Because of Anna B

Back in 2005, I worked for a struggling tribal program. I was a temporary employee and it was my second time working for the program. The first time I had been RIF-fed. This time, I stayed employed just long enough to feel what it was like to go to a conference and get per diem. To save money, my co worker Chepa and I shared a room. We ate out the first night at a restaurant and towards the end of the conference we hit up the places that sold dollar sandwiches.

However, we still thought we were cool with our little name tag hanging from a lanyard on our necks and going around to all the freebie tables. It was my first conference, so Chepa was showing me the ropes. Just fill out their form and you get a little book bag, etc. at one table they had to take our blood pressure and we got a coffee cup. They asked us the general questions, height, weight etc. I remember trying to say my weight all incognito and nonchalant and Chepa looked at me and said WHAT? Making all the nurses on the other side of the table giggle. They couldn’t get a reading on my blood pressure with their new thing that strapped around my arm and squeezed me so hard I tried to be a big girl about it and look away. So they put another one on me, pushed a button and off it went squeezing the daylights out of me. All of a sudden I didn’t want the coffee cup.

Finally they had to take my blood pressure the old fashioned way and it was slightly high. As they were taking my blood pressure the old fashioned way Chepa said “Geez all I wanted was a coffee cup and now they are ready to call Flight for Life for you.” He made us all laugh again and I told him to go away. As we were making arrangements for me to get it checked again when I went home, Chepa was wandering around. I also got more than a coffee cup since they kind of tortured me.

Chepa was excited when I was finished and rubbing my arm walking his way. He had found a psychic who was doing free five minute readings. “Nooooo, Chepa.” I didn’t want to see a psychic. I didn’t want to know my future. I had no intention of hearing any sort of doomsday from some funny acting person.
Please he said, or just stand with me.

We stood in line and I started timing her sessions, I don’t think one lasted five minutes. Which was fine because I hate standing in line. She wasn’t what I thought a psychic would look like. She was sweet and had gentle eyes. Her name was Anna B.

Chepa went first and I saw him walking away disappointed. What the hell, I am already in line. I stepped up to her and she looked at me and wanted to do a numerology reading. Taking my name down she noted that my names all had four letters. Dana Lynn Lone Hill. 4 x 4= 16 divided by 4 is still 4 so my number was 4. I don’t remember the significance of that but she asked me if I reach out to people, if I recently started to? Did I write?

Yes, I said. I had just moved to Pine Ridge and started a blog on a website called Yahoo 360 and was surprised because I had a couple of regular readers who read my views on things that mattered to me.

“Your voice is going to go far Dana Lone Hill. You keep doing what you do. You keep writing and telling the world what you want them to hear, you will write for newspapers and many other media outlets. One day you will even write a book and people will read it.”

That is what I want to do, I told her write a book.

“How old are you?” she asked.

“33″

“You won’t write it right away. You have a few hills to climb and some battles to win, but you will. I don’t see you writing this book until you are in your 40′s. But best of luck.”

I walk away from her feeling somewhat hopeful for my blog but thinking she was wrong about my book. Whatever, I thought. I will start it when I get home.

“She was a fraud.” Chepa said “She told me I was going to be a singer and I missed playing basketball.”

“Yeah.” I said “I don’t know if she is right, telling me I won’t finish a book until I am in my 40s. Whatever, man, that’s too far away. I’ll be old then.”

I saw Anna the next year in Rushville, Nebraska and shook her hand. I told her more and more people were reading my writing, although I didn’t tell her that I started a book a hundred times and was never happy with it. She encouraged me to reach out to Lakota Country Times, which I did. I began to immediately write for them for the next three years. And I battled many battles, too.

I often think of Anna and her kind eyes. I thought of her all those years when she told me I would fight my battles and win, that I would face my demons. At the time, I didn’t know most of the battles were within my own self. After everything I have gone through, Anna B was always in the back of my mind. Telling me I would get through this. One of the only people whom I wasn’t related to, pushing me along to get to where I am going and do what I had to do.

And she was there when my book was finally done, in my 40′s.

Anna B, I don’t know where you are, but I would like to think that instead of resting in peace, your spirit wanders, as it did in life, still encouraging gently from the other side. Thank you.

Who are we

Who are we

who do we think we are

we actually have the audacity

to think our families mean more

 

Just because we extend

our family tree

farther than a Wisconsin forest

we feel we matter more 

 

Our roots run deep into soil

dinosaurs walked upon

our stories go back farther

than any white man cared to hear

 

So is this why we dare

act so majestic as Lakota people

because we call everyone cousin

brother and we have five mothers?

No
we feel so close because this country pushed us all so far away
From each other
Tore our family structures apart
When they realized
We don’t die
We multiply

Because when they stripped everything we have and shortened our life spans

All we have left is each other

And funerals

names painted on car windows with shoe polish screaming Rest in Peace

cakes at wakes with faces who left too soon

Trying to immortalize youthful images in sugary frosting

cousins crying over a casket under a basketball goal

and memorial independent basketball tournaments.

See,
at one time our tiyospayes, extended families were for the purpose of living.

Now we hold tight, extensively because we die…too many
too soon.

Or they take us away.

We are ALL RELATED. Sideways…anyways….either ways.

Did you ever see the classic movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?” I saw it when I was a little girl on a contraption called a video disc. Which was the size of an album and newer than taped VHS tapes. They looked like CD’s. anyway, it was one of my Grandma’s favorite movies so we watched it all the time. I remember distinctly when Jack met Chief Broomstick played by Will Sampson.

Chief Broomstick-Will Sampson

Chief Broomstick-Will Sampson

I remember thinking at age 7, “Hey, damn, that’s an Indian.”

I remember him being quiet and reserved not unlike me.
And then I remember after Billy Bibbett told Jack that he was “Just a d-d-d-d-deaf and dumb Indian” and Jack taunting him with racial slurs, Chief Broomstick stood there all stoic and Jack made a fool of himself.

I remember at age 7 being disappointed that the Indian guy just stood there. Then I remember watching him come out of his shell, playing basketball like all Indians do (except me) and winning the game for the patients against the orderlies. I also remember the end, when Jack wanted everyone to uprise and have a revolution with him and he was made into a vegetable. I remember everyone else left him for dead. Except for Chief Broomstick, he had a plan, when he realized what they did to Jack he did what he had to and escaped. He was the silent Indian, often overlooked and in the end he walked away. Escaped & walked away by himself. To some kind of XIT sounding music. Badass…

This post will not be liked very much only because I am going to be real honest here.
Some people might think I am coming at them what I have to say …all sideways or somehow. Or some people might say I am a hater and unless you are a Red Sox fan then I kind of am a hater and if you are a true Red Sox fan then you realize the love of baseball and you hate the Yankees. How dare you.
But anyways, I am just tired of seeing the same ol same ol and I finally had to say something and I am not against anyone for who they are or what they are or what they are doing in life. I am actually FOR THEM.

Unless, they are doing what they constantly complain about. And that is blaming other people for the state of the union, state of the state, state of the reservation, state of their own personal lives, etc.

And the excuse is always; “All these uneducated Indians…” Blah blah, we hate everyone… we want everyone to fail, etc. You can not group us all together like that because I would never group all you degree loving Indians together.

Let’s get something straight and narrow here. I appreciate every single Indian that beats the odds and runs out there and gets that degree and uses it. I support you because you make my “ignorant” ass look good. I mean Jesus knows, if anyone did anything and everything wrong in life it was me me me. IF hell is real, they are waiting for me. If heaven is real I have a plan… to sneak in.

I am no good, I know that. I am uneducated, and god forbid not only do I cuss, wash clothes on Sundays, but I also am a Yankee fan. (I know God is a Yankee fan) But I believe in and support all my people. I don’t like to use terms like “crabs in the bucket” and “lateral oppression” not because I don’t know what they mean and (I am so tempted to talk like Foghorn Leghorn right now) but because I am sick and tired of everyone blaming everyone. Aren’t you?

If anything, if you have an education, you know how hard it was to be from the rez and achieve that and you can move beyond that, past that. I have been through alot of shit in my life and I only have myself to blame. I will tell you before anyone else will I fucked up and I am not the best mother. I quit making their Halloween costumes by hand and baking and all that long time ago. But I screwed things up, myself. I could blame the government, the tribe, the people, the moon and the stars, but I won’t. I am better than that.

It was just as hard for me to overcome but I point no fingers.

I am proud of my children for choosing a higher education, just as they are of me for being published. For writing a book, for writing for The Guardian, for finding my brother. For a bunch of shit I don’t toot my own horn for because I probably lost that horn when I beaded it and sold it for groceries. But to be honest, back when I was blaming everything and everyone I was like a car on the rez after the snow melts. Stuck. In Limbo, Spinning bald tires and Pointing Lips.

My children have gone farther than me. They have gone farther than their father. They have gone farther than many of their ancestors and I am so in love with that fact. That is what life is about, our children. None of this me me me poor me no one will let me get ahead bs.

I can never put uneducated Indians down. I am one. I can never blame them, just myself. I have accepted that and moved forward. I can never hate educated Indians because got damn I am so proud of them.

I am from a long line of uneducated, caring, fighting, loving, knowing, observant, brilliant, hostile and defiant blanket Indians. And I am damn proud. Now, go get your degree and do what you were meant to. I love it and am proud of you.

Plenty Horses- first Indian to beat the Government in court on a murder charge.  Age 22, Oglala, Lakota, blanket Indian.

Plenty Horses- first Indian to beat the Government in court on a murder charge. Age 22, Oglala, Lakota, blanket Indian.

Our people were astronomers before the rest of the world knew there were stars…we were always brilliant. We could see seven generations down the road…a good friend told me.

My Grandma Lucille, and nephew Jon Jon, blanket Indians.

My Grandma Lucille, and nephew Jon Jon, blanket Indians.

The Strides of March

For me March started off with me jumping on a plane to fly to Kentucky to watch a basketball game. Something I thought I would never ever do. To watch the Schimmel girls play was overwhelmingly fantastic anyways, even though they lost to the giant GMO experiments in Connecticut, JK. But what made it so fantastic (not sure why I am using this word, but anyways) what made being there so awesome was just being there. Being who we were and being there. All of us rez Indians, city Indians, all ages etc we were there. Thousands of us. More than the 1500 I believe they said because every time I turned around in Kentucky there was a skin. From the mall to the airport to the flight to the restaurants, Natives…..everywhere. I can not explain the overwhelming feeling of pride of being who we are when they made us all stand up and represent. It was historic to see so many of us shiny Indians come together to support two rez girls for being so great.

While I was down there in Louisville my book was in the final proofing stages to be published and it was always on an “anyday” basis. When I came home I patiently waited, tried not to pout or throw tantrums and then it went live on the night of the 8th in Kindle version. It has been awesome since then explain my dream in interviews.

Something many people don’t pick up on with my book because it associates with being from the rez and being Native and all that genre is that my book is “chick-lit” and that was the intention when I wrote it. I, being a girl, lol have never read anything about being from the rez that would associate with me or many of my single friends on the rez, not that I have many friends, but I have encounters with many other single chicks from the rez and I know this lifestyle very well. Except everything written is usually from a man’s point of view or not really written the way I want to read about life on the rez. I remember one time a couple of friends and I bought some VHS seasons packages at Family Dollar of Sex & the City for a dollar a season because really who had a VHS in 2007? Well, this rez chick did. As we sat around over a bottle of chardonnay, which was their first time drinking wine which was funny to watch people doing shots of wine and not having any idea that wine is like a sneak up dance and hits you all at once. Anyways, I got off track, we would watch the seasons and make our own rez versions up and then we talked of how a book needed to be written about a modern day rez chick. So that is how my chick lit came to be.

Its amazing to see it, hold it in my hands and sign it. I remember the day I went to see a psychic chick in 2005 and she said I was doing something to get my voice out there, which I was. I had started blogging. She said my voice would get louder and louder and I was publish a book. Of course I would, I thought that has always been my dream. She said I wouldn’t do it until I was in my 40s because I had to deal with my demons and doubts and go through something. Now it all plays out but I wished I could tell her she was a got damn good psychic.

Anyways, this is just a blog just to say thanks if you read the book. If you gave it a review. And if you spread the word. I’ll try to blog more, somehow.

Toksa

PRESS RELEASE: REZ SENSATION Pointing with Lips

Rez Chick:

It’s out!!!

Originally posted on Blue Hand Books:

For Immediate Release

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00002]

 REZ SENSATION: Oglala Lakota author Dana Lone Hill’s debut novel POINTING WITH LIPS hits Amazon and Kindle

Native American publishing collective Blue Hand Books has announced that Dana Lone Hill’s sensational fiction novel POINTING WITH LIPS, A Week in the Life of a Rez Chick, debuts on Amazon.com and Kindle in early March 2014. It is now available in the Create Space e-store: buy here

Her first book is already creating a rez sensation with Indian Country media:

“Dana Lone Hill is a powerful new voice from Lakota Country that has so often been confined to historical stereotype or painted in a contemporary setting with a one dimensional brush. Dana shatters those shackles and forms a deeply personal, raw and moving narrative that takes the reader deep into contemporary life on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one of the world’s most complex and engaging societies.”  -Steven…

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Love, basketball, and nations of support.

At the moment I am in Louisville, Kentucky where Indians are trekking across this nation to gather for the last home game for Shoni Schimmel. After last year’s exciting championship game between the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team where Louisville lost but made five hundred nations of Natives proud to Indigenous that day, every Indian is proud of those Rez ball skills.

Shoni and Jude Schimmel are names known to every little Indian girl with dreams of taking basketball to the next level. They are the names everyone in Indian Country who is a fan of basketball knows. They are the names even those rare Indians who don’t watch basketball know. Because we are proud of them and support them.

Right about now, Louisville, Kentucky does not know what hit them. To me it is reminiscent of Rapid City during the Lakota Nation Invitational. There are Indians everywhere we go. Around every corner, in every restaurant, at the mall buying Louisville shirts. Sometimes we talk of where we are from, how we got here. Sometimes it’s just a hello, or a nod, or that knowing look and smile.

We all know why we are here. To support these two sisters.

A lesson can be taken away from this day. If two girls from a reservation with determination and dreams can bring hundreds of nations of natives together, then surely we can come together and support each other, love each other, fight together instead of each other. Within our own tribes, and even in our own families.

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One of the most beautiful feelings in the world.

The reservation sky by Christie Apple.

The reservation sky by Christie Apple.

I woke up today with the realization that I am free. Free as an uncaged bird. Free to go to Kentucky and watch a NCAA game. Free to listen to whatever music I want. Free to bead with whatever kinds of beads I want and buy whatever shampoo I want. Free to sit on something as soft as a couch and see the stars at night. Free to breath in the fresh air even if it is polar vortex chilled. I am free to answer a phone, hold money in my hand and buy a pack of gum with it. Free to look in the fridge when I am hungry at any given time of the day. Free to call my dad if I want to hear his voice and free to get my words out to more than a couple of people.

Sunday will be three years since I walked away from the prison. I had a short number, I didn’t do as much time as some people I know are doing but one day of being locked up is a day too long. It took a strong spirit for me to be happy on the inside. I had to not let anyone’s negativity get to me. Not to say it didn’t but I did pretty good. The only times I cried on the inside was when someone on the outside with everything in the world to be thankful for got to me and broke me. Had the nerve to make me cry while I was inside and couldn’t do anything about it. I also cried for my kids but I knew they were ok. They were lonesome for me but the were ok. I met so many women in there who had no idea where their kids were. Who could only pray their kids were not being raised in the same environment that put them on the inside.

Upon release I realized people on the outside have no idea how lucky they are. I started to let negativity get to me and surround my spirit. But today I woke up and thought fuck, I am free.

And I remembered that is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world and I get to experience it every single day.

I wished I could show the whole world, how beautiful everyday is.