A February 2 article published by the New York Times has drawn a response from a Native American student. The story, “Brutal Crimes Grip an Indian Reservation,” details the Obama administration’s crime curbing plan and notes that crime on the Wind River Indian Reservation actually increased by 7 percent during his crime reducing “surge.”
The story also details other problems at Wind River, including an 80 percent unemployment rate, alcoholism, suicide, child abuse and teen pregnancy. But Willow Pingree, a 19-year-old student at Fort Washakie Charter High School on the Wind River Indian Reservation, see his reservation differently. He wrote to the New York Times to let them know how he feels about Wind River.
In his letter, Willow concedes that there are problems on the reservation, but “that does not mean that there are not positive aspects of the reservation,” he says. He talks about how important education is and how the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho, who have shared the Wind River Indian Reservation since the Arapaho people were forced onto it since 1876, still have their language and traditional values.
Willow points out that the problems faced on reservations are also faced elsewhere, but he says he will “not give up the war to save our culture or our languages, the war that all Native people in America have been fighting for since 1492.”
Read Willow’s inspiring letter, published online as a Guest Post by the New York Times, here.