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A friend put me onto an excellent review of the movie Wind River, now on Netflix, about life and crime among the Arapaho Indians on the Wind River Reservation. The movie realistically depicts life on most any Indian reservation today – the poverty, the solitude, the despair. The murders in the movie were committed by drunken whites, but they could have been Indians or Latinos or whatever.
For over a decade, I taught high school on the Navajo Reservation, where this movie could have been situated just as honestly. These people live with violence. The guy in Wind River laid it out in words, to the effect that there is no luck on the rez. Luck lives in cities. On the rez, you're strong or you die. Sometimes you die even if you are strong. Darwin lives here in ways alien to most Americans. Social pathology. Violence. Crime. Irresponsibility. Pain. Heartache. Much of this owes to drugs and alcohol. Much is self-induced. It's life in a red man's ghetto or a third-world country.
Man - Impression - Churchgoers - Life - Non-churchgoers
We don't know what it was like before the white man came, but one hopes it was better. I had the impression that churchgoers do better in life than non-churchgoers. These latter, with no sense of a Higher Power, of being responsible for what they do, get involved in booze and dope, which often lead to violence.
Anybody can dime-store psychologize, but a few observations seem in order. The critique of the movie – indeed, the movie itself – noted the solitude of rez life. The vast spaces and smallish population account for that. While some don't like solitude, I always felt that it put me nearer the Creator. Some Indian friends feel the same way, welcoming solitude, even seeking out hobbies and avocations that leave them alone with God...
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