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When Buffalo met Bear

Many winter moons ago a lonesome buffalo was roaming the plains. Buffalo made her way too far north. She became lost during a brutal winter storm. The wind blowing snow everywhere made it hard for her to see. Yet she seen something making its way towards her. It was Bear. Buffalo didn’t understand how Bear was out walking during his slumber season

Bear walked up to Buffalo. He told her he was awaken because of the vision he had. It was told to him he would come across a wondering Buffalo. Whether it was her, he was meant to see. We will never know.

After the storm died down. Bear showed Buffalo his lands. Bear helped Buffalo anyway he could. When the spring came Buffalo took Bear down towards the south. Buffalo wanted to show Bear everything he showed her.

They showed each other different ways of the north and south. They talked about old ways. They listened to the old songs. They lived together in unison living the ways of the buffalo and bear. You can still see Buffalo walking with Bear to this day.

This was told the way I made it up. Lol just a fun story for valentines! I’m buffalo clan myself. I always call my mans my bear, so I thought of this story.

Suburbs to SoDak Life

2/3/2020

I have been in South Dakota for a month now. I’m a suburb woman living with the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate people, on the Lake Traverse Reservation. For those familiar with the area, I stay in the Big Coulee District. Now when moving up here my southern self did not understand “districts”. There are seven districts on this reservation. Those districts are Big Coulee, Lake Traverse, Old Agency, Buffalo Lake, Long Hollow, Verblin-Heipa, and Enemy Swim. Each district has a meaning behind their name. The Lake Traverse Reservation is located in the Northeastern part of South Dakota. It also has a small portion in the Southeastern part of North Dakota. After cruising the reservation I can now somewhat understand districts now. I think about my Msvkoke side and can correlate the districts, to communities.

I started my life in Oklahoma around 5-6. I can tell growing around Tulsa, was different to life up here in South Dakota. In all honesty, I wasn’t aware of “Rez life”. Once I attended Haskell Indian Nations, my eyes were opened. I was and still am that suburb girl. Also just because I grew up in the suburbs doesn’t mean my family didn’t teach me our ways. I just didn’t learn as much as others and still continue to learn. Yet don’t let me fool you, I have my rambunctious side as well. I’m not from the reservation myself but I like to think I fit in somewhere. As I always say, if you know me you know I can talk with anyone.

The reservation is beautiful. I see communities and strong families. I see the next generation running around discovering life. I see the older generation talking and laughing together. The sense of family is strong. Yet there’s also the dark sides. We all have that cousin, sibling, auntie, uncle etc that suffer from addiction. You see loved ones “on it”. When you hear someone say someone is “on it” their implying that set person is on hard drugs, whether it be meth or heroine. You see people collecting any amount of change, just to get that next bottle.

What I’m telling you is nothing new. Especially if you grew up in South Dakota. I can point out all the negatives but its not just South Dakota that you see this. You see this all across Indian Country. I don’t turn a blind eye. I just look for the positives. As I said, I see a striving community. The agency here is beautiful. I think about my agency back home. We’re a small tribe but we do our best. I compare South Dakota life a lot to Oklahoma. It’s beautiful here if you choose to see that way.

Some of my experiences while here may seem small to you but are significant to me. I tried Wojapi for the first. Those that don’t know what Wojapi is, its a berry sauce. That’s the best way I can describe it. It’s sweet, warm, made with choke cherries. It almost reminds me of grape dumplings back home. I witnessed people ice fishing. My mind was completely blown when I seen that. My partner offered to drive me out on the lake. I said no thank you. Haha. I have adjusted to the weather. The 30’s up here is sweater weather. I refuse to go anywhere when its -20 or below. I have accepted I will see snow until the spring when it melts. Also getting stuck in the snow is a very common, 4×4 drive is a must up here.

My suburb self accepted the fact the nearest Wal-Mart is 30 mins away. The closest mall is at least an hour and a half away. If you want fast food, you have your choices of Taco Johns and Dairy Queen. Oh yes don’t let me forget the town of Sisseton closes around 9-10.

My only hardship is that I miss my grandmother dearly. Before I moved she gave me a photo of her. “Here, take this picture of me so you’ll have it. Keep it so you won’t forget me.” I just smiled, hugged her and told her I could never forget her. I catch myself up here saying “well grandma always said….” Haha so no matter where or how far I am from home. My teachings will always be within me.

I remember I was scared to move up here. Yet before I left I had this Crow woman tell me. “Don’t let anyone intimidate you because you’re the new woman in town. They feel more threaten of you than you are of them.” I’m not the first one in my family to make a big move. But it was my first big move. So with that being said life is good. My partner is great to me. Everyone has their ups and downs. I pray everyday and thank Creator for this life he has shown me. After its all said and done, I do look forward to what else South Dakota has to offer.

New Beginnings??

Everyone has new beginnings. Everyone starts a new chapter. Whether we’re ready for new beginnings or not, we always have major turning points in our lives. Some chapters go by fast, some hurt more than`. It can be hard reminiscing about the friends you once had, the relatives you used to see. Memories that are forever, cherish them as such.

I can’t help but wonder what the next generation will be like. Growing up with grandma sometimes she would pull out old photos. I always thought it was so cool. One, that they even had cameras during that time. Two that she was able to show and share her childhood and beyond. I was always impressed she could usually remember when and where those photos were taken. So what will be like when I show my grandkids photos? Odd thought for the day but moving forward.

New beginnings mean new memories right? All in all, I’m a happy woman. I miss my grandma dearly but everything seemed right and just fell into place. 6 months ago I was spending nearly everyday with my grandmother. I’ve been blessed with different opportunities since I first started this blog. Moving forward I’m just not sure what to do with it now. I enjoy writing and mostly writing for myself. I know my writing will speak to the right people.

I’m not quite sure who all will still read my blog but here’s to closing this chapter. I plan on sharing my short stories, random poems paintings whatever! Haha. Who am I and what do I know? I’m just Jessica but if you know me, you know I always got a story for ya. If anything maybe a free space for other natives to write if there’s not a place for that already?

Well anyways MVTO for your time!

LyFe

11/22/19

As I said before this was blog was suppose to be about my adventures with grandma. It was to help those with the ups and downs as a care taker for family members with dementia……

I still read articles but considering I’m never home now its hard to know how grandma is… She knows I’m not home but she’s happy I’m out working. She’s probably happy I’m out of the house (lol). When I am home she’ll ask me everyday if I’m leaving… “ Not today grandma” then I usually tell her how many days we have left. I always tell her that I’ll miss her… She tells me she’ll miss me too. Last time she told me to get to bed soon and get some rest… I asked her, “You’re right, you wanna tuck me in bed?” BOY my momma cut me off so quit haha… No matter what age I’ll always be grandma’s baby. I promise you she would have tucked me in that night.

I remember the days I would come home from college…. She would come wake me up by rubbing my back. Breakfast was usually ready, laundry would be done. It is safe to say my grandma did everything she could for me. I appreciate everything she’s ever done. While I was away at school she would call me and surprise me “I put some money in your account to go get something to eat if you want.”

It’s harder these days… She no longer drives, nor has a house phone. She can’t call me anymore when she’s missing me. I can no longer reach her as quick as I once could… With that being said I’ve started to adjust to life outside of grandma… life outside of Oklahoma. I swore to myself I would stay close until she was gone. I will be leaving Oklahoma as of 2020 to start a new adventure. I look forward to it but have a heavy heart leaving her behind. I’ll miss many of things, but of course home will always be home.

I started to reflect that life does go on…. She did numerous things in her 88 years of life. Grandma and Grandpa raised a beautiful family. If it wasn’t for their love we wouldn’t be here. In previous postings I emphasized how she raised us to leave the nest. Out of the grandchildren many of them have successfully left “the nest”. I noticed while I was in Montana working… Every day life goes on. We adjust without that person there, we continue about our business with or without said individual. I would say its easy leaving home but its not. This thing we call life is literally a trip…

I thank Creator everyday my grandmother is here and always will. I was able to FaceTime her tonight. Thank goodness for technology! With all this being said, say a pray and give your close ones a hug. We never know when Creator will call us home so remember everyday is a blessing my friends….

MVTO – Jess

Best part about failing… Trying again…

11/18/19

I started this blog with the true intentions of writing everyday for 365 about my grandmother… I have obviously failed that… Life doesn’t always go to according to plan… I tried to update my blog back in September and whatever happened either way here I am again!

First thing first, grandma is fine. She’s back at home. She had her 88th birthday October 30th. I haven’t been home much since I left for Montana, back in August.. I spent about a month at home at most. Within that month I spend most of my time with grandma. It hasn’t been easy watching her age, watching her lose her memory, watching her struggle. BUT if you know me well enough I try to make the positives out of anything.

Yet these days its hard to positive…. I adore my grandmother it used to be easy when people asked me how is she doing? I would always tell them she’s good, just getting older. These days when my closest people ask… I just tell them that’s not my grandma anymore.

As hard as it is to say… She is my grandma and somedays are better than others. It’s very difficult to leave her at home. I do not mean this in any negative aspect but as said in my previous blogs… Her spirit is leaving her….

So with that being said, I thought about when I left for Montana… It was hard to leave because you have to make plans as a care taker, who is going to take care of grandma? I’m thankful for the family that helps us out during these times. Life has happened and we’re all just trying our best. I had many moments while I’ve been away… Mostly about this thing we call LIFE. Which I will write about in my next blog….