac & Fox juvenille detention center, Native American adults dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues, I’ve done research on implicit racism, research on female relationships in Indian country, worked with Yaqui youth and a horde of others from Arizona to Oklahoma. And you know what I believe? Struggling people don’t need talk. They don’t need meetings and promises, they need people from their community-everyday people to act.
They need people to volunteer, to mentor, to teach, to listen and to pay attention. If you believe in something, do it. Stop talking about it and spend less effort broadcasting it across the universe. Just start doing it and recruit people along the way to help. Good is contagious, so are laziness and corruption, choose the former & for godsakes, stop talking about it.
I’m a believer that we need to work from within our communities to make changes.