I is for Indian

Hi World,

Yes, here I am, with the promised embarrassing reveal.

Without further ado, I give you Chicken and her fondest childhood fantasy.

As a kid, I had an obsession with Native American culture.  I raided the North Jay Library every week for biographies of all the American Indian Chiefs.  I absorbed everything I could find.  My hero was Sitting Bull.

My greatest fantasy was that in the woods behind my house a lost Native American Indian tribe lived off the land with no knowledge of the outside world.  This tribe, in my fantasy, would discover me wandering through the woods one day and would adopt me as one of their own.

It is important to note here that my fantasy did not involve being a girl Indian.  No. I was sure I was meant to be a boy.  While girl indians did get to do some cool stuff, like beading neat designs onto leather, I was sure my destiny involved hunting buffalo, riding horses bareback, and fighting the Crow.

To that end, I felt it was very important that when wandering through the wood looking for lost indian tribe kidnappers that I be dressed in the appropriate apparel lest they be confused as to my gender.  So, guided by my reading, I designed myself a native American BOY costume of moccasins, loincloth, bow and arrows.

So during the summer that year, on any given day, I would walk into the woods dressed as a girl, in my shorts, t-shirt, and keds, follow the babbling brook for about a mile or so, and then change into my fierce warrior outfit.  And wait to be kidnapped.  While I waited, I terrorized the neighborhood squirrels with my bow and arrow; we are talking hand chipped arrow heads tied on to sticks and a sapling branch bent into a bow with some twine attached end to end.  I do not believe (now) that  the squirrels were in any real danger, PETA, so do not come around my house with your red paint.  I also made a canoe that year out of white birch bark, and built a wigwam (although I would have rather had a teepee but buffalo skin was scarce in my region).

Eventually, I realized that being a boy indian was a bit out of reach and in truth, I was a little frightened by the Sun Dance ceremony, which involved ritual piercing of the breast tissue.

And then I grew up and became Chicken.

A Vision Quest was involved.

Grown Men can learn from very little children
For the hearts of little children are pure
Therefore the Great Spirit may show to them
Many things which older people will miss

-Black Elk (Oglala Lakota Sioux Medicine Man who participated in the battle of Little Big Horn at the age of 12)

Sometimes I miss that little Indian.  Please check the Chicken crossing the road for a Dar Williams song that does not mention Indians even once but does talk about being a boy.  I was a boy, too. And a girl.

Take care of the child in you, World.

Chicken out

  11 comments for “I is for Indian

  1. April 11, 2010 at 5:16 am

    I can totally picture 12 year old you in your loincloth… although it would have been much more embarrassing if you had run into someone (say, the cute boy you had a crush on) half nekkid.
    I'm catching up on my reading and now I want cake! I want cake! dammit.
    good night


  2. April 11, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Lucky Punk, I love you. I want cake, too, dammit. If I had run into a crush in the woods I would probably still be too traumatized to talk about it. Luckily, it was a deep wood.


  3. Dee
    April 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Wow. You had such a creative imagination. I love it. Maybe you can be that indian boy, while dreaming at night.


  4. Anonymous
    April 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    So, Chicken, were you the inspiration for Johnny Cash's “A Boy Named Sue”? Gotta love the Man in Black. In homage to our Chicken leader, I recently flew our friendly sky's and came across an excerpt from a great book on chickens. Go to usairwaysmag.com and click on Must read for the piece by Sy Montgomery.


  5. April 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks Dee. I do dream sometimes about that:-)

    Anonymous-Nah, that guy named Sue had issues. I'm completely normal. I'll check it out-thanks


  6. Anonymous
    April 11, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Freud would have called it “Penis Envy” but then, he was hopped up on cocaine most of the time, so what does he know?

    Having grown up in a household so bland and devoid of culture that “yellow mustard” was considered an “ethnic food” I totally get the Native American fantasy. Having first hand experience of seeing the Indian reservations wrought with poverty and alcoholism, I wish our forefathers had adopted a different legacy.

    I grew up in the “Roots” era (Alex Haley Roots–not Olympic outfitters Roots) so my fantasy was about being the one to abolish slavery and lead the slaves into freedom. I never “got” the concept of one group of people feeling the need to dominate another group of people. It's creepy and wrong. (I know–not the point of your post–just something I had to get off my chest.)

    It's a beautiful spring day here, I hope it nice in Little Rhody as well.

    Blog on Chicken.



  7. April 11, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    CB. I think Freud thought everything women did was about penis envy. It was not, though. It is just that boys got to do all the fun stuff while girls were expected to play with dolls. I just wasn't a barbie kinda gal. I agree with you regarding the Indian reservations. As I got older, I read on that subject, as well, and it was just so unfair and sad. So sweet, your childhood fantasy. Mine was much more self involved. It was beautiful today. We took littleb to the indoor zoo at the civic center where he exhibited no interest in the animals at all, but greatly enjoyed the carousel.


  8. April 13, 2010 at 2:24 am

    I think that is really fantastic and show a lot about your mind. So creative.

    Our family tree goes back to the King of Sweden and I was sure some day everyone would die off and I would be a Princess.

    I am still waiting to run my country.


  9. April 13, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Love your last line.

    You could always wear that loin cloth–you know, just to the super market and back.


  10. April 13, 2010 at 3:03 am

    GND-you are young-it could still happen. Hope your tiara is ready.

    BB-thank you. I do keep it in the back of the closet with my other secret artifacts. It still comes out on “special” occasions. wink:-)


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