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  • 09/25/2003
  • WildlandFire.com Team
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Northzone 5; I’m not quite sure how to approach your post…other than to say that if you substituted just about any other ‘group’ into my experience, the story would have been the same. As far as my age and non-native status…please watch that you don’t make yourself guilty of exactly the kind of stereotyping you condemn. I may be young and gabacha, or hapa-haole, or anglo, but I grew up with Indian folks (which is one reason why I don’t fool around with the PC terminology; it’s generally not appreciated by the folks to whom it is intended to be ‘sensitive’).

The point of the story was to illustrate the durability of jokes and innuendos on and off the fireline, with excursions into the area of ‘sexy’ stereotyping. I’ve spent a good deal of time as a third party by-stander in negotiations between tribal individuals and entities and outsiders, including but not limited to university research groups, the Army Corps of Engineers, and hired contractors, and I’ve noticed that the fastest way to these negotiations to dissolve beyond the point of no return is the first time one person looks at another and says “You’re not a real Indian, are you?”

As far as working next to some Indian crew who may save my bacon…I’ve gathered basket-making materials with some Indian ladies (who I would be proud to call Elders) who are some of the wisest, funniest, and most aware people it has ever been my pleasure to talk or work with…and I work on a mixed crew; the faller who has saved my bacon a number of times is an Indian. So, as I’ve mentioned before, “You never know who you’re lecturing to.”

(gently) Nerd on the Fireline

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