Aug 12 – The Cultural Divide- Montana

by Henry

The things I did yesterday were pretty simple. I went to Eagle Shield to help out serving food, walked down to De La Salle School and swept a floor, on to the museum of the Plains Indian, back to De La Salle to pick up my son who was working with Brother Paul to clean up the trailer for a new teacher, and then back to the academy where a group of us were picked up by Chuck DeBoo and driven out to his ranch for hiking, horseback riding and dinner around a campfire.

But all day I was thinking about life on the reservation. Several (not all) of the workers at Eagle Shield are raising their grandchildren, and are worried that the tribal court will order them to give up the kids to the unwed and unfit mother. They discussed a woman who gambled away her husband’s life insurance in a week. Some of the younger people at the Shield picked up food for shut-ins and jokingly complained about working a half-day. Walking around town, I was continually shocked by the amount of trash.

On the other hand, Chuck DeBoos’ son has braces from an orthodontist in Great Falls, and goes to school in distant Valier. The DeBoos main thought about the pow-wow in Heart Butte was not about the cultural practices, but about the additional (and probably drunken) drivers on the road past their ranch.

Even though the Deboos are adjacent to the reservation, the cultural divide seems infinite. It’s something to think about….and perhaps to influence my own life.

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