Two of the friends I made during the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March are Alton Onefeather and Foxy Jackson, now Foxy Onefeather since their marriage yesterday. Congratulations! When we learned of their upcoming wedding, we marchers collected money as a gift to them. Fintan’s artwork decorated the envelope.
Some of what I learned about Foxy and Alton follows.
Alton was talking about the strong bond that forms between a child and an animal. He spoke fondly of a horse from his youth. When he and his friends went to ride their horses, his was the only one who came up to him every time. He talked about how easy is was to ride the horse that was in tune with where he wanted to go. “I really miss that horse.”
He made a raincoat out of a plastic bag for their dog Oceti when we marched in the rain.
I had a delightful conversation with Foxy. She had an abusive childhood. She grew up in a very diverse area in California and said she had never experienced racism until she moved to the Midwest. When she went into a restaurant, she was told they were full, when there was a room full of empty tables. Eventually she was told she could stay if she ate quickly. Another time she was entering a restaurant with her child as a white woman was leaving. The woman pushed her own children behind her, and told Foxy she needed to leave. When Foxy asked why, the woman said she was scaring her children. Afterward she took her child to a park and explained what had happened was because of the wrong beliefs of the white woman, and that it was not anything about Foxy’s child.
Another story relates to bullying. When she noticed some kids bullying a gay kid, she intervened and asked what damage the gay boy was doing to them? The bullies said, “nothing”. Then she said he was minding his own business, and they (bullies) should mind theirs.
She said she didn’t often have much money. She does make some by selling jewelry she makes. Her mother once gave her some abalone that she could use to make jewelry to sell. Foxy made the jewelry but gave it all away. When on the phone her mother asked if she had sold any of the jewelry, yet? After a pause, her mother said “you gifted it, didn’t you?” She told me Alton Onefeather makes dreamcatchers to make money, but he, also, usually gifts them all away.
Foxy also told me about a book, The Tribe. Looking it up on line, I think this is the book: https://www.amazon.com/Tribe-Homecoming-Belonging-Sebastian-Junger-ebook/dp/B01BCJDSNI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1536154493&sr=8-2&keywords=the+tribe
This book has a number of exercises to help people new to a diverse setting learn to know each other. Foxy said one example included assigned seating to mix people up, rather than the usually tendency of people of each culture creating their own group. Another example is for pairs of kids/adults to draw a picture of their partner. They then take turns introducing their partner to the group. When it came time for the group to break apart, they don’t want to leave their new friends.
Alton told me about some of his experiences in construction, and how he would serve as foreman for a crew to build houses. He also spoke of fighting forest fires. He said some fireman called themselves ‘hotshots’, but they gave themselves that designation and weren’t necessarily better trained than anyone else.
Alton pointed out various plants to us during the March.
He said he and Foxy planned to travel by bus to California (where Foxy is from) and elsewhere after they were married, partly to look for jobs. They don’t have a car, which I was delighted to hear since I’ve worked for years to try to get people to get rid of their cars.
I am really glad to have this selfie photo Alton took of us at the end of the March in Fort Dodge.