I thought I would share something than my usual ramblings. Something that was touching and interesting to me. Yesterday, we had to go to town for the usual get our smokes from the rez at the island and pick out items for our remodel , some shopping and pick up our laundry from the laundry service. Yes, I'm lazy and send my laundry out instead of doing it myself at the laundry mat. Anyway,....
After having an unhealthy lunch at the Dairy Queen we where headed out to the island to buy smokes. They are a lot cheaper than buying them in town. We buy them on a reservation. Which we simply say The Rez. We have four in the area we live. This one is on an island and closet to town. For those that don't live in North America an Indian Reserve is where the government rounded up Native people and allotted them land after they took away their land. It is pretty nasty business. Not all reserves are poor but the majority of them are very poor and have many social ills rooted into western society. The reserve when entering it yesterday would be considered a more wealthy reserve. Appearances can be deceiving also. It is home to the Anishinaabe which consist of three tribes. ( Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi). So, that is a little background in a very simplistic way.
Back t o the story. We where driving along our route out to the island. When this older women who looked elderly was hitch hiking. At first we pasted her debating whether or not to pick up a hitchhiker. I also observed this woman was probably drunk. Swaying to one side and could hardly keep her balance. We had the truck full in the back seat. We talked not to much between us before J swung the truck around and I lowered the window to offer the woman a ride. I said if you can squeeze yourself back there your more than welcome to get in. I tried to move some stuff over but it was a tight fit among 4 loads of clothes and other junk I haven't removed like cherry logs that I haven't split up into chunks yet for smoking meat. It also had dog beds and dog blanket. Very scary to me to ever have to sit back in that mess. She managed to climb into the horrible mess . I would of gave her the front seat but the floor where I sit hasn't been cleaned in awhile and was full of cans and coffee cups etc. No leg room .Harder for a drunk person not to kick out all the debris.I don't litter so have just a ton of trash there till I get to the dump. So it wasn't much better because the truck needs a serious cleaning it is so messy at the moment. I also store many things out in the truck . That is a blog into its self as that thing is a rolling storage. She was very happy to get in. She asked before she got in if we where going over to the island. We said yes. She really didn't talk much. We where seating in silence for most of the 10 minute ride over to the Island. The fumes she filled the truck up was something. It smelled like a brewery. All blew at the back of my head. It filled the cab up quickly. When we got over to the Island she asked us where we where going. We told her and then promptly ask her if we could drop her off at her own home. As, the island is pretty big place.
I tried to put myself in her shoes and so did J. We would never in a million years want or walk that far just to the Island in it's self as it is a fair distance to town. Much less have to navigate in such a drunken state to get home on a fair size island. We insisted no matter how far it wasn't a problem. Which in our boring lives we are simply not very busy people in the over all scheme of things. The woman started to talk a little in a real low voice. We where remarking how pretty the bay was. She told us the name of it in that area. She was also telling us little tid bits of life. She was telling J the directions to her house. J was driving and noticed she has been in that area before going to another friends house that lives out in that area. I guess that is when the woman over heard that remark and became more friendly. J knew a little about her family because J used to work with a relative of the woman's. J also knew a little of her families history. That is when she told us the reason why she lived in that area on the island. Her grandfather secured the land around the little area and road to house the family because many people discriminated against them as they also had white blood in them. I really don't know her story of being discriminated against. It just intrigued me as I have faced a lot of discrimination in the past and probably not as horrifically as this woman has. Being discriminated in her own community because she can't help her birth or in town where she would be discriminated against simply having Indian in her and living where she does. The woman can't simply win. It mad me feel sad. It made me sad that she was probably an alcoholic also. She was so drunk at 2 in the afternoon. So it probably is safe to say she probably is an alcoholic. Sad, because she also looked poor by her cheap attire. Sad, that alcohlism many times conflicts against spirituality and values in her community. Sad because she probably has many demons she is fighting. Also, sad that most of society just sees a drunk poor Indian woman on the side of the road and doesn't give a damn. They say it is a choice to behave in such away. All the mean things they say against the native communities isn't fair either. Most white people around here really are very judgemental when it comes to the Native community. Words that are very nasty and vile get thrown around a lot about the native people. It is because they never have and never will try to understand the native community and think they have the same opportunities as white people. They have some but really have to fight to achieve the same thing. No one really wants to understand the circle of poverty either. Everyone just wants to say pull yourself up by your boot straps. Well that is nice but not everyone can . It gets a little more complex with the native communities also. It would be like telling a mentally ill person to just get it together. As anyone that is mentally ill knows it just isn't that simple.
Off my soap box. I just really felt for this woman. All , we could do for her is give her some respect and give her a ride. I felt like she gave us more as it felt good to give her a ride and made me less pity my loathing self and in my head scream about my injustices in my head.