OK, here's the deal: my mother's family lived in Canada, and there just never was any contact between us and them. Now, some 11 years after my mother's death I was contacted by a long-lost Canadian cousin Violet and I discovered that my grandmother was a full-blooded Indian. Even though I avoided dealing with being gay until later in life, I always knew that I really was gay. All of a sudden I'm instantly Indian, so how could I not write a column about THAT?
No, It Wasn't Mountie Porn
The return address on the letter that arrived in the mail late last month was in Canada. I couldn't figure out who the hell was writing me from Canada since I don't know anybody living there. And while I had just purchased a videotape from Canada over the Internet, I had already received it.
Cue The Twilight Zone Music
The letter was from a daughter of one of my mother's sisters. You have to remember that up until that second the only contact I ever had with my mom's family was with my mom. My cousin's first name sounded vaguely familiar ( from some greeting cards in decades-old family scrap books ) , and she named everyone in my immediate family. It was the sort of out-of-the-blue thing you expect in some cheesy made-for-TV movie, not in real life. Especially your own.
I Thought It Meant She Was A Natural-Born Hockey Player
I sent an e-mail to the e-mail address my cousin included in her letter, and in her first response she said our grandmother was a 'Native Canadian.' But since all I knew about my mother's side of the family was the she was from Canada, and that the Willett family ( her maiden name ) came over to the New World in the 1600's, I had no reason to associate 'Native Canadian' ( which I had never heard before ) with the more familiar 'Native American.'
Unable To Make Reservations
My cognitive cluelessness continued even though that first e-mail also included the fact that our grandmother was from the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada.
Being Gay Wasn't Enough
One of my first thoughts was 'Great, all of a sudden I'm yet another minority.'
I knew that my grandmother's maiden name was Brant. I didn't know that she was apparently a direct descendant of Joseph Brant, a Mohawk chief who sided with the British during the Revolutionary War. He was born with the name Thayendanegea.
I Didn't Know I Was Talking About Great-Great-Great-Great-Etc., Granddad
A year ago I was doing my student teaching in a 7th-grade social studies room in a school in Oak Park, and we talked about Thayendanegea in class.
Putting The 'Gay' In 'Thayendanegea'
Maybe I should call myself Thayendavegaya
Is That A Canoe Under Your Breeches, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?
The Tyendinaga Reserve, also in Ontario, derives its name from Thayendanegea, and translated to English it means 'placing the wood together.'
The Mo The Mary-er
Joseph Brant was a Mohawk. Does that make me a Homohawk?
A Whole New Meaning To 'Cowboys And Indians'
As regular readers of this column know ( are there any? ) , my favorite bar in Chicago is Charlie's, the gay country bar.
Cowboy Fetish Explained
I guess the reason I always wanted to fuck cowboys was to even up the score from what they were doing to my ancestors all those years ago.
What's In A Name?
Given all the country dancing I do, maybe my name should be 'Dances With Boots.'
Once my newly-found Canadian cousin reads this, will she still keep in contact with me?
Send me an e-smoke signal at PretzelLogicDave@aol.com