From Last Real Indians
By: Twyla B. Baker-Demaray
I recently listened to a young woman’s diatribe against Native American men (and more or less, Native people in general). This woman railed against Native men, calling them ‘aggressive’ and ‘drunks.’ She claimed they get ‘free money’ and that essentially they are worthless good-for-nothings who never leave the reservation. This woman, of Native descent herself, claimed to have been raised close to the reservation, but did not stay there or associate with ‘those people’, because she ‘didn’t want that life,’ -whatever that was supposed to mean.
Ever since hearing her words, I’ve been stewing. I’ve turned her words over and over in my head, and in all honesty I can say that it is probably for the best that I am not in a position to speak to her directly. I realize that hers are the words of an imbecilic, superfluous walking contradiction; however her rant is not the first I’ve ever heard speaking so poorly of Natives or of Native men in particular. Indeed, I’ve been guilty of such rants of my own in the past. As I’ve grown older I have thought more about my words, and those of my Native sisters, when we speak of our men. For the most part, negative words sprang from some immediate hurt that occurred; venting during some painful episode that typically resolves. Now that I am older, however, I realize that I cannot continue this pattern. Hurt can fade and relationships mend, but my words are still out there. They hang in the air, infecting the minds of those I may have spoken to and impacting their view.