By Anonymous Mille Lacs Band Member
I'm going to tell you a story of one of our Band members. It's how his life started. Some of his first memories.
A small boy wakes up from a bad dream. He feels the call of nature, so to the outhouse toilet he goes. He is about three years old at the time. Once inside, he hears a noise. What is it? A chipmunk crawling around inside the hole in the outhouse. In his mind, he sees a pet if he can catch it! So he tries to reach down into the hole and grab it, but it is too fast for him. He slips and falls into the crap. Now he is covered with human waste. He is able to get himself back out of the hole. Oh no — here comes his Aunt, and she is mad as hell. She says to the boy, "Go down to the lake and wash off that crap! And don't come back."
So that small boy does what he is told. He walks to the lake and gets into the water and does his best to wash off the mess. When he thinks he is clean enough, he sits down and remembers what else he was told. "Don't come back." So he does not know where he is going, but not back where he came from.
He remembers his grandfather and decides that is where he will go. The small boy calls him "Papa." His Papa is always nice to him. So off he goes walking by himself to his Papa's house. That was down the old road, as it was called, in the direction of the village. As he is walking, he sees a car coming. Remember that the small boy is only three years old, so he tries to hide from it, as he thinks it might be danger. He goes down the hill towards the lake and lays behind a pile of logs.
The car stops and the driver gets out and walks down to where the boy is hiding. The man is huge, which makes the boy afraid. The man reaches down and picks the boy up. The boy kicks and fights, but the man only laughs at him and puts the boy in the front seat of the car. They drive down the road to the village. And soon they are in his Papa's yard. The man takes the boy inside and sits him down in front of his Papa. The man says, "Look at what I found on the road." Papa asks the boy, "What happened to you? Why were you walking down the road by yourself?" The boy talks about the chipmunk and falling into the hole. He also tells his Papa how he was told to go to the lake and not to come back to his Aunt's house.
So Papa leaves to someplace the boy doesn't know, and when he comes back, Papa tells the small boy that now he will live at Papa's house. The boy is happy! You see, Papa always treats the small boy with kindness and respect. He never uses put-downs or tries to belittle the boy, unlike the rest of the boy's relatives. I guess that is the intergenerational trauma kicking in again. The boy has never understood that form of teachings.
The boy is in seventh heaven for a while. But one day, a car comes to Papa's house and a white woman gets out of the car. She has this stupid little hat on her head. She comes into the house and says she is there from Mille Lacs County Family Services. Somehow with help from the Sheriff, she takes the small boy from the house. The boy did not see that bully coming at all.
So now he is taken to a boarding school in Sisseton, South Dakota. From that point on, the boy's life is hell on earth. He goes from the boarding school to the bus station in Minneapolis with his two sisters, but no one is there to pick them up. His older sister finds a way to get a ride from a family member. So this means it was a summer of beatings, and he is called names by his mean old aunt. In the fall, it's back to the boarding school. This happens over and over for about three years. Finally it comes to an end.
Then the boy who is growing up fast starts to think that the meanness and beatings are just a way of life. He starts to think that there is something wrong with himself. That's why he is bounced around from foster home to foster home. Yes, the boy runs away from the homes he is placed in. His life full of abuse becomes a way of life. He is in and out of jail.
But he never gets mad at anyone. He grows up to become a man. He starts a family. You see, this is what he starts to think in his heart, that it is wrong to be mean to kids. He sees that kindness is how you raise kids.
This is a real story about a man who to this day is misunderstood. Yet he forgives those who treat him as if he is a problem. And he loves his Band unconditionally.