Ike Moseseek felt maimed by the national problem of homelessness. He thought one day, “Every soul deserves a home, roots, a sanctuary from terror.” This gross blemish on our society had been on the periphery of his thoughts for months, and now as a city councilor, he was constantly made aware of issues of need within Warhaven. If serving the people taught him anything it was that he was riding the teeter-totter of democracy, where every individual right reeled in balance with a responsibility to all, to we the people. Ike committed to acting more globally to make a dent.
His first hurdle had been breached contacting the National Congress of American Indians, who, after three phone call conversations of clarification, invited Ike to propose in writing his plan to decrease homelessness through addressing the needs within the mission statement of the Congress.
Ike’s plan called for a pilot program involving 20 tribes, nations or pueblos, 10 teams of two. While homelessness was indeed a scourge for towns large and small, his idea focused on urban need. These teams would seek partnerships in a nearby city with water, power, and sewage departments to secure utilities.
Ike’s vision had lifted his spirit and turned dream into plan.
He was sleepless last Tuesday and went out walking beneath the full moon, feeling the issue was not unlike the arborist’s coppicing: You cut down one tree and 30 pop up out of the earth. He wondered, “As I drive across the land, anywhere, I see decrepit trailers, abandoned campers, all going unused. A community could make a survey of these neglected resources and turn junk into places of habitation. Let a tribe craft a refurbishing business. No, let a national program be developed and then the concept franchised out to tribes that they might all, many tribes, gain by the skill sets of making old RVs livable once again.”
Ike listened as a great horned owl lamented its loneliness. “Find the tribes. Find the cities. In the cities identify real estate, real estate developers seeking tax relief. Find the land. Build the housing. The tribes also partner with the social services to fill the housing so it reflects America, without forgetting red brothers and sisters. Find the residents who bring a glimmer of hope of finding community who will garden or pick up litter, who will respect neighbors. Elect or select a mayor who is somehow paid to keep the commonweal alive.”
Walking on past the oak grove where the truffles grew he was distracted by hunting coyotes, wailing out their success. “Start in the city. If city folks see a difference, city TV stations and newspapers and radio would report it; good news would trickle down from there. Social media would buzz from the influencers.”
Ike strode to the creek, where he knelt at the glistening rocks. “How might donations of these old eyesores clean up neighborhoods, aiding widows and children of departed collectors of junk? How might the weary, wary homeless be embraced and comforted?” He saw out across America, toward the rusted Winnebagos, the sun-bleached shells of the manufacturing pride of Elkhart, Indiana, the neglected class A’s, B’s, and C’s of so many travel dreams deferred. Ike heard the songs as whispers that are the stories that are the lives of the forgotten, the woebegones of back roads and byways. He smelled the beans and rice of highway hobos simmering in the campgrounds of hill and dale.
He strolled back home, and looking into the future before the Quaish fire ring, he saw many successes, many tribal partnerships, focusing on two statements within the NCAI, “Promote a common understanding of the rightful place of tribes in the family of American governments.” And “Improve the quality of life for Native communities and people.” He saw the Seminole and the Miccosukee of Florida in Miami. He saw the Zuni and the Acoma in Albuquerque. He saw the Suquamish and the Puyallup in Seattle. He saw the Apache and the Quaish in Garfield. He saw fewer deaths from severe weather, fewer drug overdoses, fewer suicides, fewer abused children, fewer abducted women. He touched hope in the ashes he stirred, casting a handful into the wind.
Ike laughed, thinking, “This might really take off and with the ever-growing popularity in RV-ing, these partnerships might expand to refurnish campers and trailers for resale. They’re doing that with Airstreams!”
He laughed again. “Towns that are dying with blocks of abandoned buildings; they might see the homeless as the Phoenix of their salvation, attracting individuals to gather and form colonies of hope.”
He stood and dusted off the knees of his jeans. “Where is a Quaish without dreams?” he asked the stars.