Their Side of the Story
The plight of indigenous Americans is one that is often glossed over in modern textbooks. They have faced years of having their land and property taken from them by colonial American settlers and being forced to give up everything they know to face sometimes deadly relocations. However, the truth is these processes are not ancient history, and they continue to have real world effects on the Native American population.
These Native Americans have opened up about what it was like growing up on a reservation in modern day. They share their struggles, victories, and personal histories, giving a look into the way that America’s history continues to affect the modern day.
I’m from a reservation in WA state and am half Native American. It’s not that bad here. The thing is, all tribes are different. There is a lot of heroin and meth abuse. Generally, the dealers are not the native people but a lot of the users are. My sisters are all addicts.
Other than everyone having a bunch of broken down cars lol it’s not much different than a small town.
I start work as an attorney for my tribe. As in house counsel, next week. The tribe has paid for everything for me. They fully funded my undergrad at a top, private university and they funded my law degree. They pay for my healthcare, they pay for each kid to have school clothes twice a year (300 twice a year). They have their own food bank and resource center. A gym with personal trainers. You get the gist. (danileigh)
“All We Can Ever Be”
I currently live in a pretty isolated reserve way up in northern Canada, so I’m sorry that I’m not quite who you were asking. The living conditions are pretty awful. The trailers/houses are very run down and often just plain dirty. People get animals they can’t afford and allow them to reproduce to a point where we probably have more dogs than people. The “rez dogs” are the worst bc they are violent and not cared for. We have no animal control so people don’t care and let their animals run free. Many of the people here are either on drugs, alcoholics, or had too many kids to afford to leave. Most of the people here have never graduated high school (most only make it to grade 10). Imagine all the stereotypes you hear about my race and you’ll get a pretty good idea. Not all the reserves are ugly and run down. I’ve been to a few that are very nice and where the houses are actually suitable for living. The people have their issues, but they aren’t bad people. We were all raised on this idea that what we label we wear (druggies, alcoholics etc.) is all we can ever be. I thought it was normal to have children in your teen years because that’s all I was exposed to. I like to think that there is hope for my home to restore the sense of community and clean this place up, but there’s a reason all the people who were able to leave never came back. I tried to do what little I could by tutoring students for free while I tried to balance school and work but it wasn’t really enough. I graduated high school this year, and I am leaving for university at a school a good 20-24 hour drive away from home and I’m not sure that I want to come back. Sorry for my answer being blunt, but it’s the truth for my reserve. I hope this isn’t true for any others. (zkxcjj33)
Good and Bad
I grew up on an off the rez and I’ve always had mixed feelings. Yeah there’s a lot of alcohol and drug abuse, but ya know me and my cousins were better off than most other families. I knew about the fights, stabbings, rapes people’s parents who OD’d. I never had to see those things but everyone knew about them.
We just kinda dealt with it using humor. Only recently when I left for school did me and my friends from other reservations have started to deal with it.
I think a huge part of the rez’ f**ked upness is due to a lack of education. I feel bad sometimes cause I know I was a pretentious little s**t. I thought I was smarter than people on my rez because I got to go to a predominantly white school. The rez school system is shit, when I went to school there they wanted to boost 6 year old me into the 5th grade. I wouldn’t say the kids don’t want to learn they just think schools a waste of time because it doesn’t teach them well, or anything they think is valuable. I will say it’s much cooler when you get to learn where to dig roots, go fishing and hunting, and learn your language from your grandparents rather than hear about the mitochondria. The resources just aren’t available for the students to apply themselves off the rez.
I think depending on your family the experience can vary. My moms family is pretty traditional so I see a lot more culture surviving and that’s cool af. I had a lot of freedom as a kid befriending rez dogs and riding my bike down the creek. Having airsoft wars in the horse pasture, going rafting down the rivers, so as f**ked up as the rez is I had a great time. I love my home, despite all the problems.
And there’s a lot of problems that can really f**k you up if you’re not careful. I didn’t realize it wasn’t normal to see your aunty get beat, walk in on your dad passed out with bottles, seeing your grandpa deal pills down the street, or have to go to 9 funerals in 1 month.
People are still healing and I don’t think the problem can be solved through a single way. My mom always preaches about ceremony and college, and it works for some people, but others have had to deal with way more bulls**t. I don’t know what people need. I think about it a lot and it’d make me happy if people could get off the rez more, but from what I know people hate it.
Being off the rez sucks sometimes. People don’t get your sense of humor. People treat you weird and you have to tell non natives that we exist all the time. They either put you on some weird pedestal or tell you you’re a drunk.
Idk sometimes the rez ain’t that bad if you avoid your meth head relatives. (sakumofo)