Chances are you have never stepped foot on a Reservation unless you border one or have driven through one to get to another destination. In one sense, there is a tremendous sense of isolation on a Reservation; however, there is also a pronounced sense of belonging, of a community.
Make no mistake about it: life on a Reservation is hard. With third-world conditions, jobs and opportunities are limited. Poverty, despair, and hardship are seen on a daily basis.
The good news is there are more and more kids making the best out of their circumstances.
Kids are staying in school longer. Some are going to college. Others are getting trained for skilled positions that are needed on and off the Reservation.
Over the last 16 years, we have seen an increased vibe of optimism on the Fort Peck Reservation: if you apply yourself and persevere, you can make a difference not only in your life but in the lives of others.
Each kid that 'makes it’ gives permission to others to do the same. There is a budding network of kids encouraging other kids to do the right thing so they don’t fall off the path and spiral into violence, crime, poverty, drugs, etc.
It’s so easy to point out all the negatives that exist on a Reservation.
It’s also easy to point out all of the people who dedicate their lives to help the youth and share their wisdom and guidance with them. From teachers to HPDP workers, the Tribal Council, the community college, business owners, and law enforcement, there is a marked shift toward nurturing the next generation. The kids need lots of help just like the generations before them, but the end product is worth it!
Love Has No Color has worked with many of these groups since we started going to Fort Peck. We have witnessed so many people who truly care and are willing to share their gifts, wisdom, time, and expertise with the kids that are willing to accept their gifts.
Love Has No Color is much like a co-op: we are vitally connected to all of our volunteers on the Fort Peck Reservation. We couldn’t do our work without them and their selfless dedication to the kids.
There is a new voice of hope on the Fort Peck Reservation.