Thursday, September 6, 2007

Foster Homes

My Loving Foster Mother and our First Real Christmas (1977).

Approximately around the year 1976,my sister Fawn and I were taken away from our mother. We were placed in foster care for the next two years. The first foster home was so bad, they might as well thrown us in a prison. We were placed with an African-American family which consisted of a single mother of two and a boy and girl about the same age as us. At first, I didn't know what to think about them. I had never seen a black person before. I stared at them with a curious expression. I kept touching their skin and looking at my fingers to see if the color would rub off. Later these kids became our friends. They were such good kids. The mother on the other hand, was such a terrible mean woman. She didn't want us playing with her children too long so she kept us separate from each other. We were also kept in our rooms most of the time. Our room never had any sun light coming in,just darkness and lit with a bare lightbulb. If we got out of bed or did any little thing wrong, we would get spanked with a ping-pong paddle. That would hurt us so much. We pretty much got hit with it everyday. Fawn and I were very scared of this woman. We endured eight months of isolation and child abuse. The only time we were able to be outside was when the social worker came over to see us. The woman had dressed and cleaned us up.(Obviously just for show for the social worker.) I wanted to say something but I was deadly afraid of this woman. My pleas for help went unheard.

After eight months, we were finally taken to another foster home. This foster home was the best ever! When we first arrived, we were greeted by an elderly man and woman. They were so happy to see us.Of course Fawn and I were silenced by the traumatic situation we had endured. They assured us it was okay. The older man brought me to their back yard and had shown me a lot of toys,especially the plastic indian and cowboy figurines. Inside my little heart, I was a happy little boy again. Fawn was happy too. It was hard to adjust to such a loving family,it took awhile. They gave us three square meals a day, toys,and clean clothes. They took us to church,road trips,fishing,carnivals,zoos and of course they gave us chores to do as well. The one thing I had a big problem with was asking them to use their bathroom. I was so shy and scared to ask them that I would poop and pee in my pants. I think being traumatized by my past experience had something to do with it. They were never mad at me for doing such things. They always encouraged me to ask. I think my foster mother took it very hard and seem to cry at times. I miss and love them very much. It was very hard for us to leave them.

After a year and four months with them. We were taken again,but this time my father, Frank Big Bear, won custody of us to which we were flown back to Minneapolis from Denver. I was five years old and Fawn was four.I remember Fawn and I were looking out the airplane window over Minneapolis and the social worker was telling us,"Your daddy is waiting for you down there". We were so happy! As we were walking down the hallway. We could see our father and we both ran towards him and gave him a big hug at the same time. We became a family again.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Dream - September 11, 2001

Back in May of 2001, I had a very bad dream. The dream took me on a trip to New York City where the skies were covered with the darkest clouds I had ever seen. There were a lot of people running away from something. Some were crying, sad, angry and some were just standing there with no emotion. As I came closer to the source of this chaos, I realized it was the World Trade Centers. They were both on fire with an image of a skull on both towers. The towers were bending like rubber,wobbling from side to side. There was a crazy giant evil monkey jumping from one tower to another repeatedly with human bones falling from the towers. I noticed at the bottom of the towers, there were four black wolves pacing back in forth looking at me with their white glowing eyes. I didn't know if the wolves had something to do with it or if they were guarding it. What ever it was, it wasn't good at all. I soon found myself alone in front of the towers, looking up at them.

That's all I can remember from the dream. I awoke that morning with such deep sadness and grief. It really bothered me for quite sometime. I decided to make a few drawings based upon that awful dream. I finished both pieces in July 2001. These pieces are titled, "The Tears of a Broken Hearted Ojibwe Shaman" and "Untitled" (drawn on black paper). Both are great pieces but disturbing.

It wasn't until that morning when that tragic day occurred on September 11, 2001 that I started to realize this was the evil image I drew just two months prior to this awful day. It was such a sad day for us all, especially to the ones who lost their loved ones. Were my drawings based upon these dreams? Was this dream trying to warn me, or was it just a coincidence of my dream?

I only wished I could have stopped it. What a terrible event that human beings can afflict such evil on other human beings. I have had other dreams relating to events or just people in general. My dreams were so real that they seem to become true in somewhat of a similar fashion or another.

Not long after September 11, a private collector purchased the smaller drawing ("Untitled" on black paper) and the Frederick Weisman Art Museum of Minneapolis purchased the larger drawing ("The Tears of a Broken Hearted Ojibwe Shaman") soon after. I'm blessed with a gift of being artistic but also the gift of sight within my dreams. I do wish at times, I could save or warn of these upcoming tragic events in peoples' lives, but I can't.