When most people think of heroes, they think of first responders, people in the military, or health care workers. But there are lots and lots of heroes on the Fort Peck Reservation that don’t get the recognition they should.
First, let’s recognize the mothers and fathers that keep in the game of caring for their kids’ needs. This is not an easy job to do when living in third-world conditions. It’s not easy thinking about someone else’s needs when your own needs are not being met.
Next, it’s the elders, the grandmothers, the grandfathers, and others that care for kids a generation removed. They instill wisdom in the next generation that can’t be supplied by a computer. Native values, cultures, and traditions are preserved via this critical link with the past. The elders get as much as they give. The way it should be.
Next, it’s the teachers. They are hit from so many fronts: from the fear of disease to the limited resources, and now remote learning. Teaching and learning are difficult when you have stomachs that are empty. The teachers are trying to do the best with what they have.
How about the HPDP? They are mostly behind the scenes doing what they can at all times to benefit the kids. Their programs are so diversified and carefully designed to be sustainable for years. Love Has No Color’s Fun Days in the summer and Christmas on the Reservation in December would be so difficult to host without the help of the HPDP.
The Tribal Council comes under fire all the time. They have a very difficult job to do. With almost every decision they make, someone is unhappy or someone is protesting online or offline. They serve the people on the Fort Peck Reservation to the best of their abilities.
How about the kids? They are showing their tremendous resiliency in believing their futures will be bright. When Love Has No Color visited them in December, the kids were obviously concerned about the current happenings, but they knew better times were on the horizon. We witnessed so many older kids helping with the younger kids. These are heroes in action.
To the many others, from shop owners to other workers on the Reservation not mentioned here, your dedication does not go unnoticed. Know that everyone is connected and together we will persevere.