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Miss Vetter & Tuberoses

  After Wilbur Kent hied himself back to the wilds of NYC, the school system had a problem, in that it had no one to oversee the orchestra - unless Miss Vetter did it.  I found myself in the surprising (to me) position of a teacher coming to me & asking me to help her!

  She was one of those birdy women who sings at people constantly.  But she had a very good voice, so overall, it wasn't a big annoyance.  It was kind of endearing, even to us kids.  We made fun of her, but not viciously.  She didn't sing the day she asked me for help, though.

  She explained to me that I had considerably more power than I realized, and when I left the student orchestra, it got the other kids to see that they had some power, too.  The power coming from making choices.  She told me she needed me to come back into the orchestra, so the rest of the kids...  Read More

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Age 12 - Violinist Makes (New) Waves

  When I was in the 8th grade, Mr. Feldman left our system - over a 50-cent-an-hour raise.  This man had great ability with us kids, especially us difficult ones (like me); he had played in Carnegie Hall when he was 6!; & the short-sighted penny-wise/pound-foolish people on the School Board let him get away for a measly 50 cents an hour more pay. 

  But that wasn't the only "duh-uh!" those people did - the man they hired for his replacement was a Wilbur Kent.  From New York City.  Who introduced himself to us kids with these words: "I've come here to the wilds of the back woods from New York City; to teach you little savages culture."  Jeeh - how to allienate your audience in a smooth move!  He instantly had 110 kids as adversaries - me at the forefront.  We Ndns don't take the word "savage" well, usually.

  He followed his...  Read More

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Age 9 - Junior High

  When I was 9, the public school system got a new orchestra teacher, and my parents, wanting very much to turn me into a little white girl, (spell that, "have all the advantages we didn't when we were your age"), enrolled me for tryouts for the school system orchestra.  I don't think anyone ever failed the tryouts, but the maestro needed to know who had what degree of talent, so..
  The cost of renting an instrument was too high for my folks, but they knew someone who had a very nice German violin he was no longer playing, & he agreed to rent it to me "for a concert a year".  So for several years, I had to do a concert - which for me, was pure torture.
  Not only was I the only Ndn kid in town who refused to try to pass as white, I was 'a brain' & I was different in size.
 Until I was 6, I was under 3 feet tall, & 'everyone' worried (out...  Read More

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Truly Lousy Advice

  When I was 9, I was trapped by two 16-year-old bigots, who were still in the 6th grade, & whipped with steel pallet-wrapping strips.  I left a blood trail going home & I remember white bigots saying softly, "Maybe the little tipi nigger bitch will learn her place, now."  My grandmother put me in a bathtub full of warm water & baking soda & picked off what floated, with tweezers.  She covered my back with a salve she made & today, the upper 2/3 of my back is a scar, but it is invisble unless you touch it.
  During the time I was healing, my grandmother got my Uncle Al to come in from the cities "on the sly" & teach me how to fight.  After I recovered & went back to school, I nailed the bullies & beat them to a pulp - about 30" inside the far boundary of the school grounds.  Teachers hauled me in to the principal's off ice for instigating!Read More

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Controvery sells, they say

  It appears to be true that controversy sells - look at the headlines. 

  There's a management tool used in some seminars in which each participant chooses an adjective to go with their first name.  The adjective must start with the same sound, & preferably the same first letter, of the first name.  My first name, in the majority culture, anyway, is Carol.  And the first word that comes to mind with my first name is "Controversial".  My life has been this way since my conception.  My birth mother got me with an Ndn man, not with the white man she was married to - so I can honestly say, "I'm a real bastard".  ;-)  In the Ndn Way, there's no such thing as 'bastardy', nor is there a stigma attached to having a child for some man you aren't married to.  Our word for child in Lakhota is "wakanyja" (say, "wah-KHANH-yjza"); it means...  Read More

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