Fort Peck Native American Reservation
The Fort Peck Native American Reservation in Montana is the focus of our Giving Back Program at Capital City Chiropractic in Columbus Ohio. Why reach out such a long way from home? The people who live in this place endure the worst conditions in our country. We feel it is our duty to help these people to reach a better standard of life and health.
We have teamed up with savethereservation.org and the Love Has No Color Project to help make a serious impact.
The disturbing and appalling conditions are hidden from most Americans for good reason. We did this to them as part of our colonizing of this country. Unleashing the untapped potential of America’s First People won’t be easy – it’s one of the most long overdue, obligatory, critical challenges of the 21st century. 99% of Americans are completely unaware of the conditions Native Americans face. Native Americans fly completely under most people’s radar. Most people have never met a Native American. When they do become aware of the problem, they react with a mixture of disbelief, ‘this can’t be happening in our country’ and ‘let’s do something about this, immediately.’ Part of LHNC’s mission is to bring nationwide awareness to the atrocities on reservations.
The philosophy of “America’s keepers of the earth” needs to be heard now, more than ever. They survive today in remote reservations, living in third world country conditions, right here on American soil at Fort Peck. America’s deepest scar needs to be healed now to allow Native Americans to reclaim their human rights and dignity. Our nation needs to serve as a positive role model to the rest of the world. These are not only civil or social rights…these are human rights that are inalienable to all men and woman. We no longer can turn our backs on these people…their time has come. If we want to live in freedom, these rights and liberties must extend to America’s First People. These atrocities cannot be allowed to exist any longer.
How did Native Americans get this way?
There are over 500 years of extreme cultural, governmental, social, economic, and educational, factors at work that create a complex matrix of extreme hopelessness. Cultural genocide, severe racial inferiority, and undesirability have been thrust upon them, much like African Americans during slavery. America’s First People were herded and forced against their will to habitate desolate reservations. War, genocide, technology, disease and ideological differences put America’s First People at a distinct disadvantage. Their language and culture were outlawed. Their children were forcefully taken away from their families and placed in Boarding Schools to learn the ‘non-Indian’ ways.
The extreme hopelessness, found currently on reservations such as Fort Peck, is much like post-traumatic stress disorder after a war. Even though removed from the traumatic event, the psychological and emotional scars still remain. This can persist for years or even a lifetime. It makes living a daily life-and-death struggle. These traumatic, ‘invisible scars’ are made more compelling and urgent today because the problem has been going on for over 500 years. A viscous cycle has created the current circumstances that Native Americans find themselves in. Suicide, depression, anger, loss of identity, violence, drugs, and alcohol serve to fuel the cycle of extreme hopelessness and poverty.
There is a profound loss of ‘identity’ and connection to the past (language, customs, way of life, orientation and connection to nature) that exists with today’s Native Americans. With no past to look back upon and no ‘cultural’ compass to guide them in their current life, there is an extreme lack of significance in today’s world. This intense feeling of racial and social inferiority combined with no ‘cultural’ compass to guide them, places them in ‘cultural limbo.’ They are ‘in-between’ two worlds; the world of Native Americans and the world off the reservation. They have no anchor to hold themselves steady in the storm. A sense of nobodiness, worthlessness, personal unfulfillment, and despair invisibly pervades all those on reservations. They have completely lost their sense of direction, as well as their identity. The youth on reservations are ashamed of their ‘Indianess,’ their heritage, and their roots.
Kenny Smoker, the tribal wellness programs specialist for the Fort Peck Reservation called LHNC,
Never before had he come into contact with a group of action oriented, energetic, humanitarian people like Chiropractors. Long hours, no breaks, and yet always had time to love and ‘rough house’ with the kids. Oh sure, he had seen his share of one time do-gooders. But he had never witnessed people who made promises and kept their word. The scariest time on the Reservation used to be when we would leave. You could see it in the kids’ faces. They thought you wouldn’t be back, as those promises had been broken by others, many times before. Going on 6 years, they trust us now, because we stand before them in truth. Now when we leave, they expect us back and count the days until the crazy Chiropractors return. -savethereservation.com