30 Days: Life on an Indian Reservation (season finale)
(S03E06) After two weeks of hard core issues, it's nice to take a break and get an episode that isn't quite so divisive. I was hoping that this final 30 Days would be like the season premiere in that it showed me some things I wasn't aware of.
Growing up in Arizona, I went to school with quite a few Native Americans. I remember my friend Dave King would always make jokes about how I (the white man) took everything from him. It was all in good fun but it was one of the things that made me sensitive to the plight of the Native Americans. Now, as an adult, I always vote in favor of keeping the Native American casinos exempt from paying state taxes. Maybe it has more to do with feeling guilty but, that's how I roll.
I always like the episodes where Spurlock himself is the subject because it's fun to see him go back and forth between narrating and just talking.
From the very beginning, I was taken aback. I honestly thought that life on the reservation wasn't much different from others in the state. But when I saw how elated Grandma was that Morgan brought the family a sheep, I had a feeling I was going to be shocked.
My first big shock was seeing where Spurlock had to bunk. Even a tent would have been better than the Hogan. At least a tent doesn't have a dirt floor.
I liked seeing Mr. Dennison's morning routine. At first, I thought it was kind of ridiculous and it reminded me of the kinds of things you see in movies, but after watching it, I realized it wasn't any different than what millions of Christians do every morning.
Spurlock's observations about connecting to your heritage really hit home for me. Because my ancestors came from just about every country in Europe and North America, I have no connection whatsoever with my forefathers. The only time I feel bad about that, however, is when I spend time with someone who is clearly in touch with their heritage. I remember once when I ate Easter dinner with the Glorioso family and I was not only amazed by the incredible food but I was really touched at what a great celebration it was.
I was hoping that Morgan would look into the alcohol problem because I, personally, had a lot of misconceptions. First, I was surprised that alcohol was illegal on the reservation. In my uninformed opinion, I would think prohibition would be one of the white man's mistakes to learn from. I was also surprised to learn that there was no proof that Native Americans are more susceptible to alcoholism. I grew up believing that was the truth and the fact that I am now just a little less ignorant is one of the biggest reasons I watch this show.
I don't really know what to say about the sweat ceremony except that it looked very cool.
As the episode wrapped up, I was surprised to find that this was the first time I was actually jealous of Spurlock. I have no desire to work in a coalmine or spend a month behind bars, but seeing how deeply he was affected by his stay with the Dennisons reminded me of when I was a kid and I got invited to a Bat Mitzvah. I've never felt that kind of connection to my culture and I wonder if I even could.