On the Reservation

On the Reservation
On my vacation I visited a Native-American reservation.. I have never visited one before or knew a Native-American. I live in the Chicago area and, have never known an urban Native-American either. There is a population of Native-American people in Chicago proper but I live in a northern suburb. I mention this because it is said that America is a melting pot well I don’t think it is. Each ethnic group usually stays by themselves united by language and customs.
The same is probably true about the Native-American population that I visited. I visited this reservation with preconceived notion of people living in abject poverty. What I saw was different.
I saw small but neat homes with lovely flowers in front of the houses. The outside  were kept up and looked very neat.
I didn’t see very many stores or strip malls. I don’t know what I really expected to see.
I didn’t see any people outside and I quickly found out why. There was an inter-tribal basketball game at what seemed to be a community center.
I was visiting with my brother who is a resident of Seattle.
We went into the community center and saw some kids and we were directed to a room off the gym where kids selling hot dogs, pop and fry bread. I had never had fry bread before so we decided to try it. While waiting for my food I asked a kid who was probably 15 if he spoke the local language. He said that he hadn’t since he was five. I started to see
I started to think about this situation and wondered how long the language would servile without the young people being able to speak it. Language ties a group of people together. I found it sad that so many languages were disappearing.
I read the bulletin board and found out this guy was heavily used. I hope that kids had this place to socialize and play.
We talked to one young lady that was very kind to answer my question. I wondered if many of the people kept up tribal ways. I was wrong in believing that every custom disappeared. She pointed out that a building called a longhouse was still used for tribal meetings. decades ago longhouses were used for multi-family housing.
We didn’t get a lot of information about the daily life of Native-Americans on the reservation. But it did make me think about how I would like to know people of different ethnic backgrounds.
I wondered how that can happen if everyone, including myself, stayed in their own groups. The only way is to open myself to any programs that would educate me about their customs. Reading is also an important way to get to know others. Even taking a workshop at a senior center could open this new world for me.
I’m fascinated by people…everyone has a life story. One way to help understand others is not to be afraid of others no matter how different they are from you. Ask people questions. But always be polite. I usually ask someone if they minded answering some questions about their background. I explain that they don’t have to answer my questing if they rather not shave their life stories.
As I left reservation property I began to think how different my life is from theirs. But, is it really…they just want to live…be happy…raise their children and love their family. That’s no different from my life.
When I ge home I just want to be kind to others and know that they have a life story that may be different from mine. we allhave to understand that different isn’t bad…just different.

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