Friday, October 26, 2007

Correction to "American Apartheid" entry

On 9/26, I spoke about Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who is the first player of Navajo descent in the major leagues. I also made a comment about reservations:

The average Native American, of any tribe, seems to be set up for failure from the get go... which is *not* the same as the blacks and latinos in ghettos and the barrios, because there the children grow up integrated into American society - and should they get a good education and a good job they could get out of those poor areas and into better ones with no "culture shock" except the one we all go through when we can live a life of luxury! But Indians are raised differently on reservations... they can't get out.

Okay, that's an observation from just a couple of days quick research, but that seems to be the case.

Natalie, from the Warm Springs reservation, emailed me privately to take issue with those comments (which just goes to show that one shouldn't be making comments after only "a couple of days quick research.")

I asked Natalie if I could share them here, and she said yes:

What? Only Indians who live off the rez do good? I'm 100% "Native" and I live here on my "rez" and I think I'm doing just are a lot of people here! Because we are not in the spotlight does not mean we are living in poverty! Far, far from it, as a matter of fact. And Jacoby's mom works on our Rez here in Warm Springs where she has been for a very long time as the speech therapist at The Early Childhood Education Center.

Natalie also pointed out:

I think the majority of America still have the stereotypical thought when it comes to Natives. We're uneducated, drunk and living off the Government. [But] We all know FICA and pay taxes like everyone else, and just for the record we don't get free housing or free education or free medical...I wish that were true so my insurance wouldn't be so high for dental bills!!!

So...a lesson for me to do a bit more research before talking in generalities.

And, by the way, check out the Museum at Warm Springs: "A stunning display of innovation. ... The largest collection of Indian artifacts still in Indian hands."

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