You have to laugh much harder.

Gilbert Walking Bull as quoted by Jon Young, 512 Project

I hear you guys talking about how you’re helping young people; how you’re going to save Mother Earth and do all these great things.  But those children are looking at you. You guys are always in a bad mood, you’re always working so hard, you’re always tired. You’ve always got a bad taste in your mouth about what’s happening to Mother Earth.  And you’re angry at the people. Those children are looking at you and saying I’m not following that person because they’re miserable. My people know this. You guys have to understand no matter what you think you’re doing, you’re turning them off.  You have to play more music. You have to dance more. You have to laugh much harder. Your not laughing half the time, you’re so serious about everything, like end of the world is coming. Those kids are watching. You’re worried about them, but they’re worried about you.  You guys need to learn to get over yourselves, overcome that feeling inside you that your heart is so heavy with grief about the future, about the land, about the people, about work. But think about my people. What we had to overcome. We were hunted by your ancestors; we were killed in cold blood.  Our own ancestral land taken from us; we were put in reservations like prisons. You know, my people suffered under this. But we maintained a happiness inside ourselves because our children have to see that in us. It’s the only hope they have. So you have to learn this, this is role modeling. This is how culture comes alive.  Without it, this doesn’t work. It’s a hard life, but we’re going to laugh anyway. If you’re going to tell a story, tell it with everything you have. If you’re going to sing a song, sing it with everything you’ve got. And if you’re going to dance, you dance. If you’re going to laugh, laugh hard.

KellieWorking assumptions