Assimilation. It was something Chaska fought against from the very start. Much like I tried to fight my attraction and gradual love for him. We were of different cultures and races. I always believed that one day after I left college, I would marry a colored man. Never once did I ever imagine that I would end up falling in love with a Lakota Sioux man.
The moment I saw him, I sensed that I was in grave trouble. He was bigger than life but at the same time, reserved. He was strong not just physically but spiritually and mentally. I was struck by his features—handsome, weather-beaten face, smooth dark skin and long, thick, flowing black hair and his quiet strength.
He and two other Indians enrolled in this historically black college. It was clear that they felt out of place and resisted wearing the uniforms but I persuaded him to and he them. He disliked being in a classroom, saying that outdoors would be better– nature would be the classroom. The desks were set up in the woods behind the college. Years later, they still sit there, neglected. As for me, I’ve a happy home elsewhere with Chaska.
This story was inspired by the 1999 movie, Unbowed. It’s a story about three Lakota Sioux men who enroll in a historically black college, and their reluctance to assimilate causes friction between their black peers. Some come to embrace their similar history, while others remain bitter. One of them falls in love with a black woman.