The kids on the Fort Peck have not lost their identity. They don’t take life for granted as hardship is everywhere and they really have to walk a very thin line between their heritage and the world at large.
Phones, laptops, digital devices…the kids have them all, but do they really improve their quality of life?
Third world conditions and wealthy societies both have them.
Each year when we visit the Reservation, the kids are interested in getting to know who we are. Once they feel comfortable they love telling our group about their lives, hardships, and wishes.
The adults and elders are expert story tellers. They have a strong sense of heritage and identity that others don’t.
Going into their schools, their culture, language, and customs are in vivid and graphic displays everywhere!
Having a strong sense of identity or ‘where you come from’ helps you navigate through the challenges all of us, on or off the Reservation, will face during our lifetimes.
It follows you throughout your life like a shadow, unless you choose to discard it.
Have you ever noticed how many non-indigenous people turn to medicinal plants, herbs, and sweat ceremonies when modern drugs and medicines don’t work?
It seems like there is so much wisdom in indigenous ways but in modern times, people are only interested in popular and convenient cures.
We are all connected and if groups of people are excluded from all the rights, privileges, and benefits that others have, we are unstable as a society.
We are only as strong as our weakest link.