Can Christmas on the Reservation Heal America’s Oldest Scar?
Many reading this are not aware of the third world conditions Native Americans endure living on Reservations and Reserves in Canada. Ever since conquering nations traveled to foreign lands, there was expansion of empires and acquisition of lands. The Americas are no exception, yet this part of our past, in fact our founding history is deleted from history texts. As a result most people don’t understand, believe or care that so many right here on our native soil live in such squalor.
Life expectancy on the reservations rivals third world countries with suicide, accidents, and disease. Drug and alcohol abuse, crime, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, welfare dependency, the fingerprints of cultural genocide that surgically removes indigenous people’s traditions, language and their very core identity. Human rights are different and connect us all at a deep primitive level. Inalienable rights can be removed by force, law and beliefs but that does not make them right. Once people are made aware of the circumstances so many of these Native Americans live in, our experience is they want to help with the solution and to be an ongoing part of.
So many well meaning governmental agencies, disease groups, religious groups have all attempted to remove the sword from the stone with limited success. Looking at situations as broken or having no solutions is indeed futile as Albert Einstein famously opined: "the people who created the problem cannot solve the problem." Instead of trying to change or fix people, how about changing the paradigm from extreme hopelessness to a healthy, bright future?
Several times each year Love Has No Color travels to the reservation to help kids on the Fort Peck and beyond believe in themselves and become healthier. Christmas on the reservation has distributed 150,000 gifts and counting. Every child from pre-school to high school receives a gift every holiday season. For nearly 10 years, the kids know that there will be people outside of the reservation that care about them, that want to see them grow up with more opportunities, a brighter future.
From the beginning, critics of LHNC continue to say that our group and supporters are not big enough or fiscally powerful enough to effect change on the reservation. After all, this predicament has been going on for over 500 years and billions of dollars spent to produce less than stellar results; what gives you the impression that you can truly make a difference in the lives of the kids? To that we say, because it’s the right thing to do. Every innovator, inventor, human rights advocate has had posed similar questions designed to stop the effort. If the effort is bigger than the people, change will inevitably occur.
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