Watching a David Attenborough documentary–Planet Earth–with a Sioux Indian is mildly disconcerting. Attenborough is intoning about the bison. That’s a magnificent animal I say. That’s a lot of meat, she says. We used to hunt them with arrows, she says. You could kill them with arrows? Nah, but if you could immobilize it you could hack at it. I blanch even whiter. That’s a lot of meat she says again.
Signing my wife up for Indian Health Services to see if she can get a break on increasingly expensive dental care (even with dental insurance), the case worker asked my wife what tribe she was. She pulled out her tribal ID. Yankton Sioux. Don’t get many Sioux in here, the caseworker said. What tribe are you, my wife asked. My father was Lakota Sioux, the caseworker said, my mother Rosebud Sioux. They talked about South Dakota and I thought to myself in like Flynn. Sioux Nation looking out for its own. She wrote my wife’s name in at the top of the list.
If there was only an Irish equivalent. Somehow free drinks at Harrigan’s doesn’t quite cut it.
Must say I am jealous of your pictures from the National Museum of the American Indian. I gotta take my own Native American there. So she can become even more Native American and inscrutable to her dumb Irish husband than she is already.
You know what the difference between a Native American Museum and an Irish American Museum is? The Irish American Museum has a bar. Nothing else, just a bar.
You know what the difference between a really smart Native American and a really smart Irish American is? The really smart Native American passes the bar, but the really smart Irish American has never passed a bar in his life.
And you know what the difference between the Yankton Sioux tribe and a bunch of Irish Americans is? The Yankton Sioux have a herd of buffalo*, while the Irish Americans have heard the one about the Irishman who brought a buffalo into a Mulligan’s bar. The bartender says sorry, Paddy O’Malley, but we don’t serve buffalo in here, and Paddy says but I swear on my sainted mother’s grave this buffalo says he’ll be paying the bill. Bartender says Paddy, I knew your mother, and I knew your mother’s mother, and I still don’t believe that buffalo is going the pay the bill. Paddy rolls his eyes and says sweet Jesus can I be believing me own ears, that you, Sean O’Casey, a good man and a real Irishman, have never heard of a Buffalo Bill?
The difference between a room full of Irishmen and a room full of Yankton Sioux is a room full of Irishmen would think that was the funniest joke they ever heard, while a room full of Yankton Sioux would just stare in stony silence.
OK, that’s it.
Gimme a break, I just made them up as I went along. You want funny get some Jewish guys. I’ll be in the bar with the rest of the boyos.
* they do, actually, a herd of several dozen bison.