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Independence Day Every few seconds I can hear a sharp crack coming from somewhere beyond my backyard. In a place so riddled with gang activity my first thought was gunfire, but the gangs here seem to prefer bats and hatchets to firearms. Then I realize that the advent of the sounds coincides with the end of June and the opening of a firework stand uptown. Used to instant gratification, I guess the kids just can’t hold out until the Fourth of July. And then it occurs to me: Why are they celebrating? Thanksgiving, I understand. That was a peaceful exchange between Indians and whites, and I am certainly in support of an attitude of thankfulness, whatever the historical significance. But the Fourth of July? That was the beginning of the end. Once the colonists were loosed from the British they were free to sprint toward the Pacific, making deals with France and Spain, pushing Natives further and further west (when they weren’t outright killing them). I ask Louis, my Lakota friend and fellow teacher, why. He simply said, “We’re Americans, too.”

Teaching Stories  

Tara Sumrall, a 2007 Teach for America alumna, remembers teaching middle school Language Arts on the Rosebud Indian Reservation from 2007-20...

Teaching Stories  

Tara Sumrall, a 2007 Teach for America alumna, remembers teaching middle school Language Arts on the Rosebud Indian Reservation from 2007-20...

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