Hello friends – Just a brief note to all the folks back home to say ‘Happy Holidays’ and offer some perspective on the season of giving. For my third time this year, I’m in southern Arizona on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation teaching song writing and music. The ‘rez’ is right on the Mexican border where the wall is being built and the other night I answered the door to find two hungry and worn out border crossers begging for water and food.
I’m sure you all can imagine how dire the situation is for the tribe as well. There is a lack of hope for their children’s futures due to the dominance of gangs, alcohol, drugs, violence, the border, unemployment, abject poverty and the list goes on and on. Life expectancy is 48 years and diabetes hovers around 50%. It was only a few decades ago when there was active US government policy of de-culturalization forbidding the tribe to wear their traditional clothing, forced to cut long hair, not allowed to speak their language, made to change their family names and children kidnapped and sent to boarding schools. But the Tohono O’odham (formerly the Papago) survived and are still here numbering roughly 28,000 people.
I know it is a long way from our wonderfully peaceful Five Sisters neighborhood, but what ever you can do for those who are in need will make a difference.
With every good wish, James