Screen shot of our new PSA coming soon to a TV near you. It's about the Pahayokee (the Everglades), man. And the earth. We won't sit by and let you destroy it.
After the elections, please "Wake me up when it's over." Every time I hear this song by Avicii, I think back to the first time I heard it. It was night, deep in the Everglades. Nokosee was singing it to me on the chickee stage in the New Seminole's hidden camp, draped in camo netting on one of a thousand dark hammocks floating in the river of grass. If you read my books, you know the NS have their own band and enough stored electricity in hundreds of car batteries and gas generators to light up the swamp and make their instruments wail. Which is what they did that unforgettable night. I was only 18 then and pregnant with my baby Haalie. It was our wedding night. I had just sang my song to him, Gayle McCormick's Baby It's You and made my big boy cry. Then he did the Avicii song. It made me cry too. And it also scared me. By the time he got around to singing it to me it was dark. I swore the pulsating lights and music volume could be heard and felt in Miami, about 40-miles to the east. I knew Micco Mann and Uncle Sam and his Army Rangers would find us for sure. But, despite the disco ball and the explosion of light popping through the camo netting and hammock trees, no one found us that night. That picture above is Nokosee and me when I was singing to him. I was dancing around him pow-wow style and stripping his Seminole jacket away so I could see his to-die-for body. Unfortunately, we don't have any of him singing to me but it will always be etched in my mind. It was like I was at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami with thousands of people my age screaming like crazy. But really, it was only me looking up at my new husband as he sang his song to me, a song about me. And him. "They tell me I'm too young to understand. They say I'm caught up in a dream... All this time I was finding myself, I didn't know I was lost." Until we found each other in the beauty of the Everglades and the horror of the chosen path of the New Seminole.
"The Everglades Foundation is seeking legislative approval to help build a water reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir would preserve the natural flow of water to the Everglades, which would replenish and protect its water supply."-- The New Tropic, Miami Herald, 11/22/2016.
Good luck with that. With a Repugnicant governor and legislature and the new President Elect, the odds of this happening aren't very favorable. Unless those in power think they can make a profit by doing it. Thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers and greed, the Everglades is what it is today: barely hanging on. How ironic. If it goes, so goes the Outside. Nokosee likes to remind me that the New Seminole has got Pahayokee's (the Everglades) back. As much as I support the NS, I don't think that's enough. Or what the Everglades Foundation is trying to do -- although I like their slogan: It's Now or Neverglades. If it makes you feel better, you can sign their petition here. It beats getting killed like the NS did trying to protect it. For you, all it takes is a click.
That quote is from Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize winning book "All the Light We Cannot See." It reminds me of Leonard Cohen who passed away this week. I was up in a tree when I first read those lines. It was months after the New Seminole defeat at "Rendezvous Point" on that moonless night deep in the Everglades. I had my new baby Haalie in one arm and the book in the other. I was trying to forget that battle against the Army Rangers and the gruesome death of my father-in-law, Busimanolotome Osceola when my eyes fell upon those words. I was reminded that as surely as Haalie was growing stronger and healthier each day sucking that miraculous milk from my breasts that I was too with each word I read, that there is no end but always a new beginning. When I heard Leonard passed, I thought of his wonderful talent and this song, a thought that had been in my head for many years before I heard it in a song. He was singing my song. And maybe yours too.
Finally. Guess he felt some tat envy with mine because, well, I'm probably the only gal in the world with spear tats on both sides of her head. Since his name means "Bear" he got a stylized bear paw print. I love it. Got it down on Calle Ocho at the same shop-- Ocho Tatuajaes-- where I got mine. Snuck in the back door like I did too. Hey, when you're a fugitive on the run like us, you go through the back door. Anyway, Jose, the shop's owner, stopped by the Miccosukee Embassy one day with news that a great indigenous tat artist was working out of his place for awhile and that maybe Nokosee might want to get a tat because, well, you know, with all the pressure being married to the only woman in the world with spear tats on each side of her head must make it pretty difficult for him not having a single one. I mean, "What's your excuse, right?"
Although I use to kid him about it, I never pushed him to join the tattoo brotherhood. Besides, Nokosee doesn't need any tats to please me. He's the coolest guy I ever met, a real action hero, fearless as all get out who could kill with his "leetle pinkie" if he had to.
But you already know that if you've read my books. You also know Nokosee and I are "renegades on the run" what with Uncle Sam on our tail and all. Heck, I and Haalie-- our little girl-- rarely see him and when he does show up, it's unannounced, you know, to keep "law enforcement" guessing. So when I saw Nokosee pop up one morning in the Embassy with the tat, I couldn't believe it because I never had a chance to tell him about it. He told me not to worry, that-- and this is where he goes all Movie Indian on me with his clipped "pronouncements:" Indian know all. That might creep out somebody else-- or offend one of those tight ass PC Indigenous types-- but it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, it made me laugh. And Hallie too (for better or worse, she's real good at impersonating daddy). Makes growling sounds when she looks at it. She doesn't like the slashed skin part of the tat though. Has a hard time wrestling with the symbolism. Pop tells her the colors beneath his skin bleed the colors of the New Seminole flag: white, black, yellow, and red. Aside from that she loves the tat. Says she wants one, an alligator-- "gAtaw" in Haalie speak-- since her full name Haalpatee means alligator.
Hopefully Delwin Lewis, the Dine (Navajo) tat artist will be alive and well and prospering at what he does so well when it's Haalie's turn. You can get in touch with him and check out his work at Kreations Ink.
BTW, the pix was taken in the lobby of the Miccosukee Embassy. FBI Special Agent Micco Mann: eat your heart out. You'll never catch Nokosee. Or get "sanctuary" lifted to haul me and Haalie out of the Embassy no matter how hard you try. But even if you do with the help of our new fascist prez, you still won't be able to catch us. We'll be long gone before you break down the doors of the Embassy.
Holatte-Sutv Turwv Osceola.