“Actor and comedian Tatanka Means reflects on healing with laughter in a Native way amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.” ICT
Excerpt:Healing through humor with Tatanka Means, ICT
“Tatanka Means is arguably one of the best-known Native actors and comedians in Indian Country, who in early 2020, had a jam-packed schedule filled with comedy gigs, acting jobs and speaking engagements. When COVID-19 hit, Means had all of his plane flights, and gigs canceled. But he pressed on. Aside from acting he’s also a stand-up comedian and a motivational speaker and he’s still going strong through this pandemic. Means described how he has coped.The answer is healing through humor.”
“It was really by surprise. I heard the news around the world what was happening but I’m on the road every other week and I was just kind of concentrating on booking my shows, things I had coming up with the film industry and graduation speeches of course, cause you know, May’s always really busy April and May with graduations and all of a sudden it just stopped. All my flights were canceled and we kind of went into quarantine… Communities are being hit hard but you know through comedy, through history, with Indian people, we always laugh when we’re having hard times. That’s why I say the humor brings us back up when we’re at funerals. You know, we’re laughing hard, sometimes telling stories those good old times, you know what I mean? And it’s just finding the humor right now in what’s happening in everyday life and how it’s changed… I don’t know what they think of some of us that are laughing at funerals hard, but, you know, it’s healing because we let those feelings out…That’s what I love about traveling Indian country and going to all different communities…It’s not really set up as a joke yet but it’s something that amuses me that I find very entertaining because you know, right when masks came out, masks are mandatory… N-95s, what did we do? We started beading our masks. We started quilling our masks. You have seen people with the fanciest masks. That’s what Indians do. That’s what we do. We can’t have a regular key chain. We bead the key chain. You know what I mean? We had beaded masks, full-on beaded masks, all the best bead makers out there were getting orders. I don’t even know if these things were protective or not but they sure did look good…This is the time for people at home to hone your skills, to get better, to write and do things like that. That’s certainly what I’ve been working on and just kind of watching the world.”
“Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., join hands as they watch fireworks during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 20, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Jill Biden is seen on the left.” (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
From Indian Country Today (ICT):
Resource Sites for the COVID-19:
Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.
• National Congress of American Indians
• National Indian Health Board
• COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates