13 Sept 06
Max – a baby-faced Chukchansi Indian – lives on the same run as me.
“Where are the Chukchansi Indians from?” I asked.
“Yosemite National Park is our ancestral land,” Max said.
“How many Chukchansi are there?”
“There are 783 left. There used to be thousands, but they got killed off durin’ the Gold Rush, and pushed off tribal lands. We were robbed of our identity and thrown into an anthropological term known as Yokuts.”
“Do you get casino money?”
“I get a little somethin’-somethin’. You should see the size of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino.”
“So how’d you end up in prison?”
“I got nine years for kidnappin’. It was a carjackin’ and I took the guy in the car with me. I was only sixteen at the time. I’d just finished Carson High in California.”
“Did you have a weapon or any priors?”
“How old are you?”
“So you’ve never had an adult life on the streets?”
“What do your tats mean?”
“On my chest is a medicine wheel. On my left arm is the Chukchansi tribal seal: a basket, and the word Hil-le which is a greetin’. I had to earn this tat, AIM, which stands for American Indian Movement.”
“That’s an impressive tat on your back. How did you earn it?”
“I took off a piece of scalp with a huntin' knife.”
“It’s not like I peeled it down to the cranium. That earned me respect on the streets of California.”
“You must be getting short?”
“I’ve got six months left. Did I tell you I have a tat on my cock?”
“No. What is it?”
“It’s kinda funny, dude. It’s a dicky bird.”
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