Several times a year we return to Robert’s homeland in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Besides Mom, we still have many aunts, uncles, and cousins living on the rez. We also travel to many other nations throughout Indian Country, and we would be remise to talk about bullying without taking the time to recognize the special issues faced by Native children who live on reservations across this great nation.
On some reservations in the United States, the conditions are equivalant to the quality of life in a 3rd world country. If you are like most middle-class Americans, you probably were not aware of this. Risk factors that trigger bullying are often higher on the reservation. These children may face:
- Stereotypes and misconceptions of what it means to be Native American, and inherent bullying by the predominant culture
- Generational poverty
- Generational alcoholism and drug addiction
- Poor nutrition and diet
- Substandard and Inadequate housing
- Family structures that are not intact
And the list goes on… As human beings, we need to recognize the differences that we all have, and respect each others’ cultures and beliefs. It is only through this respect that people will find their inherent dignity.