Home is where the heart is.
That home may look like one thing to one person and look entirely different to the next person. Ask a third person and you’re likely to find a third picture.
For many a Native American Indian life on a reservation is a sad and bleak prospect that represents a long history of loss, violence, oppression, and heartbreak.
For the next Native American Indian life on a reservation may be an exercise in freedom, adventure, exploration, and excitement that would make even Tom Sawyer envious.
The difference is often in the influence of the people with whom we surround ourselves.
Consider one Native American boy. He might be growing up in a household where his parents are suffering the ravages of diabetes and maybe there’s some alcoholism involved, too. There’s little money and the only food is limited selection of goods that the federal government sends over. The only school is a one-room schoolhouse and the doctor only comes along once a week.
There’s nothing to do all day. No kids to play with. No cable TV because that’s too expensive so there’s only one channel that can be picked up with rabbit ears.
Consider another Native American boy, same age, same reservation. Same family situation – illness, addiction, poverty. Same school, same doctor, same TV.
For this little Native American Indian life on a reservation is a never-ending wonderland filled with freedom and adventure. He leaves home as early as possible every morning and heads for the hills. He’s got a BB gun and a string in his pocket with a fishhook tied to it. He’ll have plenty to eat. Fresh fish. Maybe a squirrel or rabbit.
Along the way, he’ll find plenty of nuts and berries to eat, lots of fruit trees. There’s a dog that lives just outside the village that waits for him every day. They spend their days together roaming through the hills and canyons just to see what’s around the next corner. Sometimes he’s a long way from home at night so he and his canine companion find a cave, rock ledge, some sort of shelter, and enjoy a night under the stars.
He goes to school when he has to. Kind of likes it sometimes. But he’s too busy doing other things to worry about being bored. He’s got miles and miles of ground to cover and lots of things to do.
And when he catches extra fish or shoots an extra rabbit or two, his parents get to enjoy a feast with him. They treat him like a hero, a warrior hero from days gone past.
For this little Native American Indian life on a reservation is the best home in the whole wide world. His kids are going to love life on a reservation.