Thursday, March 19, 2020

Saginaw Chippewa's Disenrolled Elder "Aunt" Dolly Holzhausen Walks On

Dolly Holzhause
There has been so much news this week it's hard to keep up.  But at the top of my list is to share the passing of Dolly Holzhausen, of Chesaning, Michigan (I could always see when she was checking my blog) known to so many as "Aunt Dolly".  She passed away this week during one of the most interesting times in our history.  There will be a small service tomorrow, kept small during the time of coronavirus.

I work with Kristi Potter, her family isdisenrolled from Saginaw Chippewa, Aunt Dolly was the backstop, who shared posts that need sharing, and re-shared at the right time. Getting the lowdown on other issues and keeping the family issues on the burner.

Dolly was a no fuss no muss kinda person, straight forward, Kristi tells me. She would tell you how it was. She was also the kindest, most loving, generous person.
Her life was so involved in the Tribe, on every committee, organizing Pow Wow's, on cultural and arts Council's. She was so devoted.
Devastation is such a small word to describe Disenrollment, we need to find a bigger word to wake people up to the fact that it is killing off families, Elder's, culture, it strikes at the very core of our being

I've written on Aunt Dolly's grandmother GRACE FOWLER.  She did as well in a letter to the BIA I'll excerpt here:

The damages of this loss can not be explained, demonstrated or shown. It is felt, deep in your soul. You no longer exist to a Tribe whom you have volunteered, participated in programs, served as an advisor and a mentor for 20 plus years. You are cut off and cut out of all participation.
You are denied any and all access to sevices, programs, health care, cultural events and spiritual advisory.
People whom you have known, worked with, volunteered with, mentored or advised, no longer speak to you for fear of retaliation from the Tribe. You are shunned from a community you helped grow and flourish.
I received a letter from the Tribe that stated “ your services are no longer needed”, not thank you for your service, no thank you for your devotion. I received a cold heartless letter from fellow tribal members whom I had worked with, volunteered with, theses people were my friends.

My love for my fellow tribal people goes very deep, it is ingrained in who I am and to be denied my right to be apart of my community cuts right to my heart, my very soul! Discrimination was and is an on going issue with Native Americans but there is no greater discrimination then when your own people
commit such an offense. Disenrollment is the greatest form of discrimination.
Pretty powerful.  You'd think that true Natives, who are in charge could feel this and not want this to happen.  But no, 11,000 tribal members are stripped of their citizenship.
I ask ALL who are affected by tribal disenrollment, to be like Aunt Dolly Holzhausen, to be there in the fight. NOT everyone can be on the front line, but everyone can be in the 2nd line, the one that shares information, writes letters, tells the shameful stories of what was done to them.  Suffering in silence helps nobody, but being a stalwart defender of your rights, does. 

Rest in Peace, Aunt Dolly, I will miss you and your support.


StacyPamame said...

Dolly was a great lady..

Sharon Cole said...

I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting her personally, but as I look at this picture, I remember seeing her smile on many a gathering. I’m so sorry she passed from this world having been severed from her membership. Especially since she was so active and involved with her community. Her works are part of the sacred braid of our tribal existence and will live on forever. Things she helped build, bonds she formed, are the clay which has formed the pottery. Instead of divorcing her, we are all a testimony to her contribution. Disenrollment is a political Frankenstein, created by colonization and historical oppression, of which our very own systems and infrastructure have been infected. I pray this monster policy expires and gives way to the traditional spirit of tribal belongingness while still maintaining our modern era tribal needs. Rest in peace dear tribal sister, thank you for your contributions here on earth, as you are being fitted for your wings of glory!