Life On The Reservation

3 Mar

Life On The Reservation….

Over the years I’ve received several comments and questions on my posts about growing up on the reservation. Although most of them were general in nature, some of them showed me just how ignorant our Country is about how one lives on an Indian Reservation. I’ve tried in my posts to illustrate how life was, yet I get the feeling that most really don’t understand how basic life is.

I was once asked how does an Indian find salvation? The other day I was visiting a friend’s house and was introduced as a friend who grew up on an Indian Reservation, but he didn’t know what kind of heathen religion I was raised on because my Grandfather was a spiritual leader. I was not offended, but it did show just how people see the Indian life. Most see Indians as uneducated heathens with no real goals in life. So I decided to write about life as I grew up.

Let’s start by saying what you saw in the cowboy movies growing up is not representative of how the Indian lives. The Trail of Tears actually did happen and the Government did move tribes across the country and place them on reservations. Most reservations were placed on the most inhabital lands where no one else wanted to live. However, the Indian is accustomed to a hard life and has learned to make the best of every situation. They irrigated the lands to grow crops, took the best of what they had and made do. When I said I lived a simple life I grew up in a simple land where life was what you made of it.

As for religion, all the reservations have Jesuit churches on them, as the Catholic church was the only one brave enough to venture in. But as time went by more and more of the tribe visited other churches. In the 1940s and 50s, when I was on the reservation we had Christian and Catholic churches we could attend. Grandfather, our spiritual leader, was a born again Christian. He taught me from the bible everyday. Spiritual life is the center of life on the reservation.

However, there is more to life than religion. Grandfather used the bible to teach me nature, animal life, and the different seasons. We lived a simple life, learning the ways of nature and the animals. This taught us how to survive the harse nature of life on the reservation. I learned how to grow plants where some would never expect a plant to survive. I learned the importance of God in my life, for it is He who sustains us.

I once wrote to live a simple life is simply to live. I think that simple statement went over the heads of most of my readers. Life is as hard or simple as one chooses to make it. A life of love and joy is much simpler than one of hate and contempt. Positive is always easier than negative to live with and living in the light is so much easier than searching in the darkness. God is love and its His love that enables us to love others. It’s that simple and that’s the life I live with God at the center.

Life on the reservation is a simple life because we don’t take anything for granted and cherish every blessing God gives us. I wonder how many of you can truly say you do.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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