Being positive about change

10 Feb

Change is difficult sometimes. People, Native and non-Native, tend to look at our(Native) issues with a double-edge sword. On one side you have understanding people who realize it is a struggle to be in the position we are in.  Then on the other we don’t deserve anything and all of our struggles were caused by our own hand and choices. You can’t change those that refuse to try to understand. Understanding takes time or the right story or the right situation. No one can force you to change.

The best thing is to look past all the criticism and hatred. I choose to move forward simply because I choose not to let anyone deter my path of rights and freedom. A nation doesn’t simply get over that we went through a failed attempt at genocide. We become at peace with it. In the struggle of being colonized, we have lost many people, much of our culture, much of our language, much of our pride. There is no way to get those people back. There is no way you can ever replace what we have missed out on by living our own culture and the pleasure of speaking our own language. You cannot apologize and give me money and expect me to have pride in being a Native.

There is no setting the bar even. There is no righting the wrongs. Now that all of the land has been stripped of its resources, I must find my own water…my own food…my own piece of home. Now that my home has been stripped of its people, I must build it myself to the country’s standards so I can live in it again. Now that I have a new found knowledge of how the world works, I must find how to care for my own people. I have to tell them that knowledge is power and to get an education. For the ones who have diseases such as alcohol and drug addiction, I must tell them that everything will be okay. You do not have to drink anymore, things will be better. I cannot, however, tell him to stop and try to deal with his issues of being abused, being sad, being lonely. The tears of shame, ridicule, and sorrow may run for eternity and they may still not feel capable of dealing with it. My people tell me that no one has prepared them for such hardships. So, I tell them to be the people your grandparents, parents, children, cousins, aunts, uncles can look up to for strength and courage.  Show them that no matter the obstacles you face, you can still be proud of what little you have left. Tell them that being able to only say hello and goodbye in our language is enough for now because I teach them to say more. My grandparents say that they are sorry for not being able to give a better life. I tell them that its okay, your love was what I need in my journey. I tell them that I will work for what they want for their children and grandchildren. My parents apologize for not being there. I tell them that I understand why it was that way.

They were part of the growth that was needed. I explain to others that it was not the time to change because we have not learned to deal with such loss. How can I explain to others that losing half my nation, my family that it was hard to lose so many people? How can I explain to others that not being able to live our culture has forced me to be someone I am not? How can I explain to others that not speaking my language made me shamed? How can I explain to others that I was taken from my home and forced to live with strangers to teach me different language and culture? How I can tell them that these strangers sometimes abused me? How can I tell them that I do not know how to deal with these things?

I can only hope that people try to understand that no one has went through this before. No one was able to share how they dealt with this. As time went on, the hatred that was projected onto us has forced us to look down upon our ownselves. We are left in pieces. Our hearts weigh heavy due to the state. Our minds are filled with shame, due to no identity. Our souls are empty, due to shame. Our spirit is low, due to no belief.

As we grow as a nation, we have learned to deal with all the hardships. No one will help us move forward. So we have learned to voice the problems. We have asked the elders for their memories of our culture. So we have learned to live like before. We have looked our state as a nation and realized that change comes with growth. We saw the pieces that we were in. Slowly we have the dreams we once had…the beliefs we once had…the spirit we once had…the spirit we once had. Quickly things changed. Our hope is renewed. Our culture is thriving. Our identity is claimed.

-written by Qwesqi7 (Gabriel Archie)

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One Response to “Being positive about change”

  1. Sheila Dick February 20, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    Truly awesome words. With these values and ideals, there no way but forward and many will follow.

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