Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Observations of one aspect of Indian Life

Over the course of history, a great amount of book space and media time has been devoted to the conflicts between Indians and non-Indians, and while some of it is true, this magnification fails to highlight some important elements of the relationship. What are often overlooked are the many genuine friendships made between the two races, especially when it comes to living side by side for a lifetime.

As the life experience shows, the color of a person's skin is often forgotten when children grow up playing in the school playgrounds, going to school for many years, playing sports and living in close proximity to each other. In that time, people learn to care for one another to a certain degree and to look out for each other. Both races learn they share many things in common and have the same concerns about life. It's not true today, but in past years white farmers brought food to Spring ceremonials because they wanted the same thing as Indian people - rain for their crops. Gestures like that are forgotten by a new generation.

One value prevalent over the years is the ability to help when help is needed:  Over the years, I’ve seen large and small turn-outs at our funerals. It is a time of grief, sorrow and feeling s of hopelessness for the people involved. We are lucky that we have people willing to help during these bad times. It isn’t just one but several. And there are no expectations of something in return because those same people will help you if necessary.

And it isn't unusual to see white neighbors, landowners and old school friends show up at the funeral to pay their last respects.  Maybe they don’t understand Indian ways, but they still show up. They will bring food, kind words and prayers for the family. It is the way of neighbors and will never be reflected in social statistics. Words can never express the gratitude Indians feel when they are treated right during these times. 

Granted these visitations aren't true across the board, but this shows a commitment of a community.

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