WARRIORS AGAINST DRUGS & ALCOHOL
By Ernie C. Salgado, Soboba Tribal Member
What’s the word? Thunderbird!!!
A little trivia from back in the fifties, which only a few of us can relate or even remember. Thunderbird was a cheap nasty sweet Gallo wine that many of us drank when we were out in the dark at the reservation ball diamond in the late hour of the night or the wee hours of the morning when we though no one was watching.
Little did we know that no one really cared as it was only in our minds that we though anyone cared.
However — we are the survivors — so we are privileged and honored to be Tribal Elders of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians. Hopefully we have become wiser and more sensitive to the needs of our people.
We must let our young people know that we care about them.
- As Tribal Elders we must provide the leadership as 'Warriors Against Drugs.'
Many of us do not partake of the fruits of the vine any longer nor do we flirt with the man-made, mind-altering chemicals that can burn up brain cell faster than a Tijuana taxi driver can run up cab fare.
One of the greatest advantages of being an elder is that we can reminisce of “The good ole days” and in doing so we can that the liberty to alter or adjust our perceptions of the times gone by. But again this is our license for surviving.
Under our watch the world has changed and regardless if it has been for the better or the worst it is what it is. Some of the reality we must all accept is that the buffalo are not coming back nor is $1 a gallon gasoline, and Michael Jackson will never be black again. That is just the way of change.
We have all heard people saying:
- "I wouldn’t want to be a young person today and have to raise a family in today’s world…With all the drugs and the cost of everything these days…I just don’t know how they can survive…”.
To this I say bull!!!!
We are a resilient and tenacious people and we have been able to meet every challenge to wipe us from the face of the earth including genocide, and we are still here.
Today our tribal leaders are fighting to protect Tribal Sovereignty in the hall of the Courts and Congress. To make my point even farther, the last shooting war Indians won was 132 years ago at the battle of the Little Big Horn.
But the real struggle is in our own backyards. Our challenge is to save our young people from the ancestors of Thunder Bird and the multitude of man-made, mind-altering chemicals and brain cell destroying drugs.
However, we must first acknowledge that we have an uncomfortable critical situation and it isn’t only 2% of our people that are at risk.
- We are a proud people, we are strong united families, and a great tribe. This is why we must accept that we are all in this together because we are really one people when it is all said and done.
This why this tragedy is not a 2%’er, it is a 100%’er.
Sobriety is a blessing from God himself, not only for the alcoholic or the substance abuser; it is God’s blessing for their families, our people and our tribes. Our people have experiences some serious substance abuse issues over the past few decades and within the past year it has reached the point of no return.
CHIEF JOSEPH, Nez Perce Nation
AS TRIBAL ELDERS we may want to take heart in the words of Nez Perce Chief Joseph, who said, “…let us put our minds together and see what future we can make for our children…” .
“…let us put our minds together and see what future we can make for our children…”.
As Tribal Elders we must provide the leadership as “Warriors Against Drugs”.
Respectfully, Ernie C. Salgado Jr.
ERNIE C. SALGADO JR
Tribal: Soboba Indian Reservation
Web Site: www.apapas.com
MORE INFORMATION, where to get help:
DRUG ABUSE, information.
ALCOHOL ABUSE, information.
SOBRIETY, a 12-step program.
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