Raised in a Blizzard – with Tammy Street

Raised in a Blizzard – with Tammy Street

You’re listening to Medicine for the Resistance

Patty:  So, this is Tammy.  Tammy, Kerry. Kerry, Tammy.

Tammy: Hi

Patty: I’m just looking at the, at the Twitter at the DMs where we started talking because we were talking about art and wanting to and you had wanted Tammy, you had wanted to include Indigenous themes in in the artwork that you were doing. And so we got talking about that and, you know, kind of a little bit of your own history and I don’t know it was just very interesting to me.

And also I’m working on a project right now, and one of the lines in my proposal is talks about when I met my family, my paternal family, and that the only shared memories we had were memories of disruption. Right? But we didn’t have these kinds of shared cultural memories, because I had been, you know, we had all experienced so much disruption, that the disruption itself was the thing that we had in common.

And I don’t know like, I think that that’s the kind of piece of what you were talking about that grabbed me your own kind of feelings of disruption and disconnection, kind of knowing who you are, but not really.  Llike when I grew up in the 60s and sets and 6070s 80s I learned about indigenous people the same way everybody else did on television. Right? Watching a Little House on the Prairie and Dances with Wolves.

Tammy:  Yeah, the worst way.

Patty:  Yeah, the worst possible way so I don’t know. So So these stories of growing up and knowing who we are but not really those those things, they just feel so common. And so I don’t know like, that’s the history that we should be talking about, because that’s real too.

Tammy:  I do follow a lot of people on Native Twitter and I have become sensitive to people overstepping their own boundaries and taking up space and voices where they shouldn’t. And I had you were the first person I ever followed on Twitter. Oh, the both of you. It was a it was all because of the the little comic book character. Yeah, I thought I assumed that you were a comic artist. So I clicked it. And then I had to go look this character up and I realized that it was just your icon.

Patty: Yeah.

Tammy:  But that’s how from there because people you quote and posted, I started following more and more and got a little more familiar with Twitter and started to actually learn about Native struggles and what people are trying to accomplish and what they’re trying to organize. And me being someone who, I don’t know where I come from, but sympathizing very greatly after learning all I have, I wanted to reach out to someone to make sure that it was okay when I had this opportunity to amplify some of some simple hashtags, and keywords, you know, to an audience that probably doesn’t see these regularly. So we actually just finished wrapping up this project too. So all the artwork is done, I didn’t get everything in I wanted because we we had a horrible time crunch.

Kerry:  I listening to you speak and it all resonates even with me because as a woman ,as a black woman, you know, this idea of not knowing where we come from, you know, I very often know that that that’s my space. Like, even though I’ve done investigations, I don’t know which one of my ancestors, you know, came over on that Middle Passage. When we landed in the space of the West Indies. I mean, we traveled I know, I don’t know, it could have been I’ve heard it’s Haiti. I mean, I don’t know where those roots come from. And I know how in you know Patty, when you mentioned as well, that idea of it being the commonalities being in disruption that hit me. It’s the same idea. I just think from that innate space, because we don’t have necessarily those tendrils. It sits in the dissonances of what your experience is. And as you move into discovery while it hits home while you learn about, about who you are.

There’s still this end of of not being able to define it. Do you know what I mean? Like, I can’t say I have this ancestor that came from or my third grandfather has this line and came over from this space and I come from, say, you know, you, Uganda, like I can’t trace where my Blackness comes from. I know that there is an underlying sorrow that just exists from being in that disconnection.

Tammy:  Absolutely. It’s very, it’s painful and it’s frustrating because you’re, you’re right there at the edge,  right on the outside looking in, and you can’t step across the line and say, you are my people and I want to become a part of you. But you don’t know where, you don’t know where to go, where to take that last step. And it’s very frustrating.

Kerry: So for you, I love that for you, Tammy was was Twitter the beginnings of being able to find some semblance of acceptance like was that where you went with it?

Tammy:  Well, not not really. Watching native Twitter is almost like self-torture. I do I want to I want to become more active and I want to comment and I want to say join conversations and things that i i do know but you know, it’s it’s, I’m afraid to make myself known because it seems like you can all too easily take one wrong step and the gate will close so hard and so fast.

Patty:  I think when the gate closes, it’s when people because we all overstep sometimes, right, like, I know I, I’ve always I overstep sometimes. And when you do, it’s your reaction to it. That, you know, it’s like, oh, okay, that’s not where I was coming from. I’m sorry. I said that. I’m sorry. You know, yeah, that’s a good point. That I seem as though sometimes we can just be mean, and that’s wrong. And if you’re on Native Twitter, you need to not be mean anymore. Well, because we’re all trying to find your way home. Right. And if we’re scary, I hope I’m not scary. I don’t think I don’t think I am because you reached out to me, so I must not have come across as scary.

Tammy:  You seem like a very calm voice amongst the chatter.

Patty: Oh, really? Oh, that’s kind of neat.

But I was just I just did a thread today about Because we’re talking about like, Tammy, your own disruption, like you don’t know you you had said you actually talked about being a bought baby. Like not like bot internet bot but like purchased. Yes. Right. Yeah, I could because I have something I want to talk about. Could you talk about that a little bit because that was just kind of a little bit of what you’re doing. And that’s kind of your story of disruption, right? Like, why are you there are things that you don’t know and may never know, though,

Tammy: Oh right? Yeah, I’m still I’m still in that journey. Like still within the first few steps because

everything about this story is just so filled with knots and lies and it’s the it’s the weirdest most shady thing but yes, I I was a purchased baby. My adoptive parents they let me know from the start like they always said I was adopted. They always made that known and they never knew who my birth parents were? Their understanding, and this is the only thing that’s ever been consistent, is that they believe the father was Caucasian and the mother was they thought Hispanic or did some kind of medium brown right. And the father had already passed away by the time I was born. And my mother, her adopted mother, her story changed all through my life. It just it was absolutely never consistent. But she had always said that I was traded on a farm for some sum of money and then taking you know straight home and that this is what I believed that I was just traded off somewhere.

But a few couple years ago, I reached out on Facebook to I made a post that I was trying to raise money to finally take the leap and hire an adoption investigator. Because everything I tried as always, it’s all led to dead ends. The adoption was basically set up. My father adopted father, he was best friends with the district attorney at the time. So once they brought me home, the attorney made up the paperwork to make it look like a closed adoption. And they went to the courts and had all information sealed until my death. So there’s not much I can do.

I even talked to the hospital where I was allegedly born and of course as fate would have it, the hospital suffered a fire and all the records of that year have gone.

Patty: Of course it did.

Tammy: Yeah, yeah. I’m not even sure it’s working anymore. I haven’t checked lately, but the district attorney who laid out the plan paperwork. He since passed away all my avenues to find out what happened is the years go by, it gets a little harder and people are starting to pass away. You know?

But um, yeah, my, my brother saw the post and he’s, he was a foster child. He’s not a birth sibling, my mother, she couldn’t have children. So she fostered him. And then they adopted me. So he was like, he was already 16 by the time I came around, so when I was old enough to you know, have memories.

It was already I was gonna say he was grown. Yeah, he was he was grown. Yeah. But he told me a lot of crazy stuff that really turned everything I knew on its head. But it’s he said he gave me names too.  He felt that my mother was forced to give me up. He said he had gone with my parents and he saw her hand me over. And he, he felt that she didn’t want to do it. She was under duress. He  felt she was probably undocumented. And perhaps one of the farmer’s sons, you know, it’s like a trope story, was a was the father. He said they paid 25 K. This is the 80s. So at the time, that’s a pretty good chunk of change. Yeah, I was like, dang, I’m expensive baby.  I did eventually save up enough money and I am working with an adoption investigator.

But before then someone on Facebook mentioned the I don’t know if either you’ve seen the show long lost family. I looked them up. And they had open calls. At that moment I filled out their paper and within half an hour, they called me back. It moved incredibly fast. I started talking to show producers one after the other and all these emails and they wanted more information. They wanted photos of my family and my children of my adoptive parents, they wanted all these records. And I’m like, Oh, this is gonna happen. And I started getting busy doing video interviews to talk to producers so they could figure out more and he started asking more questions, one of the producers and made me go back to my brother and that’s when it all started to unwind.

All of a sudden all my brother’s answers were he didn’t remember. Maybe it wasn’t a farm. Maybe it was that. Maybe it was at your maybe it was Len’s, my adoptive father, maybe at Len’s cabin. Maybe it was on the lake. Maybe it was just a road somewhere. Maybe it was at the hospital. And like oh no, I don’t remember the price. I don’t remember saying 25 k i don’t remember what they said. I don’t remember who I wasn’t really there. I was here back home and they and they just came in and brought you in. So yeah he backstroke so hard he caused a tidal wave.

Oh, man, I was so confused and angry. And I so apparently I was I remember my mother also maintain that I was a drug addicted baby. I have no idea. But it could very well been like ..

Patty:  That was very big in the 80s. Like, that was the big news, everybody has all these all these poor drug babies, these poor drug babies. That was like the Satanic Panic.

Tammy:  If they if they told me that the they came to me and said oh, we would just tell you that so you wouldn’t go looking, you know that I would actually believe them. But I did have a lot of trouble in school so I would also believe drug addicted baby story too. But I remember the producers talking to him he stopped when I said those two,  the 25 K and drug addicted baby and he said wow that’s a lot for a drug addicted baby.

Patty: Yeah yeah those two things don’t really go together.

Tammy. Exactly,  that’s like I never put this I never once made that connection like oh, I hope he doesn’t think I’m lyin’.

Patty:  But that’s it right, when people are in keeping secrets things don’t add up.

Kerry: What an incredible story Tammy Wow. I’m just riveted. What happened after you know your brother backtracked? If you feel like sharing because

Tammy:  Shortly after that the last few calls with the producers. They went on hiatus and they weren’t sure if they were going to be picked up. But they had already sent me a free ancestry test. That was pretty awesome. So you know, you do your little spittle in the tube and then send it off. So I have a free ancestry account. I believe the show has been cancelled because I know I have not heard back from them. And this is back in December. That avenue shut down. But like I said, I did save up enough money and have been working well, kind of just waiting for a uh, to get some information from the investigator I have hired.  I believe they found my father who was alive, going against what my mother said. Unfortunately, passed away in 2010. So it’s, it’s not for certain but it’s it’s one of those cases where you see the picture and I feel like I could have taken this man on Maury, he’s  way too similar.

Kerry: So you’re starting to delve in

Tammy:  Yes, yes. I mean, he has brothers. So if we don’t find anything on my birth mother, I might reach out to them. But I’m honestly more interested in my birth mother.

Patty: People are always like they want to find they want to become native, right? They want to become indigenous they want you know, they’re always like glomming on to, you know, indigenous spirituality and indigenous culture, like, that’s what’s gonna save them. And really, their own indigenous histories aren’t that far back. Right? They can, you know, most, most white people can trace their generations back four or 500 years, if they want to, because they’re all so well documented.

But we can’t right? Like you talked about that Kerry about not being able to track yourself very far back and, you know, and in my own family, too, on my father’s side, we can go back, you know, we’ve got some stories, but we can’t it’s not documented in the same way and there’s things that we don’t know. So why are they all over  our ancestors when we don’t even know our ancestors half the time, but they want our ancestors we don’t even know them. You know, we’re just trying to learn the best we can,

you know from the land from what we’ve got from from our own ceremonies.

So they need to reach back into their own history, I think before they start glomming on to ours, because like Tammy’s story is so like whether you’re, you know, indigenous, you don’t you don’t know. You know, you don’t know you talked about being maybe being Hispanic, maybe maybe being this maybe being that. And I had made a comment that it sounded like you were trying to be a good relative, because you’re being so careful about these things that call to me these things that speak to me this artwork that I connect to, but I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s mine.

Tammy:  I know that you know, white people, it’s the encroaching on the cultural art. It’s, it’s all  

an open wound and I don’t want to add another grain of salt. You know, intentionally to that wound  I don’t want to do it. So yeah, I did reach out to you to make sure that what I was doing was was okay. Because you’re right they, I don’t know if it’s if it’s all due to the the romanticization of indigenous cultures through media ,TV, and books, or is it is it like some subconscious cultural guilt with I would like it to be that way because that would mean that they could probably learn from it. You know?

I don’t I don’t know I’d watch like all the white girls Well, the little witchy girls burn it in their sage when they should be smudging rosemary, you know?

Patty:  Yeah. I’ve got a couple of pagan friends that are all over that is like we don’t burn sage. We burn this and we burn that and leave this age for the native people, because it’s going extinct. It’s being over harvested. So you like this, these are the things that we burned go burn something else. So it’s kind of nice that they do that.

Kerry:  I love this and I agree it’s such an interesting perspective. And I really hold you up as testimony in some ways, because, you know, you may feel the calling and it may be coming through but you you have allowed for some spaciousness to be respectful as you were feeling your way through and I think we can all learn from that. You know, when you’re talking Patty about you know, the idea of sage even and, and you know, everybody wanting to burn sage and just encroaching on spaces, and yet Tammy because of your unique experience coming into it, you’re taking the time to feel into it in a very powerful way.

And I would love like, I’m just dying to see what your your artwork has been.

Tammy: Well, when I was growing up being adopted by white parents, they and Republican white parents. So as I, as I said to Patty and one of our, our messages that I grew up in a blizzard. Everybody around me was white everybody, they didn’t have very many, you know, people of color friends in their lives, you know, not no one from light brown to dark brown. I don’t I barely remember anyone, any kind of brown people in their circle. So, you know, being surrounded by white people all the time. Of course I grew up acting and talking white.  All the all the kids at school, they rejected me because I was I wasn’t acting the way Ishould be for my, my skin tone.

Patty:  Hmm. You’re getting a little ahead of yourself.

Tammy: So I was I was called apple and it was very lonely. So I was I spent a lot of time doodling and of course, you know, the, the toddler that never stops scribbling they’re the ones that become the artists because they never put it down. So that was how I, I just entertained myself was just doodling drawing, drawing horses, you know, to be a stereotype girl who loved horses all the time, because it was like I said it was it was just very, very lonely. You know, if you want to draw a good horse, you need reference. So I turned to Southwest art magazine to see like all these grandiose paintings of horses, kicking up dirt and running in herds, you know, the Mustang. Just just beautiful, beautiful artwork.

But eventually it gets tiresome because it’s all. It’s all. it all turns the same after a while, but I saw this one piece by a man named Crumbo. This electric blue horse just shattering the sky. It was such a simplified style but filled with so much energy. I stared at it for so long, I  ripped the page out of the book. And this was this was straight up in the store too. I just don’t want to pay.

Kerry: Hey, in the furtherance of your art, my darling in the further end of your art.

Tammy:  Yeah, I took it and I just I had it in my books for so long. And I remember I also liked a Blue Eagle. I had to actually go look up his work because this is this is years ago and I’d forgotten these names. But these two these two artists, I stared at their work for so long. But I never tried to emulate them. I, I it was too It was so different that I couldn’t digest it I physically couldn’t emulate their work it was something so beyond like my thinking. And it’s so,  I look at it now and in the course I can break it down with and and make something similar but at the time, it was just other worldly that all I could do was sit back and look at it. So I never I never tried to emulate,  I never tried to copy indigenous artists even without knowing that felt off.

You know, and I the only really the only until recently had I tried to ever make anything indigenous themed since Standing Rock I wanted to do something I wanted to donate to the defenders of the what was it? The Water Protector Defense Fund. I wanted to donate to that but i i’m just though at the time I was just a stay at home mom taking care of my first child. I had no income. So I decided to take the step and try try my hand at something Indigenous inspired even if I I made the horrible mistake of doing something that turned out to be pan Indian. You know I thought like I maybe I could get away with something because the money is going somewhere. So I just gave it a try. They the prints are up and they haven’t done much but when they do, it does get donated.

Patty: You had made a comment in in your in your post to me about growing up in the blizzard which is just such a visceral way of, like such a way of phrasing it, I really I love that growing up meant living in a blizzard and you said “Nobody looked like me. But the people in those paintings did.”

You know, the, you know, when you were talking about your exposure to  indigenous art, and I just didn’t need that, like that was that was just so powerful when I think of like our own kids. And you know, and when we grow up in the city, or we grow up away from ourselves, or, you know, we grow up or we’re living in a blizzard, you know, we’re surrounded by white people, and how powerful it is that, you know, when we see somebody on television or somebody in art that looks like us, that’s what like whether we’re actually somehow connected to that person through you know, because we’re both Ojibwe or something ,that doesn’t matter nearly as much as seeing ourselves reflected and that is a kind of relationship right there. Right, right like that, that that does form a relationship between you and that artwork because you’re in it in a manner of speaking.

Tammy: It’s very important to see yourself out there instead of constantly seeing the default person. You know the when I was a little girl, I remember I walked by a little Hispanic Barbie and I was like holy hell

Kerry:  You took the words right out of my mouth I was gonna i i don’t think i my very first black Barbie was probably when I was 12 and not because I was in into Barbie anymore Just because I saw a black Barbie I was like I took my own allowance money to go buy it because I was blown away that there was such a thing.  You  know I passed the Barbie stage I was reading Harlequin romances by them.

But but that that speaks your speaking such a truth and that Barbie didn’t even look like me. It didn’t have my hair. It had flowing hair but at least the skin was tinge a little bit close to the my color and and i that impression that instantly made me come off my bank and if you knew me as a kid I was not spending my money for nothing but I did buy that Barbie. It is powerful when we see images of ourselves

Tammy:  Absolutely it’s it’s even more so  if it’s an accurate image not a romanticized or sexualized image.

Patty: Well, because that’s part of that tells us it tells everybody who we are right like that tells the people who buy butter you know, little Mia, the land of lakes butter girl, you know, that tells everybody who we are right that tells everybody you know that we’re this kind of pristine offering up the bounty of the land to the white man. And I saw a few people on Twitter made the observation that ,well there’s two observations that got made about about Mia being taken off the Land of Lakes butter packaging is One, It’s the only missing indigenous woman that white America has ever cared about. And the other one and they took away the Indian big they got rid of the Indian and kept the land because the background stayed the same.

Tammy:  I  cannot believe the blowback from that.

Patty: You also talked about Moonshot and Red Planet. Are you a science fiction person?

Tammy: No, just a comic person.   But yeah, Red Planet is the only indigenous own comic store by Lee Francis.

Patty: We’ve talked with Lee I love him.

Tammy:  I was so happy and excited when I when I ran across that, that I contacted him immediately. I was like, Do you need any work or want to do work for you?  Yeah, I was like, I don’t care what you need just some slapdash ad you want to cover you want to insert a pin up? I’ll do it. My husband and I are starting up a creative business because unfortunately due to COVID he got let go today it was his last day at a job of 19 years. He design animated toys you know like the holiday seasonal toys like a dancing Santa. He would design those for a company and they just let him go. So now, as soon as they sent him the email you could hear the pilot light under his butt He’s like, you know what, now’s the time let’s do it. So we we’ve been trying to start building our studio or creative

Kerry:  You know COVID and this time is really bringing in new possibilities and new opportunities  you know what I mean? Like we are, we’re having a move with it and changing the flow, but I am I almost see it as this is going to be a Renaissance, it is going to be quite incredible to see when all the creative brains and minds are going to be freed up to actually create and and with that I am excited to see how the movements , how revolution starts, because I truly do believe that whatever is happening, whatever the shift is about, some things are never going to go back to being the same. A lot of people’s eyes are wide open. And now we got some time behind that wide open eyes.

Tammy: But you know, when when 911 hit the country that came out on the other side of it was not the same country. And it’s happening again, the country that is going to come out the other side of COVID is not going to be the same country.

Kerry: I hear you on that one. I agree. Um, I have been mentioning that this this feels like our 911 you know, for this generation, To some degree, I really do see it as that big. And I know Patty you’re grimacing, but I, you know, there’s

Patty: but you know what, there’s kids in high school that were born after 911 So yeah, you’re right. They have no lived memory of it, like the teenagers of today have no live 911 so you’re right in that voice. Right.

Kerry: My son was born 9/11 is very much in my mind, because trust me, I was nine months pregnant. My son was born from eight days after 9/11. Right. There’s an entire generation, but that moment is is so pivotal in my mind, and I know like his, this is like the first real jolts in his reality. You know, like, where he’s recognizing, you know, I don’t have the freedom to just walk outside In the same way, I’ve got to be much more conscious of our surroundings. And I remember when we went through on 9/11 it was just the same thing one day we were here and then the next day, the world looked very different. And I don’t think that we will it there’s a, I don’t want to call it an innocence, but maybe that is the right word. There’s, there’s a layer that’s come off that end of being in the same comfort that we might have been in before, that our children are, are going to have a different way of being at least for the next two years. And then after that’s been a new normal, that becomes a new normal, what is it going to look like? There’s so many questions that are still up in the air, and especially those of us who are of color it’s, it’s going to be a changing face.

And I was thinking about that. We were taught we’ve been talking a little bit about children. How has your journey and story affected because you have little ones I’ve heard you mentioned how does that fall into your journey and their journey as well?

Tammy: Well, it’s Hmm. It has been difficult to explain to the firstborn he’s eight now, Izzy? Well,  I’m like, what kind of mixed race child he is. You know, and especially since my husband is black, I’m medium brown. But we have the whitest kid,  ice blue eyes. When when they he was he  C section baby. So when he was evicted from my body, and I looked over at him, and I’m going, uh-oh .

Kerry:  Call Maury for that moment huh?

Tammy:  One of these things is not like the other. Mama’s going, oh no.   it has been It has been a joke. And we had to make a little a card for his grandfather,because here is here is this this Hershey brown man with this wider than a fish’s belly child and cops would slow down. So we would make we made cards for about four or five years with both their pictures on it that he kept in his wallet. That just in case he had to pull it out and prove he was the grandfather.

Patty: Wow. But yeah,

Kerry:  I was gonna say I’m laughing butI’m not laughing.

Patty: Yeah, yeah, it’s funny, but it’s not. Yeah.

Tammy:  Nothing happened,  nothing went wrong, so we can laugh at it.

Kerry: But I love the preparedness. I love that you prepared.

Tammy:  Yeah. Oh, when we saw the way a cops slow down and look for like, oh, oh no, we got this is something to handle and I was I was asked I’ve been asked when he was a baby, I’d be at the park and I was asked what my rates were

Patty: Oh, they thought you were the nanny.

Tammy:  Yeah, the nanny

Kerry: and yet again, I have to comment that speaks to we’re laughing. That you know, there’s that that speaks to something else happening here as well. You know, the fact that that even comes up, you know, in our space that somebody would feel, something on the outside would feel brazen and bold enough to even ask you your rates, it speaks to an idea of what privileges and what we supposedly called norms in our society, you know that that you would have a baby that is obviously in your genetic makeup and that others cannot even conceive that that could be a space.

Tammy:  Mmm hmm

Kerry:  But I have a cousin of mine, who is, you know, she’s black woman. But I don’t know how far back it goes. But she’s, um, she’s redheaded and blue eyed. And she got freckles like crazy. We used to, we used to this day Kerry-Ann, and I’m so sorry. Like something awful, right? But she’s one of our she’s got our nose. She’s, you know, she’s got the whole genetic makeup like she’s one of ours. But it speaks to this idea that we can really exist in all different shades and we are still of this bloodline that is ours and it doesn’t take from who we are. So that that’s an interesting space to hear you speak about that other people’s perceptions could come in and what has come up and reflected in your gene pool and your world.

Tammy:  Growing up white raised as I call it, it’s, you know, the these, these moments would happen and of course, I’d be taken aback and clutch pearls, right. But being I can also kind of understanding and kind of just talk myself into giving them a pass because the entire world is made for them. As they perceive it, everything is about them. Everything is for them. Everything is it’s their world.

I remember I was at a the Women’s March the first one. And I saw a white woman there with her two daughters. And they had this huge sign that said, “we don’t need Planned Parenthood” and their daughters, overprivileged to the eye just on their phones, like, yeah, whatever Kimberly like, this is so boring. Right? They didn’t care what was going on. They were just there with their parents as their parents helped this giant sign. And though the whole procession was walking by it, and they would getting jived and hissed and booed, and I went up and I walked I walked up to her and I can’t I honestly can’t remember now what I had asked because it turned into such a frustrating moment just shaking with sadness and anger. That why? Why do you think we don’t need Planned Parenthood? I understood what she wanted to you know, she didn’t want the killing of the little bebes, right.

But she wanted to cut down an entire tree when all she really wanted to do was to prune a branch if really wanted to change something. And I was so I was like, No, we need this there are women dying because they don’t have access to a Planned Parenthood. I look around me and all I see is you, I don’t see me anywhere. I see your buildings, your streets. You are everywhere. And you’re erasing me.

We do need Planned Parenthood because you won’t let us have anything else.

And I remember she like she started to get red faced, not out of anger. She was clearly embarrassed and looking away she wouldn’t look me in the eyes and her I started to well, and I just I hugged her and then ran off.

Patty: But I mean, you’re right. Like you’re right. They’re you know, they’ve got everything. And we need this because you won’t let us have anything else and now you’re taking this?  Now you’re taking you know what medical care some women have, but you know that you’re going to take that away because you’ve been told a single story about Planned Parenthood, you don’t even know what it does. But you’ve been told this story. And now you think that that’s everything. And now you’re taking that out that little bit, you know, so I kind of give them a pass but I also kind of don’t because I also grew up white and I educated myself and you educated yourself and we all educated ourselves. And I don’t think there’s any excuse anymore. It’s just willful holding on to it.

Tammy:  Yeah.

Kerry:  What I what I love about your story and in your expression is, you know, I think you speak to all the different polarities and sides of this. You know, as you said, Patty, you took the time to educate yourself. You took the time to to delve in and figure it out.

You know, for me, what keeps coming to mind is that idea of the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Her,  she might have had a, you know, whatever her intention was why she showed up and did her big sign and killed the whole tree and all of that great stuff. But yet again, as you said, there is such a truth to the saying that this world is meant and has been built up for, you know, white people. And we are in that space trying to make sure we get our shine to and yet you know, they’ll, you know, sometimes they show up and they show up the little too much.

And I love your bravery that you stood there and even at the end that you gave her the hug. It speaks to, I think the whole idea of this struggle. You know, the hug is characteristic of who we are as indigenous people and who we are as people of color, who we are that truth of we will always give you the hug. Sometimes we need to give you the back slap, though, but we do have that space for the hug.

Patty:  I think the other side of that space for the hug, though, is it’s dangerous for us when white people cry, especially for men, right? White women’s tears are devastating for black men, you know. And so when we see, you know, the white people upset, we got to fix that. And maybe that’s giving them a hug or giving them a pass or giving them whatever, we got to fix that. And we might not be thinking about that consciously. But we’re remembering the way our teachers talked to us. We’re remembering the way our classmates, you know, when they cried because of something we said or did what would come down on us and so we learned very young, not to let the white people cry, you know, because that’s dangerous. So I think it can come from both spaces. It can come from a space of wanting things to be okay, but it can also come from a space of needing things to be okay. So I think we just need to think about,

Kerry: I think of Dr. Joy DeGruy, her book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, which speaks exactly to that idea that, you know, no, it’s not safe when white folks are there. And that to me is your hundred percent right Patty, yet another layer to this complex space that we are calling, you know, race relations. I guess I don’t even know if that’s the right word, um, as we navigate it, but there’s a boldness there growing. I think, as I said, Tammy you stepped, you stepped up, you know, I mean, you spoke up and you stepped and you did get, and I think we’re doing that and I think as we evolve even further, you’re like as this movement grows, as we get spaces opening up to be creative.   Like I love how you’re, you’re now knowing you can get into that artistic studio with your husband and you’re going to start to create and evolve and that expands. Here we go, will you will that cause you to want to step a little more?

Tammy:  Well, you just made me kind of realize something that my whole life not knowing at all what I was I always said I was like a Heinz 57 mix or, you know, I just, I was just a little bit of everything. And, and I would get called, like people would try to guess what I was and I would it would just I’ve been around the world without leaving my home, you know, through people’s guesses. I’ve gotten you know, like, of course Mexican, any kind of, you know, Spanish speaking, medium brown person, obviously, but I’ve gotten Chinese. I’ve got an African, India.

Patty: I got  Japanese I don’t understand why I got Japanese.

Tammy:  If you have any sort of little pinch to your eye whatsoever any little split whatsoever Oh of course, because that’s that’s like they only know the most generic things.

Patty: I just kept saying no. So I think they got desperate. They never guessed Native. They never guessed indigenous or native. I was always Are you Spanish? Are you Mexican? They never guessed native.

Tammy: Oh, there’s a reason indigenous people are called the invisible people, right? So many people think they don’t exist anymore that it doesn’t even become an option to choose for what’s your race

Patty:  We were constructed to be erased.

Tammy: Yeah, there you go, absolutely.

Kerry: And, and you got to think about you know, they it’s easier to be able to fit you into a nice, neat box. Indigenous is not a nice neat box anymore. It there’s levels to what that brings up when we speak about that too. You know White sensibility. And so I think that’s also why it might be though definitely because erasure has been a thing. But I also think there’s that underlying sense of, oh, my goodness, that may bring up something, oh  I didn’t get that  Because once again, you may not have the stereotypical look.

Right. Well, and so many of us didn’t have it anyway. Right. The stereotypical look was just something Disney made up. But we’ve got Red Planet.  And we’ve got Moonshot. And we got indigenous artists. We got Taika Watiti, who is blowing up the screen making everything amazing.  We’re getting out there. We’re telling our own stories. And that’s, and I think art is a really cool place for you to do that to create things that look like you that speak like you that speak to you. Just to be the voice for the land around you. I guess like that’s kind of our first teacher  isn’t it is the land around us like no matter who we are, and in trying to figure out how to be a good relative to it, whether we know who our ancestors are or not, my ancestors don’t live around here. Right? My ancestors are in Northwestern Ontario, and in, in the Ukraine, they’re not here in Niagara. So I got to learn how to be a good relative to the people that are around here. You know, to the indigenous people who are here

Kerry:  Being brave enough to do the exploration through our our mediums through artwork, and even when we are not knowing, allowing that passion, that inner sense to take the exploration is a bravery in itself. And as you are creating, I’m sure you’re going to find the discovery of your truth, because it’s somewhere in,  I’m always talking about epigenetically being entrenched. And Tammy if you follow that I’m sure it’s gonna come. And what an incredible talk Tammy, you are like this amazing human being. I just like you.

Patty: Yeah, it was great. I never know where these are going to go it just, I Kerry and I find people that are interesting. And we’re like, let’s talk. Let’s see what happens. I bet they’re if they’re interesting here, I bet they’ll be interesting to talk to.

Kerry:  And you definitely were I I loved this conversation. Thank you for sharing your truth. Your story, girl you you have got like a mini series. Like, you know, yes novel. I would pay for that girl. Netflix flicks all the way. All the way.  Have a great, great evening, both of you.

Patty: Thank you. Bye bye.

Tammy:  Bye

You can find Tammy’s work on Instagram and at Tamisery.com

You can find Medicine for the Resistance on Facebook and the website http://www.med4R.com . Don’t forget to rate share and support us by buying us a coffee at https://www.ko-fi.com/medicinefortheresistance.   You can also support the podcast and so much more by going to https://www.patreon.com/PayYourRent.  You can follow Patty on Twitter @gindaanis and at daanis.ca  you can follow Kerry @kerryoscity  and find her online at kerrygoring.com  our theme is fearless.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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