engarian (engarian) wrote,

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.
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