Two Places at Once
History grad studies his future
Angelo Stabler (’09) spent the night with his grandfather’s body. The man’s spirit hadn’t yet left him. Sending the Omaha Tribe elder’s spirit on required five days of ceremonies on the Omaha Indian Reservation in northeast Nebraska. Stabler held vigil with his mother on the last night of ceremonies; his mother had been there for the duration.
The rituals took time. And they gave time. They gave Stabler time to reflect on all that he’d learned from his grandfather—and all that he’d failed to learn.
Though Stabler grew up with Omaha people and culture in Lincoln, he didn’t know much about the ceremonies around him. “I was the kid who was always off getting in trouble during powwows,” he said. “I always heard. I never listened.”
Well, Stabler was listening then. He watched his mother tend to the body; he listened to the Siouan words. The time for learning from his grandfather had passed, and the loss stung him. Stabler stayed with his mother on the reservation for a few days after the burial and rededicated himself to learning from the elders he still had—his parents, his grandmother, his uncles and aunts. He’d follow their example.
Late one night, his aunt roused him awake from the couch with an example of sorts. She was drunk. She needed a ride.
“I told myself then, ‘I have to make it. I have to shed some light on the darkness around me.’”