Cultural Customs

Will Reed

Former CRS Mediator, Denver Office


So I was working all around there. I ended up staying there for about six days and after this festival was over and nobody else got beaten up, I headed out. I was getting ready to go. And all the Native American leadership were sitting in this tee-pee. And I went up to this lady, and I said, "Well it looks like my job's over." And nobody said anything. So I said it again, "I'm going." I tapped her on the shoulder. "I'm leaving." I looked around. Not being that familiar that much with the culture during those years, I continued to say I'm leaving and nobody responded. I thought this must be a cultural thing and I'm missing it. And so I said it again. This woman looked up and me and said, "God dammit! We heard you the first time. Why is it that other groups of people come around us and figure they got to tell us something fifty times before we understand you?" So my eyes got as big as saucers, I thought they were getting ready to attack me. It scared the hell out of me. She said, "We heard you, dammit. Get the hell out of here." There was nothing about thanks or anything. I was expecting a little of that, too. Just "Get the hell out of here. We heard you the first time, dammit." So I got in my car and drove back to Oklahoma City and got a hotel room and stayed until eleven o'clock the next morning and went back to Denver.