Hi Guys. My name is Arnold Spirit, but you can call me Junior; everyone on the rez does, but the kids at school think it’s a weird name. I grew up on an Indian reservation in Spokane, Washington with my parents, grandmother and sister, and have lived, played and gone to school there forever. Except for this year, my first year of high school, when I switched schools and started attending the white school that was 20 miles from home. I wanted to get a better education and play on a better basketball team. Most of all, I wanted to leave the rez. Want to hear more about my life on and off the rez? I’ll tell you about it!
My best friend is from the rez. His name is Rowdy and he has temper issues. Because I’m sort of a dork Rowdy has always looked out for me and protected me. That was until I decided to go to a new school and then Rowdy started beating up on me because he thought I was a traitor. At first, I was a big joke at my new school. I was the only Indian there, aside from the mascot. Then I met Penelope, Gordy and Roger and slowly, as I got to know them and they got to know me, we became friends too. Now that Rowdy and I have made up too, I have more friends than I ever did!
Abuse isn’t something new on the rez. Everyone is drunk half the time so fights are bound to happen. We even have rules about fighting. Rowdy’s dad is the worst though. He beats up on Rowdy all the time. I think that’s why Rowdy is so tough and mean.
Indians love to drink. Just ask any of us. One of the only Indians I ever met that didn’t drink was my grandmother. My dad was a drunk but at least he cared about me. My sister and her husband were drunks and that’s how they died. Eugene, my dad’s best friend, was a drunk and that got him shot in the face. Heck, even my grandmother who never drank a day in her life died because of a drunk. One ran her over.
I am totally into Penelope. I know, an Indian and a white girl? I’m crazy, especially when Indian girls wouldn’t even go out with me. But Penelope’s dad hates Indians and Penelope hates her dad. We’ve been out on some kinda sorta dates and I took her to the dance. She doesn’t seem to care that I’m Indian or poor. We’re casual for now, but I’m hoping we’ll be more serious by the time we start Sophomore year.
Competition & Achievements
I came to the white high school to get a better education, and it’s working. Gordy is really smart and I’m getting smarter from being his friend. I get good grades in school, which is great. I also tried out for the basketball team and made varsity. We lost our first game to Rowdy’s team but beat them the second time around. It was crazy how much of a rivalry built up between the two teams all because I switched schools!
I’ve been bullied my whole life. I’m a huge nerd with a defective brain. I get bullied by 30 year old men on the rez, and I was made fun of by white kids at my new school after I started there. Once I became friends with Penelope and Roger the kids at school gave up on the bullying. Since I have Rowdy at home on the rez I’m not too concerned about being bullied there either.
I never thought I, Arnold “Junior” Spirit, would be popular. But what happened? I started hanging out with popular kids at school, Roger and Penelope. Something about hanging out with popular kids gives you more freedom. You can say and do stupid things and they’re suddenly cool. You can be poor and it doesn’t matter. You can be a nerd from the rez and nobody really cares!
I was born with a brain defect. It’s called water on the brain, and it basically means I have excess fluid in my head that shouldn’t be there. It makes me susceptible to head injury. That’s why Rowdy has always looked out for me on the rez, so someone doesn’t knock my head open and spill out my extra brain fluid.
We have a lot of death on the rez. Just this year, my dad’s best friend Eugene was shot in the face during a drunken brawl, my grandmother was run over by a drunk driver, and my sister, though she was in Montana, had too much to drink and when her trailer caught fire she didn’t even wake up and she burned to death along with her husband. Alcohol and death go hand in hand on the rez.