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Thursday, February 5, 2009

How do you say Shut the !@#$% Up in Cheyenne?

The Cheyenne don't have a word for Shut the !@#$ up. Instead they curse you with real live curses, like may all your hair fall out except for one and let it turn gray and get lice.

Like that...

OK... I am new to the college world but how quickly it all falls into place, the same kids in high school who loved to hear themselves talk are back but in college form. And with some sort of cocky attitude that makes you want to scream... you stupid loser. go back to high school.no one wanted to hear you then and just because you grew a mustache and carry a briefcase no one wants to hear you now either.

Now I am sure you college students know exactly what I am talking about but I am still going to give you a few examples....

Let me give you a little background first... The college I go to is an adult college. It is part of the SUNY system and they have tried to convince us that is along the same lines of Stony Brook University but I am thinking definitely more Suffolk Community, where they let anyone in.

The format is that you register for classes with your mentor and you set up meetings with your professors, who all teach at Stony Brook, and you get the work, do it at home, bring it back and meet with your professor, bask in the glory of your success and then get more. It goes on like this until you complete all the work and get an A in the class. Okay so this has been my experience so far except in General Biology where I totally sucked but because he graded my tests on the Stony Brook curve I still got a B+. Disappointing for a 6 credit class but really what can I do.

The format for Cheyenne Culture and Language is different. There is a study group that meets Tuesday from 6-8, Wednesday from 6-8 and Thursdays from 10-12am. You pick one study group, you go to class, you do work at home, you meet with Professor Eagle feathers and you hopefully get an A. There is a ton of work, reading, studying the language and lots of papers including a 15 page research paper. Lucky for me I have diarrhea of the mouth and could go on for 15 pages about a hangnail.

So I went to the first meeting 2 weeks ago and as usual there are at least 3 people in the class who cant shut up. Even after Professor Eagle feathers wife, who is not Cheyenne, explains that if you interrupt Prof. EF he will just stop talking because he feels if you interrupt him, obviously what he is talking about is not important. Basically I think her point was let him talk and ask questions later.

But NOOOOO... the first meeting was bad. One woman stopping him every 2 minutes to spell things. How do you spell that? Is that going to be on the test?

There are no tests, this class is about knowledge, language, research, awareness. You don't need to write everything down.

Wait how do you spell that???

Oh my god. Shut up.

So then Cliff and Kd, the professor and his wife are showing slides and they show the treaty of how we stole Manhattan for 26 dollars and what the Indians got in return. They got like a 5 foot piece of rope, a metal spike, I mean it was just ridiculous what we did. Really though they don't believe land can be bought and sold or owned so maybe they thought they got one over on us.

In any case, listed was 2 gallons of rum as one of the things the Indians got in exchange for Manhattan.

And this woman says, well at least you got 2 gallons of rum out of it. And they politely ignore her and she says, don't say we never gave you nothing you got 2 bottles of rum. And KD looks her straight in the face and says yeah and that was poison to the Indians and caused alcholism in the tribe.

And you think that would shut her up but she continues and says... oh do you think they did that on purpose, bringing rum so you people would be drunk and become alcholics?

Yeah exactly... shut the !@#$ up!

So it snowed really hard on Tuesday and I had to go to Wednesdays class or risk driving in the blizzard. So I go in and I don't see the two women from the Tuesday class and I am so happy. I think hey maybe I can switch to Wednesday and peacefully listen to this amazing man speak.

He is riveting. He speaks so softly and has amazing stories to tell, yet instead of listening to him these are the kinds of things that went on last night...

Black guy in the corner: Every time anyone asked a question before Prof. EF could talk he would say well from what I read in the text.... blah blah blah... and continue talking for way too long.

This went on all night.

Prof. EF would not say a word. Just move on.

Literally I cannot even begin to explain this....Someone would ask a question like are white people allowed at these ceremonies? and he said yes they are always welcome but maybe not to participate. they can certainly watch though.

So 5 minutes later, someone else is like... if a Cheyenne woman marries a white man can he go to the ceremonies,

Yes all people are welcome onto the reservation and the ceremonies..

Oh you mean you people aren't hiding your ceremonies from us like the masons. Are you performing secret ceremonies that white men cant see.

No all white people and all people are welcome to the ceremonies.

5 minutes later... well if a Cheyenne man marries a white woman with kids from another marriage can they come to the ceremonies.

Yes all people are welcome, we encourage you to come, anyone is welcome.

well would Michael Jackson be welcome because he used to black but now he is white, so like would he be allowed at the ceremonies.

OK i made that last one up but seriously it went on and on.

And politely every time he just answered these stupid idiots.

All through the class, Prof EF would be speaking and someone would say oh that is just like the ...pick a race, religion... catholics, they do that.... or oh are you like the Amish how you shun people if they choose to leave the reservation and make a life elsewhere.

no we are not like the Amish... or the catholics....or the masons... or the Mormons... no kidding all of these were asked last night.

Black guy in the corner wanted to talk all night and tell us all about his life as a worker for the government, how tough life is for a black man, just like the Indians had hard times so did he.

By the end of the class, no joke everyone was actively rolling their eyes every time he opened his mouth.

So Prof. EF tells us as we are packing up our stuff that the reservation is like a third world country. The medical care is bad, poverty and alcholism are rampant. He was talking about how sad it was and how hard life was there.

And this woman who had been fairly quiet compared I guess to black guy in the corner.

Oh my god... i am in McDonald's and some guy just walked by and loudly said to his friend... yeah get me coffee I have to take a wiz. for real. not making this stuff up.

OK so this woman says... you don't have to stay on the reservation, no one is making you stay there, every group in this country has been oppressed, but like the Mexicans they come here and work really hard and send the money back to their country, you people could do that. Why don't you just leave the reservation, go out and get an education and then get a good job and send the money back there.

An out of her office, next door, Prof. EF wife storms in and says, no one in this room knows what oppression is. No one unless you are a family member of a holocaust survivor knows what genocide does to your abilities to rise above. Prejudice and Oppression changes you from generation to generation and stops you in your tracks.

She was so mad and going on and on and freaking out.

Until black man in corner says... yeah like how I have to work twice as hard at my job as anyone to get less pay.

And this woman next to me is like...yeah right... you people get everything... i am a white married mother of 4 and i don't get anything like you people get. I struggle everyday too.

and he ignores her and keeps saying.. the color of my skin precedes me anytime I go anywhere, i am immediately judged and people are afraid of me and she is like... yeah yeah you people get so many breaks and i have to suffer.

It was freakin ugly.

And both of them would not stop and the class was already past 2 hours long and I wanted to scream at both of them...this is not what we are here for.

Apparently.. this is a common belief about the Indians that they are just lazy. Why cant they get out and get a job? They have all the opportunities,why aren't they taking it?

When you hear Prof EF speak you will know why. Everything about the Indians is in direct contrast to the American way of living.

They want to preserve the Earth and only take what they need to survive.

If they kill a buffalo for food there is not one part of the buffalo that goes to waste. Not one stitch. It is used for food, and clothing and tools and weapons.

They don't believe you are a better person if you have more stuff.

They live simply.

Someone asked what would happen if someone who was made Chief wasn't good at it, was he fired.

The answer... no you can never be fired from being a chief.

Well, what if no one wanted to listen to him what happens then?

they don't.

Well if they just don't do what he says what happens then?

They just disrespect him and that makes him feel bad and usually he steps down because to be disrespected is worse than anything else.

The class is so interesting and so amazing but really I am embarrassed to be sitting in this class of white people and black people and Hispanic people and sit among them like I am one of them.

I am not.

My kids will say that i say offensive things all the time. And I do. I make fun of everyone and everything with stereotypes and just plain awful jokes.

But in my heart where it counts, I truly believe that every person should have the true right of freedom.

Freedom to practice whatever they believe in. Be a vegetarian or don't. Go to church or don't. Believe in God or don't.

As long as there is no hurting of other people, you should be allowed to participate in any activity that you want to.

As Americans we thing everyone wants to be just like us. We cannot understand why when we offered the Indians Smoke shops and casinos they didn't take the offer.

they don't want to have money to buy "things". they don't want fancy cars and homes and jewelry.

They have something worth so much more. They have a spirit that keeps them alive. They have beliefs that carry them through suffering and grief. They have their connection to the past that is passed down from one generation to another. They are rich beyond measure in ways we could never understand.

And if we could just shut the !@#$ up maybe just maybe we could learn something.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thank you Maria

Thanks to Maria you can now see the videos and be prepared for video blowout because now that I have the power I will never stop.

evil laugh (hahahahahahahahahaha)

PS school was not cancelled and i almost had to go but the roads are really bad so i made an executive decision to go tomorrow instead.


no not funny

Russian Roulette or should I say Cheyenne Roulette

Cheyenne homework or blog.... Cheyenne homework or blog... that is the question on everyones mind these days isnt it?

Well... here is my thought process... I am going to include a little bit of Cheyenne Culture or language in my blog and I am taking the chance that the weather men are right and it will be snowing way too hard for me to go to school tonight.

Yes it is quite a risk since the weather men are historically wrong..

I mean there is a 30% chance it may be snowing right now.

So how about a little blog or should I say... Tseske'e blog....its pronounced jesh kih eh and it means a little. Actually it rhymes with brisket and since I am all about food that is one of the phrases I remember. There are about 20 phrases I was supposed to memorize and be able to speak to my professor tonight and here is what I have discovered...

anyone in their 40's should never attempt to learn a new language because it is totally impossible to do.

Learning a new language accesses a side of the brain that burned out long ago to be replaced with who likes mayo on their turkey sandwich and who will never eat chopped meat no matter how you disguise it.

In the spot where I could have stored Na-tsehese-nestse-tano I want to speak the Cheyenne language pronounced Nah tisenst te dun... is replaced with who is allergic to penicillin and who likes beans in their taco dip....does hubby eat taco dip.. we are not sure because I left some out for him last night and he didnt eat it.

I digress... often I know...but that is what is in there. No room left for Nancy na heseve he. My name is Nancy.

I have been reading a lot of history about the Indians and I learned something very interesting. They do not want to assimilate with us at all. they are not trying to be like us although as Americans we cannot understand why everyone wouldnt want to be just like us.

The Indians believe in the Mother Earth. They believe she is alive and they believe that is has been easy for the white men to rape the Earth of all its resources because of the nature of her being woman.

They think they will still be here long after we have burned ourselves up with our stupid technology and I have to say I think I may agree.

In the past ten years I personally have seen such a shift in the world based on technology. You have to understand this is coming from someone who grew up before VCR's which are already obsolete and before all the music you own could fit in a little tiny box not crates and crates of vinyl albums that could scratch and melt.

Information is received in an instant. Can a penis really be fractured? Google it. by the way it really can and I dont reccommend you googling it unless you want to see some scary pictures of smurf penises.

Who is that eccentric guy who wore surgical gloves? Yeah you can google that and come up with Howard Hughes. It is incredible.

There is no need to memorize Cheyenne or anything else because you can access it on your blackberry at any moment.

So are the Indians right? Are they just waiting until Obama gets an email on his blackberry that says something like

and then he replies back...

and before you know it the president of iran is leaving this on obamas facebook...

and obama is all Oh no you didnt... and he skypes him and sings him this song

so you see how technology is going to ruin the world and the Indians will be left with their Earth a little worse for the wear but still intact?

And where will we be... gone...long gone.

and no one will care then if I spent all morning writing a stupid blog or studying Cheyenne.

Maybe if i had paid attention more I could have done the Indian snow dance to assure I wouldnt have class tonight.

Hmm... maybe there is a reason to pay attention...

Ha'Ho for reading. (thanks)

from Ve-ho a e (white woman)