Standing Strong

  • CHAPTER 1

  • Where Did the Happiness Go?

  • Narrator

    The sun was setting beyond the Backbone of the World, the Rocky Mountain Range that ran along the western edge of the Blackfeet Reservation.

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  • Rhonda Runningcrane, a red bandana keeping her long brown hair tied back, was finishing up a carburetor she was adjusting in her uncle Floyd’s repair shop in downtown Browning, Montana.

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    Floyd

    “Got any plans for the summer?”

  • Narrator

    Floyd, a fairly fit Native man in his mid-forties, asked as he rolled out from under the 1985 Chevy pickup he’d just finished working on.

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  • Profile Picture of Floyd in Standing Strong

    Floyd

    “A tour of Europe?

  • A cruise of the Pacific?”

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    Rhonda

    “Ha-ha.

  • Very funny,”

  • Narrator

    Rhonda replied.

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  • Profile Picture of Rhonda in Standing Strong

    Rhonda

    “More like working the graveyard shift at the Towne Pump convenience store to earn some money.”

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    Floyd

    “You know you could earn some cash helping me a few hours a week,”

  • Narrator

    her uncle said.

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  • Profile Picture of Floyd in Standing Strong

    Floyd

    “Fixing cars, repairing houses, chopping wood for elders—

  • the kind of stuff you and I have been doing ever since you were little.”

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    Rhonda

    “How could you afford to pay me anything?”

  • Narrator

    she asked.

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  • Profile Picture of Rhonda in Standing Strong

    Rhonda

    “You don’t even charge for half the work you do for people on this rez.”

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    Floyd

    “My veterans disability checks keep me in fry bread and beans,”