living on the navajo reservation

I grew up most of my life in the city and coming back to my great grandmother’s house was a regular event throughout my entire life. Nearly all of my aunts, uncles, and grandparents have spent most of their lives around that house and it has become the place where parties and holidays are held and it really is so stereotypical and happy there.

Almost 30 feet away was the house that belonged to my paternal grandmother and that’s where I currently live with my son. We’ve lived here for a year now and I really do think that he loves being here, so close to his grandmother’s every day. It’s definitely a big change in environment for me every day but I  really wouldn’t want to change a thing about it.

It is really unfortunate the kind of circumstances that brought us here though, but as always it is because of my boyfriend’s actions and choices involving heroin. For at least 4 months before we moved he was taking money from my account to spend on his habit. This money was what I made at my full-time job, money that I worked hard for while pregnant might I add. This decision to basically steal from me was the reason that we almost didn’t make our rent payment for those months. And why for the last two months that we lived there we didn’t pay our rent at all. If we didn’t move when we did we would’ve eventually been forced to leave by the constable with our 2-month-old infant.

And even after moving and being away from the toxic environment that was our apartment complex sobriety wasn’t a priority to Kannon’s father. Just finding some way to get a buzz even if it wasn’t from opiates. And for other dramatic and just stupid reasons and events, Kannon’s father was no longer welcome on my grandmother’s property.

But that’s all changed and we are happy here on our own.  We live at least 45 minutes from a Wal-Mart and a mall and other main food places but the view every day is fantastic and so worth it. We live right across from this small mountain and it is just gorgeous. My family each year goes on a group hike and we get right up to the edge for picture and just for the thrill of it.  We have our Easter egg hunt at the base of this mountain and my Great Grandfather was even laid to rest nearby. Each winter we also go sledding and tubing down the roads too. There have just been so many memories created by my family on this lands that make it so unbelievably special.

It definitely is a shock not having a heating a cooling system like most civilized areas but it’s nothing some hard work and elbow grease doesn’t fix. It was a struggle to keep the wood stove constantly going and warm with a young baby but you know next winter will be a different story and experience because my son will be much older. Even now we are fortunate enough to have an air conditioner in our bedroom now that it is getting to be warmer each and every day. Even living on the reservation we are very fortunate and privileged to have running water, electricity, and gas in our home readily available to us.

Many of the residents of the reservations including elderly don’t have access to these kinds of basic needs. Many people living in more rural areas than myself have to go and get water and bring it back to their home and conserve this water for possibly a week or more before they can go make the trip to get more. Many of these same homes don’t even have access to electricity. This could be because of the cultural preferences of the elders but that doesn’t make it right. If anything because they are elderly they should be receiving access to electricity more than others. But this is just the cold hard facts of the lifestyle of that is very common on the reservation. Each Native American reservation is considered sovereign land and only receive a predesignated amount of fund from the US government and as much as the Native governments try their best to distribute assistance to those who need it the fact is that we as Native Americans are struggling each and every day.

 

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