Today, this is a sensitive subject in America. Many people have their opinions and they are strong. However, for me, growing up the way I did it was as useful as any other tool. It was just an object...
I grew up on an Apache reservation in New Mexico (yes, it is a state). I played in the woods but I also spent my older years in a city where I worked in a historical bookstore about the Southwest. I have seen my culture in a textbook and for myself. One of the most prominent figures for Apaches is Geronimo and guess what; in nearly every picture, he's holding a gun. I recognize I come from a line of strong stoic people and that modern two-dimensional labels of natives just do not fit. I don't understand why people attack this issue. I think, if Geronimo, Lozen, or other Apache figures didn't have guns would I even exist today? It's not barbaric to want the best utilities to hunt or defend yourself. Think about it, that sounds rational but the lines become blurred when people get emotional and I'm not saying there's not a legitimate debate to be had. I'm just giving a perspective most people don't consider. I come home every day and my walls are littered with paintings of Apache warriors scouting with their horses and rifles. I hear about my aunt on the rez who is a professional game hunter shooting a 12-pointer and wishing I could hunt with her. My mom would tell me stories about how the Mescalero Apaches came from a long line of strong matriarchal women and how I would grow up to be the same. Looking back now, I didn't understand how unique my experience is and I'm grateful for it. I realize why Apaches were feared. They were incredibly aware of human nature and did anything to protect children. I want to be the same way. I want the best protection afforded to me because you just don't know and the stats of violence against native women is high enough, why shouldn't I use everything afforded to me? I choose to be prepared as much as possible and if that means having a rifle in my hand or a phone, I want both.
I also think guns have been a major part of my life now because of my lifestyle as a military spouse. My husband is constantly away for training. Sometimes this means 10 miles up the road in a secluded area with no signal or 3,000 miles away across the ocean. It is one thing to be home alone near your family and everything you know but it is a completely new issue when you just moved and don't know anything about the area. I've been attacked walking my two dogs in an upper-middle-class neighborhood and it was a horrifying experience because I didn't have anything to protect myself with. I thought nothing would ever happen if I was walking a Pit and Doberman mixes but it did! I filed a report with the police letting them know the make, model, year, and that it was a convertible(easily identifiable) and the police more or less told me 'kids will be kids' after telling them two boys around the age 18 threw fireworks at me and kept driving around. I just don't understand it. I would have felt better knowing I could've been armed at the time. These boys looked at me, stopped the car to make sure it hit me and drove slowly to debate hitting me again. Why should I just let the police handle it 40 minutes later to just to say 'wow, crazy teenagers? Have a good day.' Since the latest reminder of my safety, whenever possible I try to keep at least a Taser near me. I am not the type to be anxious or upset by these situations but I cherish my life and the people in it. I love guns because I don't have to worry if I'm as safe as I can possibly be and because of the culture that it's helped my family to uphold.
I carry because I am an independent person. I carry because it is what my family has done for generations. I carry because my principles are to be as strong as possible.
I am grateful for a country that respects these principles and accepts diversity. And I see that our world isn't perfect.