We know Native women are tough. I’ve seen it in my Mom, cousins, and sisters. And we also know some Native women can work over a man any day of the week. I’ve heard it, and seen it. Our tribal warfare history talks about the “hefty” Quechan women who killed men in battle… and if you saw or heard the women in our tribe, you would know they are descendants of women who could fight. The real Wonder Women, the true “Amazons.”
I love hanging out with all my cousins, but honestly, they scare me sometimes. One of my female cousins used to always sleep outside under the stars on our rez with all the snakes and scorpions. I remember as a kid admiring how tough she was for doing that. But my sisters could be a little tough and scary at times too. I had a bladder infection when I was 8, and constantly had to use the restroom. My sister scared the bus driver into waiting for me as I ran off the bus to use the restroom in our house. It wasn’t always in my defense though, because one time they both jumped on top of me and gave me a wedgie till my underwear broke. But my sisters were like that; aggressive when they needed to be.
And in some ways, knowing how rough my sisters and cousins were, I knew I probably shouldn’t marry a woman from my tribe for the fear of getting beat up… and plus we’re all probably cousins because the tribe is so small. So, I married a Mexican… only problem is now I’m afraid of getting stabbed. And I know it’s messed up, but it’s kind of true. I just accept it though. Like, aw man, one day I know it’s gonna happen. Vanessa is gonna get mad at me and take a razor from her hair and shank me. But it’s also kind of exciting, like no telling what’s gonna happen tomorrow. And when I really think about, she’s Indigenous too. Violence generally isn’t cool, but at the same time I like that the women in my life are tough.
I’ve been saddened, amazed, and challenged by hearing of all the #metoo stories this week. The strength and the resiliency is nothing short of amazing when I hear what some women (probably most) have endured regarding sexual harassment and assault. It’s been a topic on my mind for the last few years, and admittedly probably should have been on my radar much sooner. But as I know women in our tribe have undoubtedly have faced sexual harassment, violence, or assault I still see them as those warriors. Women warriors who can fight, and the stories I’ve heard from my family and friends are proof of that. I only hope that the strength they have displayed to tell their stories is something that my daughter will adopt in her life. At the end of the day, I think it means I need to make sure Luna is one of the “hefty” Quechan women who could fend off any enemy.