Saturday, 12 October 2013

In memory of a woman who your face Columbus!

* Note: Jody Ann Osborne passed away on September 28, 2013. She was laid to rest today October 12th 2013. I chose to write a letter to her rather than about Columbus.


When it comes to this so called Columbus Day I usually post something on the internet about the rape, pillage and stealing of Native land, something I know I would get a "like" or a comment from you with laughter and agreement. I usually do what everyone else is doing and tell people to decolonize, to resist the white man’s ways or to stop celebrating a man who…well you get the picture.

The memory card to your funeral services was beautiful.
Instead for this day of October 12th rather than focus my energy on all that, I chose to write about a day I celebrated with your family as everyone help send you home to the spirit world. Today on October 12th, 2013 I chose to write about you Jody Ann Osborne. Rather than focus any time or energy about Columbus and his cultural genocide I am going to write about how proud you were to be Choinumni and how I once stood at your side as we fought back against those “Columbus” style colonizers that were trying to desecrate your ancestors’ land known as Wahallisch (Crying Mountain or Jesse Morrow Mountain).

Today while at your ancestral burial grounds there were so many folks talking about the great person you are. And I wish I would have shared a couple of fondest memories I have about you, it just didn’t come to my mind until later that day. This Columbus Day I chose to do a different way of expressing what it means to resist and decolonize and Jody, you represented that which we all can learn from.

I still have the Fresno Bee issue from the that year
 I first met you back in 1998 at the Fresno Veterans Day Parade here in Fresno. Native Americans that fought in all wars were chosen as Grand Marshall. I remember singing with a drum group called Spirit Ground back then. I was getting ready to jump up on a float when a young gentleman who’s name I can’t recall, was carrying a flag and introduced himself to me and the singers from my group. He started talking about what Nation or Tribe we were from and he told us he is Choinumni. At that moment one of my friends said, “Oooh there aren’t that many of those around anymore.” and you overheard my friend say that and you said in a very joyful and non-offended manner “Hey there is a lot of us, matter of fact this is my nephew and these are his cousins (pointing to other Choinumni) and those are his aunties and I am his aunty.” I felt very silly for the comment my friend made but then you introduced yourself as Jody Osborne.
I still remember that moment because of how proud you said you were Choinumni. I still have the newspaper clippings of that year which also featured a story of your uncle Leonard Osborne. I remember that year we danced and sang together for all our people in that parade.

After digging up old clippings I realized your uncle was featured in the news. R.I.P.
Much time passed Jody and I would see you at events, powwows and gatherings. But because today is October 12th, there is one memory I want to finish talking about for everyone, especially your family to know. I will always remember how you and I attended that presentation on Wahallisch Mountain back in 2010, when CEMEX was trying to convince the community that we needed a mine here in Fresno County. If anyone who is reading this wants to see how you spoke on behalf of your people they can visit this link and begin to watch at exactly 35:00 minutes into the video how you did it. ( 

It was that day Jody that you stood up to a corporation and told them that they had no right to desecrate your ancestral land. It was there that I saw you stand up and speak not only on behalf of the 250 family members of the Choinumni people, but for all our people to say we are still here, and we always have been and always will be. Remember when we won against CEMEX? I was on the Peace & Dignity 2012 run and when I heard the news there would be no mine, I remembered how you stood up to CEMEX. But of course many other people were part of the fight, but this is my letter to you and I'm writing it so I give you props!

On this so called Columbus Day, I want to thank you Jody Ann Osborne. I want to thank you for being that resistance and for the memories you instilled in me that taught me the power of the Choinumni Nation. I will see you once again when my time comes, but for now I promise to keep up the fight for all our people and our relatives yet to come. May the creator and your ancestors welcome you with open arms.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to such an awesome Strong Choinumi Woman! She will be missed, but she has left her memory in the many hearts that she has touched.