Sunday, August 06, 2006

Red Lake VI: Another Strange Moment

The Korean group – So often when I feel stressed or, I’ll be honest, bloated I will often take a run around the school that is our mission site, and more lately I had been actually running around the community (this I had previously avoided due to the abundance of stray and venomously volatile dogs running about but had since gained a confidence which was based on the mere fact that doing laps is more boring than scenery). On one occasion as I ran I became grossly aware of a strange gathering of folks on the road before me, for the path I usually take leads me down Highway 1 which runs through Red Lake. I found this to be odd, mostly because it is ridiculously hard to get any type of gathering in Red Lake let alone one that, from a distance, seemed so vibrant, joyous, and energetic. From afar I could see that this group of young people was armed with banners, matching T-shirts, and an unsurpassed enthusiasm. “No way this is Native Youth!” I thought to myself (no offense to any who read, but it just seems culturally true that native youth are generally more reserved). As I came closer I realized that my previous prediction had been correct. In fact, this youth were far from Native youth. They were Korean. I had seen signs around the reservation advertising the coming of this group, a Korean ministry, that held cultural exhibitions to attract crowds to hear the gospel. So, here I find myself running down a highway on a closed Indian reservation passing hordes of exuberant Korean youth. Strange enough? Not quite.

Later that night as our group did our weekly cookout for participants and community members at the Catholic Mission, we get invited to go and see the cultural exhibition that this group is putting on. Intrigued, we take our participants to the back of the mission where the school gym is for the viewing. As I sit there I realize that this is a multi-cultural experience put on by only one culture group. So, again, I find myself in the most strange moment as I realize I am watching this Korean youth perform an African tribal dance with a group of mostly Lutheran (a.k.a. not the most culturally enthusiastic folk or just enthusiastic in general for that matter) participants while sitting in a Catholic Mission half filled with natives on a closed Indian Reservation. I just kept thinking of my close Asian friends and their probable thoughts on the situation had they been present for it, and I think comments may have included “F@#king Asians!”, “That’s SO Asian!”, or “We’re taking over the WORLD!” I still chuckle just thinking about it. It was just weird!

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