In my last blog, I promised to answer the question, "Who is an Indian?"  In the meantime, because I am still researching my answer, I will submit this blog, Indian Time - Is It a Con?

I have to admit, to a large extent, I fully take advantage of "Indian Time" when it suits my needs.  However, having spent the last two years writing about, talking about, and promoting a return to the four values of courage, honesty, perseverance, and generosity, I am slowly taking an honest look at my use of Indian time.

I am currently in Bismarck attending a North Dakota School Board Association (NDSBA) conference.  What is markedly different about this conference is the majority of the board members show up for session on time and do not leave early.  Take this morning, for example; I thought I would arrive 20 minutes early so I could pick the table I wanted to sit at.  Much to my surprise, all the tables were already taken.  I had to stand and wait until the hotel brought more tables.

Maybe I should explain who comprises the membership of the NDSBA.  I would say the majority of them are from small towns or school districts.  Coming from an agricultural background, these individuals have a life long habit of getting up very early in the morning (There are a smattering of board members from the major cities of Minot, Devils Lake, Grand Forks, Bismarck, and Fargo.).

When I attend this conference, I have to be on time (not on Indian time).  And you know what?  Being on time is not too bad.  It is great to be early.  You have time to get yourself some refreshments, sit where you want, relax, and watch everyone else come in.  

Back to my question, "Is Indian time a con or is it just an acceptable excuse to use if you are always chronically late?"  Many times, I waited impatiently for someone, and they laughed it off as being on Indian Time (I felt like choking them).  Many times, I hurried to a community event or activity only to sit there and wait because of Indian Time.  To be honest, there were times, I am sure, when I used Indian Time as an excuse because I had no good reason for being late.

And that is what Indian Time is  -- just an excuse...  We Indians have come a long way from the days when the BIA ran everything and made all the decisions for us, from the days when we had to send young men and women hundreds, thousands of miles from home to receive an education.  We now control our own destiny; we will decide our future, not the BIA, not the state, and not anybody else.

Now is the time to end an antiquated practice that is no longer harmless and/or funny.  In fact, the continuing use of Indian time will only hold us back from making progress in all areas.

It's time to stop conning ourselves.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Erich Longie published on February 6, 2009 8:17 PM.

Who is Indian? was the previous entry in this blog.

Open Letter To Spirit Lake Tribal Council Members is the next entry in this blog.

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