Thursday, April 28, 2011

# 11 Hickeys

Ever go to bingo and come back with a
hickey? Me neither.

But people do! I've heard stories. I don't know who these people are or why they do this, but hickeys are a big deal amongst the Red folk. It seems that they are a sort of status symbol, that symbol standing for being in a relationship.

Granted I was a teenager with a testosterone driven boyfriend. All he wanted to do was suck my neck.

<<<< Here's my first hickey, I framed it. Awww..."Baby's First Hickey"

HAHA!! Gross. I'm kidding. Facing the wrath of strict parents was not worth the "thrill," that was highly visible neck bruises.

Why do we like it? I don't know if this is something we necessarily like or continue to do out of habit. Every single Red person I asked said that they do not like hickeys. Those same Red people have had and/or given a hickey at some point in their pre-adult years. Therefore, it may be safe to assume that this is something most participated in by teenagers.

However!! That is not always the case. Hickey quantities also occur in places that are highly under populated by males whereby the women are more likely to be very possessive of men (Cross Lake for example...that's right I'm talkin' 'bout chu!)

This is not to say that Red women are more likely to distribute hickeys. In places where women are more likely to be available in lesser quantities it is assumed that the male provision of hickeys will increase.

Alas, no hard data is available on this as my university won't provide me with the anthropological research grant requested through my proposed thesis entitled, "Hickeys, The Lesser Understood Form of Red People Marriage Engagement."

# 11 Bingo

Okay, this is a cliche.

It's true we like the bingo. Young and old - we all go.

We start off young, playing bingo with a deck of cards for candy prizes. Regular games are 5 cent candies, jackpot is a canned Pepsi.

We slowly graduate to Granny's little bingo helper - carry her dabbers, get her treats and coffee. In return she buys you junk food and you get a three strip bingo card. Word to the wise, don't ever spill tea on your granny's bingo cards. That's not fun because she calls you a, "Damn kid!"

Finally, you're old enough to buy your own smokes and find your own ride to bingo (if you're hardcore you walk.) It's really ceremonial. At this point the regulars know you. You have a favorite caller and ticket seller. You have spot that you sit in. You always carry a bingo dabber in your purse for bingo emergencies.

But why?

It's social - tons of people around. Ya know what that means!!! You get all decked out. Shower, hair, makeup, clean (sometimes new) clothes. It great time for gossip too.

It's also anti social - you can sit alone and no one knows you. You're like a bingo playin' ninja granny! This is even sweeter if you win, because it pisses off the regulars.

They have good eats - usually jam packed full of sugar or salt, OR BOTH! There's coffee, tea and pop, cakes, sandwiches, chips, chocolate bars, bannock, baloney, or those little cakes with the coconut icing...I'm hungry.

If it's on the Rez you can smoke cigarettes. Smoking...indoors. We like that.

There's a chance of cash flow. Albeit, a slim chance, it's still there.

Break open tickets - need I say more?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#11 Gatherings

Below is a list of the top 10 events Red people gather for.

1. Pow Wow
2. Treaty Days (bread and cheese day in Haudenosaunee territory)
3. Birth
4. Death
5. Spiritual ceremony or celebration (other than pow wow, wedding or funeral and including other church or traditional ceremonies)
6. Weddings
7. Funerals
8. Birthdays
9. Graduation
10. Court

Here are all the reasons we like big ole get-togethers

Opportunities for:
Laughing, joking and teasing
Snagging (NOT to be done at family reunions!)
Dressing up (ironing something, new white socks, wearing makeup or buying something new to wear)
Memory Making
Moral support and empathy

Chances of:
Good times

Crying (happy tears, except for that one sickening cousin who cries about everything)
Running into someone old flames, your nemesis, or your crush
Getting a present or a surprise (gum from your auntie counts)
Witnessing a fight (argument, conflict, disagreement, otherwise just plain ole gossip making goodness)

This is embedded in our culture. As many of our nations are formerly nomadic peoples, we met during the summer season after spending the long winter months in smaller family groups. See: visiting for more information.

We are also big on celebrating individual achievements as they related to life and all it's journeys.

Get-togethers that didn't make the cut: Christian based holidays, socials, garage party, election time, Walmart, the weekend, hockey games, yard sales

Saturday, February 5, 2011

#11 Laughing when people fall

I just noticed, the most recent posts go on forever, guess I'm long winded. Kinda like Grandpa Simpson. And he's also the reason I'm a history major...haha. But if I live through some amazing history, I hope I can one day tell stories like that old man. Speaking of stories, here's some...

The year has just started and I've already fallen down. Thanks be that Mo' and Salim were there to laugh at me because laughing at yourself is just not as fun alone.

Last year I fell down three times. And wickedly I might add.

1. I was crossing the street with my backpack on. Yeh know, just another Red girl on a university campus trying to get some education. I was just stepping up onto the curb when... BAM! Flat on my face! Skinned knuckles, bruised knee, busted ego! I tried to put my hands out to save myself, but they were holding onto my backpack straps. My leg was cramped so I couldn't even stand up! I just rolled onto my side. This new Canadian saw me and started calling "MA'AM, MA'AM You OK Ma'am?" Insult to injury?? Cars honked. Make it worse?? A friend's Red boyfriend saw me and put it on his Facebook status, I think he got something like eighteen likes. Brutal.

2. I was walking to my car; it was winter. Yeh know, just another Red girl leaving a place of higher learning. I slipped on some ice so, I put my arms out to balance myself - as any normal person would. My silver ring flew off my finger and hit the side of a building. **TING** More concerned about the ring than my dignity, I launched at it. BAM! Hello hard, dirty, sidewalk! Although I can't be positive, I'm sure the Red lady walking towards me thought I looked like a dog on roller skates, or whatever stupid looking thing she thinks is hilarious. And to silver ring. She probably put it on her Facebook status, I imagine it went something like this, "Just saw an awesome looking chick slip on ice. That was so damn funny. I wish she was my best friend. I'm lonely." Haha - Ok...more like, "Saw stupid woman fall for no reason - check out my secret video here!"

3. I fell down three stairs at the university. While two guys watched. And Laughed. Then called me "sister" as in "HOO WAH okay?" (I think the sister part is more embarrassing - so I've never told anyone that until now.) Not only was I literally RED in the face, but I broke my shoe, and hurt myself. But being laughed at made it easier...well at least it made a good story (for them, I guess.)
Guy #1 "Dudes, dudes...We were at the university yesterday when this chick fell down the stairs!! AHHH MAN! Dumb chick, tryna be cool...HAhahahaaa...aaah...she had nice shoes."
Guy #2 "For real! Three stairs! Straight down. Yeah, her shoes were nice."
What?! Those shoes were gorgeous! Those guys totally noticed.

Ugh. So all I have to say is, yes I fell down and lost my dignity (First time ever! I swear!) But it was made so much easier by the people who laughed - who may I add were all Red people.

So, why do we laugh when someone falls down?

For most of us, it goes back to when we were babies just learning to walk. Babies learning to walk, fall. But, instead of getting hysterical and yelling "OOOOOOOH!!" and scooping the kid up, we just sit there and laugh. The kid then realizes that it didn't get hurt and they pick themselves up and carry on. *If they keep crying - then maybe they hurt themselves, so we investigate, but this usually isn't the case.

As adults, the vast majority of us can walk. And we're all very good at it, after all we've been doing it for years right? There's really no reason to fall down. And that's why it's funny. There's no reason behind it. The person who fell is just stupid. And stupidity is funny.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

# 11 Tea

From this point forward all posts will be number 11.

Similar to coffee, Red people's like of tea has many levels;

Some are loyal to only one flavor or brand,
My granny likes Blue Ribbon tea, yeh know...comes in a red plastic bag, 100 tea bags for 49 cents or whatever.
My friend D likes Red Rose, she's just nostalgic about the old flowery tins and free knick-knacks that it used to come with. *sigh* ...yesteryear....
My mom and aunties like muskeg tea (AKA Labrador Tea) and cedar tea, I think it tastes nasty but hey, it keeps scurvy at bay.
I used to like mushroom tea but that's a different blog... a different Space Cowgirl...a different lifetime...whoa, I have fingers!!!

Some of us like to make it in different ways, (I'm talking about tea here, not the other thing we like to do in different ways. Oooooo!)
The completely average way: boil water in a kettle, drop in tea bags, pour into a cup, drink.
Ooooorrrrr!! The awesome memory making way!!!

BUSH TEA!'s right, just me...
Alright, maybe I'm the only one down with this, but soon you will be too, especially if you're all about being outside at inconvenient, unconventional times of the year.

First, you need to dress appropriately, long johns, jeans, long sleeve shirt, t shirt, knitted wool sweater from your Kokoom, Mukuluks or rubber boots, mitts that flip over into gloves, and a bright orange toque (so you don't get shot.)

Second, you need some provisions. tea, sugar, canned milk (yuck!) one spoon, some cups, water, matches.

Third, you need a 4L tin can (or you use a camp kettle...boring), some wire that won't break if it gets hot.
To make a bush tea kettle:
Step 1, Make sure you can has no holes in the bottom.
Step 2, Poke a hole in side of the can about an inch from the top, poke another one directly across from it.
Step 3, Run the wire through to make a handle.

Fourth, start walking into the bush. Find a spot that has some fire wood to be had, a fallen tree to sit on, some moss, some shade, an opening for the smoke to escape up through the trees, some rocks...maybe a berry bush...a nice stream...some bunnies...a few chirping birds...a singing nanny....wait a minute...this isn't Disney.

Fifth, get two forked sticks and one straight stick. Drive the two forked sticks into the ground fork side up, steady with rocks if required.Thread the tin can filled with water onto straight stick and lay stick across the forked sticks. Build a fire under the tin can. Boil water.

Sixth, make the boiled water into tea. Enjoy your memories.

(These directions are very simple, so if you screw this up...your granny will be so disappointed. ARGH! And granny disappointment it the worst! It comes with embarrassment and teasing!)

This is done best in the spring, a little snow on the ground, crisp air, wet earth...good stuff.

For a little more on Labrador tea, Check this out:

Isn't that awesome? What I like most is that Granny is DECKED OUT...her prettiest dress, her beaded bling. And those little girls are ragamuffin cuties - I'm a little disappointed that they are not wearing matching, but different colored outfits, but still very cute.

So, why do we like tea? I dunno. I don't have all the answers dammit. MJ tells me that they are all about the tea in Norway what up MJ? Enlighten us.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

#11 Bannock

If you know a Red person who doesn't like bannock - they're crazy. My friend Mo' doesn't like bannock but she likes fry bread, so really she's only half crazy.

First, where did the bannock we all know and love come from? There are two schools of thought on this.

1. Bannock came from Scottish (white) people. (I believe this one.)

2. Bannock, or a form of, was made by Red people prior to contact, from tree root flour. (In my experience tree roots are not very tasty.)

Let's all pretend you agree with me.

Bannock was invented and brought to Canada by the Scottish. It is a variety of quick flat breads and is a cousin of the scone (HEEEY CUZZIN!) Scottish Bannock, also known as Selkirk Bannock, is soft and spongey and made from wheat flour. WHO KNEW?? Apparently the honest and historically accurate folks over at Wikipedia knew this [rolls eyes.]

I like to say "Bannock: Invented by the Scottish, perfected by the Cree." I don't know if this is true but isn't it fun to say that? Give it a try. Now go tell a Scot. >) Mostly I think that the Cree just make everything better...babies for example, ours are cuter than most!

Bannock, much like bologna (and babies), can be made in many ways. Let's stick to bannock making though;
You can bake it, deep fry it in oil, fry it in a pan on a stove or over a fire or wrap it around a stick and cook it over an open fire to name the most common methods.

The recipes are just as plentiful.
The regular way- white flour, lard, baking powder and water.
The fancy way - throw in some raisins.
The really fancy way - raisins AND cinnamon!
The Cree-talian way - with garlic and oregano.
The health conscious way - with whole wheat flour and olive oil.
The Shepard's bannock [pie] - stuff it with mashed potatoes, peas and hamburger.
There's much more. But let's move on.

What about fry bread bannock you ask? (Or you may be asking what is fry bread bannock?)
It's bannock mixed without the lard, rolled out and cut into squares and then deep fried in oil. The Metis slapped claims to this, that's probably why Mo' is down with it, being half crazy Metis and all. The best way to eat fry bread is to make an "Indian Taco." You get a big peice of fry bread, then layer on chilli, cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, salsa and sour cream (Uh yeah, it's just a regular taco on fry bread.)

Why do we like bannock?
Because it's easy! Flour, lard, baking powder, salt, water. Done.
It's portable and storable. You can mix all the dry ingredients (lard too) and store for 2-3. Just add water and voila, bannock!
It's versatile! You can add just about anything to it. Put some jam, butter or honey on top. Dip it in soup, stew or chilli. Make sandwiches. And as we've learned there are many ways to cook it.
It's cheap. Relatively speaking. It's cheaper than buying Wonder Bread (something else we like!)

Is bannock spiritual?
Now, I can't speak for the Wan-na-be tribe...maybe they have bannock gods, I dunno. But for me, my family, and every other Red person I've met, bannock is not anymore spiritual than any other food that we intake. So, cutting it with a knife is fine, if you like gummy ole bannock. But when it's fresh and hot, just rip off a hunk and dunk it in your tea.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

# 11 Slang...boy!

I'm going to tell you about slang (mostly what kind we use, and teeny bit about why we like it).

Let's start with the two most obvious: Red and Rez.

Red describes a person who is of [insert your preferred Red people synonym] descent. If you didn't catch on to that by now you need a slap upside the head - Granny style. I use this because it's less confusing than:
Indian, having to explain dot or feather is tired.
Native American, first all people born in the Americas are native to it, second American typically describes someone from the USA.
Aboriginal, often confused with Aborigine, typically used in Canada and is an umbrella term for Metis, First Nation, and Inuit.
First Nation, implies there is a second nation and is a word used predominately by Red and non Red bureaucracies to describe band status holding Red people.

Rez is an Indian Reservation where some Red people dwell. Often referred to as "The Rez" but is not the official name of "A" Rez.

That was easy...let's get specific.

My Rez has some of the best slang I've ever heard (and I'm not being biased, I've been to my share of Rezes and to say the least, we know what's up.)

First, shortening words is for amateurs. All color groups do it, we're not special in that making reservation into "Rez" really isn't all that original. However, the way the shortened version is used is interesting. I would never walk into The Keg and say, "Hi, Rez for Space Cowgirl."

Second, making up new words is easy too. "Foof." That's not a word! It means, "F*ck off, you're bullshitting." It's roots are in F*ck, hence the F and "Poof" as in smelly or stinky, much like bullshit (I'm guessing here, I've never actually smelled a bull's shit.)

Third, giving existing words new definitions is not new either. One word with two or more definitions is called a Homonym (if you think I'm lying to you here's where you would say "Foof.") One of these homonyms include; tight as in cheap or good looking. "That guy is TIGHT!" This is also generational. If someone called me "tight" I would be offended, because I'm a pretty generous person. But if someone called my 13 year old cousin tight, she would probably have a hickey a few minutes later.

Fourth, combining words. I'm sure all people do this. But none so much as us and definitely not more than my home Rez. Here's my favorites:
"Okaso!" means "OK, so?" as in "OK, I heard you. But so what?" and
"'Sif!" means "As if!"
"What're" means "What are" as in "What are you talking about?"
"O'er'der" means "Over there."
"You'se" means more than one you, as in "What are you two people talking about."
"K'den" means "Okay then"
"S'kiddin'" means "Just Kidding."
A Red gal once told me that she always knows people from my Rez because of the way we combine our words - it sounds like we're singing. Awww isn't that nice? I just thought our tongues were to lazy for enunciation.

Fifth, Rez specific slang.
K'atl'odeeche (Holla!) says, "How rude!" It started in the early 90s and it just kept going. It's not really slang, but it specific to them.
And they use it when people are not being particularly rude...weird. (If you're from K'at, here's where you would say "How rude!")

Lil Sask (What's up!!), says "AH WAH!" usually in response to something someone said, "F*ck off, you're lyin'" or something that is stupid or funny, "Wow! That was stupid/funny."

Peguis (heck yeah, Peguis!) has "Saaaaaaaaaaaaay!" ("no way!" and/or "I think you're lying.")
Person 1: "I won $2000 at bingo last night."
Person 2: "Saaaaaaaaaaaaay!
Person 1: "Honest!" (this may be the stupidest conversation I've ever heard.)

That area also OWNS, "cheeky," pronounced chee-KAY and "boy."In Peguis boy is used at the end of the sentence, where in Fisher River (Fish'r Riv!!)  it is used at the beginning.
Peguis: "You're ever cheeky, boy."
Fisher River: "Boy, you're ever cheeky."

Sixth, words that sound like swears, but they're not,
Heckin' (F*ckin')
Cupcake and Fox Lake (F*ck sake)
Bass Fish (Bastard)
Ninpow (F*ck You)
Fudge (F*ck)... ya get the idea.

Seventh, a quick dictionary for you.
Cheeky, someone is rude and smart mouthed. "Yer a cheeky one aren't ya?"
Crabbid, someone who is cross, harsh, cynical, sour or bitchy. "TMF is just crabbid today!"
Bii, someone who is a bitch. "Darcy is a Bii!"
Snag, hit on and subsequently pick up someone you may or may not be attracted to. "Guess I'll go snag this weekend."
Ole, used to describe anyone who may or may not be old. "Ole Shy Bob was at the store today."
Errrrr, used to describe something disgusting. "Errrr! 'Sif I'd snag Ole Shy Bob!"
Rezzy, something unique to a rez.
Teepee Creeper, someone who plays the field (a male or female in charge of their sexual prowess.)
Wan-na-be, a fictional tribe used to categorize a non red person who wants to be Red and usually claims their great-great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee princess *roll eyes*
Apple, someone who is red on the outside but white on the inside.
Indian Time, typically describes being late. But will get you in trouble from elders if you use it, because Red people were usually early or arrived precisely when they meant to.
Bannock Bum, someone who has a flat bum.
Bannock Bunny, someone who snags at pow wows.
Puck Bunny, someone who snags at hockey games.

Finally, my favorite, incorporating Red language words into English conversation.
You've all heard "Weenuk." There is the real definition and the definition we let people think is real. The definition we let you think it is, is penis. There. Now you know. Go forth and use it, so we can laugh at you.

Shamaganis - means cops. As in "Duck! It's Shamaganis!" or Boogieman...which is funny. Cops, boogeyman... same thing right?

"Weetigo"- is also used for boogieman.

Neechi. It means friend. It's a term of endearment when used by other Neechis. Not to be used by non Neechis... just like another N word we know, right?! Unless you're referring to Neechi Foods, in which case stop reading this and go get me some raisin fry bread!

So, why do we like slang? There are several reasons, most of which are not specific to Red people.
It's cultural, as we've learned slang is specific to many places. Which means people from a specific place learn it from birth or new people are socialized to it. Therefore it makes all people unique. Which really doesn't make anyone unique considering all people have some form of slang...where's my fry bread??