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Young Native American Voices

A group of Native American teens created this video rebuttal to the recent ABC television broadcast "Children of the Plains," which presented a bleak, limited view of such youth:

(Nabbed from Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature.)

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
helliongoddess
Dec. 14th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen the ABC special, but I will be sure to watch it now. I think, however, I get the general idea from that article. The situation out there is a complex one, and it's a shame that with such a mainstream media outlet as ABC, they did such a botch job - but not really surprising. That patronizing, sad, "isn't it a shame their culture is so decimated and they're all but gone," attitude is one of the biggest reasons things out there have deteriorated to the point that they have. It's easier to just give up on a lost cause than to try to fix something deserving of hope.

I've known a lot of people from out there - Lakota culture is the primary one I have been most involved with. In fact I am having dinner with a dear friend from the Rosebud Reservation tonight. They ARE still very much a vibrant, warm, wonderful people, very much a living culture, and they are doing everything they possibly can to survive and thrive and preserve their traditional ways, while still moving forward into the future.

That being said, they definitely do face some nearly (but NOT) insurmountable obstacles. Shannon County, where Pine Ridge is located, last I heard had the single lowest standard of living of ANY US county. Unemployment is huge, as are suicide, domestic violence, and alcoholism (even though it's actually a dry county - the white bars and packages stores over the line in Nebraska make a killing.) There are no easy solutions. But there are solutions. Education. Jobs. Support for the youth. Of course most of those things take money, and that's something that, for social programs and education especially, has been in short supply in recent years even in the best of places. But improving attitudes is free. And good for those kids for taking a fantastic stand to show the U.S. public that they are so much more than people want to think they are. I find that very very encouraging, an I hope it gets millions and millions of hits. Thanks for posting this.
theskywasblue
Dec. 14th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
It's great to see that these kids have such drive and determination. There's no shortage of exactly the same issues that the 20/20 special highlighted here in Canada either - the news is particularly concerned with one specific reservation in Northern Ontario at the moment, but it's no different there than anywhere - so much needs to be done, and so much could be done if people stopped portraying it as something insurmountable or too deeply ingrained to be overcome. If everyone had the same hope that these kids have, I think it would be a different situation - or at least on its way to being one.

The issue of blame is a complicated one, but it's a shame that the 20/20 special seems to have glossed over the majority of the context in favour of simply presenting the part of the story that they think will get the highest ratings (no doubt.) Good on these kids for standing up to show their side of the whole thing.
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