Homo at Large

Hey y'all.

A cousin of mine is getting married this weekend. I'm always up for a wedding so I'm sure I'll be there. I'll be pissed, too, because as I write this my mom is refusing to go. There's a long, far-too-personal back-story here; so far back that I'm sure it's not even relevant anymore. Certainly it has nothing to do with my cousin's relationship with my mom, and that's what matters right?

I can be so cruel. Just after telling my brother and me what her idea for a gift would be, I said, "Why? So she can look at it in the future and say, 'This is from my Aunt Jack (they all call her Aunt Jack, not Aunt Mama-Jackie). She had better things to do on my wedding day, but I'll cherish this forever!'" Us gays is SO damn good with the sarcasm.

My friend Jodi's boyfriend spent the past year in China. He's a trained pilot so I know he wasn't just teaching the Chinese to speak English. Jodi, of course, has been all excited about his return. She planned a homecoming party for him this past weekend. When I spoke to her last, the weekend before, the party was still in the brainstorming phase, so when the night arrived and I'd heard nothing more I assumed it wasn't going to happen.

Her mom called my mom the next day (that's how these things get done) and asked what was up. Mom said she had no idea. Of course, I had mentioned the party the day before, but it had been a long day and, as easily as it would have been for me to call and confirm (or gossip and offhandedly confirm), I just wasn't up to doing anything that night.

Noreen e-mailed me earlier this week to remind me that, without me, she was the only single person there. There were only maybe 8 or 9 -- well, I suppose 9 or 11-- people there so it was no barnburner (though her mom told my mom that she bailed well past midnight), and I could understand how solitary Noreen may have felt.

There was a community meeting just tonight here on the rez. Some history: the government took all our land, and now we're trying to get it back. In small portions. Our local, federally imposed government (let's call it "A") is negotiating the deal and our traditional non-federally recognized group ("B") is pissed about it. You see, the original treaty that "A" is using as evidence of ownership was originally made between the Canadian government Britain, actually and the traditional "B" people.

The "B"s rightfully feel it's their place to negotiate, yet in my humble opinion they're still too uncoordinated (and divided, at times) to do it. To make matters worse, at this widely publicized open community meeting there were no more than 30 people present, that is, out of a possible, say, 3000 residents.

My brother, one of the "B"s, who's been studying our history for a long time, made some interesting points, and my mom pretty much heckled the "A" government most the time. Throughout the entire night, I said nothing.

In each of these instances it seems I am, or was, waiting on some sort of protocol to control the process and yet everyone around me seems content to just wing it and, more notably, not be expected to answer for the lack of organization. In fact, I very often find myself defending my inquisitiveness, called out for not assuming lockstep.

For a community as fully submitted to gossip as it seems this one is, I'm surprised there are not more broken relationships among us. Well, the presence of only 30 people at a community meeting I suppose suggests something.

So many people around here talk about how wonderful it was in the past and how wonderful it will be in the future. You'll hear a lot of that from Native people. Today always seems to be something we tolerate, a bit of time where we act without regard to the future because we JUST KNOW it'll be great, or without regard to each other because we JUST KNOW it'll never be as good as it was back then.

I can tell -- because I'm one of them -- that we'd rather be "real" than keep up appearances, yet the extent some people go to appear ignorant (if they're trying?) is still a bit incomprehensible. So I stay quiet. Why?

Quite a lot goes on in this small community. The rules that socially regulate most small towns are pretty much in play here. And I've only been witness to three months of it.

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