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Archive for the ‘Trust’ Category

Life on Pine Ridge Reservation is very complicated.  I am thrilled that ABC News has followed through on their plans to spotlight life on Pine Ridge for the Lakota people.  But the 20/20 program they will air tonight (Friday, October 14, 2011) will only scratch the surface.

Yes, you will see the deplorable living conditions that most endure.  You will see the ideas and programs that are trying to bring hope to the people.  But there are stories that you won’t hear.

You won’t hear these stories because of “political correctness” and the fear of offending those in positions of authority on Pine Ridge.  I usually avoid those stories as well, because I have friends who live on Pine Ridge and I want them to be safe.

But after the 3 phone calls I have received from my Lakota friends this past 10 days, I’m stepping out of my gentle persona and allowing my passion and “righteous anger” to vent.  The volume may get a bit loud, so step back a bit if that will bother you and read from a distance.

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Call #1

When the phone rang 2 weeks ago, I was still recovering from organizing and conducting an event at my church which included a silent auction of Lakota arts & crafts, a video presentation about my Lakota friends’ housing search over 6 years and a “feed” that included buffalo stew.  It had been a huge undertaking the prior weekend and I was, quite honestly, feeling the energy drain.

My friend’s eldest daughter had moved to Rapid City to find work and build a home for her 2 little boys.  They are all my takojas (grandchildren), at least in my heart.  Her partner, the boys dad, was living with them.  Her daughter found work at a fast food restaurant, got an apartment and tried to make a home.  Her partner did not find employment.  He did find the time and money to drink with his friends, even when he was supposed to be caring for the boys.  He had the “energy” to beat her in front of his sons.  This latest call was because he’d slept with another woman.  All of this may sound like your garden-variety domestic drama — but not to my friend.

My friend and her husband got sober years ago.  No AA or other 12-step group; just a strong desire to put her children first.  They do not want the takojas, the boys, to live in those conditions.  So my friend was going to Rapid City to pick up her takojas.  She was going to bring them home to live with them while her daughter figured out what she wanted in her life.

Why did they call me in all this?  Gas money.  The most mundane things can complicate these domestic issues even more.  The first complication is they no longer have a car.  So in order to make the 2 hour trip to Rapid City, they have to borrow a relatives car.  Then they must fill the tank with gas so they have enough gas to get that “rez ride” to Rapid and back.  With no source of income and limited funds, gas money is a frequent request in times of emergency or stress.  I called the local gas station and authorized gas for my friends.

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Call #2

It was no more than a week later that I spoke with my Lakota friend again.  She was not feeling well, having severe pain in her abdomen and chest that was strong enough to cause her knees to buckle.  I told her she needed to be seen by a doctor.  She said she had been seen at the nearby clinic and the only thing they had found was that she had a significantly elevated platelet level in her blood tests.

I am fairly well versed in medical knowledge but I did not have much information about elevated platelet levels and if pain was a result or a cause of that finding.  So I did what any slightly tech-savvy nerd would do – I researched it on the internet.  I found that pain is not typically found when you have elevated platelet levels.  I discovered that there are many causes of elevated platelets, ranging from “benign – no obvious cause” to cancer with many options in between.  I could find nothing that made any sense based on the symptoms my friend had related.

She called a day later, in so much pain that I could hear it in her voice.  Since I was 2000 miles away, I could not say “Show me exactly where it hurts” or do any kind of touching to clarify what I was hearing from her.  But she sounded so frightened, she is newly diagnosed as diabetic, she has a family history of heart disease and the pain was lasting far longer than seemed okay to ignore.  So I made the suggestion that I would make to any friend:  go to the emergency room and have a doctor look at you.

I was aware that the nearest hospital was at least 45 minutes away, if she went to Pine Ridge Hospital.  There is a hospital in Martin, SD that she could go to if she wanted a bit longer drive and of course, there was Rapid City Regional, 2 hours away.  She decided to go to Pine Ridge Hospital, since the clinic was planning to have her check in there the following day for additional tests.

Pine Ridge Hospital is an Indian Health Services (IHS) facility.  The residents of the reservation have a standing joke about IHS:  “I sat in the emergency room for 6 hours and all I got was 2 Tylenol.”  It is a commentary on the quality of care received from IHS.

There were 2 physicians who examined my friend, one male and one female.  They did an x-ray of her abdomen which showed nothing.  [I cannot fathom how an x-ray of soft tissue with no contrast administered could be expected to show anything of significance.]  They did an EKG, which they said was find.  So the male doctor started to discuss what might be going on when the female doctor made a comment aloud, to no one in particular, that my friend’s problems were all in her head and she needed a psychiatrist.

My friend stopped the male doctor in mid-sentence to ask if the female doctor had spoken about her.  The male doctor was uncomfortable enough that my friend realized it was true.  She asked both doctors to leave so she could get dressed and she prepared to leave the hospital without treatment.

That was when she overheard a number of hospital staff, doctors, nurses, etc, making comments about “drunken Indians”.  They were laughing and mocking.  My friend and her husband, who were stone cold sober, were shocked.  They were even more shocked when one of the staffers made a comment to the effect that, if all the drunken Indians were shot, it would make their nights a whole lot easier and saner.

I know the anger that rose in me when my friend told me about those comments and the mocking.  I could barely speak, which was fine since I could not think of what to say that might possibly be appropriate in this situation.  I was embarrassed that those in the medical community would say such things.  I knew my anger, resentment and embarrassment couldn’t begin to approach what my friend and her husband felt.  She did file complaints through the proper channels.  But you and I both know that will not take away the sting of being mocked by those charged with your care.  It was so totally unprofessional.  Sadly, it was not particularly unusual.

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Call #3

The most recent call occurred 2 days ago.  Before I detail the call for you, I want to tell you about my Lakota friend’s husband.  Understanding this man is germane to understanding the event.  It is also important to understand a bit about rez life, so I will also go into that a bit in case you don’t know very much about it.

As I said at the beginning of this post, life on the rez is very complicated.  That statement might actually be an understatement.  There is the poverty the underpins almost everyone’s life, since 90% of the residents live at or below the poverty level.  There are divisions that tear at the fabric of the culture:  pure-blood vs mixed-blood, traditional vs contemporary, activist vs passivist, etc.  There are times when the true Lakota culture, its values and traditions, are ignored or perverted.  Elders, women and children are considered sacred yet domestic violence is rampant.  Based on the traditional clannishness of historical Lakota life, who your family is can be more important that who you are or what idea you may have.  Nepotism and corruption abound.  The tribal council has actually tolerated disrespect among its members. People who are elected do not have to meet any age or educational requirements.  Politics play a bigger part in who gets a job than does who is the best qualified.

My friend’s husband is a big man but he is not the kind of man who uses his size to intimidate.  He is quiet and funny.  He is very smart and currently working on his college degree in business.  He would like to see honesty and respect return to the tribe and the interactions of the people who live on Pine Ridge.  He is a man of integrity who married my friend when she was a single mother raising 4 teen-aged daughters.  That takes courage in any culture!

All of that information is what made the phone call I received from my friend 2 days ago even more unthinkable.  She called to tell me that her husband was going to be arrested and she could find no one on the rez who could loan them $125 for bail money!

If it had not been for the panic in her voice, I’d have thought it was a joke.  I have always told her that, if the girls got into trouble, there was no money available for bail money.  Just not going to happen.  But the panic was there.

Here is the story that I pieced together:  They had submitted, to the proper person, a voucher for gas to go to a health appointment for her daughter.  Somehow, it had disappeared (mistakenly thrown out, intentionally “misplaced”, who knew?); they resubmitted it.  The check was supposed to be ready that day but wasn’t.  My friend’s husband called the office and the clerk told him she had seen the check in the official’s office.  So my friend’s husband called the official and, as he stated, “in a voice of authority” told the official that he would come down to the office “to straighten things out.”  The official decided that was a threat and called the police to arrest my friend’s husband for threatening a tribal official.

This had been on the phone.  My friend’s husband did not assault anyone nor did he go into the office and create a scene.  [I must say it is probably a good thing I don’t live on the rez; I’m not sure I could keep my temper in the face of all the “crap” that goes on.  I’d probably be a “regular” with the jailer under that criteria.]  If she could not bail him out, he would be suspended from college and lose his scholarship money.  It would destroy everything he has worked so hard to achieve thus far.

I was really torn because I had always said there would be no bail money.  But this man has worked hard.  He makes really good grades.  He is honest and straightforward.  I have always respected him.  I wired the bail money.  They plan to wire it back to me when they receive his educational stipend for the semester in another week.  I plan to let them send the money back to me.

After all, there is no gift of bail money, even if there is a loan of it.

And life on Pine Ridge Reservation is complicated, even for those of us who don’t live there.

 

 

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ABC NEWS Has Come Through For Pine Ridge

Over a year ago, I was contacted by a researcher/producer for ABC News.  She had found one of my blog entries (in which I was chastising ABC for not paying attention to the disasters in the west, especially on the reservations).  She told me they were working on a Diane Sawyer prime time special in her “A Hidden America” series.  The prior one had been on life in Appalachia.  This time they were planning to profile Pine Ridge Reservation.

Those of you who have been reading my blog will know that there is not much that fires up my hopefully righteous passion more than talking about life on Pine Ridge Reservation.  So talk we did, for almost an hour.  And we emailed – resources that they might find helpful.

I had heard that Diane Sawyer was out on the rez this past summer when I was there (no, we didn’t happen to cross paths traveling the approximately 2 million acres on the rez.  But I did here that she went up to KILI Radio one of the days I was there.  Try to keep that quiet when you’re talking to DJ’s.

I am giving you a link to the promo for the show.  Please, if you have ever enjoyed or been moved by anything I have written, I implore you to watch the 20/20 program on Friday at 10 PM.  See with your own eyes the good and the bad of Pine Ridge.  You may not find it possible but this place does exist.  I have been there and I suspect they will not tell you the worst story nor show you the poorest homes.  But it will still be worse than you expect.  After all, the living conditions on Pine Ridge rival those in Haiti and the life expectancy on Pine Ridge rivals that of Burundi.

I work for an organization that works to support self-sufficiency – not an easy thing to have on Pine Ridge.  Many of us work to keep the dam from breaking by trying to improve the life of one person at a time.  The big picture can be truly overwhelming.

If you can’t watch the show when it airs, record it or have a friend record it for you.

I will be honest.  I prayed for someone with greater reach than mine to focus attention on the needs of Pine Ridge.  I did not know (or care) who it would be.  I am grateful to ABC News because I know that if more people see the conditions, they will be moved to respond.  I believe in the American people and I know in my heart that things can improve.  I do not have the answers but I know it can be done.

Thank YOU for helping them to raise awareness.  You can do that by sharing this blog post with everyone you know.

Oh yes, here’s the link to the promo:  http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/hidden-america-children-plains-14708439#.TpOhj9LOE2E.facebook

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“Why Pine Ridge?” is a question I am frequently asked.  I have been pondering the answer to that question since Christmas time, especially, because it was posed to me by Dana, a woman from the Pine Ridge Reservation to whom I write while she is incarcerated in federal prison in Minnesota.

She replied to  my Christmas note.  She was looking forward to watching the “My Passion is Pine Ridge” video ( http://youtu.be/t8UYGSBl4yU?a ) that I had recently posted on YouTube.  She wrote that she looked forward to it “although [she] would like to know why?  Why such the passion?  So many people love where [she’s] from but all moving home did for [her] was get [her] in trouble.”

I have been musing and pondering over those questions for several months now.  I really owe her a response.  But for me to say that my love for the Lakota people who live on Pine Ridge Reservation is due to their culture, their strength and their needs sounds so cerebral.  My passion and crusade to inform the nation about the living conditions on the rez come from a different place than my head.

My passion stems from my heart and soul.  My heart feels a loving connection with each person I meet from the reservation – even the ones who try to “pull a bit of wool over my eyes.”  I understand a bit of human nature.  My soul feels torn apart when I see the beautiful, kind, gentle people – especially the elders and children, those sacred ones – living in conditions that many people in the country would not expect their animals to live in.

I feel it is a “sin” (in the generic sense of that word, not a particular religion’s interpretation) to a group of people in the United States to live in conditions that no one else would tolerate.  These are conditions that are like those in the Third World – in Haiti or Burundi.  Life expectancies on Pine Ridge are similar to those places as well.  It is wrong that, if Pine Ridge residents lived a hundred miles away, their live expectancies would increase by 30 years – just by being born and living a couple of hours away.  Those are the things that give me my passion and drive.  The unfairness.  The losses.  The hardships.  The national news media doesn’t tell you thinks like that – not ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or FOX.  So I do it.

Those are some of the things that make me keep plugging away even on those days (or weeks) that I get discouraged.  I am so impressed by those on Pine Ridge Reservation who make it.  Or who work to give the elders and youth hope for the future.  My work allows me to help one at a time.  That is a good thing.  But the numbers who still need help are overwhelming.  I do it for all the strong Lakota women I have met who inspire me to never quit using my own talents and abilities until I have achieved my goal.  These are women who live in the direst of conditions yet they still laugh and give to others.  They are my inspirations.  I guess that is, in the end, why I am driven by such passion to promote the welfare of the people of Pine Ridge Reservation.

I read another letter addressed to Facebook friends and written by a young Lakota mother and musician.  I think she would be pleased that, even though she is a professional musician and that is her occupation, I introduced her as a mother first.  She is devoted to her family above all things except Tunaksila (God).  She was raised off rez and has come back to help her people.  She has a plan and goals, which you can read about in my prior post about the youth project for native music.  She has given me permission to share her letter with you here.

Its hard to be Lakota but its worth it. Sharing my thoughts.

by Davidica Littlespottedhorse on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 6:54am

Its easy to say,”Fix it. Take a stand. Make some noise.” but its harder to actually do it. Im one of the strong people on the rez whos not afraid to stand against injustice or speak the truth, but I know why most of my people wont speak up.

When you live in a place where corruption is the norm, you dont have much faith in the power of justice. I still believe, I have faith and Im proud of my Lakota people for enduring the living conditions here on my rez. Because through it all we kept what was more important than material things. We have our culture, our spirituality, our history, and our knowledge of our ancestors. These are things that are lost to most tribes so I know how blessed we are.

Most people in the outside world dont understand the life we lead and get frustrated wondering why it is the way it is. Yes we are treated badly but the majority of us are busy surviving. We dont have the time to be ambitious we are too busy trying to get food on the table, keep warm, or keep our electricity on. I dont know of any other town that 90% of the population can live off of $3000 a year, yes a year. Any other town would be in total chaos. People would be stuggling, have no homes, and fighting for what little resources there are. Oh wait that is what we do, but we are not in TOTAL chaos for all that the media and everyone else plays up.

For all our struggles, still we are strong. We are compassionate. We are generous. We are welcoming. When a family member needs help we all help them. When we are hurting our families come together to pray with us. We are proud of our ancestors who kept us from being wiped out. Our youth is talented. Our elders teach us.

And, if you look past the negativity out in front, you’ll see the beauty in the ones who are quiet and strong. The ones who just live their lives being good to those around them. Like my grandpa who takes his guitar to sing at funerals and doesnt ask for money. Or my cousin down the street who fixes peoples cars for free. Or my aunt who runs a small business and still sponsors lil league teams. Or the boys at the basketball game who all came outside to help push some guy they didnt even know out of the snow. Or the teenage girls that would come over and ask to take my girls for a walk so I could mop my house. Or when my baby died, all my relatives that I didnt even know very well who helped me with everything from cooking to burying my daughter. Then a year later they all came together again to pray with me even though I hadnt seen most of them all year.

When bad things happen or times are hard its easy to complain and get mad, but the true Lakota way is to look forward and gather courage to make things better in a good way.

I was upset yesterday but I lit some sage, took a deep breath, and said a prayer. Then I remembered my moms words,”Its hard to be Lakota. You have to forgive when no one else will. You have help everyone, even your enemies. You have to pray for yourself to let go of anger. Once you do this you will learn from your experiences and then you can help your people.” I stand humbled and strengthened by my experience because now I have a new direction to help my people.

Pilamiya Tunaksila for direction.

So, why do I have such passion for Pine Ridge?  It is, of course, my sense of what is right and what is wrong.

But it is the women about whom I frequently write.  It is because of Dana, a talented women who succumbed to temptation in her desire to support her family.  It is because of Davidica, a talented women whose strength and spirituality has helped her resist the temptations of the reservation.  It is Michelle, who has endured more than any mother should have to endure with her daughters (rape, illness, death).  It is Emma who takes in foster children when she has ten children of her own to care for.  It is Nadine who single-parents her children and grandson, takes college courses, maintains her culture through her crafts and hopes to show other rez women that it is possible to succeed. There are too many others to single out each one.

How could I possibly not have this passion after the inspiration of so many!?

I hope you are inspired to spread the word about the poverty and hopelessness that too many have on Pine Ridge.  Just tell people you know, if that is what you are most comfortable doing.  Send them to the YouTube videos so they can see for themselves.

Pretty soon I won’t be a single match trying to shed light on these lives, but we will have a huge bonfire of caring and love to catch the country’s eyes.

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I have often urged people to consider sponsoring a child or elder on Pine Ridge Reservation.  I will continue to do that.

When I assign a sponsor to someone on the reservation, I urge them to start slowly and not be overwhelmed by their own feelings of generosity or by the need of the Pine Ridge residents.  There is a reason for that.

ONE Spirit has no rules written in stone regarding the amount that a sponsor should spend on the child, elder or family that is being sponsored.  However, there are guidelines and a strong suggestion.  The guidelines – 4 gifts a year minimum at obvious times like birthdays, holidays, the beginning of school – do not mean a sponsor needs to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars.  A pair of jeans and a couple of shirts or a pair of shoes is plenty.  As a sponsor gets to know a family, they may decide, based on their own budget, that they can do a bit more.  But it should always be within their own comfort zone in their own budget.

The basic point of sponsoring is to make sure a child or an elder has the NECESSITIES for daily life – clothing, food, hygiene products, diapers, cleaning products, toilet paper, books or small toys.  Most of us cannot resist sending something that would be considered more of a luxury as well – a larger toy, some make-up, sweets for the children.

The point of sponsoring in not to give a child everything they ask for or want.  All children need to learn the difference between what they NEED and what they WANT.

The children of Pine Ridge are no different from children everywhere in this country.  They see all the gadgets and goodies on TV.  They want an iPod or computer or flat screen TV or furniture or car.  They think they ought to be given these things.  They need clothes and toilet paper.  We, as sponsors, do them no true good if we give them the expensive toys that cannot be kept up and that may be easily stolen.

Sponsors need to use their judgment both with the guideline for gifts but also with strong suggestion to never send money to the family on the reservation.  I think that this suggestion is very sensible due to the rates of alcoholism and other problems that result in cash being ill-used.  It is so easily stolen, as well.  But when you become better acquainted with the family, you may, as a sponsor, decide that in one certain case sending cash is okay.  It should never be done without due deliberation.

I spoke with several sponsors this week that have had some experiences with these issues, which is why I am writing about it today.

But there is unfortunately two other issues that are not limited to Pine Ridge nor are they pretty.  Those issues are greed and ingratitude. Greed is everywhere.  In some respects, it is almost understandable in a place where poverty rivals the poverty of Haiti.  But it is not acceptable in Lakota culture.  Lakota culture honors generosity and humility, sharing and taking care of the less able (children, elders).  Greed is not a part of Lakota culture but it is part of human nature. Ingratitude is not part of Lakota culture either.  It is, sadly, a large part of American society.  Too many today feel they are entitled to the good things in life without work.  Therefore they don’t need to be grateful for those things.  They are “owed” them!  Children on Pine Ridge watch a lot of TV – there are few other forms of entertainment available – so they see the attitudes of American society in general.  If you’ve ever really thought about what you see on TV, whether comedy or drama, “reality” or not, you will have noticed that the values displayed are not the values many of us “of a certain age” were raised by.  But they are the values many of our kids are being raised by.  Sadly!

One of the sponsors I spoke with had encountered greed and ingratitude in the persona of a pre-teen girl.  This girl did not ask for NEEDS, she asked for wants.  She did not just ask for jeans – not even designer jeans.  She asked for a computer.  She asked for a iPod.  She asked for expensive running shoes.  She asked for a cell phone “to call her grandmother.”  (Her grandmother lives with the family.)  This sponsor has decided to terminate her sponsorship of this child and I am looking for a family who will be a better experience for her.

As the person who matches sponsors with families, I try so hard to try to avoid this type of experience.  But short of clairvoyance, there is no way for me to know the characters of either sponsors or recipients absolutely.  It comes to trust, which I wrote about not that long ago.  But it saddens me deeply when either sponsors or recipients have negative experiences.

I have been blessed with a wonderful family that we began by sponsoring but who have become our friends.  They have never asked for too much.  They have accepted any refusals due to our budget with grace.  They have been grateful for whatever we have been able to send.  I know many other sponsors who have had similar experiences.  I am grateful that the number of negative experiences I personally know of can be numbered on one hand.

But I think that it is important for sponsors to remember that the people on Pine Ridge are no better or worse than people anywhere else.  There are good and bad, generous and greedy, honest and dishonest, both on the reservation and in the people you meet every day.  The only difference is that the people on Pine Ridge are extremely poor – just about the poorest people in this nation.

So sponsoring is not all sweetness and light.  There are negatives and hard times as well as positives and joys.  Sponsors should not expect that the people on the reservation will be saintly any more than they would expect all their own neighbors or co-workers to be saintly.

My perspective on my own sponsoring:  I give what I can afford to give.  I do it because I want to improve the daily life of someone I have come to love.  I started it because I felt it was wrong for anyone to live in the conditions that exist on Pine Ridge Reservation.  I know I cannot “fix” everything for the ones I sponsor.  I cannot give them a life that is “just like” the life I lead.  But I can do small things to make the life they do live more pleasant, more healthy, less painful.

I guess for me, that is sweetness and light.

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No, I’m not writing about the TV game show of that name which aired in the late 1950’s.  I’m writing about a thought that has been occurring to me off and on today.  Sometimes life does that, I think — presents us with a “theme of the day.”  (And yes, I do realize that it should really be “whom do you trust” since “you” is the subject and “whom” is the object of the sentence.  It was just a better lead-in to use the phrase that I chose to use.)

How do you decide who to trust?  Are you usually right or usually wrong?  I have been facing that issue a lot recently.  When I confront an issue a lot, I tend to write about it to clarify it for myself.  So I’ll try that with trust.

First of all, I believe that trust is earned over the long haul.  It is gained when someone tells you something and that something proves to be true.

But how do you decide to take that first step in faith?  To take a person at his/her word?  I listen to my “gut.”  I know, it sounds like a bit of mumbo-jumbo.  But I have learned that my intuition, my instinct is usually right.  It’s when I listen to my head that I tend to get into trouble.

So why all the musings on trust?  Of course there are the experiences in my own personal life that raise that question.  However, this week I have been trying to decide who to trust in my volunteer work situation.  How do I know if I can trust women I’ve never met who work with the same organization that I do?  How do I know that their assessments of the situations and contacts they have on the reservation are accurate?  I know all of these women care as deeply as I do about the welfare of the Lakota people.  It isn’t a matter of motivation or commitment.  But how do I determine trust when I can’t look someone in the eye and see them speak, answer questions.  It makes the choice of whether or not to trust their judgment more difficult.

The second group I need to determine whether to trust or not are the sponsors I assign.  This is a bit more difficult because every one comes to me with enthusiasm and the desire to help.  Personalities are not the same but sometimes it is possible to tell when a new sponsor will not continue to fulfill the responsibility they undertake.  It is more likely that I am completely surprised when someone just decides to stop for some reason.  I am especially distressed when I find out from someone on the rez that they just haven’t heard from a sponsor in months.  I think the one that bothered me the most was the one who emailed me to inform me she was unable to continue; when I asked if she wanted me to inform the rez contact or whether she planned to, she said she would do it.  Then, months later, the sponsored person contacted me concerned by the lack of contact.  I had to break the bad news anyway.  I might have been able to make it easier if I could have done it when the sponsor first made the decision.  So deciding whether or not to trust sponsors is more difficult.

I also have to decide who to trust on the reservation.  You may think that odd, but there are some who try to “work the system.”  They may exaggerate their needs, list children who are also listed on another family member’s household, fail to note some income or benefit that the household has, etc.  Mind you, I understand this to some extent.  When one has almost nothing to give one’s family, one will do almost anything to get the things they want and need.

Trust works in two directions.  I need the people on the reservation with whom I work to trust me also.  I ask them to open up about themselves and their lives.  Could you do that with someone who you know only as a disembodied voice at the end of the phone line?  Could you trust someone you have never met with your sadness and poverty?  Sometimes sponsors expect the person being sponsored to just open up and tell his/her life’s story.  I try to caution against that.  I try to explain that people will be guarded at first — and that is reasonable.

Still, I have to be careful because sponsors are placing trust in me.  They don’t want to be fleeced when they are being generous and caring.  They want to know that the people they are helping to support truly need the help.  I tend to err on the side of trust.  And yes, I have been fooled, but not often.

Trust is one of the reasons I like to visit the reservation.  I like to meet people face-to-face when I can.  I find my intuition works better that way than when I am 2000 miles away.  I usually trust until proven wrong.  Gratefully the trust is not often misplaced.  Still . . .

It’s tough to know who to trust, isn’t it?

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