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The times I was lucky enough to be with César Chávez personally, I had no doubt the honorific attached to Gandhi fit Chávez.In English, “great soul.” I quickly learned that most of Chávez’s funding came from the United Auto Workers, the fiercely independent union that had seceded from the stodgy AFL-CIO.As a matter of habit, many rural Indians still referred to their former reservation boundaries as “the rez” even though the tribal governments used the legal jargon, “jurisdictional areas.” Somehow, in Bristow we never developed the habit of saying, “Do you want to ride over to the Sac & Fox jurisdictional area and get some of that deadly coffee at The Rock Café?” It didn’t help break the verbal habit when the state of Oklahoma put up signs on the road about “entering the Sac & Fox Reservation.” Another contributor to the ahistorical “rez” remarks was the rise of the powwow.In most of Oklahoma, each tribal citizen got a few acres varying on the quality of the land called an allotment.
That was my first notice of car buying as a political act.
Of course, there are also competitions involving traditional dances — grass, buffalo, eagle, hoop, gourd — of which there are many but they are limited by geography and the circuit has gone national. The traditional dance for my people is the stomp dance. Travel along the powwow circuit was often by vehicles that had one wheel in the boneyard and looked like it, affectionately (when running) known as “rez cars.” Did you ever notice the brand distribution of rez cars?
You know, the ones that stay on the road with bubble gum and baling wire until the day they quit and become parts cars for the community?
There was a gas station across the street from my last USAF assignment on the edge of San Antonio, where the guy would refuse to put gas in anything made in Germany, Italy, or Japan.
I would occasionally be driving English roadsters I car sat while the owners were on assignment, and it was clear his animus did not extend to foreign cars generally.