This morning my mom and I made the drive south of Spokane to the small community of Plummer, Idaho. The reason we went is because out of a city of just under a quarter of a million people she can't find anyone who can do her hair like Deb down in Plummer, a town with a population of just under a thousand. If this all sounds familiar, it is because we made the same trip last November.
This time I decided to take my camera and go take pictures while my mom was having her hair permed so you could get a glimpse of what life is like on a modern-day Indian reserve. Please keep in mind there is much more to the Coeur d'Alene Reservation than the small town of Plummer. It is a place of incredible physical beauty, with mountains, lakes, rivers and rolling fields of grain. To be honest the same can't be said of Plummer. It is a struggling small town, like so many others across the country.
There is a strange mix of poverty and wealth in this community. The wealth is largely due to the influx of money from the federal government, mixed with the proceeds from the Coeur d'Alene Casino. I stood in a street and in one direction I faced this.
When I turned around and looked the other way I was looking at this, the multi-million dollar Wellness Center.
When I was growing up there was a lot of prejudice against the Coeur d'Alene's. The Pollyanna part of me wants to believe this no longer occurs, but the realistic part of me doubts that is so. But I think people are moving forward, and that is always a good direction to be headed.
I think a town that names a new street Anne Antelope Ave has to have a lot going for it.
I spent a happy half hour wandering around the Trading Post.
I came so close to buying the tepee snow globe! The buffalo tallow soaps and lotion were tempting, too. In the end all I bought was a bottle of Warpath water.
Social and economic problems are not solved overnight, but I was happy to see that things are so much better than they were a couple of decades ago. There is a sense of pride in the community. There is new housing for seniors, the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Police, a Fish & Wildlife department, and a brand new medical center.
Instead of exuding a sense of hopelessness like it did when I was growing up on a nearby farm, there is now a sense of hope. And hope is always a good thing.