Ruth Hopkins: Growing up on a reservation without technology

"Every now and again, I suffer from bouts of technology fatigue. I remember a simpler time. When I was a kid growing up on the rez, we didn’t have cell phones—heck, we didn’t even have voicemail or caller ID. Sometimes we didn’t have a phone in our house at all. Atari, then Nintendo existed, but we couldn’t afford one. Video games were in arcades. Laptops? Not quite. My brother had a Commodore 64 that he plugged into an old black and white TV. No cable, and no Blu-ray or DVD player either. We had three channels, received thanks to rabbit ears festooned with tin foil.

Looking back on it, having a lack of tech device access as a child allowed me to live a charmed life and flourish. During the summer, I’d wake up at sunrise, play outside all day long, and come in at sundown. My friends (mostly cousins) and I would swim at the lake, ride our bikes, build forts, play sports, and explore. I’d come home with skinned knees and elbows, covered in dirt, and usually carrying a woodtick or two, but the fresh air kept me healthy.

We didn’t have Kindles or e-books. Instead, during the school year I used the Dewey Decimal System to find secret treasures in the library so I could page through books that opened the doors of my imagination. In winter, there were snow tunnels to be built, and Saturdays were spent sledding or ice skating on ponds."

Get the Story:
Ruth Hopkins: My Love-Hate Relationship With Technology and Social Networking (Indian Country Today 7/20)

Join the Conversation