Sunday, June 17, 2007

On the Rez

Invited to the reservation by a friend working there for Americorps, we headed out in search of adventure and excitement. We found there:

--a couple sitting by the side of the road, selling $8 watermelons out of the back of their truck. Excited by the idea of purchasing fresh fruit, we pull over. "These look good. Where do they come from?" The man looks at the crate in the truck, turns to us and says flatly, "Texas."

--a skinny horse and its skinny foal. We drove past them on the road, where they were roaming freely in search of weeds big enough to eat. In fact, we drove past them at least three times, as the map we were given was very much not to scale and labeled poorly.

--the cultural center, finally. It ended up not being in the town we thought it was in originally, which caused great confusion. Once we parked and walked in, most of the celebratory activity was over. However, they still let us into the museum and gave us paper fans, programs, and cheap plastic visors for coming. We looked at some nice (contemporary) art by the people of the nation, and watched a half-hour long video on traditional basketweaving, filmed at least fifty years ago. It felt odd- watching this movie with a bunch of people from the tribe, while the narrator calls them "indians" and uses a tribe name that they no longer associate themselves with. I wasn't sure whether to criticize the old movie, or be respectful of it since they were showing it at their cultural center.

The drive home was somewhat more squashy and uncomfortable, as we added two watermelons to the five people already in the car, but the conversation was sparkling and dinner at a Mexican food stand on the South side of town was excellent.

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