As the 2019 New Year’s baby crawls to the stage, and Indian country is now officially recovering from 2018. Pat yourselves on the back — you made it.
As thoughts of how you could have done things a bit better in 2018 form in your mind and you start to plan how 2019 will be different in the form of New Year’s resolutions, (I refuse any longer to make the REZolutions play on words, I already did it) here are a few Indian country resolutions you will likely never see.
Special thanks to Chief Lynette Allston of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, who graciously allowed me to be a bit lighthearted with the photo I took at their powwow. Also pictured are Assistant Chief Archie Elliott and War Chief Bill Wright.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #1
“I resolve to completely abstain from frybread.”
We are not saying anyone’s diet couldn’t be improved with an increased variety of fresh fruits and vegetables … but let’s get real. This resolution just ain't happening.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #2
“I resolve to stop almost driving off the side of the road when we see an eagle, falcon or hawk fly over.”
Yes, I took this photo, but I promise I wasn't driving at the time. Photo: Vincent Schilling
You know you do this. You’re driving down the road and any big raptor-type bird flies anywhere near your field of vision and as you turn to follow its flight, you nearly take out a station wagon filled with elders, a heavily Bondo-ed Toyota and a semi. Sure you may make some kind of resolution on this topic - but let’s be honest: there’s no way you can stick to such an impossible promise.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #3
“I resolve to stop getting so mad at people on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media.”
You know you get mad on social media ... Thanks to photos by Hermes Rivera, and Alexandre Godreau
If you are a Native person, keeping cool-headed on social media is about as impossible as putting that camel through the eye of the needle thing. In one hour of social media venturing, you’re sure to see numerous dopes committing appropriation, teaching a Native how to live their culture and too many mascots in sports like Chief Wahoo and more.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #4
Any Native elder: "I resolve to stop saying, 'Hey, you are doing that all wrong.'"
Actually dear elders, I would like to humbly request you continue to say "Hey!" right when I am in the middle of something so that my hairs will immediately stand on end, my breathing will shorten and my heart partially stop. You life corrections might be scary, but your guidance is needed.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #5
Any Native drum group member: “We resolve to stop cramming 15 guys into a hotel room or car when we travel to a powwow.”
Hey, we in Indian country all know too well that you guys need to save a few bucks whenever you travel. And that you drive WAY past the view of the check-in desk when picking up your hotel key. And we also know that you let all the other guys sneak in through the back door. And we know that this resolution will likely never happen.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #6
Some Native folks: “We resolve to not point with our lips.”
Yeah, no, this ain't gonna happen. It's cold out there, don't you dare take your hands out of your pockets.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #7
“I resolve to not take any powwow selfies.”
Robert Narcomey at a powwow in Virginia. (I absolutely did not Photoshop a phone into Robert's hand ... well, maybe I did.) Photo: Vincent Schilling
Is it just me, or does this one seem REALLY far-fetched? We see you in the midst the most traditionally intense pow wow fervor as you stop in order to … grab your Samsung from your regalia pocket and grab that #PowWowSelfie. This resolution will not ever happen. That regalia was awesome by the way.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #8
Any Native teen: “I resolve to completely make it through one meal without zoning out into the smartphone abyss.”
Ummm … yeah. No words can explain the feeling of just how ignored we feel when we watch the dizzying pace of your fingers flying across that tiny keyboard combined with a speedy sound of clickety-clackety click-click-click. And no words can explain how impossible such a resolution would be. We wouldn’t want your fingers to cramp up, or social media anxiety get too horrifying from lack of interaction for longer than 8 minutes.
For God sakes, someone needs to give you one more like on Instagram or answer that story poll on whether or not you should wax you eyebrows.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #9 (any Native man)
Any man: “I resolve to stop saying ‘sorry’ when speaking to a Native woman.”
If you almost choked on your meal or drink when reading this, fellow Native men, you are not alone. I almost did the same when writing it. I’m more likely to get a tattoo of ‘sorry’ across my face than hold to this resolution.
Unlikely New Year’s Resolution #10 (any Native woman)
Any Native woman: “I resolve NOT to give a Native man ‘that look’ whenever he does something ridiculous.”
Yeah … this also ain’t gonna happen, because we Native men will always do something ridiculous and if you didn’t give us that look of disappointment and subtle instruction — well, that would mean you don’t care enough to scare the begeezus out of us with that fiery look once again.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling