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The Natives Issue

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According to the most recent Equal Opportunity Survey by the Defense Manpower Data Center, there are 22,864 Native Americans in the armed forces. That’s two percent of the total number of soldiers. Most Natives (39 percent) are in the Navy. Only 1...
VICE Staff
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1.1.06

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM

According to the most recent Equal Opportunity Survey by the Defense Manpower Data Center, there are 22,864 Native Americans in the armed forces. That’s two percent of the total number of soldiers. Most Natives (39 percent) are in the Navy. Only 16 percent are in the Army.

This sign sits on Central Street, the main thoroughfare of the Blackfeet reservation town of Browning, Montana. Each little star represents a Blackfeet who’s serving in the military now.

ΔΙΑΦΗΜΙΣΗ

Fun factoid: Native soldiers report the most frequent levels of offensive jokes and general harassment. Lay off them already, everyone!

MISSING BEER MUG MURAL

A good way to begin wiping out alcoholism on the reservation is to white out any beers in murals on the sides of bars. Out of sight, out of mind.

NATIVE PRIDE HAT

Speaking of pride, this hat’s owner was so proud of being Native he didn’t mind the fact that he was so drunk he could barely pick his head back up after the photo was taken.

RUNNING INDIANS GYM MAT

News flash: Indians call themselves Indians. It’s not a big deal, so stop having powwows about how white people cannot say that word. These mats line the gymnasium of Browning High School and everyone is damn proud of their Running Indian status. In fact, the ENTIRE gym is lined all the way around with State Cross-country Champ banners.

GRUMPIES SIGN

Living on the rez can definitely give you a case of the grumpies some days. Eighty percent unemployment, heaps of diabetes and hep C, and crystal meth falling all around like snow? Bummer! Luckily someone has discovered the cure to all the world’s ills: A good firm hug. Don’t you feel better now?

BEST RESPECT THA REZ

This sign hangs in the Snack Shack across the street from Browning High School. Even though the rez suffers from almost third-world crisis conditions, everybody has hometown pride.

VICTORY TEA

If this tea really makes you win, you kind of have to wonder why they weren’t guzzling it all through the 1800s like their lives depended on it (because they literally did depend on it).

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THOUSANDS OF CONDOMS

This massive pile of condoms that sits in the community health center and all the possible fucks that might, maybe, happen with them is like some Native American physics problem about potential versus kinetic energy. It makes you woozy just thinking about it.

ARC DE TRIOMPHE IN ICE

People don’t just throw shit together in Lappland, they make an effort. Take this ice sculpture for example, it was just sitting in this guy’s backyard. It reached up to the roof of his regular house, and had it’s own built in lighting system which switched on and off automatically so the ice wouldn’t melt from the heat of the lamps. Albert Falk, the 76-year-old who made it, told us he sculpts a new building every year. This on took six tons of ice, which Albert collects by himself from a nearby lake.

HOMEMADE WEAPONS

Again, a homemade Saami weapon will never be just an old toothbrush with a razor jammed into it. Every kid, from the hipsters on the corner to little toddlers knows how to make an artwork like this. If they were to sell them, which they won’t, they would be hundreds of euros. “Sure, the knifes you buy in the tourist shops are great for decoration,” Tobias tells us. For more on Tobias,

click here

LAPP CHURCH

The Lapp Church was built because Swedes felt the Saami needed to be Christians too. When it was restored in the early 1900s there were several corpses found under the floor.