summer is winding down..

i spent all last week trying to get back into the routine. i enjoyed the getaway i had the other week. i am still thinking about some of the things i experienced. i really thought it was something that tribe still spoke its language. the camp crier went around at daybreak making announcements in their language. the pow wow emcee also spoke indian most of the time. i assume most understood as they didnt bother to interpret what was said.  i heard it spoken as i walked around camp. i was impressed. i asked a local how to say ‘good day’ in their language. he told me. i had to have it repeated several times to pick it up. i wanted to greet someone there in their language.

speaking of language. i was talking to an older lady i have known all of my life at the senior site. she mentioned that once she helped at a function in k.c. where she had to recite the rosary in potawatomi. that caught my interest. i asked her to say few lines so i could hear her speak. she did. it sounded good. i told her so. she said she had the our father and hail mary prayer written down. she told me she would give me a copy of it. i thanked her. i am a recovering catholic. still get the willies thinking of boarding school. i am interested in the language part of it.

i havent worn my t shirt i scored on my last trip. the writing on it says ‘teepee creepers’. it is from the 2 mile walk i went on. i havent been logging my miles the past month because of the heat. i have gone on the walks they have at the pow wows i went to though.  i stop while i am on a long drive and get out and walk. i dont like sitting down very long. i bought another t shirt where i soaked in the hot springs. it says ‘hot as hellies’ then lists where the spring is located. will wear that tee also.

this week i will give a demonstration on how to make lye corn. gotta work with a coupla tribal programs. some tribal members are interested in how it is done. i am  not an expert at it. i am just lucky enough to know how it is done.  many of our people dont know how to do things like dry corn and pumpkin or make lye corn. those skills are being left by the wayside by some. others still do them so it is being carried on. will dry some pumpkins too if any are ready.

gotta get ready to head out the door. i have to punch a clock everyday…….

things are the same all over..

on my last road trip i passed thru 6 different rezzes. kinda had to. thats where the casinos are. the locals usually know you aint from there.  some indians will just check you out. others will talk. they want to know ‘where you from’.  conversation begins there. dont take too long before you start hearing of how things are. with indians you can almost finish each others sentences. indians have it the same all over. that sounds like a cheech and chong movie. ‘cept it aint funny.

some rezs have it worst than others. some have higher suicide rates. others have higher rates of alcoholism and drug use. some have more health problems such as over 50% rates of diabetes. social problems tend to be swept under the rug and an ‘look at what we got’ attitude is taken. one thing indians have in common is that they  all have problems. at most places the fort system works the same. it benefits the ones running it the most. at the expense of the rest of the tribe. most tribes complain of the politicians they elect. or rather allow to get elected. it is rare for any tribe to even get 40% of their eligible voters to vote. so a minority usually elects their officials that control the money etc.  wonder why we dont learn from each other.

an old adage says those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. that is fitting in most indian tribes. tribes keep electing the same kind of  officials and hiring the same kind of administrators. and keep getting the same kind of results.  the ones that are most vocal get what they want.  raise hell and you get your way. be polite and follow the rules and you get nothing. or are put on a supposed list that someone will eventually get to.

you can stop in at any rez and hear the same thing……

back on da rez..

got back late monday night from last road trip. was too tired to do anything but sleep when i got home.  seems we make  a short drive into an adventure. we had to pass by 3 indian casinos that last day. i usually stop and eat at them. i buy gas from them too. if you gotta eat and buy gas then why not support indian business.  gas at sloan was 2.40 a gallon. that is the cheapest i seen in a 2,300 mile trip. the highest i paid was 2.93 a gallon out in the middle of nowhere. (nope that wasnt kansas, there are places even more desolate).

i left last wednesday at noon so we could put some miles behind us.  we stopped at some tourist trap in central kansas called rock city. didnt find any guitar owned by hendrix.  instead it was a pile of rocks left when kansas was under a great sea. i took a few pictures and hit the road. we drove 9 hours the first day. so we made it to thermopolis to soak in the hot springs the next day.  i have only been there once before but i would rank it as one of the best hot springs. at least it is in my top three. it cost 10 bucks to soak so i got my moneys worth. i went into the steam room 4 times and the sauna twice. i would get a good sweat going then go soak and cool off. then i would start over. i felt real invigorated after an hour and a half at the hot springs. i felt 5 years younger.

we made it to crow fair on friday morning. in time to watch one of the parades. they dress up in their finest and even deck out their horses. i caught two parades over the weekend.  the first night they had crow dances. i hadnt seen them so i taped some. we camped at my sister in laws campsite. it is wall to wall indians, tipis, tents, horses and cars there. you are lucky to get a place to park or camp. its good we were guests at a camp. everyone visited back and forth. they shared meals with everyone in the camp also.

i went to the rodeo to watch indians dressed up like cowboys. i hadnt been to a rodeo in years. i kinda enjoyed it. they had a horse races too. i bet a few bucks on them. i did win one pool. didnt make enough to cover my losses but it was fun betting on the horses. it was kinda neat that there were so many horses everywhere at the fair. the camp we stayed at had a corral of horses. mary got on one but i passed. even little kids rode horses.

they announced it was 107 degrees at the rodeo. the pow wow grounds guy said it was 104. either way it was the hottest day of the year. it didnt feel hot to me though. i am used to the kansas heat with all the humidity we have. i guess it rained after we left. we missed that. i enjoyed my time at the crow fair. i have never been there before. the place was packed. it was hard to find a place to sit. the dances went late into the night. i didnt see too many contests because i didnt stay up late enough to watch them. i did catch the chicken dance special. i taped part of it but my view wasnt that good. too many people.

we drove thru pine ridge and rosebud rezzes on the way back. had to hit the casinos. at big bats before we ate some kid came up to us and asked if we wanted to buy  a coupla bracelets made with quill work. he made them. i bought both because they were a good deal. might use one as a giveaway. the last time we were there some kid sold us a ring for 5 bucks. we listened to the indian radio stations as we went thru. they played a variety of music. even talked indian at times.  i stopped and gambled at 7 different indian casinos on the trip. i won more times than i lost. may have ended up about a hundred bucks ahead. that made it a fun trip. have a bunch of pictures to edit now. ………

ready for some open road…

gonna dry a few crooked neck squash today at work. will put them away for the feast  in november. i noticed there were a few  ready to pick yesterday. also seen that someone picked a few that probably werent. kinda have to guess how much produce people take when i aint there. so far i have given away over 260 pounds of vegetables from one garden. the other garden at the senior citizens is just starting to produce. they have been getting fruit off the tomato and pepper plants they started.

the rain we had last friday was enough to save the plants at the senior garden. they were wilting big time. it may rain again today. that will also help.  that heat wave we had really zapped the plants. the cooler weather has also helped. instead of the heat indexes being in the hundreds it is now in the nineties. we complain of the heat today. i remember when we didnt have electricity. no a/c at all. not even fans. just had to live with the heat.

i am anxious for some road time. been so busy working in the garden. need a vacation. when i tell people i am heading to crow fair they tell me about it. it sounds like it will be fun. i imagine there will be some good drum groups there. they are having separate categories in the singing contest. northern and southern style. that makes sense to me. my opinion was you shouldnt compare the two. the top prize in both contests is 8 thou. that should bring  out some good groups. i will video tape some if i can. i just bought me a new camcorder. it is about the third of the size of my own sony. everything is done by touching the screen. i will burn a dvd with what i tape over the weekend. i studied up on it by reading the manual.

i dont know if my tent is any good. when i went to sisseton the wind whipped it back and forth. kinda sprung the frame. the next night it rained and it leaked some. i may set it up tonight and see if it is any good. if not i probably will have to buy a new one. i do enough camping that i need a tent. i like camping out. i do have to have my air mattress though. no sense in roughing it. gotta have some comfort.

i plan on leaving tomorrow at noon or so. i will go to work for half a day. gotta log some hours. but it will be a short week anyway so i aint gonna be there all day. i have to put on some road time. cant get there til you leave. i want to put some road behind me so i have time to soak in the hot springs. i miss the feeling of a relaxing soak in the hot water. they even have a steam room. hope the place aint full of turistos. i am anxious to hit the road…..

seen part of meteor showers

i was out supporting a local tribes economy the other night. thats a fancy way of saying i was out gambling. that allows me to think i am contributing to fixing reservation roads, strengthening their infra-structure etc.  whatever the popular buzzwords are. after i got home mary and i sat outside to watch the meteor showers. i smoked a cigar and waited. i thought maybe i was straining my neck for nothing. then the light show began. you could see streaks of light going across the sky. after the novelty of that wore off i went inside to go to bed. i think they say there were more last night but i didnt check since it was cloudy.

i dried corn again that i picked from the garden at work. altogether i ended up with maybe a gallon dried. i will put it away for the feast the gardening program has to help put on in november. i guess it is called a traditional feast. i am not overly excited bout it since i go to feasts all the time except we dont call them traditional. again it is the right buzzword.

this heat was kinda zapping the garden at the senior site. the fire guys watered it but it was still wilting. we got spoiled with the almost weekly rains we had this growing season.  the heat settled in and was roasting the plants. we got a good rain last night that was needed. i have over 40 crooked neck squash on the vines there. the corn is not quite ready to pick. just needs a little boost i think.

i get spam in my email mailbox everyday. i set my filters to automatically send any forwards to my junk. i have to check it now and then to make sure i dont miss sometime important. i get the usual spam. i dont bother reading any of it. i got one from what looked like paypal. it said to update my account. i rarely ebay anymore but i clicked on the link.  i read the normal questions: name, address, phone number and my bank account number. then it asked me for my atm pin. wtf. my bank wouldnt even ask me for my pin. its a good thing i wasnt filling in any info. that looked so official, like it was from paypal. i bet someone fell for that scam and sent their info.

i am going to an auction today. i havent been to one in a while. there is always a bargain to be had. i have bought boxes of junk for a buck. i end up throwing half of it into the nearest dumpster. this auction has canning jars. i need a garden hose too since i ran over mine with the riding mower. probably will buy more than i need. one of these days i want to bid on a pickup. i could make a rez truck out of it.

next week is my road trip. cant wait. just 3 days of work then open road….

a few drops of rain…

we got a few precious drops of rain the other day. the gardens could use a little more. even with all the rain we had been getting earlier in the season the ground is cracking. must be the heat that has hung around for the past week or two. we are watering the garden at the health center. the fire department watered the senior citizen garden. the heat is just zapping the plants’ energy. we have had 5 consecutive days of excessive heat warning.  well it is summer.

today i am going to be drying corn. i did some that was ready earlier. i am  doing alittle at a time. i will have some help today. a guy volunteered to help out. that is alright with me. i have gotten help from different ones. walt was hoeing the weeds at the senior garden. someone planted a watermelon plant there too. i managed to get someone to mow the grass around the senior garden once. i mentioned the fire guys watering yesterday. every little bit helps.

 got no problem with people picking the stuff. thing is some trampled the plants. i had over 10 cantaloupes growing but the plants that give them life are dying now from people walking on them. they would have been real good too based on the taste of the ones that made it. other things are picked that arent ripe yet. oh well. at least people are eating the produce. would hate to see it rot.

now and then when i am gardening at the senior site i will stop there to have lunch. that is always fun. i eat with people i know so we can visit over a fine meal. the staff there always fix a good meal. i can look back on my days on the street and remember going hungry. that makes me appreciate what i have to eat. during my travels while i was bumming around i ate at a few missions. sometimes they just served simple meals like boiled potatoes, hamburger gravy, bread and chocolate milk. every meal. some missions you had to listen to a fire and brimstone preacher before you could eat. they werent even entertaining.

i think of those days now and then. i remember a time when i was on relocation in san fran. i was walking down the street and stopped at a corner. just then two other indians came from other directions. we stopped at the corner at the same time and checked each other out. we did the ‘where you from’ and what tribe are you’ routine. wasnt long before we decided to score something to drink. we only had enough change between us to get each of us a quart of beer. on the street it was cool to leave the brown paper bag on with a twist at the top of the bottle. we went to union square to watch the tourists do touristy stuff. we werent there long before two cops walked up. even in that crowded place with people everywhere they headed straight for us. we became the show.  they took our beer and dumped it. the one cop that played the tough guy asked for our i.d.s.  the other indian guys didnt say a word or make a move. so i didnt either. it got quiet. everyone was waiting for something to happen. nothing did for along time. an impasse of sorts.  the cops eyed us. there were three of us and two of them. them indian boys were looking rough as hell. finally the one playing the good cop asked me where i was from. i said i lived a few blocks over. he said  get out of here. i was gone before he quit speaking. didnt need any jail time. i just wondered why it was the indians they had to check out. there were some real characters  there that day. they say you can watch the world walk by in that square.

i am getting anxious for some road time. i have been working hard in the garden. i havent pow wowed at all this summer. i just hit ours. crow fair should be alright. cant wait to get on the road. gotta put in my time for a few more days……

casino concert

i went to the george jones concert held at the prairie band casino (and resort). i got to use some tickets that belonged to someone that went to the gathering. there were lotsa indians sitting in the audience. i seen a few that were sitting in the high roller section. i doubt they were high rollers. i visited with people in our section. i told them if they spent more money gambling they would be sitting up front. alot of indians i know are penny players. they sold cds for 10 bucks before the concert started. later on we seen it was the band members that were selling them. i bought one from a young kid.

someone came on stage to make an announcement about george. he drew it out only to say that george would perform. it was a joke on georges past. i thought only indians had a past.  the band opened before george came on. they were alright. people came to see the legend himself though. it was neat to be able to hear george sing in person. he apologized once for having his sinuses acting up. a few times he asked someone fix the sound system. at any rate his voice didnt have the energy that he had in the past. sounded like an old guy doing george jones songs. he is almost 80 after all.  you could still tell it was george jones, and he is one of the best. to be able to see him perform was a treat. he did a coupla duets with a lady singer that had a good voice. he called the young kid i bought my cd from up to do a few solos. the kid played a mean fiddle. (in country a violin is a fiddle). overall it was a good concert.

they were sellling tshirts. one said something like ‘the legend lives on’ and it had a list of gigs on the back. one was mayetta kansas. i wanted one but that would have cut into my gambling money. the casino was packed. it was hard to  find an empty machine. i did manage to lose a few bucks. in kansas the way to draw a big crowd is country music or ‘rassling.

i dried some corn last week. it was from the garden at work. wasnt much but it was some. it should be ready this week, unless someone picked it over the weekend. people have been helping themselves to whatever they feel like taking. sometimes they pick things that arent even ripe yet. i was keeping track of how much produce the garden had but cant keep an accurate count now. oh well at least someone is eating it. maybe it will spur someone to think i can do this myself and grow their own garden.

my job is winding down. my contract ends the last week of the month. i am now planning on a vacation. i have worked hard in the gardens i take care of, with the exception of my own. i will go to crow fair. on the way up there i will stop to soak in the hot springs. i havent been in any hot springs for months. my arthritis hasnt been bothering me but i still like the feeling of a good hot soak.

i have some remodeling in my home and i have to other work on the place to do. that will be my priority after my job ends. i have been saving for materials i need. just gotta see what this week brings….

sha tem get (its hot)

i was buying some cheap cigars today. the lady that waited on me said something bout the weather. i told her ‘this is just the way i like it’. got a quizzical look so i said ‘cant do anything about it so might as well enjoy it’. she agreed. it is hot. i try not to be outside but i find that i have to be at times. so i am used to the heat. i see other workers that have to be outside too. we stop and talk bout the heat. we agree the ones that cant live without the a/c cranked up high as possible are the ones that get most miserable in the heat.

mary and i went for our two mile walk tonite. it wasnt all that bad. not the 100 degree heat index that we have been having. it cooled off a little bit as the sun was going down. it would be so easy to make an excuse not to walk. gotta keep logging miles.

i had reason to head down to tulsa the past weekend. it was 98 degrees at 10 o ‘clock at night. they have a different kind of heat. i think we have more humidity. they predicted heat indexes in the 100s this week. they are over some from where the gathering is held but i imagine it will be hot at the gathering. i will feel for my potawatomi brethen as i sit in our air conditioned casino listening to george jones sing some sad #$%%*& tunes. i still laugh about back in the old boozing days. the fights would always start when country music came on the jukebox.

on the way down south to oklahomaville  i passed a place that advertised the ‘little house on the prairie’. i thought i seen another place in minnesota that said the same thing. they do anything to draw in touristos. at least here in kansas we have the worlds second largest ball of twine. i had my picture taken standing next to it. dont know where the hell the largest ball of twine is. dont really care either. seems like gas is always cheaper in other places than here. guess we gotta pay for that twine.

i went to dinner with my sons tonight. that was fun. we ate at a sushi place. thought i was too rez for sushi. i have had it a number of times and didnt mind it. maybe twenty years ago i would be too closed minded to even try eating raw fish.  you miss too many things by not trying them. i probably will go back and eat there again some time. the cook that fixed my shrimp dinner was entertaining. the guy cooked it in front of us and put on a show. seeing him twirl the utensils around made me think i wouldnt mess with that dude. hate to see what he could do with a sword.

eating there reminded me of a time back when i was on the street. i needed a change of scenery from the rez so i went on that government relocation trip. thats where they took rez injuns and bussed them to the city. it was suppose to make civilized indians out of us.  it wasnt too long before i got tired of the big brother attitude the program was laying down on me. they had me budgeted for 50 bucks a week to live on. in a big city where 50 bucks aint much. found a hole in the wall studio apartment for 150 bucks. that left me 50 bucks to eat on for the month.  i just went off on my own. wasnt long before i got caught up in the fast lane. after all i was straight off the rez. wasnt used to the bright city lights. partied around too much. i wandered around the streets broke and hungry most of the time. one time i stopped and turned. there was a fancy restaurant. some yuppie looking dude was decked out in a expensive suit sitting at a table eating a fine meal. i was in my street threads. long hair,  faded dungarees that were all patched up, faded out jean jacket and i wore moccasins. like i said just off the rez. we were separated by a pane of glass, maybe 5 feet from each other. reality was we were worlds apart. he was living fat city. i shoulda been back on the rez. we eyed each other,  i turned and walked on. to this day i dont give a damn what others have. we both chose our lifestyle.

i probably will dry corn this week. it looks ready.the help that i was promised probably wont materialize. wont matter. it will get done.  i picked about 40 pounds of vegetables today. the gardens are doing well even with the heat we are having. they are warm weather crops. will see what this week brings……


i had to do cpr training yesterday. i have taken that training a number of times. i just dont keep up with being certified. i know it makes sense to stay current. i never had an opportunity to save someone yet. hate to sound cold but i know a few people that i would have to think real hard about saving. the law requires it though.  if you aren’t certified and you try to save someones life you can be sued. that is the world we live in. i am now certified.

i have been meaning to mention a billboard on  highway 75. it is just as you head north  from the rez. it has a picture of jim thorpe. kinda neat they have an indian on there. we had a picture of a tribal member on one of our advertising billboards for the casino. excuse me..the casino and resort. they covered it over with something else. still dont understand why an indian casino (and resort) cant use an indian in their advertising.   i hope we aint ashamed of our nativeness. i thought those days were in the past.

i gave a tour of the garden to 4 groups of kids from the boys and girls club the other day. that was fun. some called me uncle, some called me misho and one  called me brother. surprisingly enough many of the kids knew about gardening. some  said they had a garden. one kid wanted to pick something. i said there wasnt anything ripe enough to pick yet. several of them said they liked the cantaloupes lying in the garden. i said i would bring them some when they got ripe.

i may have lied to the little kiddies. got a call last night that someone was picking whatever they wanted from the garden. they were carrying off a cantaloupe that wasnt even ripe yet. it will go to waste now. when told that one kid said it ‘wasnt much of a garden’.  that only showed his ignorance. i worked hard in that garden and i am twice that guys age. he just wanted to glom onto the fruits of someone elses labor. instead of appreciating  getting something free the ingrate had to be a smart ass. he is not much of a man.

i dont think some people understand that it is not possible to feed everyone out of a few garden sites. i take care of two gardens. both are about the size of my personal garden, which is enough to supply one family with vegetables for part of a year. now way that the gardens could begin to supply a rez full of people. that would require  many families  be involved in raising their own. or the tribe would have to get into farming on a grander scale. i dont see that happening anytime soon.

i got the hand drum frames i ordered yesterday. now i just need some time to make them. my business has stopped for the moment while i am gardening.  i still have an elk hide that is salted. that will make about 4 drums.  i dont know if i will get any roaches done by the time i go to crow fair. will see…

did a wedding

i did another wedding over the weekend. it was for chris and michelle o toole. it was held at the gazebo in hoyt. the weather cooperated. it wasnt as hot as the day before when we had a practice to work everything out.  the groom and his friends all dressed in their uniforms. they served overseas for a tour. there was a good turnout of friends and relatives. i like doing the ceremonies. it is a change of pace from doing funerals and other services. i was given an otter hide for my services. another couple gave me one also to do their wedding at a later date.

i had my quarterly check up today. lab and seen the doctor. staying active is keeping me in good health. i have lost over 15 pounds working in the garden. just burned it off. i dont have back pain anymore. i lived with pain for years. my cholesterol is in check. guys my age gotta keep an eye on that. many of my friends have had heart attacks. i can do without that. lots of my friends died at an early age.

it sounds like i have help coming during harvest time. so far i have given away over 120 pounds of vegetables from the garden. the main crops will bring in more. it will take some labor to dry corn and crooked neck squash. that is a skill that our people should have. i will be glad to show people how to do that. over the years some of my family members have helped dry corn and crooked necks. now i will get other people to help out. thats good. they will even get to keep some of the dried corn and squash for their help as an added incentive.

i get to see alot of people during the course of a day. i say hello to many that come to the clinic. i see others at the senior meal site when i go eat over there. others come for a tour of the garden. i am glad to show people the garden. i may have to give other presentations about gardening to different groups. i have been asked by several. i said that i would. anything to encourage people to grow their own food and eat healthier.

i am having trouble with a deer in one garden. it is eating the tomatoes. i am trying various things to scare it away. someone suggested dropping the deer. that would be too easy. gotta be a way to get the critter to stop eating our vegetables. the fields on the rez have pretty of food for the deer. i remember dropping one a few years ago that had a 2 inch thick blanket of fat on its rump. it must have fattened up on the corn and milo fields. i have to start picking the tomatoes when they show color and let them ripen inside. some of the tomato plants have at least 15 tomatoes on each plant. gotta save what i can from them.

i ordered 5 hand drum frames. i should get them this week sometime. i want to stock up before the fall. some of the hunters said they would save the deer hides they get for me. so as soon as i fix the hides, i can string the drums together. i can get  at least two hand drums from one hide. maybe more if it is a big hide. i told the trappers that supply me with porky hair that i will take what hair they get in the next season. trying to get my supplies all lined up so i can pick up my artwork after the gardening is done. gotta keep an edge to my craft.

will see what this week brings…..