In a workshop at CA’s Point Arena-Manchester reservation,SNAG magazine asked Native youths, “What is it like to live on your rez?”

By Native youths from the Manchester-Pt. Arena reservation, Pacific News Service


On my rez, I like to play basketball with my cousins, and football and baseball. I like to ride my sister’s bike because on my bike the chain is messed up. I like to go to my cousin’s house and play video games. I like to Indian dance at the Roundhouse, and I like watching the bighead dancers. I like the strawberry festival because you get to eat a lot of strawberries. I like being Indian because people bring food and we eat Indian tacos, abalone and tuna sandwiches.

-Manny, 8, Point Arena Manchester, Pomo

There are many reasons why I like to live on the rez. I enjoy being close to my grandmother. I am able to be with all of my younger siblings; therefore it makes it easy for me to watch them grow into beautiful young Native adults.

I moved up to the rez from Santa Rosa in 1992 when I was 10 years old. At that time there was not much to do around here, so us kids used to go to the river and swim until the sun started to go down or until someone got into a fight over
something not worth fighting for. Some of the craziest times took place when I was a little older, like when I was about 16. We use to sneak out of the house. When our parents fell asleep we would take off in one of their cars for a few hours. They never questioned the gas gauge.

Growing up here for the past 15 years has opened my eyes to a lot. I thank Creator every day for giving me the family to come back to in such a beautiful place. “Yah We Creator.”

Jordyn, 22, Point Arena, Dry Creek, Kashaya Pomo and Chicano

I really like being Native American. My culture means everything to me. I think the boys on the rez are the only boys in Point Arena that are hot.

My life on the rez is boring. I don’t get out much, but I bet I have more parenting skills then most of the kids on the rez. My sisters and my brother are my life and I’ll do anything for them.

One of the most exciting things that happened on the rez is when a girl shot her brother in the leg over a piece of steak and everybody on the rez gathered around their mom’s house and watched. This is how it is living life on the rez.

Monica Marie, 14, Coast Miwok, Pomo, and Chicana

I like to play with my cousins and friends; we like to play basketball, baseball, football and soccer. My baseball team is called “The Pirates.” My hobby is eating; my favorite team is the Oakland Raiders. I like to Indian dance. My favorite food is popcorn and Mexican food.

The funniest thing I saw on the rez was when my cousin went off of a jump on his bike and biffed hard, and we all started laughing. That was funny.

Elliot, 8, Point Arena Manchester Pomo and Chicano

The best thing about being an Indian is that I get to dance my culture in front of people and teach them about our culture. I got to be in a film called “Life on The
Rez #2.” The craziest thing I ever saw on the rez was when I saw someone fight her sister over a hot dog. They got in a fistfight hella bad. It was kinda crazy because it was over a hot dog. They must have been hungry.

Amanda, 15, Point Arena Manchester Pomo

Five or six years ago I moved to the Point Arena rez. It was the hardest thing going from the city to the cuts. As time went by, I got used to living in the
woods. Everyone always knows your business, so you get to know every one pretty well, whether you like it or not.

Being Native American is something that no one could take away from me. The craziest thing that ever happened to me while living on the rez was having someone run through my house unexpectedly. The best thing that ever happened on the rez was having our first Big Time, which is when our tribe gathers together for a big dance.

Rachael, 16, Point Arena Manchester Pomo

Having my people around me gives me a sense of belonging. Native people are the most down to earth cats alive. Even though there are a lot of daily struggles that we deal with, they still come out like soldiers and conquer the battles. That’s what I admire the most about them, and that’s another reason why I like living here.

Melanie, 18, Point Arena Manchester Pomo, Wintu, and Nomelaki

A couple of things that I like about being Native American is that I am a part of a first nation. I like going to powwows and Big Times and such. When I go to events like that I feel like I can really connect with my people and it’s a good feeling. Of course I also like getting off the rez for a minute and meeting other Natives. I like getting money from the government — can’t forget the commodities.

Staci, 15, Point Arena Manchester Pomo, Wintu and Nomelaki


Previous PNS Feature of Interest

  • Youths Preserve the Past One Word at a Time
    By Shadi Rahimi, Pacific News Service
    Though only a few elders of the Big Valley band of Pomo Indians are still fluent in their language, young tribal members are picking up words and phrases with the help of technology


SNAG is written and illustrated by Native American youths. YO! Youth Outlook, where these commentaries first appeared, is a PNS project.

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