It is very difficult to adjust to tough times as Chippewa Cree people to have endured the pain and suffering as we did in the last few years. Aren't we over that era yet?
We did enough suffering a long time ago before the reservation came about. This stealing and embezzling has indeed affected a huge number of people and especially our children. This type of situation is embarrassing to have to tell to my kids and other members of my family about, that our tribe is suffering financially and that we are suffering as well due to nonenrolled people and enrolled members stealing and embezzling from right under our noses. I'm often asked, "How come they don't pay the money back?" and "How come they are not in jail like bank robbers go to jail?"
It is hard to ignore the papers and Facebook when all you read about is who stole what or who embezzled what and who got away with what and so on and so forth. It makes me sick.
My kids are not dumb. They are full of questions, curiosity and concerns and are afraid of what will happen when they get older. I just keep on pushing them to get educated and telling then that we cannot depend on anyone but the dear Lord and our prayers in order for us to survive.
I teach my kids not to steal and take things without asking, but yet you see what is happening out there in plain site. Yes, I've had tough times raising my family. I was recipient of TANF for a period of time for an amount that wasn't even worth it. It just paid the basic necessities, but I didn't steal or embezzle. I survived without at times. My children didn't have the best, nor did they have much to eat, but I didn't steal or embezzle. I survived. My children didn't have the fancy cars, Jordan's, cool clothes, games and such, but I didn't steal or embezzle. I survived. My brothers remodeled my house on the inside from scratch so that I and my children would have a nice place we now call home, but I didn't steal or embezzle. I survived.
I'm a single parent going on 10 years, having to work a lot just to make ends meet with an honest living and a paying job. I work full time for the Rocky Boy High School with a wonderful boss, Mr. Reese — just thought I'd throw that in there — but I'm thankful for working. There are times I have sleepless nights thinking of our children: Are they OK, are they safe, are they hungry, did they eat, because I too was in that situation. My home is always open. I have kids coming over all the time, sometimes they are hungry or sometimes they just need a place to stay. I am so thankful to the dear Lord that I have food and shelter for my family and I really don't worry much about not having enough to eat anymore.
Of all the things that are going on within our tribe and to the guilty ones, think about what is happening and what you are doing to my child and my grandchildren.
We will survive.
Jolene "Kisser" Standing Rock