When reading Howard’s paper on Contemporary American Indian Storytelling: An Outsider’s Perspective, he looks at the views of people, their conditions and their values. He wrote about the Lakota tribe, and how the chief’s living conditions seemed poor but he had given most of his possessions away. People look around their own house, their friend’s and families houses and compare and contrast how they live compared to those around them. It is not right, or fair to go into another community for example and judge the way people are living there. It is your personal bias and standards which you are placing on them and that is not right. The people who live there have a different situation, different opportunities, different values and beliefs and perhaps also different culture. With the Lakota tribe; one would not realize perhaps, that they were choosing to live minimally out of respect for their values to help others around them. This is a very selfless lifestyle, which people may not even realize.
The picture above was taken in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico when we were there on a holiday with my family. There are many people living in what we would consider poor conditions; however the people were very proud. The people we saw were using whatever skills they had and whatever talents they could develop to try to earn a living for their family. Hand-painted tiles, sand painting and even balancing rocks. You have to respect that, not just looking for a hand out but looking for ways that they could become amazing at something and earn an honest living. This is my interpretation of what I saw, and it is my perception of their living conditions with of course is subjected to my bias. It is hard to stay away from those feelings as it is natural to compare others to yourself. I think the lesson is to not judge and see everything with open eyes and the beauty of the people is what matters not how much people have.