Gyasi Ross: A tribute to Indian moms and unmassaged feet
"All she ever really wanted was a foot massage.

And she’s not alone. Although I cannot site any empirical data for this notion (who would do a scientific study on such a fact?), if I had to guess, I’d say that Indian women get the least foot massages per capita of any ethnic group in America; maybe in the whole wide world. And the thing is, Indian mothers deserve it – probably more than any other group in the world.

I remember my mom, when my sisters and I were kids, worked extremely long days. She worked at Dean’s Thriftway – a now defunct store – and before that, the Pencil Factory. Of course, mom gladly worked the long days because jobs were (and are again) hard to come by. Although we happily devoured the cans of fruit cocktail, meatball stew and farina, she still sometimes liked to give us Frankenberry and Count Chocula. Therefore, long hours or not, and with no man in the house, she had to work the long hours. Her kids’ Frankenberry depended on it!

And work she did. She’d go to work before we left for school – go outside, unplug the car, scrape the windows and make that cold journey alone. It was still dark outside when she left, the roads were icy, and it was freezing cold outside. When she got off work it was dark again, and she’d come home well after we got home from school. The roads were still icy and it was still freezing cold outside.

She was exhausted, but she’d come home with a smile on her face, happy to see her hungry kids. Of course, her smile quickly disappeared when she realized she still had to cook, possibly help her kids with homework (she took homework very seriously), and get us ready for bed. We’re talking probably another two hours of responsibility after work – maybe 8:30, 9 o’clock – before she got some “me” time.

But she never complained. This is what she signed up for by being a mom, right? Granted, she naively thought that a man came with all of these kids, and maybe even a date and a foot rub sometimes. Still, she trudged through. And when I lay down at night, I must have apologized to God a million times for my dad – that he wasn’t there to help my mom with cooking and helping with homework. But those conversations with God were my choice, my business – she never said anything bad about men or acted bitter."

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: A tribute to Indian moms and feet (Indian Country Today 5/7)

Related Stories:
Gyasi Ross: Being a role model for Indian Country youth (4/16)
Gyasi Ross: Cobell a hero and warrior for Indian Country (3/31)
Gyasi Ross: The politics of Native people and our hair (2/23)
Gyasi Ross: 'Behold, it's Great White Father Man!!!' (2/10)
Gyasi Ross: Making excuses won't help Native people (1/28)
Gyasi Ross: Lawyers, Haiti, Natives and learning to fish (1/15)