Native Americans / American Indians have a great sense of humor. We can theorize all day and night as to why, but what is important is we can laugh with and at life.
Here are just a few of some of the lighter things I have had happen:
One of my favorite stories happened in 1988 when I was asked to assist with a rambunctious patient at the hospital where I work.
He looked at me and said "Go back to your own country!" I'm not sure where he thought I was from but I am asked now and then if my heritage is Asian or Middle Eastern. Both cultures have excellent food which I love.
At a powwow, a very elegant lady asked me if I was an authentic Indian. As it turned out, she was a very nice person but said some things that I had to smile and shake my head at. When I was asked why Indians are "not afraid of heights", she overheard the conversation and said loudly: "It's something in their brains!"
Education regarding Native culture has helped to get rid of many old stereo types but a few myths are still hanging in there.
Once when my wife and I were very tired from dancing at a powwow a group of people asked me what I should be called. At the time I didn't realize they were asking about American Indian vs Native American; this can be a sensitive issue, so I just said "Wendell". For the record, I use both. Back home we usually say Indian but many Native people prefer Native American.
I get asked a lot if I am related to Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse. I don't have many famous people I can say I am related to but my wife insists her great-grandfather was a Baron in Sicily.
Once I was told I "look real Indian". Then when the gentleman found out Nancy's ethnic background, he said "You don't look Italian. They are dark people.
You must have some other blood in you." At one time my wife had auburn hair. He later asked me where my wife got her reddish hair from.
Now if I had told him the truth, she'd get a tad annoyed so I told him her Aunt Rose had red hair.
Nancy did not dye her hair, she "tinted" it, like her Aunt Rose. Nancy now has brown hair, but this story always made me smile.
My last name can get people to ask a few questions.
I'm glad I never changed it. At one time I wanted to have a more Anglo sounding last name but my Aunt Mary asked me to leave it as is.
When people ask me now if I ever would consider shortening it
I tell them I already did. It was Deer With Horns Running Through The Woods On A Crisp Autumn Day Being Chased By A Pack Of Wolves.
I started a list of how my last name gets misunderstood and mispronounced. My two favorites are "Dearborn" and "Shoehorn".
I hope people come to know that Native Indian People can have a good laugh even when life is hard.
This page is dedicated to the memory of
Aunt Mary and Aunt Rose