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samedi 25 février 2012


My Kickapoo sister recently moved into her new home, provided by the tribe. Not a handout mind you, but reward for the good management by the tribal elders and the administrators of their income. Theirs is an incredible story.. From abject poverty living under the international bridge to relative modern affluence in just under 40 years. While maintaining their deep cultural connections! They are the most traditional tribe that I work with in North America.. most of whom speak Kickapoo.
Before she moved into her new house, she asked me for some advice. I told her, please decorate with mild colours, do not clutter up the place, with walls full of ancient photographs and buy all new cutlery 
When I arrived she had just finished preparing the welcome dinner: home made tortillas the way her mother used to make; potato soup of the Kickapoo with small pieces of meat, Frijoles with no pork products (she is very considerate to this wandering Jew), specially prepared condiment to satisfy my desire for hot food.. As I had noted elsewhere, the native people, like the Iban of Borneo whose hospitality I recently enjoyed, do not spice up their food.
I was amazed at the house, how it was set up and it looked like a home in any affluent suburb of the USA! looking out you see the natural beauty of the region ..and since the house was situated in land away from the main settlement, it was incredibly quiet and good place to observe the moon and the planets and other stars..
It is a lesson for people to learn, Indian dont wish to be poor, they had been kept poor by oppression and racism by the recent immigrants.. Believe it or not, it was not long ago, that the Indians of this town were discriminated by the Mexicans who were just recent comers to this land. That reminded of the way the Herrero maltreated the San/Bushmen of Namibia and the same in Botswana.. So discrimination and oppression is not limited to just Europeans, the others do it when given the chance, just go to Kerala and enquire at the Adivasi Centre!
But the Kickapoo has overcome all that. A new Health Clinic will be built to care for them, they are free of the burdens of dependence on the Federal Government (as did their cousins the Meskwakia who drove out the federal agencies handing out food and other poisons and dependencies to them).
Those who work with Native People ( I mean to say Indigenous people, nowadays every one is claiming to be Native) would soon know the concept of Social Responsibility. You are your brothers keeper or she ain't heavy, she is my sister, as popularized in songs. and the famous dictum of Chou En Lai, the PM under Mao Tse Dong: Let China get ahead, but not at the expense of its own people , let all the Chinese get ahead.
Among the Kickapoo, it is not just a small minority who have done well, each and every one has done well; as the fruits of well managed labour is equally distributed.
Congratulations to your tribe, Sister Mena..