“Hau Mitakuyawasin, Ish NaNa Nazin Emaki Yapaydo.” Hello my relatives, my name is Stands Alone. My real name is Arthur Red All Around Him. I am a Native American, Dakota, but to be more accurate, Wahpe Kute. My band of Dakota, have been the front of the line, sort to speak, in a majority of the great battles fought against the United States. Our band was known as being fierce and proud, not to back down from any fight, and great leader skills.  This brings pride and dignity to me, knowing that I am following in the footsteps of great people who have done significant things to carry on to their future bloodline. Thinking about the rich and beautiful culture that I have descended from, brings a sense of honor, knowing that my ancestors have fought for what we have today. 
    Along with my great history, I carry many burdens.  My health is slowly deteriorating because of a chronic disease called Diabetes. I have three fingers on my left hand, my index finger and middle finger and thumb, three and a half on my right, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of my ring finger, which I am still able to where a ring but unfortunately falls off. My toes were the first to go before any of my limbs, brief lesson on how a diabetic body works. The feet are the limbs that are the most highly affected due to the high levels of sugar in the blood, it can cause a clotting in the vessels which cut off circulation, which causes no oxygen to the feet, which can actually break the skin and get infected, therefore causing
gangrene, which eventually will lead to chopping off the foot.   Luckily, the doctor was able to stop the gangrene at my toes, so he only took my toes. I guess you can say that I am living up what my great ancestors have fought for. I look at myself in the mirror, which is broken because I let loose some rage I had well gazing at myself, and I think about what was it like
to live in the past, to roam free on the plains? How did our forefathers not become affected by the complications that we face today? Why do we face these  hardships, these trials and tribulations? Why? Why is it I have to watch what I eat and drink? So many questions that I have to ask but who will answer these questions.
    This is the type of conversation that I have with my doctor, “I’ve been having this numb feeling in my leg, and it feels cold all the time.” Doctor responds, “you have heard it before but, it is hard for me to tell you this, I’m going to have to operate and remove the bottom half of your leg. Because there is no circulation there, the infection will become too severe to treat. I am sorry.” 
     Blank, empty stare towards the window, which faces a playground where kids are running free and wild, having a good time and not thinking about the future, just living in the moment of life. I was young once; hell of a runner, probably one of South Dakota’s finest. Used to be able to put down a mile at a pace of four minutes and twenty seconds, yeah that’s fast. Used to run three miles in fifteen, run two in nine and a half, used to run every where, didn’t have a car so I had too. I was careless and young, didn’t give a damn about any thing. Had girls, partied on the weekends, and drank like a fish. I swear I look back on my life now well sitting on this examination table. I would do things totally different. I regret that day I put that bottle of alcohol to my lips, man, if I could go back and time with the mind frame that I have today, I would tell those bastards, HELL NO!!
    Why did I consume that drink, was it because of its’ taste, was it because it would give me great powers, or was it because I was a little bitch with no backbone who would do any thing to be cool and fit in? Yeah, I was a little bitch with no backbone, I did do what ever it took to fit in, to be accepted by other people. I wasted forty years of my life, forty years, drinking. I started when I was sixteen, quit five years ago. I am fifty-one years old, I look back and think, “Damn, did I really used to dig in garbage bins for corners of bottles and change?” Hell I was homeless, used to live on the streets of Webster, South Dakota. White folks walk by and say “Just another Indian, drunk, not like it’s new”.
    Not only did I carry the burden of drinking but also the burden of my own skin. If I was drinking in small hick towns, I guarantee there was going to be a fight and some one was going to the ER. Racism in South Dakota still exist, stands out like the Mona Lisa painting on an art gallery wall. It’s sad that a person like me has to carry these burdens, well more like deserved due to the lifestyle that I have chose. I come from a proud race and decadency that most people would dream about, but sitting here in this cold, bright room atop this paper cover. I have nothing, no will to live but wanting one more day, one more day to give inspiration and lead by example? My family was taken by this disease I now face, I grew up watching my great-grandparents and parents give themselves shots in the stomach, injecting insulin and I always told myself that I would never follow in those footsteps. Watching them as they stab their own flesh and overcoming their fear of needles just to spend more time in this fucked up world. 
    Why? 
     Well look at me, I am doing the exact same thing, hoping that this medicine will give me more time here, more time to be around people, people like me who have made decisions that they regret but come to live with and pass on their hard endured knowledge. As I step off of this examination table I will go to the outside world, a cruel cold world, and I will show people what bad choices can
do to you, show them what alcohol can do to you. My face is bright red and full of deep pores, my nose is twice its normal size, and I hardly have any hair. Truth be told, I hate looking in the mirror, I haven’t looked into a mirror in years, the mirror in my bathroom is broken. When I walk by a store window I walk with my head down, when I walk down the street I don’t dare make eye contact with any one because I am afraid that they will laugh at me.
    Alcohol effects people in different ways, white people are fortunate, they can drink all their life and not be as ugly as I am today. If were to show you a picture of me back in high school, I
doubt you would recognize me. A devilishly handsome young man with wavy black hair, I always dressed in fine clothes and I was healthy. I had it all, appearance wise I was able to fit in any type of crowd, whites, Indians, trashy, or classy. After high school, which I finally graduated due to the wishes of my parents, I went on and spent a year in college, it was there I learned how to handle my booze and stay drunk. Man it was fun to go to a party and hang out.
The free booze, sex, and just being wasted off my ass, spending nights in the drunk tank, only to be released and greeted by real good friends with a bottle of Jim Beam and a case of Bud. I can remember when my mom and dad would send me money. I would go get the survival kit, the essentials, basically which consisted of a bottle of 150 proof and four cases.
    Walking down this cold and bright-lit hallway, hearing the sound of heart-rate monitors
beeping, knowing that they are beacon of living or dead. I think about my survival kit know. A pillbox marked, Mon-Tues-Wed-Thurs-Fri-Sat-Sun with little compartments that hold on the items that determine my fate and a small vial of Insulin and a pack of syringes. When I stab myself in my abdomen, I can taste the bitterness of the insulin as it streams into my blood. I can grimace as if there is pain, but I’ve become so used to taking the insulin that its routine,
heck if I wake up in my sleep my body would know what to do.     
     As I approach the scheduler, I am greeted.           
     “Hello Art, how are we doing today?”
    I reply, “Another day alive, so I guess you can say I’m doing good.”
     She says, “Let’s see, what are we scheduling for you?”
    I know she knows what I am going be scheduling but its her job to be polite, in her mind she’s probably thinking, “Taking another limb are we?” but yet again she isn’t as cruel as I make her out to be, she is just a young beautiful woman, who was thinking when she went into school for this line of work, “I’m going make a difference”. Little did she know she’d be setting up appointments to chop off limbs of diabetics. 
    I am a bitter man, no will to live but yet I want to keep on living. I have endured turmoil and tragedy, which I have bestowed upon myself, made choices that make me an incomplete man. No family, but living for some thing, hoping the youth and young adults hear my cry and listen to my story. I come from a proud race and strong bloodline, a once dominant people who fought for our future, who sacrificed so we can live a better life. I did nothing to honor my forefathers and I am hoping that all of the young can look at me and realize, realize that they have the opportunity to honor our ancestors by excelling in their lives, by living out their dreams, and by realizing that we are bigger then what we make ourselves out to be.  


 


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