Posted on Saturday, January 30th, 2021 by Chris Evangelista
“It’s not my fault Indians are a bunch of fucking liars and narcissists,” Michael says through gritted teeth, his voice shaking with rage. “We’re the descendants of cowards. Everyone worthwhile died fighting.” This rage is directed outward at someone else, but we can feel the self-loathing lurking beneath it all. The contempt Michael feels is for himself.
Michael wasn’t always Michael. When he was a child in the 1980s, he was Makwa, living on a reservation in Wisconsin, where he was inflicted with daily physical abuse by his father and neglect by his mother. He was a boy prone to showing up to school with one of his eyes bruised shut, telling anyone who asked that he fell or bumped into something. And then one day, his entire life changed. Now, 35 years later, Makwa is Michael Peterson, a successful guy living in California with his wife and new child. He’s chosen to forget his past. But his past hasn’t forgotten him.