Chief

Today, I got paid.
I took part of my paycheck and went down to Michael’s, leaving with a new set of charcoal, new pencils, a sketchpad, and a wonderful  sense of contentment.
Now I sit at Starbucks in those closely placed tables I had mentioned in a previous post. I’m about three feet down from an older married couple eating marble pound cake. They talk about his love for chocolate and their children’s Facebooks. They laugh often at one another. The wife is very funny, and her husband thinks so. He has a soulful voice and a large thick mustache.

At my table, I search for images that would be conducive for a charcoal drawing. In my search, I found a picture of this chief. He jumped off of the endless Google Images page at me. There is so much pride in his look. It makes you wonder, what he was loosing, or had already lost, what he was trying to preserve. My Junior Seminar course in college was supposed to be on all forms of literature, but ended up being focused heavily on Native American lit and history. I’ve noticed that this happens in just about every class taught by someone with a Phd…the class always seems to be about exactly what they wrote their dissertation on. However, I learned a lot about the modern Native American. Did you know that 70% of their population lives below the poverty line? If you google poorest towns in America, almost all of the top twenty are Indian reservations. They are such a fascinating people to me. Maybe it’s because they are so earthy. I think back to being little with the cousins at Gran and Grandad’s house, playing orphan children. We would smear berries for paint and smash up little pods that looked like corn for dinner. (No worries, I don’t think we ever really ate it.) Perhaps I like the Indians so much because their ways of life remind me of some of my best times in childhood.

It’s painful to think of a people with so much history and such a love for the land, spending their days on a rotting reservation in North Dakota. Many of the boys play basketball, with little else to do growing up. And actually, many of them are incredibly skilled, but don’t properly complete high school or excel with grades, and are therefor hardly scouted. That is why Sam Bradford is such an icon to the Indian community, he is one of the few successful athlete’s of Indian descent.

Mostly, I feel there is so much about the Indian people we don’t know. After all  we only know what we know starting with our own arrival. They are a fascinating people, mysterious and heartbreaking.

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