Leading with Laughter
File this one under: Things NOT to say to American Indian coworkers.
Images: Indian Country Today
When we showed up to the new job just off the rez, we found ourselves reporting to some white supervisor. Again.
This poor white guy tried so hard to impress us with his creative memory. “I come from a tradition of great leaders,” he boasted. “I believe my great great granddaddy was an Indian chief.”
I played along. “That’s too bad.”
“Too bad? Why?”
“Our tribe didn’t have chiefs,” I calmly assured him.
“No, but we did have an anweninini.”
“Anweninini,” I repeated, waiting if he could see how I pulled that one straight from my arse.
“Okay, so maybe he was an on-when-in-knee-knee, or whatever you said.”
My skinship friends chuckled. The guy started to blush. “What?” he asked, “did I pronounce it wrong?”
When hearing such B.S. claims I like to offer my own B.S. counterclaim. But sometimes I’m taken just a bit too seriously by some of these non-Indians.
Before I started to break into laughter myself I just had to tell him: “Anweninini means the one we blame when things go wrong.”
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