Tolkien, artist

Thoughts of Home - Pine Ridge, SD

In the mid 1980's I was already running my store, but I was located on the third floor of a maze-like building, hard to find. My DH had a large space there where he was running his own business and we remodeled and started mine in a part of his space. This was a learning platform. I had a large oak desk with a comfortable chair on the far side of it and I had a large coffeepot that was brewed fresh every morning. A lot of great people sat in that chair, some of them for hours at a time, and we talked and talked. That's where I first met Floyd.



Natalie, Rachel and Floyd at Rachel's 2001 graduation. I still adore Floyd, but I'm not fond of Natalie (nor is she fond of me). So it goes...

Floyd was living in a house nearby and was sometimes called an urban shaman. I've never been fond of the word 'shaman' because too often it is self-applied or mis-interpreted. But as I grew to know him both in the city and back on the Reservation in his own home and in the center of the Sun Dance circle, he was exactly that - a Shaman, a healer and spiritual adviser. He invited me to my first sweat lodge and took me under his wing. He invited my DH and I to join a group of people at his grandmother's home for the 100th anniversary of Wounded Knee and that's where I met Unci (grandmother) and many others who would be integral parts of my life for years to come. He took me on as a student warning me that he required a seven year commitment. When I decided that I had to put some distance between us for my own good, I had worked with him for nine years. My commitment was complete.


Auntie Sadie is on the left holding the umbrella, Unci is on the right. They are standing in front of Unci's BIA log house.



One of my favorite pictures of Auntie Sadie (left) and Unci (right wearing the shawl). I miss both of them so very much.
I haven't returned to the Rez since Unci died, I just can't face it without her.

Why bring this up now? The current issue of National Geographic has an article called "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse; Rebirth of a Sioux Nation". I purchased the issue two weeks ago and have had it lying next to me here, but the time just wasn't right to discuss it yet. If you have an interest in one of the few tribes who never bent to the will of the US Government, rather the government has been trying to get the Sioux Nation to bend to them, with varying levels of success. Because I run a store that deals in products that are used by and made by Native American people, I am often asked if I am Indian. Usually I answer that my family is, because Floyd, Unci, my sister and brother opened their homes and hearts to me and became my family in so many ways. Then, as the questioner looks me up and down - pale skin, blue eyes, platinum blonde hair - I laugh and say that I'm the 'white sheep' of the family. My love extends to my family and relatives in Pine Ridge, South Dakota today. I miss you all - even Lyman. Mitakuye oyasin.
Those two pictures of Auntie and Unci are wonderful - there is such a sense of person about them.
They were amazing people. Unci died in 2001 and Auntie in 2009. Her daughter Darlene sent me Auntie's obit notice and I still haven't been able to read it through, even after all this time. I never knew my grandparents, they were killed by the Nazis long before I was born. Unci and Auntie were the closest thing I ever had to grandmothers and they meant the world to me.

- Erulisse (one L)
Oh, and I wanted to ask about the woman in your user pic. Relative of yours? She has a wonderful smile and very kind eyes.

- Erulisse (one L)
Thank you for sharing this with us. Mitakuye oyasin to you as well, my friend.

(I'm reading this at the airport. I feel like you and your relatives are keeping me company.)
Notes that even those that supposedly "capitulated" were destroyed by the liars in Washington. um. shuts up about that. :P

Fred; honestly... has he been around a while? I mean, has he traveled to dances and stuff or been a spokesman? I know the old saw about Natives all looking alike (kicks the one who started that) but really, I swear I've seen his face.

Anyhow, wonderful family. Unci looks like she could have told soooo many stories; not the grand ones but the little ones that we all remember, the ones that teach us something important about ourselves as people. hehe

Got to admit, I laughed out loud at the "white sheep" remark. I'm so damned white... took after me dad doncha know.

oh gods. And as I'm typing this I'm being entertained by a huuuuge wasp and wondering how the hell it is they can walk up walls.

Later sister! hahaha
The Lakota have never accepted the settlement money and are owed bundles by the government for the land that they stole in the sacred Black Hills. But, rather than capitulate to the government, which would seriously impact the poverty of the people, they stand proud and unbowed.

Floyd has traveled all over the nation and been involved in Ceremony throughout the world. It is a bit unnerving, in some ways, to be related to him because everyone (it seems) knows him. But he was a great teacher and wonderful spiritual leader and I would still be working with him if he hadn't married Natalie. She and I just don't get along at all.

Yes, I am a total 'white sheep' in my family, but at least my hair has lightened enough that I'm not always mixed up with an ex-sister-in-law - LOL. I do find that I miss the Rez a lot during the summer, I used to build my schedule around Sun Dance, now I build it around more mundane things instead and work with Spirit in the ways that I feel I should.

Love the wasp...(except that I'm allergic to the darned things).

- Erulisse (one L)
That's a wonderful story, dear. And the pics remind me of old native americans here. I do have native blood, as most of us in my country, and I am proud of it.
I do have native blood, as most of us in my country, and I am proud of it.

And you should be proud of who you are because it is all of those many facets that make you a unique and beautiful person. I'm delighted to have had the chance to introduce some of my family to my LJ friends.

- Erulisse (one L)
I know this is a coincidence,, but when my boys were little we used to send Christmas presents to Pine Ridge. I am totally serious. Small world.

I used to go to lots of Pow Wow's that were held in
Philadelphia's Fairmount Park area and in the Rancocas Woods of New Jersey. They are mostly Lenape/ Powhatan Renape Nation there.

I have always admired the Sioux people.

My boys, on their father's side, have Chippewa through a great, great, great, great grandmother. ( I forget how many greats). I have to ask their cousin.

You are very fortunate to be a part of their family. I adore the Auntie and Unci picture--so beautiful. Such expression in their faces.



Edited at 2012-08-10 01:38 am (UTC)
I love the way that our lives have intermingled before we even knew the other existed. It's spooky-good!

- Erulisse (one L)