Native Skeptic

Native Skeptic
Apache Crown Dancers 1887:

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Life on the Rez: America's Crumbling Infrastructure

The article by Eliza Grisworld titled, A Teen’s Third World America, discusses the conditions on, and surrounding Native American reservations, specifically bringing to light some of the issues with infrastructure and the “third-world like conditions” found on some U.S. reservations, through the telling of a story about a boy named E.J. Montoya, a 16 year old member of the Santa Ana Pueblo, who travels nearly 80 miles a day in order to attend a public school called the Native American Community Academy, which is set up specifically for the Native Americans. In the article, the author sums up that sentiment with the following statement,

“Montoya's short life story is the unsung tale of America's crumbling infrastructure—bridges, roads, drinking water, sewage lines, and the list goes on. Essentially, everything we rely on to move through our daily lives, and never stop to consider—until it breaks down.”

This article really hit home with me, eerily reflecting some of my own personal experiences living on the Fort Apache reservation, located in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona. Much like E.J., I also had to tread through some rather treacherous terrain and the harsh conditions in the winter, often exposing the vulnerabilities within our reservations' system. The blizzard-like conditions of winter in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona would make walking to or from school rather tricky, and potentially dangerous if you lost your way. But, treading through the mud, not even muddy roads, but plain mud on a mountain mixed with forest and scary darkness. While the scarcity of street lights makes for some awe inspiring nightscapes of a starry lit sky, it can also induce some seemingly frightful experiences.