Indian Time by Judith Fein
To actually write a review on this recent read, I am certain it will not do it justice. However, bypassing this book will be much worse. So please bear with me as I try to make it worth your while.
Judith Fein’s new assignment is a television documentary based on a white doctor living among ‘Indians’, “Native Americans”, or as others use the term; “Indigenous Peoples.” She takes up residence in Santa Fe, New Mexico and thus begins a transformation so enlightened and blessed that I can only wish for that blessing in my life. The people whom she will encounter and learn from are nothing short of passionate and loving. The stereotypes of Native Americans with their drunken stupor and violent behaviors portrayed by Hollywood is nothing but a slap in the face to a proud and giving people.
After reading this book, I myself am ashamed by the genocide, violence and forced religion that was forced down their throats by the Spanish. Instead of learning from a beautiful and harmonious society, the Spanish were quick to judge their wisdom-filled story telling or the way they gave thanks to EVERYTHING including the blessings they receive from everything in return. Instead, the Spanish destroyed many of their languages, pueblos, and culture.
What has amazed me throughout this book is the amount of patience and strength these people find to fight against the government, fighting for a better life. For them to begin the process of a ‘healing’ that has been a long time coming between them, the Spaniards and, Mexicanos is a definite step in the right direction. The way that they incorporate their dances and stories to their children without ‘forcing’ them to accept it. How they believe that we can make things better in our lives as long as we don’t let the “bad” in when it comes knocking. The desolation felt about them was in the way they treated their own as ‘outcasts’ if they didn’t marry within their own race. My only question being, “Why would a loving and spiritual people not welcome others in that fashion, passing on their history continuing the sacredness no matter what color they represent?”
I was fortunate enough to spend five years in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I befriended a wonderful woman; Jackie W. who comes from a tribe in NM. Through her I was blessed to share in their “Feast Day” and to give thanks as they did during their corn dance. I experienced first hand the awesome welcoming and giving from a family whose home I ate at with others as if I were a part of the family.
Although five years was not even enough to scratch the surface and I am ashamed to admit that I did not become more educated, I did however, learn more in those five years than in the 20 years back home.
I could go on and on about my experiences or the number of important issues that we as a nation should look at compassionately as well as seriously, but I can only suggest that you read this book and find out for yourself. I would also like to take this time to deeply express my apologies for what we did to a wonderful people. I hope that one day you; the first people of this land, will find it in your hearts to forgive us for the wrong we bestowed upon you. You are the ancestors that I came from and I hope to learn more about my family to pass on to others, but more importantly to keep within.