Home on the Rez

Home on the Rez this summer has been a blessing. It’s made me stronger and I can see how blessed I truly am with family, friends, community, and ancestral blessings.

As July comes to an end, I am looking back on the start of the summer which was not exactly a stellar beginning. I had no clear idea as to what I was going to do, yet in some respects I did. I knew it was time to move home and it was time to be with the people. I made decisions and in my fathers words was “succinct and resolute”. After a challenging spring semester, which I can now chalk up as an experience, I have rested up. I rediscovered my strengths and weaknesses and remember why I set out on this long, arduous educational journey.

I came back to my home community and have been with my family, friends, and community relearning language and reminded of how beautiful it felt when I first moved to Lapwai, Idaho in 1993. Recently I had an elder (te’eqis) tell me she remembered when I first moved to our Rez from the city and how brave she thought I was but also how proud I made her feel knowing a young woman could be as eager to learn. My elder humbled me as we talked about how it has taken me this long to actually feel like I have some (if any) understanding or knowledge about our culture.

While working with an awesome group of people, I feel blessed to know I am exactly where my creator wants me to be and EVERYTHING I experience is meant to help shape me into who I was created to be. Most memorable in my recent learning is the fact that the bracelet (and gift) that traveled all the way from Tibet helped me see blessings are everywhere, we just got to look for them. It is (or they are) as deep as we want to go. For me, personally, hearing the life lesson helped me to see that I came home to my Rez to do creators work.

Coming home to my Rez reminded me of where I come from, who my family is and how much I have grown. I looked at the old aluminum trailer me and my older sister lived in on the edge of town in the laundromat trailer park. That pink piece of metal is gone and has been replaced with an upgraded mobile home that looks waaaaay more fancy, especially with its newly painted on wood stain. I recalled how humbling it was to live there. I walked to Valley Foods to catch the van into school which my uncle Leo drove as a part of work study while getting his social work degree. (Today he is one of our tribal social workers) I also used to babysit nieces and nephews all who have now grown and some have families of their own. I am also a mother to three beautiful ones that give meaning to life.

So much to be grateful for and I am thankful. I thought it would be nice to share, in our cultural lessons, our Te’eqis shared “the one word we should always say is Qeciyewyew (thank you)” and all I could think about was the blessings. With so many instances to share, I say Imeeqis Qeciyewyew (many or big thank you’s).

As I close out July I welcome August and the start of the 5th year in my program. In closing, life is a journey and I came home and found what I was looking for within me, myself, and I.

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