was raised in a very white, conservative, small town
community. My parents taught us strong moral values and were
devoutly religious. Growing up in a large family, we were
taught to be self-sufficient and hardworking. I thought
everyone elses life was just like mine, and had little
exposure to other cultures or ethnic groups.
Born in: Brigham
Parents born in: Utah
Throughout my early childhood, my father was employed by the
Bureau of Indian Affairs. He was the maintenance/repair man
for the Intermountain Indian School, a boarding school for
Native Americans of high school age.Each day he would come
home muttering something about those "dumb, lazy Indians."
Every story he told, or comment he made a bout his job, was
prefaced with the phrase&endash;"dumb, lazy
" He would
come home each day for lunch, before I started school, I was
filled with negative stories of Native American people. I
saw them in the community throughout my youth, and I always
eyed them with suspicion and distaste. If I saw them in the
store or on the street, I would avoid them. They made me
uncomfortable and afraid. Last year I made acquaintance with
an intelligent, capable woman and we soon became good
friends. Her husband was serving in the military and
therefore, she and her children spent a lot of time with our
family. She spoke incessantly of her husband, Norm, who
would soon return home. Finally, we met Norm. He was a
full-blooded Navajo Indian and a certified flight engineer!
Over the next year, I came to know and love this man, my
prejudice against native American simply faded. They are
truly remarkable people.
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