Friday, August 11, 2006

ROOTS Part 3

Part 3: Roots – visiting my family at our Cabin
(Toby, put the white baby down...)

The wretched souls awoke early. The bunkhouse where the partiers slept off the booze had no curtains. The sun rises eye-crust early on our side of the mountain. They appeared in the kitchen with the hangover sours bubbling all over their faces. I felt awfully sorry for them. Alcohol Dehydration had their cerebellums in a death grip and they had a three hour drive ahead of them. Nothing nice Mis Amis. Nothing nice.

The old man lined us up join a tribal canoe. Our Tribe, the Jamestown S’Klallam, take week long canoe journeys from time to time. There’s all kinds of food, games, dogs, and camping involved. The tribe practices for weeks before hand because dragging a giant cedar dug-out canoe through icy cold Puget Sound with a four foot wooden paddle can be a bitch. Can I get an Amen?

The canoe was set to start at 12PM. Which means nobody shows up until 1:30PM. As with Blacks, Mexicans, and Irish, there is such a thing as “Indian Time.” In fact, it seems like every group of people who have been savagely raped by dominant European Countries are never on time to anything. Why the hell is that? A racial pride in "being late" develops. Being late gets a name, “Oh shit man, I’m on Indian time.” Is Tardiness a protest against “Western control of time and space” or just pure laziness? The trouble with protesting against “The Man” is that the protest always looks like crime or unwilliness to work. “I’m not late to work motherfucker, I’m a freedom fighter!” “I’m not stealing a VCR, I’m a Zapatista!” (Click here if you don’t know what a Zapatista is.)

What’s weird is that celebrities are late too. Those bastards are the ones pillaging and raping pre-parties at the Oscars, so why the hell are they late? It’s something called, “Celebrity Time.” When I worked for Davis Entertainment (stories to come later) actors were notoriously late. For instance, Selma Hayek was hours late to our meeting. Was she on Celebrity Time? She is Mexican, so she could also be on Mexican time. Anyways…

The Canoe arrived on a trailer by a Diesel Truck with Chrome Sideboards and Dualies.

S’klallams are a financially flush lot. Yeah, we got a casino. “Ha-yah yah yah, Ka-Ching!” Link Here.

The spirit of the Great White Boy always appears when I return to my people. I’m lighter skinned then most my brethren and also better educated. On the reservation, this made everyone call me White Boy. It’s embarrassing. It’s like being Polish in a way. You’re light-skinned and technically part of the group, but somehow everyone treats you like you stepped in shit.

I went to school at Chief Leschi Elementary, but afterwards my dad moved me to Public School because he felt I’d get a better education. He was right on the money. Later, in high school I ran into Luck-a-bait-soot, my cousin (everyone on the reservation under 18 is a “cousin” anyone over 18 is an “uncle” especially if they aren’t related to you, for reference see Mexicans and Filipinos).

Luck-a-bait-soot looked fried. He had been dancing to the songs that are broadcast from syringes and needles. His braids were thin and stringy. I was the ASB Vice President. He looked at me and said, “Damn, you’re a white boy now.”

That shit really pissed me off. I was already pissed for being light-skinned and raised on the REZ, but after a lot of hard work I get this crap? Grown folks used to tell me, “They’re just jealous.” It still hurt. When you’re an idiot kid, all the good words from grown folks never heal self-absorbed childhood trauma.

Later, Luck-a-bait-soot was shipped off to Hawaii because he was raising too much Hell in Tacoma. Why the fuck do people send screw-ups to Hawaii? That’s probably the worse place to send a screw-up. I guess people think that because it’s an island, it’s safe and contained. Less land equals less trouble.

But damn, look what happens to rats when you overpopulate their cage. And if the screw-up has a drug problem, and most screw-ups do, don’t send them to a tropical island. They grow big weed out there. It’s like Andre the Giant Weed. And of course, the meth, and of course the crack. Anyways, they found Luck-a-bait-soot with a bullet in the back of his head and all of his larger bones broken. He was a smart ass. And we all know that real serious drug types don’t have a sense of humor about shit.

When you’re light-skinned you have to hang around White People just to feel Indian. Sinbad knows what I’m talking about. Anyways, the spirit of the Great White Boy was flying all around my head. I kept swatting at him and crap, but he wouldn’t stop hovering:

All this drama flashes through my hard drive when we walk down the dock. Pops backed the canoe in the water. I sweated bullets because I didn’t want pop to ram the canoe into the dock or do something stupid. Great, I’m the lightskinned kid with a dad who doesn’t know how to launch a canoe into the water. But pops laid it in there. He’s pretty damn compitenent when he needs to be.

So then we stand on the dock with the other Indians. I don’t recognize anybody. I know exactly what they’re thinking…"Who let the Mexican ride with us.” Bastards. But I don’t say anything. Everyone is real nice. There were zero hot chicks.

We got our orders on entering the canoe from a heavy set Sklallam woman:

“Enter one at a time. And announce that you are getting in or getting out.”

My dad came down the dock. At first it as supposed to be me and my lil sis hitting the canoe…(never call a canoe a boat. Big Mistake. The penalty of which is purchasing a large pizza. Leave it S’klallams to accept payment in food. Every story I’ve ever read about them involves eating. Pops owes the tribe 4 pizza’s…heheheheheh)

Then some dude asked my dad if wanted to go. My pops is 300 lbs. Not exactly canoe physique. My dad said, “I don’t want to take anyone’s spot.” The tribal guy said, “You don’t want to take anyone’s spot, or you just don’t want to go?”

The old man shrugged and put on a life jacket that wouldn’t have even come close to saving him form drowning.

So we all yelled and got into the canoe.


How did S’Kllallams get their name and a little history…also note, the story involves food.

The Klallam people are traditionally known as "the strong people." In the 1930s tribal elder Sam Ulmer related the story that explains how this name came to be used. It is retold by Beatrice Charles:

One day there was a big gathering at the Elwha. The people ate salmon, clams, wild berries, and lots of good things from nature. At the time a longhouse was being built and they decided to see who could get the big log to the roof. "Who can lift this big log?" the speaker asked. All of the other tribes tried to lift it, with no success. Then it was time for the mighty Klallams. Knowing that logs float, they rolled the log into the water. Then their strongest men walked out into the water and they let the log float onto their shoulders. When they walked out of the water they were carrying the log on their shoulders. Upon reaching the longhouse, everyone shouted at the same time, "Shashume, Shashume, Shashume" and on the third Shashume they all lifted the log to the top. The other tribes thought that the mighty Klallams must be very strong to put the log up so high and also so smart to use the water to first get the log onto their shoulders. They all shouted, "Klallam, Klallam!" which means "Strong People!" That was how our tribe recieved its name so long ago.

So you see, our people are famous for lifting logs. (I'm famous for dropping them.)


Medicine Bear

Link to Some Tribal Info

****EXCLUSIVE*** Cameo appearance from My Pop's

My pops read the blogs and posted a comment. Since he is My dad, I respectfully give him center stage:

If I have to read one more of your"fishing w/ tenny" stories I'm gonna puke all over his raincoat and the toilet you had to shine on the boat! You've gotton more mileage out of that story than I have out of my 88 dodge!

I don't drink glenfiddich drizzle..the other bottle was laPhroigue. I've backed more boats into the water than wayne newton has freckles.

You can post this on your blog if you dare. That damn blog wouldn't let me post a comment fm my bb



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool links. Good map. This post really has a voice. My fave parts are your hoodlum school chums, Unka Joe's rant at the end and "eye-crust morning".

the ole aybee

12:42 PM


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