I woke up in the Navajo Nation and watched the sunrise from the back of my car. Vehicles drove past me coming from Shonto to get to the highway. I got this weird fear being out there, and I don’t know why. I realized that reservations are some of the few places on the entire planet where you can be restricted from residing based entirely on your ethnicity. Of course, that principle is not without good reason, but, still, there is a strange cognitive dissonance in regard to these state-sponsored and citizen-approved plots of segregation. We’re taught from a young age that segregation based on visible, physical traits is 100% unacceptable, and yet there are these swaths of land inhabited by phenotypically similar human beings. The real demarcation, of course, is bloodline and you don’t actually have to look like a traditional Native American to be a Native American, but, regardless, it was difficult for me to reconcile that concept of a harmonious, ethnic disunion with everything I know to be true. Of course, in the name of cultural revitalization and identity maintenance, reservations are particularly effective and absolutely necessary. I think without reservations, so much of the cultural heritage of indigenous tribes would be entirely lost—assimilated into or annihilated by the prevailing American culture. Many cultures in the Americas have already been completely obliterated and so it’s certainly an encouraging sign to see these cultures thriving.