I stared at the title atop the blank piece of loose leaf that reiterated the assignment: “Who Am I?”
Who am I? I am the symptom of a pandemic. I am another governmental statistic, a part of another multi-million dollar study that details the plight of reservation life. All those Washington muckity-mucks need to do is take a five minute drive around here to get more of an eyeful than they could ever stuff into their reports.
Who am I? I’m the son of two alcoholics: a gambling father who’s been gone for five years now and a mother who chain smokes the local vintage of cheap cigarettes. I’m the brother of two sisters who now make up only family memories; two tally marks on the SIDS mortality list. If the D.C. fat cats would just visit our cemeteries they could have saved millions in investigating the number of infant deaths. But instead they blow money that could be put towards solving the obvious problems.
Who am I? Well, I guess I’m a rebate. The government didn’t have to investigate my death and write it up as a suicide when I tried to kill myself last fall. Whether you look at it as I didn’t push the razor deep enough into my wrists or that my mother came home from the smoke shop a few minutes too soon, the fact remains that I survived. A comedian joked that a suicidal person who failed to kill himself is ironic; you can’t even do that right he said. Maybe so. I guess that means that I am a failure.
Who am I? The fact that I’m writing a paper for high school with pen and paper should answer that: I’m poor. But that word is ineffectual here; it’s the norm. Poverty-stricken is a term coined and used
for us by the government. A retarded person isn’t going to call himself handicapped, so why would the poor people call the mselves povertous?
Who am I? With skyrocketing teen suicide rates, unjustly high infant mortality, rampant obesity, diabetes and lung cancer because of the way we have to live, I am part of a vanishing race.
The character in this story is fictional, but the issues addressed are all to real on Native American reservations across the United States.