Aunt’s Love (by Leanne Colette Allen)

Congratulations to Leanne Colette Allen for winning 2nd place in the adult category of the #SuperAuntie Writing Contest! Please enjoy reading Leanne’s winning entry. 

Title of story: Aunt’s Love

When I was ten years old, my mother decided to choose her substance addiction over her family. That had left a big hole in my heart and constantly wished for a mother figure in my life.

I am fortunate to have many mother figures throughout my life. My grandmother, Lillian Spino taught me how to crochet yarn belts. She wanted me to live up to my Indian name of Wapa Lech which means Good Weaver in the Umatilla language. She began teaching me how to weave flat and round bags which was a challenge because I am left handed and she was right handed. She did not give up on teaching me. Sadly, I was not able to learn cornhusk weaving. She was a well-known basket hat weaver. My aunt, Celeste Reeves used to dance jingle. She taught me how to make my own jingle dress. I was not very good with the sewing machine but she took the time to teach me. Once I was done with the dress she took me to the long house to bring me out onto the floor as a new jingle dress dancer. Since then I have made a number of regalia for my friends and family. I charged little to nothing for my work because I felt that it was more important to encourage the young people to dance. That is the value that my aunt has passed down to me.

My grandmother, Sylvia Allen has been my main mother figure once my mom left. She taught me how to cook many of our family’s favorite meals. During one of family dinners, my uncles were telling her how much they missed her potato salad and she had to inform him that I made it. She also taught me how to make frybread. I used to get so discouraged when the bread would not come out right. She constantly worked with me. Now with her permission, I use her recipe to set up an Indian taco stand at events and fairs. Through her teachings I have learned that with patience and determination that I can persevere. My grandmother likes to say she is just a housewife but she taught her children many traditional family values and instilled good work ethic. Those lessons were then passed down to grandsons and granddaughters so we can walk through the world with confidence.

Photo credit: “Jingle dancing” by K. Kendall is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Auntie Way is a great gift idea–order autographed copies here.

Published by Michelle M. Jacob

Owner of Anahuy Mentoring

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