Father: John Bass

Father-John Bass


Setting: County Jail (about 100 miles from where you live) Visiting Room


They busted me for pot. I don’t belong in jail. All I did was smoke some marijuana, which is culturally acceptable in our tribe. It’s part of who we are. Have you ever heard of Kinnick-Kinnick?


Susan was a wild girl when I knew her. She showed me how to “huff” (use inhalants). We got high together and had a fun time for a while, but by the time the baby was born she had moved on from me. By then she wouldn’t give me the time of day.


I wasn’t with Susan very long, but Lavender is my child and I love her. I haven’t seen Lavender very often since she was born, but I know her mother’s people take good care of her. She needs to be with them no matter what Susan does. No family of strangers is going to understand her like Leah and her grandma do. Hell, she belongs with them, with her kinfolk, her blood! Don’t you know we’re Native? Susan is Native American. My daughter is Native! Doesn’t the tribe have the right to say what happens to her?


My mother’s a good-for-nothing white woman who doesn’t understand what’s important in life, and my dad is dead and gone. My dad was Native American, and proud of it. So am I. My Native name is Grey Wolf—I’m John Grey Wolf Bass.


I’m not sure what tribe Susan’s people are registered with. The Mailers are not from my tribe. I’m mixed blood.


Would I take Lavender in when I’m out of here? I travel too much. I couldn’t make a solid home for her. She’ll be fine if you could just get her home. Can you do that for me? If not for me, please do it for her.


  • How do you answer his question about reuniting Lavender with the Mailers?
  • What difference does this information make to the case?
  • What is your next move?