I in my 30’s pondered and thought…after a few vivid dreams, much to real to not be truth. Gosh, I must be Indian! Who would know? Who in my family would know these things about us? It was well known in our peoples, we carried the genes of Scott – Irish, German and English. The dreams were of me, as a Native American man awaiting the birth of his child as he danced anxiously on the thin ice of the creek rocks…finally the crying of a birthed little one pierced the air! He ran for the tipi. I knew eagle dances, and other ceremonial things I had no way to know this lifetime from experience.

Other times when standing on the earth of certain places of the Great Prairie, I seemed to just know things of times long ago. I was awakening something from deep within me. This I knew. I dug out my papers, those quick notes, the many pages , my Grandma Florence Henry had dictated to me after my queries. I only saw her a very few times after my marriage and my family had formed. We lived far from each other. These pages had to be put in a better order for me to even understand the almost 200 years of memories she had. So I started doing my geaneology. It was at least a place to start my search for the truth behind my Indian knowings.

Further on in time, my Grandpa died and Grandma was taken even further away from where I lived. She was in a nursing home until she died at age 98. At her funeral, I and one of my other sisters, who also thought we were Indian, cornered our eldest Henry Aunt, my Dad’s oldest sister, in the back bedroom of the cousin’s home we were visiting. We chose the bedroom so as to not be in a crowd. We asked her, “Are we Indian?” Well she commenced to cross her arms over her chest and took about four steps back away from us. She was not going to answer us?..We ask again stating we both had children and we wanted to pass on our family heritage to them. She finally gave in, relaxed and said, “Grandma took us girls aside and told us we were Indian…the other Grandma told us we were ‘damned heathens’.” These two Grandmas would have been my Great Grandmothers. I had not know them even by name until my genealogy work years later, as they had been gone for some time.

I consulted other family Aunts on both sides of my lines. I discovered we were Oglala-Apache on my mother’s side along with the Scot-Irish. There were stories within the family that told of this, though we had no registered, card carrying Indians. It took me at least four years of correspondence with the Henry Aunt we cornered in the bedroom to get out of her what tribes we might be. Finally she put it clear…my Great Great Grandma Henry was ‘full blood Cherokee’ and Great Grandma Henry was ‘full blood Blackfoot’. One from the North and one from the South.All with no paper trail. Several oral stories, which I dutifully wrote down after I heard them. Theses were what we had.

It was just one of these stories that gave me the most clear knowing…It was one of that same Henry Aunt’s. She had told of her child hood when she and her mother would have to go up into Nebraska where her Grandma Henry lived, to help dry the corn for the winter’s storage. This would be about 1921. It was a lot of hard work, it was done in the milky stage of the corn and dried. She was around 9 years old then…they had to remove the kernels carefully from the cobs.

I lie in my bed one night not able to go to sleep easily. I’m recalling my Aunt’s story. Suddenly it hits me like a rock! Only Indians dry corn!!! White folks don’t dry corn, they eat it as green roasted ears boiled in water or cut it off the cob in the milk stage and freeze it for winter use. I grew up working with my Mother and Grandma doing corn for the freezer many summers. It was this Corn story that let my heart rest a little more fully on my heritage Indian search. Both my Aunts on Dad’s side of my family knew they were Indian and were also doing our families genealogy. I spent as much time with them with our papers all scattered around us as I could. There were also stories of the perils of being Indian in these earlier times. Old photographs, notes, and many good times were shared. I am so grateful.

So it was that the Corn is helping me to remember who I am and I am so grateful to carry it to the peoples.

Dianna Snow Eagle – December 2013