Tag Archive: Native American

And the rest is history

I’ve started working on a side-project.  It began as something of an interest, but now I’m realizing there’s a real need for this kind of historical narrative.  Initially, upon finding some old diaries that once belonged to Erick’s great-grandmother, I thought it would be neat to include some of the entries along with other narratives in a collection on life at Old Mission.  As I began to research what’s already been done on the topic, I quickly realized how much hasn’t been recorded.  

Old Mission is significant for all kinds of reasons.  In recent history, it was the site of the first gas station (Ford’s personal “Combustible Engine Destination”) and also the place where the Rev. Dougherty landed and began his mission at what is now the village of Old Mission.  What is not mentioned, or mentioned very little, is the 11,000 years prior and the significance of the peninsula as a port.  This period of time is often referred to as “pre-history” or “pre-settlement.”  What they really mean is “pre-white-man-settlement or history.” 

So, now the project has taken on a bit more in considering recent archeological finds, including petroglyphs beneath the waters of Grand Traverse Bay (from a time when water levels were lower), and song and story handed down over generations by a culture who existed here long before the birth of a country called America.  

Like any good story, it’s found a voice of its own and will hopefully help to unite two very different cultures and one simple cause.

Yesterday, the bat kept flying into my life.  When the bat flies into your life, it is a signal it is time to bury some old part of yourself that has long ago died, but you have continued to carry.  Last night I was thinking about a time in my life when I was homeless and sleeping on a stiff bench in the Art Department building on campus.  I remember waking up to a class beginning and concerned students leaning over curiously poking at my arm.  The not knowing what will happen day-to-day is exhausting.  

That moment reflects a period of my life when I was filled with a sort of listless wanderlust.  Wanderlust minus destination and purpose.  At the time, I couldn’t afford an apartment of my own and had seriously irked my parents over something.  

A week into my ordeal, my now-husband invited me to Nashville and I quit school and headed down south for a few months.  When I returned, I was offered a beautiful place to live rent-free, which I immediately and shamelessly accepted.   I felt enormous gratitude, but I was still without purpose and a constant thorn in everyone’s side.

In a very real way, I didn’t “grow up” until I got married and settled with my husband into a home of our own.  Our marriage, though rocky in the beginning, offered the kind of security I hadn’t felt before.  And as we began having children, I slowly began to explore my purpose on this planet.  Over the last ten years I have shed my old skin (or killed off cells with chemo), and now it is time to bury that part of me without direction, without hope.  

Partly, this moment is inspired by the election, but I also believe some internal cycle ended long ago was carried along unnecessarily in the form of guilt or shame or an unwillingness to connect with the people of my past.  At this point in my life, though much remains uncertain, I am filled with gratitude and a feeling of hope that accompanies each new, promising hint of change emerging daily.  I feel much like the butterfly bush whose old-growth skeleton as the new shoots come up through and flower.  I have weeded out those branches that no longer serve my purpose for growth.