I just bought The New Mexican newspaper. Included in the first section was a map of the U.S., each county and area of the each state was red or blue, depending on which presidential candidate carried the vote. Every state in the country had blue and red of varying amounts. Only Oklahoma was all red for McCain.
That's why I don't live in Oklahoma.
Doesn't mean I don't miss my people, or the earth there, or selected memories. I fled the hyper-Christian-cult and white only atmosphere as a teenager. Even our own native people support these attitudes. Colonization runs deep. I imagine many of them voted for McCain because he was white, and Obama is black (and white). It was a sad day when word got to me that someone in the Muscogee Nation declared in a meeting that the tribe was a Christian Nation. We're a Mvskoke Nation, which means, a nation rooted in our own tribal culture(s), which includes Muscogee-Christian, as well as the ceremonial grounds people, and all the various cultures that make up the tribe.
Rigid structures cut and separate. They eventually fall from the weight of the fear that sets them into place. This goes for cultures, religions, thoughts, political boundaries....
I have to find a way to forgive the relatives who sent hate mail during the campaign, including an email that made me very very sad, about burning others' holy books and doing terrible things to those who love those books. I must continue to love, yet hold in my knowing that they belong to a church that tells them that everyone else is going to hell, including their gay and non-white relatives. And I must remember that the original teachings of Christ were about love and acceptance, and not the making of rigid communities. And remember that are open and loving Christian communities.
Though I negotiate this territory every time I go to Oklahoma I always find a reason to stay: stompdancing around the fire all night in time with the stars, hearing the Mvskoke language, laughing with friends and relatives, talking and hugs from my mother, the smell of sunrise in the summer.
So who knows....one of these days I might buy a little place near Okmulgee...I'd stay there for a month or two during green corn season, dance every weekend, visit my friends in their welcoming churches and sing with them, go fishing....
Joy Harjo November 5th, 2008