Posts Tagged With: Lifestyle

How to get over the savior complex you didn’t think you had…

When I moved to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation this year, I can safely say I didn’t have a grandiose idea of “saving an entire people” like I was a powerful force that could impact the kind of change that could undo generations of genocide and injustice.

There has been a history of people coming here and trying to do that. There are documentaries that don’t show you everything that is good on the Rez. There are people who come here who are supposedly well-intentioned, thinking they will show the world something that will create an impact — sometimes it does but not always a good one.

I came to the reservation to work and to gain experiences — that’s it. Take in the scenery, get away from the city and get to know people. And I just thought that I could maybe impart change in some way that could create improvement by either using the written word, creating awareness and passing on my own knowledge and experience in the area of health and sustainability.¬†Just like anyone who ¬†feels that they want to help people, I didn’t really think I had something called a “savior complex,” which admittedly I feel I could easily say some people who make the journey here may exhibit. I’m absolutely guilty of finger-pointing when it comes to that complex when really I should be looking a little more at myself.

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Why we take convenience for granted

If you live in an urban or suburban community, you probably don’t think twice when you go to the store. And if you don’t find what you need/want at that store, you get in your car or take the bus to the next one. When you get there, you will be lucky to find a variety of fresh foods and confident you don’t have to discover that the person cutting your meat or checking your items out at the counter is smoking.

You also probably have a cell phone. And it pretty much works wherever you go with a few possible minor disturbances like not finding WiFi or your first text message didn’t go through. More than likely you probably don’t have to go far if you need something fixed like your computer. And maybe you have a long list of folks to call if you need an exterminator at home.

These are conveniences that I currently haven’t had in over three months. I will admit I absolutely took that for granted. Because now it’s a 90-mile drive to do these things. And when I spilled a drink on my computer last week, I had to head out to “the city” from where I live now on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to get it repaired. This required staying overnight out in Rapid City, the closest metropolitan area.

The trip can be costly. And you are charged for that trip if someone comes from out of town to take care of things. Such as if you need major fixes to your home or if you need something like an exterminator to rid your place of a local nuisance — Box Elder Bugs. They are pretty common here but exterminators are not.

As far as my phone, I have to plan when I call people which means I have to head to the office where I work or the local motel to place the call. I mostly use text messages and Skype but for those who don’t do that much, when I get to the city, I usually call then. Oh and about that grocery store stop. Yes, I’ve encountered smoking at one out of the only two stores in town in addition to many times it is slim pickings on fresh foods (fruits and veggies) or quality meats. Chips, sweets and other processed foods are king, however.

This post should not be confused with complaining as I’ve grown a lot experiencing a different kind of lifestyle. I am very lucky to have means, a car and a nice place to stay even if I have to drive a large distance to obtain certain supplies or services. But I am actually pretty amazed at how much I didn’t think about these things. Day-to-day simplicities were like breathing pretty much and it’s common to take them for granted. I don’t believe that people are simply innately unappreciative of convenience, but most people are just very used to it. I do believe that very low income areas of larger cities are the closest to experience what it means to not have conveniences but even in those instances there is still close access, although limited. Again, being able to hop on the bus to get to point A to point B within an hour is a convenience even with a short grocery list.

It is not unlikely that if you take yourself out of comfort zones, you really start to get a grasp at what privilege looks like — even when you may think you “don’t have much.” You probably do.


Categories: Change | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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