Friday, October 24, 2008

Fargo: Prairie Rose

Prairie Rose (left, in her Fargo apartment): 28, member of the Fort Berthhold reservation in northwest North Dakota, grew up in Fargo, half Cheyenne/Arikara, half German-Russian, one of six kids. Former manager of the Fargo theater and now works with a local promoter, but her "passion lies with social justice issues."

"The Western interpretation [of native culture] is that women were very domesticated--they did all the housework, the skinning and tanning and building of homes. But with this comes a lot of balance...the women were the backbone of our society. The men were the skin--we can't survive without skin, and they protected us. The tradeoff was that women were responsible for education...we were the healers, the doctors, the midwives, we had power...

"[Now] Native American women suffer two or three times the rate of domestic violence, rape and incest than their Caucasian counterparts. What happened with our history is that our way of life was taken away from us...we were compassionate and equitable. But when you are a people who have lost everything, who are relocated, who are forced into this whole assimilation process, you lose yourselves--because of oppression we became the oppresors. There is a new generation are trying to bring back who we are, but it's a hard cycle to break."

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