To my hero,
I have seen the work you do when no one else seems to care. You give a voice to the people that have long been lost. Ancient stories and artifacts that others want to study, you placed back with their owners. You know our people are not just an artifact and a thing to be studied. You have stressed and fought an uphill battle with museums and peoples that see us as just another number. You fight for the children in our school so they have a voice. You fight for them to have books in our language. You work even when your work should be done.
I have seen you make dolls that represent the way our people dressed. Now these little girls can have something we didn’t as we were growing up. We only had one representation in the commercial world, Pocahontas. We all didn’t hail from this character that Disney romanticized. There was never a doll that wore yucca skirts, rabbit skins, and basket hats. You took that time to make sure the representation for our people is there. For our daughters and our daughters’ daughters.
The books you have written to bridge the gap so others can hope to understand we are not just myth. We did exist and we exist still. I still remember your uncle saying, “They give us numbers instead of learning our names. The only other government that did that was the Nazis. We are just a number to them.” The anger and acceptance on your face at the words was powerful like watching the lightning hit the ocean. Yet it didn’t bring you down, it made you hungry. It made you hungry to right wrongs and to push those boundaries. You want more for our future generations.
You are my hero because even after those hours making sure none of our ancestors’ graves are disturbed, you create women’s circle, basket weaving circle, and gathering days. You aren’t just hungry for change for our people; you are hungry for the life and traditions of our people to live on. How many times have I called you to say I’m hurting or I am having a hard time? You always listen, you always guide. How many times have other come to you for healing? Whether it is an ear they need or a shoulder? I know you would do it all again.
How many times did people talk and you didn’t judge? You think and you accept. Even the peoples close to us haven’t always accepted your teachings and your voice. Yet, your heart stays calm and your voice continues to be steady. You know what the goal is and it is forever in your sight even if the goal stretches larger. “It’s not a race.” You would say. “Sometimes things develop the way they need to and not always how we hope, like the baskets we weave. They know what they want to do.”
You are my hero in the way that you have always challenged me, making me want to be better and do better. When I was making baskets quickly and never slowing down, you gave me harder material to manipulate. “It’s time for a challenge.” You said. Then you handed me some sumac and taught me how whittle it to make it pliable to weave around my baskets. “Even if it breaks, you can still use the pieces. It’s an obstacle and you can overcome it.” Our talks have long stuck with me and will continue to. Our endless basket euphemisms have kept me going on the darkest of days.
Thank you, M. See you next Tuesday at basket weaving.
With love, Desiree
About the Creator
I have been intrigued with writing since I was twelve years old. At first, it was poetry but then in morphed into a love of fiction, fantasy, and adventure. When I'm not writing stories, I am running wild with my family.