Transitioning to college would be a breeze. Or so I thought. After spending my high school years on the Reservation, I was excited to move to a new place, expand my knowledge, and meet influential people. However, once I arrived at Point Loma Nazarene University, I quickly realized that sharing the story of my home was pretty much the only thing I wanted to talk about. I feel so much pride for the snippet of life I had the privilege of experiencing on a Native American Reservation and a sense of responsibility to share the stories of Native America with others that I meet.
I didn’t realize this until about a month into school when I sat down to watch a movie released last year, The Glass Castle. I had seen this movie with my family about a year ago and it brought up a variety of emotions at the time since the movie depicts poverty culture in a way very similar to the realities on the Reservation. The Glass Castle, which is a true story based on an autobiographical novel, follows a girl who grew up with an alcoholic father and a family who was constantly moving from home to home due to the instability of finances and relationships with others. I remember watching it with a heavy heart because I could relate the story to so many of the children in Yakama that I love so dearly.
Choosing to watch this movie on a Friday night after a busy week of college with my new college friends was probably not the most ideal decision. :) The end of the movie brought me to tears and released a lot of emotions that I didn’t realize had built up in the process of leaving home. I struggle with the reality of my peers living in such a materialistic world with a minimal perspective of poverty and the afflictions that so many people face in this broken world. It’s impossible to explain to the friends that I’ve made and love that I am saddened by their ignorance of the hurt that happens across Reservations in America. While this is a tough thing to face and has made my transition difficult, the Lord is teaching me that there are so many things I am ignorant of as well and that He reveals different things to different people. I’m learning that I have the gift of a story to share and a perspective to bring to the world. I’m learning that people hurt in a variety of ways and the perspective I have is not the only thing that breaks God’s heart.
A few days after watching this movie, my longing for home culture led me to the grocery store where I bought some flour, baking powder, vegetable oil, and salt. A few hours and $11.50 later, I was in my dorm kitchen cooking up the most craved batch of fry bread in my life. Providentially, I had brought a precious jar of huckleberry jam with me to college. After that weekend, I truly believe that fry bread and huckleberry jam can bring healing to a homesick heart.