Natural Causes

March 7th, 2018

Bobby gives all the presentations. He’s good at it. He’s a gifted speaker. It’s probably because he always speaks from the heart. His words burn with a passion and a fierceness. He is completely authentic, and that forces people to listen to him.

Bobby has often told people that drugs, alcohol, and domestic violence affect everyone. This includes Bobby. This includes people that are not Native Americans. More than once he told the folks on the rez that he knows of only one person in his family who died of natural causes. After that he told everyone,

“My father was murdered.”

That’s an attention getter.

He went on to say that some of his family died of overdoses. Many of them died from the long term effects of chemical abuse. None of this stuff is theoretical to him. It is all up close and personal. He’s lived it.

Bobby usually sings a tribal song. He insists that nobody record the event. He sings and shakes his rattle. It is intense. He pours everything he has into that chant. I don’t understand the words he sings, but I can hear the power and the pain in his voice.

When I listen to Bobby, I think about my own life, and the lives of those I love. His words resonate with me. His experiences are more extreme than my own, but I think I get it. My brother drank himself to death. One of my sons has been shot, and this same young man killed people in Iraq. A young woman that is important to me is in jail for her 4th DUI. I know a young man who was abused as a child. Yeah, I get it.

I am not on the Longest Walk now. I am going to go with my wife to visit our struggling son in Texas. I am trying to help the girl we both love. The whole point of the walk is to care for the “people”. I am trying to care for my people.

God willing, I will rejoin the walkers in a few weeks. They want me back. I want to be with them. Karin is encouraging me to return to the group.

I think it is something I need to do.

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