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Convictions of an Iyeska
Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Having their traditional language beaten out of them provided the Iyeskas an excuse for not being able to speak the native tongue. It is interesting to note that Iyeskas are mostly the ones who tell about getting their native language beaten out of them.
Full-bloods and traditionals tend not to complain about it because they still can speak their tribal language fluently, this despite the fact that where there was pressure to adopt the English language and punishment to discourage speaking the traditional language, the full-bloods would certainly have gotten the worst of it. Or tell that the Christian religion was alien to him when he first attended a mission school, especially when he carries a family surname of three or four generations of Catholic or Protestant forebears. We were mischievous and sometimes mean, often making fun of older people or full-blood kids who spoke broken English.
In the schools, there was often a sense of superiority among Iyeskas over the full-bloods, and sometimes there was tension between them.
It seems to me that during our growing-up years, we used our white characteristics to our advantage in getting scholarships and employment opportunities, and now that there are more opportunities for Indians — especially from casino earnings — we want to take back our Indianness, at least in our fantasies. Admittedly, what I have written above could be seen as cynical or even mean.
I admit that the scenario applies to me to a greater or lesser degree, or I would not have written it. It is true that most Iyeskas who stayed on the reservation are very comfortable in their status, and their relations in their communities.
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And many Iyeskas are very serious in their search to find their roots and a culture they may feel to have been deprived of. We need to take pride in our Indianness, no matter how thin our tribal blood quantum; but we also need to give some credit to our white or Latino or black forebears.
The inner peace of living a real life, with a true life story, is worth it. Charles E.
Trimble, Oglala Lakota, was principal founder of the American Indian Press Association in and served as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians from — News Maven Home Archives Over the years we were called half-breeds or breeds, as well as various other names from both sides of our ancestry, many of them unprintable.
Sort: Oldest. Featured 2, Community 3, Make a sacrifice for your people. Racism is alive and well today but more cleverly disguised. There is strength in unity and a cooperative effort is needed to defeat this enemy. History is today in those who are brave enough to make it. Our relatives the Tatunka buffalo , the Wambli eagle , the Heyoka Thunder Dreamer and our Iyeska Interpreter are becoming extinct, just as our languages.
Becoming Human: Memoir - "Iyeska"
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