Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lessons From Our Travels

Glacier National Park, MT
Today was another travel day for the Runnells duo. We had about nine hours to cover between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. The drive was rather uneventful but definitely more tolerable and scenic than the drive through South Dakota. Most interesting was the experience we had in Browning, Montana. Browning is a reservation town, and is home to the Blackfeet. Many of the “artifacts” (buildings, art, teepees, etc) in town pay tribute to the Native American heritage and the experiences of the people. As we learned in Glacier, there has long been a dispute about the border of the park and the treaty that passed the land from the tribe to the U.S. Government. The tension created by that can still be felt, and we did experience somewhat of a cultural awakening during our visit to the local gas station/market.
As a person of Mexican decent, I often felt in some sort of cultural limbo. I am white, and thus am part of the majority group, yet I am also part of a minority culture. Never before have I felt like such a minority, and I know Brian felt the same. He and I talked about how we “stuck out” as outsiders, and how truly unsettling it is to feel that different. I looked different, I spoke differently, and I certainly acted differently that those around me; as much as I tried to deny it, I even worried about being judged by those around me. While I cannot speak for Brian, I certainly found great value in the experience; I saw the world through a different lens.
Reflecting upon what we’d just experienced, we continued our drive until we reached the park.  As is tradition, we stopped at the park entrance for a photo opportunity, and met up with another couple from Wisconsin – small world. Camp is quiet and cozy, but there seem to be a lot of ants…I hope bears don’t like ants for snacks!!

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