|You cannot imagine how envious all the other kids were of these glasses.|
I often dream of cats who are birds
or birds turning into cats –
does that mean my ancestors
are trying to contact me?
I grew up in a succession of trailers –
mostly single-wides. I dreamt of living in a real house with a staircase and big
windows that opened wide instead of
little glass slats you cranked into slits of air.
I’m not Indian but my step-
daughter is ¼ and her daughter is
1/8 and her kids will be 1/16, and
I’ve been Indian in ALL my
We ate cheap hotdogs, mac n’cheese from
the food bank, spaghetti, white
bread and margarine. You know.
I got a tattoo of my spirit animal
on my ankle after my vision-quest.
I got free lunch at school. I was too
hungry to hide the special red tickets
from the other kids. Besides, I had to get
into my pre-diabetic training.
You have such gorgeous black long
hair. Such great skin. Such high
cheekbones. I grew up with a bunch
of Cherokees … You guys get lots of
money from the government, right?
Or do you have a casino?
I do not get a casino per-cap. We can’t
even get Federal Recognition. I took out loans for my college education. I did get some cool gray cat’s eye glasses in third grade from welfare, though. They were
key to my popularity.
I’m friends with this Algonquin
Medicine Woman … saw this turtle
rattle at a Pow Wow … the Indian
woman wouldn’t sell to me … I got
an Indian friend to try .. turned out
the seller was Joanne Shenandoah’s
mother … sorry, this is a long story, but
storytelling is important to your people,
Sometimes we got a free turkey on
Thanksgiving if someone put our name on
a charity list. Free!
I’m sooooo jealous of you, you have
such a spiritual inheritance, a connection
with the earth. I’m culturally
impoverished compared to you.
My inheritance includes genocide, PTSD,
diabetes, glaucoma, bad teeth, extreme
astigmatism, crooked feet, bad dreams,
poor choices and a looooong memory.
Do you have an Indian name? Can
you give me an Indian name? Actually,
I kinda have one I gave myself
already, can you translate it?
Let’s face it, I’m a wannabe too. I just
wannabe normal. Go for walks. Read a
book. Eat a hot dog and know the
ingredients won’t poison me. Have the
privilege of not needing anger to
cauterize all these open veins.
- Deborah Miranda