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Cultural differences

A few years ago a friend and I attended a Minnesota Ojibwe powwow. Everyone is welcomed to attend these respectfully. Small stands sell handmade items, tee shirts, prepared foods, etc.

They also dance, as an observance of culture, honor, and spirit rather than “fun” dancing, like the polkas and waltzes of my ancestors. Non-Indians like myself are welcomed to participate in many dances, but some are “reserved”, such as veteran’s dances.

At noon, carts were brought out serving free food to everyone. “No one should go hungry.” I saw mostly teenagers going up right away, and commented to my friend, “Typical hungry teenagers.” Presently we overheard a mother sitting before us in the bleachers lean over to her son, quietly saying, “Go, get a plate for the elders”. The boy got a plate of food, and we watched him bring it to an older man. They obviously weren’t acquainted. Then I noticed the other teens were doing the same!

Yesterday at Uintah grade school in Utah, some students were in line getting lunches. Their last stop was to pay, and some student’s lunch accounts were empty. In front of everyone, their trays were taken away; the food dumped in the garbage. Either their parents forgot to pay, didn’t have money, were unemployed, or a dozen other possibilities. The children got milk and a banana. They were embarrassed. Their parents disrespected.

Does this show how we regard each other; even our children? Everyone should go hungry, unless we can suck some money out of them?

Utah is something like 80 percent Mormon, a Christian belief. WWMRD: what would Mitt Romney do? Hopefully he will speak out on this incident openly.

Sometimes there are vast differences in the paradigms that define cultures.

All Euro-Americans could ponder our cultural differences, and learn.

A. Martin


Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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