Gyasi Ross: Funerals often serve as the default family reunion

"My family doesn’t really have reunions. Not pre-planned family reunions, anyway—you know, the kind with hats, t-shirts and what have you.

The matriarchs in our family always try to set them up, but it’s difficult.

It’s mainly money problems and logistics that prevent true family reunions from happening in my family—we’re in a lot of different places, and so it’s difficult to get everyone together at one time. Plus, my family is big and somewhat transient in nature: lots of phone numbers change, people move and disappear for long periods of time without notice. We tend to catch up with each other when we catch up with each other—usually at some pow-wow, or IGA, or Wilma Faye or Wanda’s house.

It’s important to note that we don’t love each other any less simply because we don’t see each other. No, my family is very close. But most of us are, for lack of a better word, “poor.” I mean, we love seeing each other and we’re slobberingly affectionate with each other when we actually do get to see each other. It just doesn’t happen that often, and when it does, it’s usually not under the best of circumstances."

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Native Family Reunions (A Classic Revisited) (Indian Country Today 10/16)

Join the Conversation