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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 52

Everyone Must Stand on Their Own Two Feet

I was raised with the teaching: Children in subjection to their the mother and father, mother in subjection to her husband, husband in subjection to the Christ and Christ in subjection to the Father. It wasnít a weighty principle but was one to give freedom for everyone involved.

My sister gave me information she had received from an Osage girl her tribe was taking applications for housing. This was a time for me to make a decision on my own without the help of my husband. All the times I had stood at deathís door caused me to want to put my children and their father in a place where they could be protected should I not be with them. These were the reasons I listed when I spoke with the director of the Osage Housing then called H.U.D., Housing Urban Development.

The man who sat behind his desk was quiet, deliberate and thoughtful as he listened to me.

"Iím Ponca but my land is in the Osage." I told him. "Do you think it will be possible to apply for housing here?" I wanted to know.

"This will make the difference." He told me as he tapped the paper showing I owned my land. You will be put on a waiting list and because this is under the Osage tribe those of their people will have to be given the first opportunities for housing, but if you wait, sooner or later your name will come up.

The year of 1976 began the most difficult juggling acts ever to be confronted in my entire life. Before, I was charging, going forward against powers but in an individual way. This was not against authorities but I was pitted against the under penningís of a cultural history that had held a quiet, unnamed war between Native Americans and like so many tribes of Europe it would be impossible to name them all. The resulting sub-culture had grown up like Topsy who felt no one could love her. I was unbelievably naive when I aligned myself with a tribe and took on that game with no rules like in a formal battle.

I embraced a love for my Creator and his son, Jesus, who taught me from childhood through my earthly father that love holds no place for prejudice. This was the only way we struggled through that game. If I wasnít new to all the trials at least I was a teen-ager to it.

My husband was a babe in every sense of the word. When I think of the slights and slings he suffered it makes me sad, not angry. His parentís faith and mine were in agreement on standing against fear as far as association of races was concerned and I believe the God who takes care of all of us enlightened them on that issue.

They always treated me with great respect and as a Witness I will stand to testify before God on that and wait with my love I had for them to enjoy their resurrection.

The tolerance for injustice was harder to maintain for the people of the Flood family. Only two or three generations ago theirís were the genes going back to the Danes, off shoots of the Vikings or is it visa versa? Their loyalty to God, truth, country, was unbreakable and had served the royalty of England with bended knee but then, arose to stand in another place and that was America.

Here I was, not strong physically, trapped in a place where I was dealing with all these thorns. The Osage, once mighty warriors, were now educated and intelligent. I managed to get along with them by practicing what I had learned, "The meek shall inherit the earth."

Not only did I practice this principle but I stood between my husband and any confrontation he might make in regards to some or another minor issue. I broke away from my values as far as coming under his headship and didnít let anything happen to cause any dissension thus slowing the process of having our home built. I did not allow it.

The Osages were willing to accept someone not of their tribe into their vast land holdings of that county. The least we could do was to show our gratitude with civilized behavior. My having been raised in an Osage home gave me the edge. I knew how fun loving the people were and how theirís was a culture centered around family and tradition just as was my motherís Ponca tribe.

Homer Big Eagle did some of the work on our home. He was surprised to see pictures of his family my grandmother saved.

Forever after that when I saw him he called me, "Sister." This is quite the way of the people. Respect is passed down from generation to generation and to experience this is such a nice thing.

Rhonda was seventeen when we moved into our new home.

"How about this classy ramp, Rhonda?" I joked with her because she had used a shaky, home made one for years at her great-grandmotherís house.

"Wait until you see the extra wide doors all over the house and especially the bathrooms. You will have no more battling to get your chair through a door. And guess what? Look! You have your own room and bathroom. It will be easy to roll your wheelchair right into the shower."

The easy thing about this was it was not all entirely for Rhonda. My back from having to lift her in and out of the bathtub would be given a rest and that was the wonderful thing for me about this new bathroom.

Rhondaís smile and the twinkle in her eyes as she whipped around the house in her wheelchair made all the sweat equity, issues that will remain unnamed, crude remarks even from family members some of whom were so conservative. All were like so much confetti and we just blew it away and shook it off our shoulders. Maybe I was accepting help from tax payers money and surely I knew was so against my hard core teachings to tell, "Everyone must stand on their own two feet."

Rhonda couldnít stand on her own two feet and so much for that philosophy.

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