Cornfield Marriage

Age thirteen, after my Choctaw rite of passage to womanhood, grandma tells me a secret she and grandpa keep for more than a decade, "Girl, we had you and your cowboy share a bedroom so you would work out your differences before marrying."

My momma dies when I am two. Grandpa tells my then young boy future husband, "The girl is your daughter, get to raising her." My husband is a my daddy same as he is our daughter's daddy. He proves himself the best of a father for both of us girls.

We share a bedroom and bed back of our rural Oklahoma farmhouse ever since. We raise our girl the same, we share a bedroom and bed and still do to this day. Three of us most certainly work out our differences and enjoy a lifelong meaningful and loving relationship. We are of one mind, we are inseparable, we are tribal.

My cowboy and I transition through many relationships as we age. He is my daddy, brother, best friend and eventually, lover and husband. Age nine and ten I start in on him to marry me, I am obsessive about this. A million times he tells me, "I ain't marrying no crazy injun girl!" Years and decades later through today, he still tells me this and he is still my daddy and our girl's daddy. Always will be.

On a hot humid Oklahoma day we are out in our cornfield knocking down weeds. Weather is ninety degrees out and clouds are sprinkling gnats and mosquitoes. Thirteen and I am working in the nude as is my habit. Bugs me to wear sweaty smelly overalls, quite uncomfortable. I hang my overalls on a field fence post or fold those nicely and set under corn on dry husks. I have only two pairs of overalls which have to last me through to Saturday wash day.

We hear someone rustling and coming through our corn. I figure this is another local boy hoping to enjoy a look at me. Don't know why, I am a beanpole and my breasts are small but growing. We are surprised, our local Sixtowns tribal chief steps out into view. He looks each of us in the eyes to have our attention as if he doesn't already. Our chief makes some hand gestures then tells us, "chim auaya, lumaka." He tells us we are married and to make babies. He pulls back a husk and looks at an ear of ripening corn, "tanchi achukma" - good corn. Our chief turns and vanishes back into our cornfield.

My cowboy's eyes become bullfrog big, his chin drops. My new husband mutters, "I'm done for." I am stunned speechless. Takes a minute for me to recover then realize we are married, officially married. I can't wait for supper to tell our grandparents! I shriek, launch and jump right up onto this boy I madly love. I get my legs wrapped around his waist, arms around his neck then start kissing like crazy and hollering, "We are married!" Not surprising, too late he tells me, "I ain't marrying no crazy injun girl!"

Our Sixtowns chief uses perfect Choctaw grammar: "chim auaya" (pause) "lumaka." Our "auaya" means married. Choctaw "lumaka" means to enjoy sex and make babies.

Marriage and sex are not related within our generalized Indian culture. There is no association between marriage and sex nor is marriage related to love. Those three behaviors, marriage, sex and love, are independent and separate notions.

Our tribal chief recognizes this and separates marriage from sex in his words.

Indian marriage is strictly a business contract between wife and husband. Terms are a wife owns everything, land, house, cattle even the kids. All which a husband earns or possesses belongs to his wife, more specifically to his wife's mother's bloodline. Our tribes are matriarchal structured. A family, which we call a "clan", is based upon bloodline of mother's, grandmother's and on back. A clan owns everything.

There is sound common sense behind this. Should a wife and husband separate for whatever reason, death, divorce, a husband is only entitled to his food bowl and his hunting knife. A wife keeps all. She is a mother to their children, she is primary caretaker of children. A wife needs land, a house, clothing, shoes, food and all those other needs of raising children. Our Indian marriage contract benefits and protects mothers and especially her children. Notion is to provide for their needs.

With marriage and sex not related, there are no scorned wives nor cuckolded husbands. There is no "cheating". This is not possible, sex has nothing to do with marriage nor does love. We Indians enjoy good common sense.

Look at mainstream Christian marriages. Quite the mess. Half of those marriages end in divorce and lawyers steal away half of family life savings. Christian divorces are acrimonious, accusatory and shameful. Then there are those offensive pre-nuptial agreements on who gets what. Marriage Christian style is simply stunning stupidity.

Sex is not related to marriage nor love within our Indian culture. We traditional Indians enjoy virtual sexual freedom. This philosophy applies to adults and the young alike. Sex is for anyone and everyone to enjoy with whomever. If an etiquette rule this is intent must be good and no harm caused; common sense and common decency apply.

Some tribes, not many, discourage sex outside of marriage. This does not apply to polygamous marriages which are not uncommon. Those few tribes require some type of bonding between the married. A majority of tribes allow for enjoying sex at whim and will. Etiquette rule is typically, "Inform your husband or wife first". This is showing respect. A few tribes have no etiquette rules - true sexual freedom, again guided by good common sense.

There is no discrimination by gender. This does not matter if opposite sex or same sex. This division never developed within our traditional culture. We do not give any thought to heterosexual versus homosexual sex and relationships. We simply do not care.

A question always comes about, "What about pregnancy?" Our traditional ways do not differentiate who is father of a baby. This is of no concern, a baby belongs to a mother and her matriarchal clan. All are mothers and fathers to all children of our tribe. All kids are sisters and brothers. A tribe is a single large family. Pregnancy and birth is sacred. We celebrate a new arrival, we honor and welcome a baby into our tribe. Who is the father is not a consideration. Who is mother is rather obvious but not a consideration; a baby is a child to all of us in a tribe.

Love Indian style is much easier to understand than Indian marriage and sex. Our love is for everyone of our tribe. All are loved equally and sincerely. Inherently human nature has our love of family most intense but yet equal for all. Quite simply, we love our tribe. We are family, we are one of mind, we are inseparable.

Marriage, sex and love are not connected within our traditional cultural framework. Marriage is a business contract. Sex is for pleasure and for babies. Love is for all.

Traditional Indians are not Christians, we do not suffer all this mule manure nonsense Christians suffer upon themselves. Marriage does not have to be on paper nor ordained by some phoney god. Indians do not suffer those endless sexual hangups, our approach is sex is natural and welcomed for anyone. Most powerful, most morally superior to Christians is we do not confine and cage our love. We hold deep sincere love for all members of our tribal family, and we will bake a cake for anyone!