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Consider all who contribute to society

Most have become accustomed to a certain type of behavior and treatment here in northern Minnesota, where we Ojibwe endure injustices while we contribute to the economy here, yet we are afforded none of the opportunities produced by our dedicated economic support. And Affirmative Action has become such a hostile and controversial phrase in the mouths of those who are too intoxicated off of privilege to be reasoned with.

A lot of the workforces of local businesses that are prosperous off our contribution do not reflect the demography of the area. What must we do to demand our dignity back from those who have put a premium on it? We Ojibwe do have political and economic clout, yet we are still inexperienced in wielding that power. And there are those who take advantage of that vulnerability to obscure our priorities and necessities for exploitation. We need to become acute to this and start asserting ourselves into the community we belong to just as much as anyone else who wants to live a meaningful and prosperous life.

And there isn’t much mutual respect or unity for anyone to proclaim to as of now. Mostly discrimination, despair, hopelessness, resentment and animosities. And we are not victims, we are resilient and we endure conditions imposed upon us constantly. Out-of-control conditions manufactured by racism. It gets tiring waiting around for others to quit being greedy, selfish, hypocritical, and start becoming socially responsible, respectful and considerate of others.

Maybe it’s time to consider where we spend our money if our financial support for some of these local businesses isn’t appreciated. That’s a form of peaceful protest against injustice and inequality.

Although most of us are well aware of the violence poverty breeds, maybe it’s time to get economically involved to start recapturing some of our interests from those who don’t honor and respect us. Especially when our needs are identical to anyone else’s when it comes to living standards and opportunity. The rate of poverty and unemployment on the reservations is out of control. We do have some leaders working tirelessly to correct these circumstances. But in the meantime we require some consideration because we too, contribute to this society where we are often criminalized by the poverty and hopelessness that are the consequences of intolerance and discrimination. I don’t think that’s asking for too much, I think that asking for just enough.

Curtis Buckanaga