|I had a blast!|
Sometimes it takes me awhile to process what just happened. In other words, I had to recover from my recent mini-book tour/road trip to
Driving is my therapy. I think best while driving. This time I used the 30+ hours to pray and ask “what should I read?” Great Spirit answered loud and clear. Four times I read from One Small Sacrifice and each time was different!
The first time I visited the Menominee tribe in 2001, it was to attend the Wiping the Tears ceremony, led by the most sacred holy men Chief Arvol Looking Horse and Elder Chris Leith. Here I was, nine years later, back there with my own story. That ceremony for adoptees was the first one ever and the miracle I attended was not lost on me. My writing about Lost Birds feels like ceremony.
On Sept. 27, I met my friend
Tuesday: One of the saddest moments for me was when I asked the high school students how many of their parents had attended boarding school and practically all their hands shot up. Their parents had been sent as far away as
Next stop: the audience at the
Late Tuesday afternoon I drove north. I was going home. I’d see cousins, old friends and even friend’s parents who remembered me but lost contact when I moved away after college. This was going to be the real test, sharing my personal life. Writing at , I would often think about my friends and relatives and what I never told them about my childhood being raised by an alcoholic who molested me. If they read the memoir, they’ll know every single gory embarrassing detail. Even writing it, I felt nauseous.
My grade school classmate
Wednesday morning, I was interviewed by the local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate at the
On Wednesday night at the Public Library, I read a few chapters about my younger days in
That hour went by so fast at the library, I barely remember details. There were a few tears. I did survive emotionally, I told them. What irony I was reading on the birthdays of my favorite uncle, Chet McIntyre, and my own birthmother, Helen Thrall. Neither of them lived long enough to see this homecoming or know I wrote about them in my memoir.
On Friday, the reading at
That week I had dinner with my first cousins Scott and
I didn’t catch the bug going around during my week in
To wrap up my talk, I shared this story with the high school students on the Menominee rez: “The old story goes there was a farmer who found a wounded eagle and placed him in a chicken coop to recover. The eagle started to act like a chicken, he bobbed his head like a chicken, he ate like a chicken, and otherwise thought he was a chicken. Until one day an Indian came along and asked what the eagle was doing with the chickens. The farmer told him the story, and the Indian asked if he could remove the eagle. The Farmer gave his permission to do so. So the Indian took the eagle to the mountain and said, “You have to know who you are and what you stand for...” The eagle started to flex his wings. His keen eyesight started to return, and the strength in him started to come back. The eagle flew and soared and everything came back to him, who he was and that he wasn’t a chicken. He gained everything back he lost because of where he was placed.”
I told the students Lost Birds are that eagle and every adoptee raised away from their tribe and traditions needs to return home.