Leading with Laughter

| #030 | EXPRESSION > humor > Indian humor |180 words |

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.

“They didn’t?”

“No, but we did have an anweninini.”

“A what?”

“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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Steph is a self-described transspirit, which is a kind of sacred misfit. By transcending conventional limits—gender norms, religious identities, political polarities, and more—Steph experiences a unique connection in life. And suspects others do as well. This blog shares that spirituality, and affirms others of a similar state of being.

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