Sometimes called America’s lost or forgotten children, life on the reservation can be all, but impossible for many. Not having your voice heard individually or collectively leads to an apathy and extreme hopelessness that few ever experience. There is a whole country as well as a whole world that doesn’t know that these kids live in 3rd world condition squalor.
These lost or forgotten children matter to everyone. Their lives are not meant for sacrifice, abuse or neglect. It’s hard enough without a parent(s) outside the reservation, but, when you combine loss of family with all the other factors of poverty, disease, lack of quality food, lack of education, alcohol, crime and violence, this, now, becomes a tomb where these kids have no voice.
Many reading this blog are parents or parents to be. It’s natural to think of protecting, nurturing and caring for our own children, as it should be, but our thinking has to extend to all children.
As parents, we cannot imagine children without voices in our great country.
When we, as a society, forget to protect and afford civil, as well as, inalienable rights to ‘certain’ types of people depending on the color of their skin, their religion or their beliefs, gender, etc, we fall into the trap of dividing a nation instead of uniting a nation.
Love Has No Color continues to give voices to these lost or forgotten kids. They are not lost or forgotten in our eyes. We listen to what they feel is important to them without attempting to change their minds or judge them. One of our earliest projects was the refurbishing a dilapidated, abandoned historic movie theater. This project took over 7 years to accomplish and restore the beauty. It is now used on a daily basis and is a testament to listen to what the kids needs are.
The kids asked for a place they could call their own; a safe haven away from gangs. We all came together to recreate a place where they could enjoy and be kids! This place includes indoor archery, watching movies and receiving much needed high-quality food.
When Miss America came to visit the Fort Peck Reservation, one of the unspoken voices she kept hearing about was the violence against females on the Reservation. The girls on the Reservation simply do not feel protected or safe. Rape, sexual assault, incest, domestic violence continues to happen at an alarming frequency. The statistics may say otherwise, but many episodes of violence never get reported, as these females do not believe their voices will be heard.
As a country we are being watched by other countries how we address the difficult issues; the issues that don’t have simple solutions. We have seen our neighbor Canada move toward recognizing their past treatment of aboriginal people. It’s a first step; an acknowledgement instead of ‘sweeping it under the rug’ and pretending it isn’t there.
Well it is here, it continues to cost billions upon billions of dollars with very little positive return for Native Americans, nor the government. Isn’t it about time we listen individually and as a nation of how we can better serve the needs of our lost or forgotten children?