Story Submitted by Ziigwen Mixemong

My dad, Negonquote, is my superhero. My dad’s story is very different than mine. While his parents loved him and each of his siblings, their trauma was too deep and too ugly to leave behind in one generation. Dad was put in an Indian Day School where he learned nothing but violence and self-loathing. What makes my dad so amazing is not that he came away from that unscathed, it’s that he didn’t. Negonquote’s story is still too painful to tell in full but it left him turning to alcoholism and drug abuse for relief. My dad’s story should have ended here, but, somehow, it didn’t. Negonquote picked himself up and went to AA. The program saved his life by teaching him how to live drug and alcohol-free. To heal, he had to go back and reclaim his identity and ceremony. My dad, who was taught to beat and abuse those around him, has never raised a hand at me. My dad, who was completely reliant on alcohol for any relief, has been clean and sober for 36 years. My dad, who should be dead right now, still tucks me in every night. As remarkable as my father is, the Creator knew it was going to take two to raise an agent of chaos, such as myself. Enter my mother, Wabanoongakikwe. My mother’s spirit name loosely translates to the woman who comes from that far off land that is first touched by the Sun. And like her spirit name, she is powerful and beautiful. My mom didn’t receive the gift of her spirit name until much later in life. But, my mom grew up not knowing who she was. Wabanoongakikwe was raised in a completely colonized household. There was no talk of her Indigenous ancestry and she was left with a giant hole in the centre of her sense of identity. I am so privileged that one day, my mom became strong enough to start learning and asking questions. She knew that she was native, but what did that mean. Who did that make her? While driving by every day for months, she saw a sign at a local friendship centre calling out for volunteers for a powwow. My mom stewed. Was she Indian enough to help? Would they even want her if she knew nothing about who she was? It literally took her months to find the courage to call and see if she was allowed to go to that place. I can’t begin to imagine what that felt like. I am glad to say that one of the faces that welcomed her through that friendship centre door was my father. Of course, they fell in love and soon enough, I came into the world. I am the product of a perfect Urban Indigenous love story. I mean, my parents met at a Friendship Centre, how much more Nish can you get?

Story Submitted by Dru Rabin

Food Truck Convoy, @mealstoneighbors – The Food Truck Convoy project serves as a vital conduit for providing meal relief in areas of St. Petersburg with populations that are transportation disadvantaged, benefit from free and reduced school meals when schools are open or find themselves in need during this community and economic crisis – while putting food truck operators and restaurant staff back to work.

Food Trucks: Anju Korean Gastrotruck, Flip’n Tasty Filipino, Hot Pursuit Catering & BBQ, Maggie on the Move, Pamz Pizza Conez, PB & Jelly Deli, Smokin’ Bowls, Smoothie Operator, Twisted Indian.

Our partners: Dru Rabin, project founder, Pastor Blake Clark and Radius Church, Keep St. Petersburg Local, The St. Pete Catalyst, The St. Petersburg Foundation, Feeding Tampa Bay, The Hangar Restaurant, and St. Pete Hospitality Group.

Story Submitted by Liane Houde

Eight months ago, Jeff and I decided to move almost 1100 miles to Boston (from GA) so that I could attend my dream graduate school and fulfill a masters degree in speech-language pathology. I started classes, he began working remotely from our small office in our 500-square-foot apartment, and life was beautiful.

A week before Leap Day, Jeff asked me to set aside one day the following weekend so we could have a “Date Day” (something we tried to do at least twice a month). It was settled that our Date Day would be Saturday, February 29th.

The day finally arrived and our plan was to visit an arboretum in a suburb of Boston not too far from our place. We jumped on the T (Boston’s subway system) and made our way to one of the most beautiful parks I’d ever seen. It was cold and windy, but the exotic trees were beautiful, and the view from the top of the hill was exquisite.
We had packed a lunch to enjoy at the arboretum, as well as a pair of binoculars to better see certain buildings of the city. Jeff handed me the binoculars and pointed out a few of his favorite buildings. I struggled to figure out exactly which buildings he was referring to, and after a few minutes took down the binoculars to ask him directly what he was talking about. I looked at him, and he was down on his knee, looking up at me.

We had been dating six years at that point, and still my initial reaction consisted of “oh my gosh! Is this real? Are you serious?!” He proceeded to tell me he loved me and asked me if I would spend “forever with him.” Of course, I said yes!
We sat down to digest what had just happened, overwhelmed, ecstatic, and full of adrenaline. He then said to me, “open the box of ThinMints,” and I did. Inside was a map of Boston circa 1770, with little colored dots indicating the locations of our apartment, a sushi restaurant in the time stamp 5:30 next to it, and the location of the Boston Symphony Orchestra venue with a timestamp of 8:00 next to it.

“Is this our schedule?!”

“Yup! I asked you to set aside a whole day. This is what we are doing today.”

Needless to say, that day, Leap Day, is now one of my favorite days.

Story Submitted by Kathryn Manz

I’ve traveled for as long as I can remember. When the lands of my dreams and stories in my books awakened my restless soul, I set out on a quest. I really want to find a quiet corner of the world, disconnect from all this and reconnect to this planet. Just be….That’s my direction. To simply exist without all the pressures of mainstream life. I seriously am tired. Like most of us crazy minds! I’d love to drift and sail around the country and through the world. Although I sometimes despair alone, it’s usually when I am my best!