Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Family events, presentations and basketball news.

The last week or so has been a whirlwind of family events, presentations and sensational basketball news.  It's just now calming down and I'm glad because yard-work, gardening and chores await. 

The PBP Tribal Court asked me to give a historical presentation to a group from the Republic of Zambia and that is a long way from here, by anybody's estimation. They represented their Supreme Court.  Zambi is located in Southern Africa for you geography buffs.  I imagine that is one hot country. One, Matthew Zulu, asked me if I would go out of the country to give presentations.  I said yeah, I will go to Topeka once in awhile.  Our Royal Valley Drummers and Singers gave a dance performance and that is always good to watch.

The next day, we all loaded up our vehicles, all dressed up in our going-to-town clothes and went to witness my granddaughter, Tara, graduate from Haskell U in Lawrence, Kansas.  The same town where the Jayhawks are located.  We had to endure some long-winded speeches, gift-giving, long periods of name-dropping and a whole lot of back-slapping and I imagine the graduating class was sitting there wondering if it would ever end so they could make the walk they had waited so long for.  Tara started out at KCK on a basketball scholarship but later transferred to Haskell. She wanted to be around her friends and did well there. I was glad to see her accomplish this milestone in her life.  Tara was the first of our grandchildren, and they were my second-chance gift from God to get it right. Afterwards, we contributed to the local economy by going to eat at a local restaurant starving after all the drama of the graduation.  I asked the waitress if she would call Bill Self and ask him if he was available for a meal with us. She laughed. My nephew William Gary Mitchell also graduated on this day.  He's a good kid, too. 

After a day of rest, if you call working in the yard all day, a day of rest, we geared up for our next family event - watching my grandchildren Hooty and Kek graduate from Royal Valley High School.  Unlike the Haskell speech-a-thon, this was a fast moving event and just like that, it was over.  I enjoyed watching my two grandchildren graduate.  It wasn't easy at times.  Hooty struggled with some health issues and Kek didn't apply herself at times but both did what they had to do to finish.  It seemed like they were little kids not long ago running in and out of the house, so it is true that they grow up fast. We had a big meal after the graduation where many of our family and friends showed up.  The highlight was a band hired by Hooty's dad.  The sang to the group.  I, too, enjoyed that. These graduations will always remain a great memory for me, not just for the event but what they accomplished. I have no regrets with my grandchildren, except they took a lot of my disposable income away from me, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Oh, what was the basketball news, you might ask.  KU pulled off the biggest recruiting coup of the year by signing Andrew Wiggins, a guy everybody wanted. Now KU will be knocking at the Final Four door again.  Bill Self is one great recruiter, hence the term "in bill, we trust."  They later picked up a guy from Memphis and along with the rest of the class this will be keep KU in the limelight for  a good long while. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Basketball in 2013

Before I watched the girls from Louisville play last night, I watched a special called "Off the Rez." It covered  Shoni and Jude Schimmel basketball journey from the rez to the city of Portland, 200 miles away.  It wasn't an easy life, starting with their parents.  The father was white and the mother Indian and many of his friends shunned him, as did his dad for getting with an Indian woman.  In a way we hoped that racist behavior stopped long ago, but not so. It is alive and well and something we have to deal with on a daily basis, as they did.  

It is a tribute to how hard work paid off for the girls despite so much poverty and hardship. Often times it is hard to leave home for young people, whether you live on a rez or not, but they took up the challenge and went to Louisville, Kentucky to play basketball.  I went by Louisville one time, a long time ago and don't remember much about it. No matter, it was a long way from home for the Shimmel sisters.  The girls had a big following in Portland including their two 80 year great grandmothers who drove to all the games and would get home at 3 in the morning. Of course, that's what family is all about.  Their mother pushed them hard to be all the could be and the rest is history.

By getting to the National Championship game, they have fired the Indian nations up and it is great to see them receive recognition and to create so much positive news. Indian people need this. They will be Indian rock stars for years and will serve as inspirations to young Indian kids across this country - this is what can happen if you use your talent the right way and rise above a petty world, if not down-right vicious at times. 

Maybe the young girl in this picture, Shuggy, will see that special and hear about the Schimmel sisters and what they have accomplished and she will pick up a basketball and put in the necessary hard work and if she doesn't, that's alright too.  For that matter, any Indian kid can learn from the Schimmel journey.  Nonetheless the Schimmel sisters have made the Indian people across this country proud.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A weekend trip to Southeast Kansas

Photo: Patkoshuk won 1st place in the grass dance category in Coffeyville, Kansas
Let me tell you this story about a short trip into southeast corner of the State of Kansas and you have to have a reason to go there and for us it was to watch our grandson Patkoshuk dance at a pow-wow.

After crossing Potato and Opossum Creeks and driving through many failing towns, we arrived in Coffeyville, Kansas.  As we all know, food on the road leaves a lot to be desired.  If you want to make it to your destination on time, a sit down breakfast is pretty much out, so that leaves McDonalds or junk food at gas stations as the only real options.  Once we arrived and drove around town, we bought some tamales from some old white guy who swore up and down his wife was Mexican. The food was good, though.  

Patkoshuk took first place in the grass category.  He is doing well with his dancing and we try our best to support his efforts, plus he expects us there. He rode the bus down.  I think he prefers to be with his friends on the bus rather than us old folks.  I told Voncile on the way, that we have been doing this for a lot of years –supporting our kids, and now our grandchildren by going to just about every event they had. We’ve seen a lot of pow-wow dancing, softball games and basketball games all over, far too many to list.  But looking back, there was nothing wrong with that.

On the way home, we were fully intending to hit the nearest Indian casino to help the Indian economy, but decided against it since we would be home late and we don’t do well driving late at night.  You know the routine, arguing over who is going to drive, etc. We took a county road toward Independence, Kansas and this area had some might big churches along the way.  Bible Belt, I guess. And there were also some huge homes, so there must be some wealth in the area and we saw the other side of the spectrum, too, when we saw a man with a huge backpack walking down the train tracks. Two young boys, probably his sons were walking with him. A scene like that should make us thankful for having a roof over our heads.

 I drove a bit faster than normal going home since I wanted to see the end of the KU game.  I even passed up some old folks. The draw-back was we had to listen to KU radio announcers Bob Davis and Greg Gurley.  Davis has a good voice and is a top announcer, but this Gurley guy tries to overcompensate his weak voice by acting like he knows everything and that is so distracting.  We arrived for the last 10 minutes of the game. I should have taken my time since KU took a first class beating reminiscent of a routine police brutality scene, but they will learn from this loss and do what has to be done in the future.
And as I always say, I will return if God’s willing and the creek don’t rise and we did make it home, safe and sound from another road trip supporting one of our own

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mrs. Wamego

This is a picture of my Mother, Alberta.  She's been gone for quite a few years now but I won't ever forget her.  My mother was a fluent speaker who was never given the credit for what she knew and did.  Her and my mother-in-law were never honored for the hard work they did in their lives which was raise a large family with love and care and overlooked the faults of their kids and was always there to hear their kids problems of the day.  I know because I went to her when things were wrong and I learned some Potawatomi words from her in the good moments.  She sat in her chair and I would sit on her couch and she would tell me how to say this and that and would give me hell if I said the words wrong.  She was a hard teacher.  Her approach wouldn't work today because of the sensitive nature of people but it worked for me.  People dont want to hear the Potawatomi words much anymore.  That's their problem though.  My grandson Pat ko shuk is learning her words today.  He had done invocations when he was 10 years old.  she would have been proud to see that, as well as my nephews who talk at times in our religion setting.  Oh, I'm sorry for not writing much here anymore but I spend way too much putting my commentaries on that other social medium.