Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Goat is dead, I want my neighbours Goat dead.

Recently in Greece, there have been riots. A lady spoke of the saying, "my goat is dead, so I want my neighbours goat dead". This is a common trait or thinking in the world. We like to see misery in others if we are going through misery. 

My Romanian friend Sorin told me about the goat farm in his region. It kind of reminded me about home. I guess there were these two neighbours, goat farmers they were. One of the farmers had trouble, his goats got sick and died. The other farmer still had his goats and worked hard to keep them fed and healthy. The dead goat farmer, him, he wished and he wished. He wished the other farmer's goats would die!
Kind of the same type of thinking that goes on in the Reserve. I call that the "Indian Factor". The Indian Factor is where we are hardest on ourselves. Old Steve has a business in the Reserve but I'm not going to spend a penny in his place! Ron has a new shirt on, boy that guy thinks he's good. Jennifer is the head of the social services and she is a bitch. We can call down with the best of them when it comes to our own. How come we save our biggest smiles and friendliest handshakes for strangers? How come that is the way it is? Ask any Indian who has started a business in his or her own Reserve and they will tell you about the Indian Factor.

The Indian Factor is not all about being our own worst enemy. Heck no. It's also about being so damn generous. You ask any Indian and they will tell you. The Indian Factor is an enigma. I like that word. You can be mixed up about things and say it is an enigma. You should see the people when there is a crisis in the home. People like to help. Have a stranger drive up to a home and tell them they are lost and you will get help. Most people will gladly visit with you and have some tea. I remember I did that in Rocky Boy Montana. Pulled up into a home where a fire was going and there was a Sweat Lodge. The people were just getting out and were friendly as all heck when we told them where were from and who we were. I kind like that about the Indian Factor, you never know what you'r going to get.

Speaking of Rocky Boy, this guy, William Windyboy told us a story over tea. He told the story of Nanabooshoo or in Cree they call him Waasakejak. How old Nanabooshoo was standing up on Sweat-grass Hills over looking the area and his people. Way out in the distance he could see someone walking. He didn't know who that was. The person kept walking and getting closer to Nanaboosho. As he got closer it was clear that this guy was beat up. Holee, he looked like someone had really beaten this guy up. As he got close, Nanabooshoo recognizes his relative. "Ho, Jesus, what the heck happened to you?" Jesus said, "It was my people. They were not satisfied. I fed them. I healed the sick. I made the blind see. And still they were not happy. They beat me! They hanged me. They killed me!" Nanabooshoo was sad for his relative. Jesus said, "my people are not satisfied".

I thought about this story and what it meant. I can guess what it means and how it has played out. The symbolism if you will of the story and what it means. Want me to give you my take on it?

1 comment:

  1. The "Indian Factor" reminds me of the miniseries (and book) Cranford, about a small town in 19th century England. Where the women are sometimes really petty and gossipy about each other, but when the chips are down they can turn around and totally come through for each other. :-)

    I was taking an African studies course once, and I don't remember what we were discussing, but my professor said: Does anyone find this reminds you of small communities? And my friend said, Yes, completely. - He was making the point that sometimes what people see as something "very African" might just equally be characterized as something that happens in any small community, anywhere in the world, of which there are many in the African countries we were studying.

    It was an interesting thought.