Perspectives: I'd like to encourage local folks, when Columbus Day rolls around next year, to take in a little bit of Indigenous People's Day. Drive out to Sycamore Ranch, check out the vendors, listen to the music, and find a place to sit and listen to the stories.
In one of the communitiesI worked in as an editor before moving here, there was quite a bit of controversy over water rights and usage. To the very great chagrin of many ranchers and other downstream concerns, area tribes, it was finally judged, had senior rights and controlled a good share of the water.
There were ranchers and tribal members who got along like family, but there were others who held a lot of hatred for one side or the other. There was a great deal of enmity in that community.
At one point, I was presented a theory about the nature of the native population. It wasn't a favorable theory, but the man who presented it to me had done a great job of convincing himself about it. He didn't present it in a hateful manner. He presented it as all factual material. He had put a lot of work into the research, was proud of it, and was oblivious to the racism of it all.
He brought me several old books and government reports and pamphlets with observations made by school superintendents, Bureau of Indian Affairs officials, Army officials, and various other important persons and officials … all white people. It all backed up his theories.
In all of that stack of reading material, there wasn't one line provided by a member of the couple tribes involved. They had no chance to explain their point of view, their perceptions, their challenges and attitudes, their facts.
That man's theory was what you'd get from hearing only from one perspective and trying hard not to be exposed to the thinking and memory of the other side.
A lot of us grew up with old movies, old TV shows, old stories, old textbooks and old myths. We generally missed that whole other point of view until recently.
A couple of Sundays ago, I heard Don Ryberg, chairman of the Tsi Akim Maidu, who host Indigenous People's Day at Sycamore Ranch, introduce the descendant's circle by recounting the losses they'd suffered from youths who committed suicide. The elders felt the need to make sure youths knew about their ancestors, their struggles and challenges and tales of survival. I'm glad I sat for just that little while listening to descendants tell their family and tribal histories.
Some of the stories were tragic; all were inspirational. And they present the perspectives so many of us have been unmindful of.
Dealing with tragedy: Just before his second birthday, Easton Keith Webb died and no one knows exactly why. Rodney and Alayna Webb of Marysville, Easton's parents, are now working to raise awareness about febrile seizures, which Easton had, and sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC).
Little Easton had been playing with his dad and was put down for a nap, according to a story by Kevin Scannell in last Monday's edition. Twenty minutes later, the toddler was found unresponsive; 911 was called, CPR administered, paramedics took him to the hospital … but he died. The Webbs think Easton, who had suffered febrile seizures before, had one at nap time.
For them, their child's death was and still is a nightmare. We admire them for having the fortitude and thoughtfulness, after all they've been through, to work now to help prevent other parents from having the same experience.
SUDC is defined as the sudden death of a child, 12 months or older, that is unexplained after thorough case investigation, according to the SUDC Foundation.
To honor Easton, to deal in something positive from the tragedy, and to help other families, the Webbs are coordinating the second annual Easton Keith Webb Memorial Softball Tournament Oct. 29-30 at Blackburn Talley Sports Complex in Yuba City. For more information call Rodney Webb Jr. at 315-3600; Rodney Webb Sr. at 315-2636; or Leslie Harrison at 300-1211.