14 NATIVE AMERICANSINDIGENOUS PEOPLES IT LIKE TO GROW UP ON A RESERVATION IN THE USA

1. funerals…

I grew up between the Salt River and Gila River reservations around Phoenix, Arizona. When I was a kid it was pretty fun having such a large area to just walk around with a bb gun and no one cared where you were or how long you were gone for. We could dig in the ground and find broken pottery from other generations which is pretty crazy to think about now.

There were a lot of drunks who would show up at our house at 2 am and my grandparents would help them out with food or a place to sleep. There was only one little gas station/store to get groceries along with a smoke shop.

I generally have good memories of being there.

We now have casinos which really helps the community provide for itself. Our tribe focuses on building the community and gives very little to individuals in percapita distributions. Other tribes give more money to their members, but it seems like that causes more drug and crime problems.

My tribe has the highest rate of diabetes in the world, or at least it did when I wrote my capstone research paper on it for nursing school. We spend a lot of money on hemodialysis.

There is a ton of death. We dig our own graves by hand. Compared to other funerals that I have gone to off the reservation, there is something very special about digging your loved one's grave. Being in the ground, inhaling the dirt where your family member will soon rest. It's powerful.

I live in the city now but I return frequently to visit family.

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