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Bite My Tongue by Grandmother Waynonaha Two Worlds

Monday, October 07, 2019 5:33 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

Bite My Tongue

by Grandmother Waynonaha Two Worlds


               

Many phrases of the tongue are used to describe our way of biting back our words. The tongue is an important factor as humans. We have the ability to communicate in over one thousand different ways. Our vocabulary is unlimited, and many sounds can be uttered by these all too human voices.

The least perfected is our ability to speak and to be understood. Culture is part of our vocal misunderstanding; our social and economic means are also a large part of this miss communication. 


Many cultures such as my Dutch friends point out to me, are point blank and to the point. Words are not minced here or held back. The Dutch are very clear in making their self understood. Sometimes this can seem harsh to us who are more subtle in our speaking.


Words can be hard and like barbs to the soul.


In my sharing with children this is all so apparent when compared to the short time they have walked the earth.


We absorb words and store them for life. Where are these words stored? They are stored in our vibral or sacred center of where we live. This physically located place is just around the heart or solar plexus area of our bodies. You never hurt in your head when someone attacks you with hurtful words. It hits you where you feel that being the area called by our people, the sacred space. Here all things are felt and held for future reference.


When working in the schools you can see the children who at the tender age of five have already started to lose their self-esteem. This actually starts as infants and continues until we understand what has been done to us. Then it takes years of therapy and soul searching to undo the harm that family and society has done.


I ask you to go back in time to the first and hurtful remark that you remember was said to you. Take this and subtract the years before that then see how many years you have been holding that in your sacred space.

 

Words do affect us from the time we can understand them to the time we die. Cradle to grave is the path that words effect.

 

I remember a time when I was only five and was in the Christian schools on the reservation, we went to a gas station on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The children were let out of the bus to go to the bathroom. I stood in the line waiting my turn while the gas station attendant filled the bus with gas. I will never forget that day as long as I live. The woman who helped run the gas station said to some other customers that she wished they would just take us all out back and let us go pee on the ground. She went on to tell the other customers in a loud voice that she considered us all dirty and disease-ridden Indians.

 

Every fiber of my body wanted to scream out to her and say I am not dirty, my mother is not a disease ridden person she is a clean and good person. Instead as taught by the missionary people I looked down at the floor. I counted the dirt incrusted tiles and bite my tongue until the pain of the words she had spoken, were blocked out by the pain in my tongue.

 

From that day on I vowed that I would do better. I would not let my children be spoken to like this or looked down on as if they had no soul, or spirit. The anger and pain still remain in my heart, that is not like physical pain and that I live with daily. I keep it there as a reminder to always weigh my words carefully when I write or speak so that they do not offend or hurt.

 

From the stories that I write when they flow from the spirit, I feel this peace and love. I trust in some small way this will help you who read this. Maybe you can then understand the reason you feel sad or hurt by some who has spoken to you years ago in ignorance.

 

We can change the future the children are our future they are the lights in the window of our lodges no matter what culture we are from, for the elders to come home too.

 

I say look out the windows of you house on these cold nights. Imagine yourself as that little girl standing in the cold and waiting for the kind words to flow. If you can truly see, you will see the faces of the children looking back at you. They are the elders waiting to be invited inside. If our doors are closed to the need then so is our heart. May your hearts be always open, may the circle be unbroken.


Love Waynonaha

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