DISABILITY ACCESS: Empowering Tribal Members with Disabilities & Their Families
Provided by Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
You told Auntie Martina you would be there to take her to the store about 9. So, do you show up at 9:01, say, "Get in the car", she jumps in and you speed off to town? Most Indian people would probably laugh at this description.
No, you come by around 9:15 or 9:30 or somewhere around there. Auntie Martina is happy to see you. She offers you a cup of coffee and something to eat. She tells you about her arthritis and why she needs to go into town to get her medicine. She complains about her doctor at the IHS. You nod and tell her you understood just what she means. You tell her about the problems your cousin Tammy has been having getting anything that works to help her arthritis. Auntie Martina mentions how sad it was that Tammy just lost her mother, they were the same age, 68 years old. She went to help with the funeral, your brother, Ryan, came and picked her up that time. You both talk about how hard it probably was for Ryan to go to the funeral, since he just lost his 18-year-old daughter in a car accident last month. (Actually, she was his wife's sister's daughter, but she had lived with
About 10:15 or so, you get in the car and drive into town, pick up her medicine and are back at 12:25 for your meeting at human services, which was supposed to start at noon.
Your child's special education teacher, Ms. Coyle, is not nearly as happy to see you as Auntie Martina was. In fact, five minutes before you arrived she was complaining to a fellow staff member about rude, inconsiderate parents who make people wait and don't care enough about their children to show up at meetings on time or even at all. When you come into her room she says, "Nice of you to make it," in a cold voice, and adds, "I am glad to see you."
Ms. Coyle scheduled the meeting during lunch so you could make it and then you showed up 25 minutes later. Of course, she ate her lunch while she was waiting for you. She had to reschedule this meeting from last month because you called up the day before and left a message about a death in the family. Ms. Coyle didn't think much of this excuse when she heard the death was your brother's niece - hardly a close relative.
Our point is that there are cultural differences in views of time and unless everyone wants to be at odds like this mother and Ms. Coyle, both sides need to begin understanding the other.
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