The Rez Hustle

The rez hustle is something we all know how to do and are capable of doing. Especially if we grew up with poverty. Even if we didn’t know we were so poor. I never realized my rez was so poor, because I always saw the hustle going on. People selling a pair of earrings to get something to eat. People picking cans to get their next drink, or people pawning their lamps to go to bingo. I have seen and heard it all.
The worst thing I heard was someone once tried to sell the blue dot cut out from a National Enquirer magazine. I have never confirmed this rumor to be true nor do I want to know. But I think if you go so far as to try and sell the lucky blue dot from a magazine, it obviously does not work because you are just not that lucky.

But we grew up, all us rezzers with the innate ability to hustle. It was something that comes naturally and is learned. It is like when my auntie used to buy cheap leather coats at the thrift stores so she could use the leather to bead on. Or when my grandma saved bacon grease to cook with later. Or one time I bought some artwork from an elderly lady and I noticed the tin cones on the leather looked odd, in a cool way. So I looked on the inside and she had cut up a pepsi can to make the tin cones. You see people selling stuff all the time. Kids gathering the peppermint tea and selling it at the Common Cents store. People selling food, artwork and botanicals they gather. One time someone even sold a rock to a tourist or I remember hearing when I was a little girl that one of my relatives sold those nasty little stickers that get stuck to your socks to a few tourists as porcupine eggs.

Yes, we know how to get along in a poor world. We can definitely talk the talk then, but what happens when we leave?

Do we take our hustle with us? Do we use all of our innate abilities we used to strive in a poor world in another world? A world that is moving too fast and willing to leave whoever isn’t ready behind?

We have been on the reservation for over a hundred years and we have been one of the poorest places in America for over a hundred years. And we survived. So all this struggle we talk of that our ancestors would probably laugh at us for should be used in a way to show the world what we are made of. We have every ability to still be a great people, to be supportive of each other and to move forward. Our destiny is in our hands, we deserve the life we were meant to live and that does not include struggling. It means to use our ability to survive to make a better life for ourselves. Turn your hustle around and use it in a good way. I didn’t write my book to become rich, I honestly wrote it because I knew of my past and my history and I owned up to my mistakes. I wrote the book so I wouldn’t go down as a bad guy, instead I wanted to be known as an author. Getting paid for the book is a bonus.

Use your rez hustle and make your dreams come true. I just crossed a dream off when I saw the Yankees play.


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