Sunday, May 17, 2009

When You Got Nothing You Got Nothing to Lose

That's not an entirely fair description of life on the Navajo Nation in these hard economic times but it does nicely sum up the value of living simply. For many Navajos the current recession makes little difference; they've been living on the edge for so long about the only thing different these days is that they have more company in among their non-Indian neighbors. As the article points out, many Navajos have never had the opportunity to participate in the mainstream economy and have devised any number of ways to make ends meet using both traditional and non-traditional means.

This story reminds me of an article in by Michelle Singleary in her "The Color of Money" column for the Washington post a few years back. That column essentially advised readers to live within their means, a simple but very effective way to avoid debt. Navajos have had little choice but to do just that.

Life on the Rez isn't perfect but in that wide open space, many Navajo have learned how to adapt and survive. The rest of us, freaking out about credit card debt, mortgage foreclosures and a collapsing stock market don't have the experience of living in difficult conditions. Navajos and their Native American kin sure do.

So maybe the title should be something like, "When you think you have it made, you have everything to lose."



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