Yesterday was the big eclipse. I’ve been reading with great interest the various stories and responses to this event from tribal communities. I always remind folks just how diverse tribes are in their languages, cultures, lifeways, histories and in personality traits that grow from both nurture and nature. The eclipse, and conversations around it, serve as one more great example to remind us that there’s no ONE way within Indian country. And that also rings true even within our own Nations and communities.  

The Cherokee eclipse story is so very Cherokee and it gave me a smile. If you don’t know about the Cherokee approach to solar eclipses, here’s a short clip. The long and short of it?  Some Cherokees would go outside and shoot their guns off, bang pots and pans and other items to make a noise and cause a scene. The very loud noises would then scare away the big ᏩᎶᏏ walosi (frog) that was attempting to swallow up the sun. 

Did Cherokees in the 1800s really think a giant frog was swallowing the sun? Of course not. It’s a story. Did 1000s of people on Twitter think that the world was coming to an end yesterday? Apparently so. There’s literal. And there’s figurative. Were there some Cherokees in that “end- of-the-world” camp yesterday, due to a whole lot of influences and experiences? Probably so. We get to be a multi-cultural, multi-racial Nation full different faiths, personal experiences, political viewpoints and individual beliefs, too.

The walosi story made me smile. It also made me think about all the Cherokee people in my family that are serial optimists. No matter what life throws at you, it’s always going to be just fine. We got this. Consider it handled. No worries. I’ve always been firmly in that camp. My father, aunt, grandfather and countless cousins also fall firmly in that camp.

Sometimes serial optimism can be a real super power. Serial optimism can also sometimes be a fault, especially when it spirals to the point of personal delusional. I wonder if Cherokee serial optimism is a sign of Indigenous resilience forged from living through some remarkably traumatic things? Generational trauma is absolutely real. Generational triumph and survival is too. Some people are innately positive. Some people are nervous wrecks, always thinking the worse. Cherokee serial optimism is certainly found in Cherokee teaches and religion. That book that Wilma wrote about “every day is a good day” – same concept. 

Back in 2016 when I was part of the Cherokee Remember the Removal ride, we talked about this quite a bit. We thought that being on that removal route would make us sad. There certainly were some sad times during that month, but mostly it made us really proud of our people. Gave us resolve to make those sacrifices worth something in our communities today. It gave us the super power of persistence. All of which, even in really ugly times, is filled with joy and laughter. 

Now it’s Tuesday morning and this is a health and wellness blog, so I’ll get to the point. I have taken a few weeks off my running and lifting routine. But I’ve signed up for the Pat Tillman Run in Tempe this Saturday morning. Those 4.2 miles will get me back on track, because . . . of course it will. 

At any rate, if the sun is about to be devoured by a gigantic frog, imagine the damage that could do to the earth and all of us living creatures. That is some really scary stuff. But fear not. Some Cherokees will be on hand to make sure that, sing it with me: Ever-y. Thing. Is. Gonna. Be. Alright.

Have a good week ahead. Rid your brains of negative thoughts. Stay positive. And always love big.