I write the post below after remembering an incident at an old workplace of mine. I remembered this incident after reading a journal article on “relative depravation” & Aboriginal peoples. In this incident, someone asked me at work what it was like to live on a reserve. Before I could answer, a co-worker replied, “Oh, that’s silly… it’s just like any other community.” I wanted to reply, “Except that it’s not…” (but decided just to let it slide–it was only a temporary job).
You say, my hometown is just like your hometown… except that it is not.
My hometown is a reserve. It is a First Nation. I was lucky though. My hometown was on the edges of a tiny city. I was able to go to an elementary school and high school, off my reserve yet still close to my home.
My elementary school wasn’t a part of my hometown though. It was your hometown. It was in “town” and it was “off the reserve.” My teachers called my friends “bad,” but she didn’t call your friends anything…but good. My teachers called my friends “stupid,” but she called your friends “smart.”
My high school was the same as yours. It was in the same town, and off the reserve. Except now, my teachers were better than the last. The only difference was your friends called me “stupid” and a “slut,” and your friends made fun of my friends.
My hometown is a reserve. It is not like your hometown. I was lucky though. My hometown had clean running water, not like some of the other reserves my friends were from. My friends were flown in and out of their hometown, so they could earn their education. Your friends were flown down south for family vacation. My friends didn’t try to kill themselves….but I did. My hometown is not like yours. I live on a reserve. You live in a town, a city…My hometown is not like yours.