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Opinion
Tim Giago: Gas-guzzlers, Indian cars and the Big Three


"On vast reservations like the Pine Ridge, 100 miles long, 50 miles wide, or the Navajo Nation, 25,000 square miles, it is almost a matter of life and death to have a car or truck.

Grocery stores of any size are usually in the larger communities on the reservation or in the border towns. The same goes for clothing stores, auto repair shops, tire shop or places where one can buy appliances like refrigerators and washers and dryers.

Elders often buy gasoline and kick in a few extra bucks to relatives and friends to drive them to the store, to the Bureau of Indian Affairs office, the main office of the tribal government or to the hospital. This practice is as common as hitch hiking or walking. Drive to any large reservation, even in the dead of winter, and you will see Indian people walking alongside the roads in the middle of nowhere.

I am no longer amazed at those Lakota people who put just enough gas in their cars to make it to, say, Rapid City. And after they get here and take care of their business, you will find them in the parking lots of grocery stores or knocking on the doors of friends and relatives in an effort to raise enough money to buy the gas to get back home."

Get the Story:
Tim Giago: Notes from Indian Country (The Native American Times 2/6)

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