On the Day after “Columbus Day” . . .

When I was a kid, we lived in Twin Falls, Idaho. The “Shoshone Indian Reservation” was down the road, between Twin and Pocatello. I remember driving by, face glued to the car window, wondering. Flat, sagebrush desert. Bleak. Isolated. Squinting my eyes, I could make out tiny scattered shacks, far apart. Rusted trucks sat nearby. Who lived there? Who were the Indians? I never saw any.

Meanwhile, we played “Cowboy and Indian” on our Pierce Street block. The Indians were the bad guys.

When I got my horse Goldie, I discovered that she would let me mount her from either side, and that she didn’t mind if I shimmied up her neck or slid off her rump. The man my Dad bought her from told me that she was “trained by a Shoshoni Indian boy.” That she came from the reservation. Goldie connected me to that Indian boy. The Indian part of me preferred to ride bareback, looped twine through her mouth for reins.

I grew up. Moved “back east” for college. In 1967 husband and two children and I attended the World’s Fair in Montreal and toured the Native American Pavilion. And what I read about there left me in a state of shock.

The first of many shocks, as I learned how to see through colonialist propaganda.

What is the real history of this land? Not that in our history books. Here’s a linguistic map of Turtle Island.

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0 Responses to On the Day after “Columbus Day” . . .

  1. Ann, this posting triggers a thought. As you know I have been a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and his “ORGANIC” architecture. Back in my Twin Falls, days, after I had been and architectural apprentice at Taliesin west and while I was attempting to be organic in my design philosophy. I enrolled in an Anthropology class at the College of Southern Idaho. The title was something about indians of Idaho? The teacher began by saying, “Native American are “Super-Organic people” and went on to give a whiteman’s overview of their superstitious nature and primative beliefs. (I withdrew from the course to study the references on my own.) I did ask the instructor, what he meant specifically by saying “Super Organic”. Well, he said, in a very condescending and derogatory way, “They believe everything is alive”. I thought that was a wonderful statement and worth my effort for enrolling. Native people believe everything is alive! They know it instinctively and from experince! This is what Frank Lloyd Wright tried to impart to his students, this is what Physicists have been trying to tell us, and Ecologist have been pointing out. The Native people of the world truely understand the nature of the world and are our elder brothers and sisters, willing to share their wisdom with us, if we care enough to ask, and can overcome our shallow academic approach to things. I welcome all good information about how to live in harmony with our planet, I will accept that information from Native People, whether from this planet of another, but I love the examples native people can give, if allowed. We have done a good job of making them aliens to our so-called culture. I suppose thier wisdom can only be accepted by this culture when it comes from someone who steps out of a flying saucer, but the truth is here on the ground and in the ground and has been ignored and blotted out. I love the native people of this planet, they are our elder brothers and I believe they are the people who any aliens will contact first. People of the great spirit are universal. Thanks for triggering the thought. Great post as always!

    • Great story, Jay! So glad we share that early Twin Falls connection. And so weird, too, eh, that we were in Saint Edwards grade school together, both of us lost, out of it — ALIEN-ATED! — AND yet destined to find our own minds and hearts, and each other, and other awakening souls, in our 30s! And yes, Indians are the real “aliens,” not to mention the intrepid folks who try to cross our borders from the south.

      I remember, in first grade, walking home down Shoshone street with my friend Freddy, also child of a doctor, and privileged. On the other side of the street walked Lorenzo Ortega, his name alone labeling him as an “other.” He was a child of one of the nomadic “wetback” families that came through Twin Falls for the harvest and lived in shacks on the west side of the tracks. Freddie and I sat in the front row in class; Lorenzo was assigned to the back.

      I remember, as we walked along, this sudden, blinding thought: “There is no intrinsic reason why we are privileged and Lorenzo is not. In reality, we are all equal.” The thought stunned me to such an extent that I couldn’t even mention it to Freddy.

      So much, back then, went unremarked, unheralded, unexpressed, even though deeply felt, and dwelling underground. No way to “connect the dots.” Simply, the soul, buried, but alive and squirming, unerring in its direction, groping towards the light.

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