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Monday, May 7, 2012

My Indian story

While we're on the subject of Elizabeth Warren, I had my own experience with Native Americans in the summer of 1974. I had quit my summer job washing dishes in Glacier National Park and was hitch-hiking from Montana to California. In retrospect it was an incredibly stupid and dangerous thing to do, but I was only 20, so had youth as an excuse. (I've done plenty of dumb things since without that excuse.)

A car with four Blackfoot Indians in it stopped for me in Libby, Montana. I was apprehensive, but didn't want to offend them by not getting in.

The first question they asked me was what tribe I was. (See picture under "About Me" at right.) It occurred to me to lie, but I realized that being caught in a lie would be worse than the truth, so I explained that I was half Anglo, half Japanese.

(I actually come from two high IQ races -- Scottish and Japanese -- it's just that I look like an Injun. That wasn't how I phrased it to them, however.)

The car was in bad shape; the front seat was propped up by a short log. The Indians themselves were in worse shape. They had obviously already been drinking, and just during the time I was in the car the driver alone swigged an entire bottle of gin (!) and three beers.

After a while the fellow sitting next to me in the back seat told me he was going to scalp me. He didn't entirely sound as if he meant it, and given his state of inebriation, didn't seem to represent that much of a threat. And at age twenty, I was far more confident about that sort of thing than I should have been. But the driver's drinking terrified me.

The strange thing was, his drinking actually didn't seem to have that much effect on his driving, as far as I could tell.

They finally let me off in Sandpoint, Idaho, about fifty miles up the road. I thanked them for the ride.

To this day I wonder what would have happened if I had told them I was part Sioux, or some other tribe. I'll never know, since I don't have Elizabeth Warren's brazen nerve.


Steven said...

What a waste of 19 billion.

John Craig said...

Steven --
What? You'll have to explain that one.