Steve Russell: Pondering our environment while on the water

"“Coffee more…you want?” A young man, brown but of indeterminate nationality, is walking by with a carafe. My mind replies “Si, por favor,” but I quickly realize I have not identified his accent and his features do not look American Indian (as most Latin Americans do), so I mentally retreat to “Yes, please.”

I have yet to find an American working on this ship or, as a friend of mine maintains, a “USian.” Her position that Canada and all of Latin America are “American” is geographically unassailable but linguistically confusing. Whatever you call them, every individual I’ve seen so far is not, in the immortal words of the New Jersey bard, “born in the USA.”

The skipper is a Dane. The other folks important enough to have mugshots in the ship’s guide are from the UK, Canada, Austria, Croatia, and Ireland. Our waiter is Mexican and the barmaid is from Grenada. One of the dining options every day is Indian food…from India, that is."

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Steve Russell: Traveling by Water (Indian Country Today 3/25)

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