In keeping with a tradition we just made up, Anna, Elizabeth, Hannah and I went camping this weekend. This year we found a decent campground in “the M.N.,” which is a step-up from last year’s WI-based swimmin’ hole train track action; unfortunately the lake was infested with some sort of parasite and a shit-ton of mutant leeches, so we once again failed to do much swimming. Instead, we hung out, tanned, went to a pow-wow and watched fireworks. It was excellent. Next year, I will pack longer PJs, more than one book, my own flashlight and more skirts, less pants. Because there will be a next year. God knows I love traditions; I couldn’t get over how awesome the traditions of the Pow-Wow were. It set me off on my usual lament about belonging to so many cultures they just wash each other out and I really end up belonging to none. Except, of course, the consumerist young American culture, but that’s not really what I’m after.

Maybe it’s time I stop lamenting and start learning. I’ve always thought that rather than a thousand history courses dedicated to America between 1776 and 1865, high school students should at least once be given the option to study their own personal history. I think it’s important to know where I the individual came from in addition to I the American. We are taught that America is made up of everyone from everywhere, and while I am fully American (for better or for worse), I am also the result of a hodge-podge of five other cultures. We should be taught to acknowledge and respect that duality, because it is what makes Us an Us.

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