COMMENTARY: Changes upon changes…

by Apr 8, 2020OPINIONS


Observations and random thoughts. 




My wife asked me the question a little while ago and now I’m beginning to hear the same thing on the radio and TV. After the Covid-19 pandemic runs its course, what changes to our daily life are going to be permanent? As someone who’s always shaken the hand of most everyone I meet, will that custom go away? The hand shake if you aren’t aware of its beginnings was a gesture to show that you weren’t carrying a weapon. Nowadays with the virus you just might be carrying a deadly, invisible weapon. I ain’t shaking nobody’s hand no more, I’ll just offer my trademarked, familiar one-finger greeting. Be happy I notice you.

My concern and question is, what about our powwows? What happens now? Can you imagine a Gathering of Nations or Denver March Grand Entry without the floor packed with dancers or the stands packed with spectators? Like it or not, indoor powwows are now the ideal grounds for spreading a viral disease. I have the solution, it’s time to get back to the old days with outdoor social gatherings like Crow Fair or our very own Eastern Cherokee July Powwow. These things were never meant to be held indoors anyway. Someone saw that big ol’ dollar sign flashing and ran with it. For a long time back in the good old days, Albuquerque had a Spring Powwow that was a featured stop on the powwow circuit. Then, the Indian School grounds where it was held became unavailable for some reason or another (dollars). Maybe it’s time to restart that.  

   Despite comparisons to other countries showing a flattening curve the fact is, we haven’t tested as aggressively as those countries. The virus is running rampant among the states with a peak somewhere down the road, some say perhaps in early May, or June, wishful or deluded thinkers say sooner. President Trump would love for it to be now, dunno which he is, lol. For sure it’s NOT a Democrat engineered hoax and it’s NOT going to miraculously go away when it gets warm so please stay vigilant, stay safe. Don’t flood testing centers unless you show some of the signs. I know that you’re scared, you should be, we all should be, I definitely am, for sure. We didn’t ask for this but we have to work together to remain safe, keep our families safe and get through this. So, you’ve heard it before, wash your hands often and sanitize everything you bring home. Please stay at home as much as possible, wear a mask, a bandana (not a plastic bag). You can do it.

During our shelter-in-place (voluntary lockdown) you’ll need entertainment. Something to relive the tension. DON’T PLAY MONOPOLY or RISK or Trivial Pursuit! People don’t like to be mastered (GMunny, talking to you). Instead, there’s this thing called streaming. You now have Netflix, Prime Video, VUDU, Disney Plus, CBS All-Access and Hulu among others so, watch Ozark, The Man in The High Castle, Picard, Catch-22, things like that. If you spend your days watching the “Kartrashians” you’ll like something called Tiger King, don’t ask what it’s about, I don’t know and don’t care, to each their own. But, entertain yourself.

I saw in the One Feather that a positive case showed up on the Qualla Boundary and not long after reading that received an update from a good friend who was a classmate at CHS (a looong time ago…yes, it was) and is now a dedicated Councilman from Birdtown. Yes folks, I’m a B’Towner. I really do appreciate the updates. Thanks to the proactive work of our tribal government with “anti-social” distancing and work-from-home measures and ~gasp~ temporarily shuttering our casinos, we may escape this thing relatively unscathed.  Prayers to all. I was also informed that the individual in question is no longer on the Rez. My first thoughts were, “good, we don’t have to encase them in that protective plastic wrapping”. I was hoping that it wasn’t someone who came home from elsewhere to escape the virus. That behavior is selfish, inconsiderate and unfortunately is happening all over the country with people escaping and bringing the virus with them. I know we haven’t the manpower to do so but sometimes I believe that we need a deputized tribal militia to help restrict access to the Homeland. A good outdoor containment center for a mandatory 14-day quarantine would also be ideal. 

I’m teaching myself some new phrases to use when I hear things I don’t like or agree with. Good stuff. For instance, bad news which is usually the truth is now “fake news”. White lies or outright lies are “alternative facts”. And inquiries you don’t have an answer to or a snappy retort for are “nasty questions”. And, to all you folks out there who like reading my stuff, thanks to you my “ratings” are up. And if you don’t like my stuff well, you’re just nasty. See, I’m getting good at this already. 

I’m out until next time. Stay safe.

Ledford is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians currently residing Albuquerque, N.M.