Mary Pember: Indian people always carry bit of reservation
"Summer is almost here, which means it’s time for Ojibwe travelers to pass through. They will be on their way to powwows and other destinations for our most beloved activity: visiting. By visiting, I mean much more than the physical act of going to someone’s house. The Ojibwe visit requires serious chatting, teasing and much, much laughter. We can “visit” without leaving town, so long as there’s talking, teasing and laughing.

A carload of cousins blew through here recently. They arrived late and, like all visiting relatives, hungry. They woke up hungry, too, and after devouring all the bacon, they teased and embarrassed us long into the afternoon. Ojibwe visiting has an audible pattern. Long pauses after serious and sobering stories are followed by grossly inappropriate remarks, and then waves of laughter that ripple through the house and can be heard outside even with the windows closed. Ojibwe family and friends can shoot you right off whatever high horse you may occupy.

If you fall hard, it’s usually because you needed it.

This recent visit brought back memories from my childhood and made me marvel how Indian people, no matter how far removed we may be from the rez, always carry a little bit of it with us. For instance, walking into my Auntie Lucille’s Chicago apartment as a child, I could very likely find her butchering a beaver on the kitchen table."

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: High Horses and Rezzy Holidays (The Daily Yonder 5/26)

Related Stories:
Mary Annette Pember: Wilma Mankiller a humble leader (4/15)
Mary Pember: 'Lost Birds' find their way home to tribes (3/17)
Mary Pember: Phillip Martin helped Choctaws grow (2/23)
Mary Pember: NCAI President Keel lists tribal priorities (2/2)
Mary Pember: The small picture of the Cobell deal (12/16)
Mary Pember: Fancy Sky selected for NMAI program (12/8)
Mary Annette Pember: Obama meets tribes in DC (11/30)
Mary Annette Pember: Selling Indian spirituality (10/20)
Mary Pember: Media and tribal leadership issues (10/12)
Mary Pember: Indian Country's gang problem (9/17)
Mary Pember: Painkillers in Indian Country (08/13)
Mary Pember: Haskell marks 125th anniversary (6/1)
Mary Pember: A sweat lodge rises in exurban Ohio (5/18)
Mary Pember: Indian remains become sports trophies (5/12)
Mary Pember: Law boosts tribal child welfare services (4/8)
Mary Pember: NCAI helps tribes tap into stimulus (3/27)
Mary Pember: A family's journey through ICWA (3/23)
Pember: A roller coaster ride for Indian Country (3/13)
Pember: Tribes and Secretary Salazar share priorities (2/17)