hi, i'm 22 years old and grew up on 3 different reservations in the US. two in the midwest and one in the southwest. They all had similarities and differences in each of them. my parents thought it was important for me to grow up on the reservation. i think a lot of times people have some misconceptions about reservations or native-american people. just thought i'd do AMA and see if i can answer a few of your questions.

My Proof: http://imgur.com/HnnRVZB

edit: i'll get back to your questions later so you can keep asking if you want. also, i'm trying to speak only about my experiences. Native-americans are diverse with over 560 federally recognized tribes.

edit again: i probably answered your question if has to do with using native-americans as mascots and views on gay people. i'll try to answer questions that havent been asked. didn't realize this AMA would get so much comments. its overwhelming, but i promise i'll try to answer.

ENDING: i guessed maybe 100 people would actually comment so i overestimated the amount of people. i probably would have included one my native friends to help out. im sorry i didnt get to your question you can message me and i'll try to get back to you. TO the nice people, i appreciate you all. To the mean people, i wish you well. if i havent asnwered, feel free to message me. i'll answer serious in depth questions if you want. also, google is an excellent starting point bc i dont know every information possible.

conclusion: i grew pretty normal compared to every day americans. i lived in two story house that we owned. most natives on my reservation lived in housing that was based on income. some of them are shitty. we dont have enough housing so people end up living with relatives. we have buildings, schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations.. there is not a lot to do. i live an hour away from anything that could be fun. we dont live in teepees (tipis). our roads are paved. we have government but its not affective and has no real power. i dont get college paid for or receive monthly checks. English is my first language. i still have my traditional belifs. i dont hate white people. There are problems with alcoholism on the reservation and drugs. There are also good things. people are generally really close with each other. if a kids/people need help we generally try to help and take them in. powwows are fun and we have some good food too. anybody can go to powwows. more people are going to college. we are diverse group of over 560 composed of different languages. some reservations experiences more economic growth than others. we have similarities and differences.

tl;dr sorry, i wish i was more prepared. also figuring out how to work reddit was interesting. i hope you have gained some knowledge because that was the whole point for doing this AMA.

Comments: 3140 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

Grasshound899 karma

I don't have any misconceptions about reservations due to the fact that I know absolutely nothing about them.

What misconceptions are there and how would you describe living on one?

frznmvsic1155 karma

i think i mostly hear that we are all alcoholics. i've heard that we basically live in slums. Yeah, there are SOME people that have problems with alcohol. There are also reservations that worse than others in terms of quality of life. I like the fact that you get the full experience of your culture whereas if you were raised off the reservation you dont. its a comfort to be around people who experienced the same things. when i went to college, it was a culture shock and barely anyone was native american. also, you should probably not date somebody from your rez because chances are your related to them. funny story: i knew a couple who were dating for 8 months and found out they were related to each other. good times!

cozyswisher351 karma

My (mis)conceptions of what life is like for native peoples comes from my couple of native friends, reading "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie, visiting the rez a couple of times, and going to a multi-day imagineNATIVE film festival. It definitely isn't all alcoholics and poverty, but there's a palpable feeling of "we're still battling colonialism, there's still a struggle."

Edit: I should probably get the title of the book correct

frznmvsic299 karma

i agree with your last statement.

BlackCaaaaat217 karma

good times!

Bad times. How closely related?

frznmvsic343 karma

i dont know if it was really close or not, but they broke up after they found out. usually, people ask their parents if they are related to so and so before they start dating.

BlackCaaaaat90 karma

What would be considered 'too close' on the reservation? Is it similar to the views of your fellow Americans residing near by?

frznmvsic176 karma

in terms of dating someone?? i dont know if closeness matters. if your dating someone you're related to thats weird/gross.

torchwar168 karma

so pretty much the Liz Lemon scale

frznmvsic84 karma


cracksmokingnigger18 karma

All of the people on earth are related to each other...

oniony332 karma

This is why I only date minerals.

My last intimate relationship was with Pumice Stone, but she had this weird foot fetish.

frznmvsic59 karma

haha that was funny.

frznmvsic3 karma


JesusChristSuperFart6 karma

You sound skeptical.

frznmvsic12 karma

do i ?

IronDman106 karma

Speaking for Navajo's, anything that is either 1st or 2nd clan is considered your brother or sister (clan relation wise but possibly by blood depending on location). 3rd is known more for your maternal grandparents clan and 4th us paternal grandparents clan. Depending on each family, sometimes 3rd and 4th are ok depending on the section that they are in.

frznmvsic229 karma

yes. navajos do have this system not the other reservations i lived at did though. im not navajo but i do remember that. they said the pickup line in navajo is: "what's your clans"

Gamingtao209 karma

I have lived on a reservation my whole life. I would like to say these misconceptions are 100% accurate for here and a number of reservations nearby me. If you aren't one of the tribes near a major metro you likely have high rates of poverty. In places like this, that leads to higher rates of alcoholism as well as suicide (something we have in great supply).

frznmvsic142 karma

my parents arent alcoholics. but yes there is a high percentage of alcoholics. i was making the case not everyone is an alcoholic. i didnt say there wasnt poverty. also, i agree we do have higher alcoholism and suicide.

FBINDIAN760 karma


frznmvsic595 karma

thanks dude/dudette. haha i appreciate it.

A_Haggard629 karma

Hello, thank you for doing this AMA. I have one pertinent question to my daily life and generally like to hear from Native peoples whenever we come across each other;

I have (legal) access to the shed feathers of many different birds of prey, including eagles. I try to take good care to collect them up, clean them, and save them so that they can be sent to the facility that distributes them to Native people. I like to think that I am helping people acquire important religious articles and hold on to their identities within cultural practice, but I have no personal way of knowing what happens to them or if they're even used once they are sent off.

Since you have lived on multiple reservations I am hoping you might have a broader view on how useful this is or how widely practiced this is. Have people for the most part stopped using them and moved on to, say, Christianity as you mention in another comment? Am I wasting my time?

frznmvsic899 karma

no, people still use them. my family still practices traditional beliefs. you usually get them from accomplishing something. i have two. one when i got my name. one when i graduated high school. i only wear them on special occasion as you have to take special care for them. theres a whole process if you end up dropping one on the ground. i appreciate it and i promise you that you arent wasting your time. the eagle is considered one of the most sacred animals for the dakota people and other native people.

Asyx182 karma

Since your family still keeps traditions alive, does that mean that you or your parents speak your tribal language?

frznmvsic232 karma

nope. my grandpa does though. but he generally speaks in english.

TragicEther136 karma

When you say 'you got your name' does that mean you were titled something like 'running bear' or whatever, or is that a really racist folk-tale view on your culture.

Or did you simply mean when your parents named you Steve or whatever?

frznmvsic196 karma

the first one. except its not running bear nor is it in english. haha it was a name passed down and you dont get choose at all.

BlackCaaaaat260 karma

This will be an interesting AMA! Would you follow your parents' lead and raise your future children on a reservation?

frznmvsic485 karma

I dont know. It would be really hard for me to make a living on the reservation. when i finish college, i will most likely make my career in a big city. A reason i might not is because I want them to have a better education. Maybe stay for the summers? The reservation is definitely humbling and it's something i'd want my kids to experience.

negativekarmaopinion189 karma

What's religion like on the reservations? Do most practice old tribal religions or have people converted to something else?

frznmvsic272 karma

its like anywhere else. they're catholics, christians, mormonism,etc. there are some who only practice those religions and some still practice native religions. i would say a majority, do both. With me, it's not really strict on the way we practice. i went to bible camp a few times. i'm not baptized either.

donkeyballzac180 karma

Language questions:

-what's the tribal language and do you speak it?

-is the tribal language spoken commonly or exclusively on the reservation? I ask because I've read some stories about the languages of the Native American tribes slowly dying out.

Thanks for the AMA!

frznmvsic406 karma

dakota. no i dont. i understand it more than i can speak it. only people who speak are elders. language is dying out due to affects from assimilation. they used to send people to boarding schools and werent allowed to speak their language or they'd get hit. they would come back only speak english. my grandpa knows dakota but he didnt teach my mom because of that.

edit: not a lot speakers left.

MyLifeIsNotMine356 karma

i hope you don't lose the language.

frznmvsic104 karma

i appreciate it.

YesThisIsTaz180 karma

Less than 100? That is really shocking to me.

Also a little upsetting.

frznmvsic264 karma

it is upsetting.

edit: apparently there is more than that.. my bad.

colandercalendar28 karma

Do you feel the need to learn it fpr preservation's sake?

frznmvsic84 karma

yeah, i do. but i wish more of was as learnable as language are today. like some kind of app or program.

DolphinLundgren165 karma

Why do you think that the persecution of west African slaves and their descendants is so much more popular in the media than the genocide committed against Native Americans? Do you think the people in control of the media should take steps to redress this inequality?

frznmvsic305 karma

because there is little knowledge of it. it's hard for the u.s. to accept that they did in fact commit genocide against native-americans. the u.s. would get so much crap if they ever did acknowledge it. i dont see it happening though. i dont know if media could do that or i dont know how we could shed light on this at all.

Teslah6 karma

Does there really have to be a pissing contest over which atrocity gets more media attention ?

frznmvsic12 karma

not really. i'd just like more knowledge towards native issues. to be fair, Obama has acknowledged are existence way more than any other presidents have. he's actually done some things.

Idiotchief110 karma

If you don't mind answering, what tribe do you belong to? Also what reservations did you live on?

frznmvsic149 karma

i do mind. haha. i will say though that i am Dakota-Sioux. (google and you'll find the reservations that have those people on them) i lived ones in the midwest and arizona(navajo nation). hah

IronDman66 karma

What part of the Navajo Nation? Just curious since I'm from Arizona and I'm Navajo

frznmvsic69 karma

north central.

ribbed_vault108 karma

How do you feel about people wearing traditional war bonnets while trying to look cool?

frznmvsic330 karma

i dont like it. its something like really sacred and to use it as the way people do now is demeaning. its like receiving the rarest miltary medal ever. not just anyone gets to wear it. people who earned it do. i've only seen one person in my entire get one.

hottubfriday101 karma

Do you get upset at people who claim to be 1/16 Native American or anything like that?

frznmvsic372 karma

i guess it depends on what for. if it someone who knows their culture, doesnt bother me at all. i've known people who are full and act pretty shitty towards their own people. i have known people who are barely native but are completely involved with their culture. if its used only in personal gain. we have a name for those:box checker.

c0wman9895 karma

Ever encounter a skinwalker or know someone that has?

frznmvsic105 karma

nope. heard stories.

GnomeNipple93 karma

This might sound really ignorant, but what do you eat for breakfast in the reservation?

frznmvsic245 karma

i eat cereal like trix. haha wow.

GnomeNipple185 karma

I don't quite know what I was expecting

frznmvsic119 karma

i dont either. but are you trying to find out if we some different food that natives exclusively eat?

GnomeNipple91 karma

Yeah, pretty much but I didn't want to come across as rude, hahaha.

frznmvsic231 karma

frybread. its the holy grail of bread. find it.

EuropeanLady24 karma

Are you Navajo? Fry bread's delicious, and so is mutton stew.

frznmvsic84 karma

no, im not. i dislike the way navajos make their frybread. sorry.

PlasticGirl83 karma

How are gay lifestyles and gay marriage accepted on reservations? I read somewhere that in Oklahoma there's a loophole involving a ban on gay marriage because two people of the same gender can marry through tribal ceremonies...true or not?

frznmvsic199 karma

i hear people say that its very accepting. not true. way back then it was accepted. people that were gay were viewed as sacred. now its not so accepting. we kind of went in reverse there. i dont know what happened.

Lilliebird134 karma

I can't say for his reservations but I am Mi'kmaw and M├ętis (Ojibwe and Cree.) Homosexuality is very much respected and revered on many reserves and in the urban communities in East Coast of Canada. I hear it's still accepted out in mainland Canada but I don't want to generalize. I've met folks from there and they say that it is.

Homosexuals are called "two-spirit" and they are spiritually revered in many Indigenous cultures.

frznmvsic81 karma

yeah we used to be that way too. very highly viewed. kind sucks its not that way anymore.

Meats1076 karma

Are you offended by the Redskins team name, or is it overblown by the media?

frznmvsic217 karma

its offensive & not overblown at all.

sasquatch60672 karma

Do you sleep? This ama looks like it started at 3:30am est.

frznmvsic273 karma

i WILL SLEEP after finals.

chelbassy70 karma

I grew up in Oregon, and have driven through a reservation on the east side of the state ( not really sure exactly where, I myself descend from the Osage Indians, but don't have enough native blood to live on a reservation.) but I was profoundly aware of how desolate the land was, and how rundown all the houses seemed. In the reservations you lived on was it similar? What do they teach you in school about the "white man" taking your land? I feel much guilt for what my ancestors have done, do you or your family still feel any ill will towards us?

frznmvsic147 karma

interesting, i didn't know some reservations only allowed people with certain blood quantum to live on their reservation. some are, some arent. i seen gang graffiti on the sides of some peoples houses. more so, its more of there is not enough so a lot people still live with their parents. our history book was one that you could buy anywhere. so i learned the same as everyone learns about native americans. one chapter in the history book which is probably why most people have no understanding of us. no, i dont? i dont blame people for lack of knowledge of native-americans. its hard to know about people if they're never addressed again in history books. i have no problems with white people unless they're racist. majority are mad at the u.s. government not a whole race of people.

iCrackMyselfUp6965 karma

Are you still living on a reservation?

If not, why did you decide to leave?

frznmvsic115 karma

no, i am not. i left because in order to pursue higher education; you most likely have to leave. although, there are some colleges on reservations. I go back often in the summers because my family is still there.

Samonuh64 karma

Is there a lot of resentment toward white people? I met a Native American online, and when he found out I was white and from the East Coast he refused to talk to me anymore, claiming that we were all rich oppressors who watched his people suffer from our high-rises.

frznmvsic165 karma

i guess it depends on the person you ask. It varies. for me (What i've experienced), there are a lot of white people in border towns who are still really racist towards native people. so when i went college, it was surprising that people didn't automatically hate me because of ethnicity. on the other hand, an other reservation had no problems with white people because of the influence from french-canadians fur traders. today they are pretty inter-mixed with french last names. i think people dont really resent "white" people.. its more so now, "we resent the US government"

ptgunit59 karma

What do you think are the biggest, unaddressed problems in the reservation system?

frznmvsic171 karma

basically what ironDman said. we don't have really any power to do anything. it is really difficult to improve economically. i'd like to see us have political representation in congress. our state representatives most of the time don't have any idea on how to address native american issues.

PonchoMcGee53 karma

Hey thanks for the AMA! I lived in AZ for 9 years and have heard SO many phony skinwalker stories. Is the legend talked about amongst natives at all? And if so does it have any history?

frznmvsic93 karma

i've heard stories. i believe it, though.

samuel_smith32743 karma

ever do a sweat lodge? I did one on a reservation once it was intense.

frznmvsic70 karma

yes a lot of times.

Wclewis32 karma

What is it like living on a reservation? Take us through your day?

frznmvsic66 karma

its not really different as its made out to be. non-natives live on the reservation too. there isn't anyone stoping you from go on one. my day is like an average person? i'm pretty normal haha.

ReerAdmiral29 karma

How is Dances With Wolves generally regarded?

frznmvsic71 karma

i swear i watched that movie over a thousand of times. its a classic. its shown a lot. its probably shown a lot bc they natives in it are actually native.

CranialEruption28 karma

Have you ever read Sherman Alexie's books? If you have, what are your thoughts on what he has to say? If you haven't, go read them, they're great.

frznmvsic23 karma

i've read one of them awhile back. Don't really remember it. i think it was diary of part time indian. can you remind me his overall message and ill get back to you on it.

jubilations26 karma

I'm Navajo and I grew up on the Navajo reservation. What are your clans? If you have any.

frznmvsic40 karma

not navajo so no clans. or cannot be translated in navajo.

invictajosh25 karma

I am Mexican American. My great grandmother was full blooded yaqui. My question is about peyote. Ever try it? I am interested in a spirit quest some day.

frznmvsic48 karma

nope. i havent. but i doubt anyone would ever let you/help you go on a "spirit quest".

iluvwatermelon6 karma

Can you guys make your own laws on the reservations and pass them like congress ?

Maybe legalize 420 on the reservations ?

frznmvsic25 karma

no. we have a government but it cant do much. they mostly spend their time figuring out where money goes to programs. they us government would never allow that to happen. our government is pretty much a figurehead.

bennyschup1 karma

Did you get your whole college paid for because of the reservation? Do you get benefits, like health or retirement, from being on a reservation?

frznmvsic1 karma

nope i have loans.(ohhh stereotype broken) You get free healthcare if you go to an ihs. its really shitty healthcare though. im in school and have insurance. i'd go to a real hospital than risk my life at an ihs.

CheckSparrow1 karma

why arent you interested in learning your original language/languages? dont you find it really bad that there are only around 100 peoples left?

frznmvsic10 karma

who says im not interested?? its hard to learn something when its not written down. we dont have rosetta stone. yeah, i do. there are people making books and other things now. but the process is slow. its also very difficult bc the people we have to translate from are old and can only put so much hours in for work.

Lud_Bight1 karma

does the word Redskin offend you?

frznmvsic6 karma

yes. its offensive.

supercheetah0 karma

Have you ever visited one of the First Nations in Canada? I've always wondered whether the Native experience is better in the US or Canada.

frznmvsic-1 karma

nope, i havent.

paul_t_hayes0 karma

As an Australian who would like to travel to America and learn about Native Americans what would you recommend?

frznmvsic0 karma

in terms of what exactly?

dirtymoney-1 karma

so can you hook me up with some tax free cigs and some M-80s?

frznmvsic9 karma

dont smoke so wouldn't know if they are tax free or not. i have never heard of m-80 either.

Scientificreason-3 karma

This may seem like an odd question, but have you ever played Assassin's Creed 3? If you have, how accurate would you consider the portrayal of Native-Americans (barring the obvious assassin abilities, etc.)? The language and day to day life seemed kind of realistic.

frznmvsic0 karma

can't say i've played assassin's creed at all.

kickinwing20-5 karma

OP is pretty young to talk about living on the rez...

I bet he's never hauled water/wood before...

frznmvsic2 karma

me? 20 + years on the rez is too young. hmm well please explain what time is old enough to talk about living on the rez. also. i have hauled wood before but i dont get how that provides proof that i am knowledgable enough.

Chezler-12 karma

What's with all the children's playthings laying around on "lawns"?

frznmvsic1 karma