Living life for me during my early years was much like walking through a very colorfull yet very surreal collage of everyone else’s bad or leftover dreams. Nothing made any sense!
Hello, my name is Levi William EagleFeather Sr. I am a Lakota by heritage. Sicangu Lakota by birth. I am an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe of Rosebud South Dakota. I was adopted at the age of four but haven’t been since I changed my mind about it at the age of fifteen and got the hell away from the whole sordid mess. That was quite awhile ago. I’m 55 now.
It wasn’t until the first summer I sundanced that those dreams faded and reality became mine. Clarity, like cool clear water to a thirsty parched throat or shade to a sun drenched overheated mind, soothed my weary war torn senses and underfed spirit. At long last I had found sanctuary and once again re-entered the land of the human being or as we say in Lakota, Ikce Wicasa (common man).
Somewhere in Scott Momaday’s writing he wrote that telling a story takes words to describe words. Life is certainly that way. Whether it’s yours or mine it’s story. Being such it requires or demands words many words to bring forth a full sense of our reality. Words which describe the full spectrum of thought, emotion and feeling that make-up the scattered and fragmented and sometimes incomprehensible reality of our lives as American Indians. Especially in the aftermath of the wars and ongoing efforts of genocide against our people. Adoption is but one of those many efforts and the resulting ism’s are but its results. Results that force us into, well let’s just say that chameleons have nothing on us! Nevertheless, for sanity’s sake for peace of mind these results are ours to overcome.
The words of our overcoming, these words, my words, your words, our words describe just a portion of life's meaning, but it’s our life and it‘s important. A living reality of experience, thought, feeling and emotion. No two experiences ever exactly alike. No two thoughts, feelings or emotions ever exactly the same, at the same time, or about the same thing. Always ongoing ever-changing, growing, metamorphisizing neither negative or positive necessarily, but always changing describing the ever shifting ever adapting overcoming that is life and living. That part of life and living that in its many forms and shapes is you and me, the American Indian.
In looking back, when all is said and done life has been pretty full for me, as it should be. I am, for the most part most of the time, a happy man and enjoy living come what may. Although, it hasn’t always been this way. Time and distance have allowed my spirit the space needed to recover somewhat so the light of day no longer sears the consciousness of my soul. I think, an experience of surviving hell and high water and coming out on the other side does that to a person. Living through it can and often does make us creatures of a darker understanding of life and living. Sometimes morphing us into a breed of walking dead, soul dead. Adoption can be like that, hell and high water, for some. It was for me and my sibs.
I realize throughout it all some don’t do so well. Adapt and overcome I mean. Seems that some get burned pretty bad and take on lots of water and experience lots of hurting for many years after. I think, myself, I just became hell. Unfortunately, for those associated with me or those who experienced me during my early days will attest that that was the reality of being too close or trying getting to know me. There was much scorched earth left in the wake of my struggling. Struggling to survive those early years on my own alone.
Understanding the reality of all of this. Who, what and why I was and am has taken many years to gather and digest.
One thing good about us though is that we are just another form of nature. Being such, raw nature, we are energy. Raw energy and we seek to flow. In flowing we seek our own level much like water running to the sea. Sometimes we rage sometimes we flood cutting our way through the rock and the barriers that obstruct our knowing and our understanding. Our journey our destiny if you will becomes cluttered with the debris of our raging and flooding. Disrupted journey’s disrupted destiny’s on the way to experience the ebb and flow of natural being.
This is the first in a series. Words, just words strung together to convey meaning and understanding to a reality that wasn’t supposed to exist, but does. It’s my story.
Levi lives in Germany and will be contributing to this blog.