StoryCorps: National Social History Project Records
Ordinary People Telling Their Stories to Each Other
The following story is shared by  Monica Meyer

     My father, he was a full-blood German, and my mother was full-blood Indian. And, you know, it was pretty tough in the ‘60s growing up, you know, a half-breed, so to speak. And I must have been about seventh grade, eighth grade, and I wasn’t doing well in school. And I’m the oldest of three girls, so our dad packed us up in his pickup, took us out to his old homestead land, which is about 18 miles north of New Town in the middle of nowhere, and he packed us some lunches and some water—all three of us girls—dropped us off out there like at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning and said he wanted all the rocks picked in the northwest corner in one big pile and that he’d come back that night to pick us up, and it better be done. So there we were, working hard all day long.

     He comes back, and we’re dirty, stinky, sweaty, sore muscles, crying. We must have been a sight to see. And my dad pulls up in his pickup, and I looked at him, and I said, since I was the oldest—my two younger sisters are like hiding behind me—“Dad, we don’t think this is fair we have to work this hard.” And I just remember him saying, “Is that right? Well, do you think I like working hard like this every day?” “No.” He said, “You know, your mother said you girls don’t like school and you’re not doing very well, and we decided that you’re going to come out here and work like this, so your hind ends will get used to how your life’s going to be when you get older.

     So I said, “Well, if we got good grades, do we have to come out here and work this hard?” And he said, “No, that’s the deal.” Well, you didn’t have to bust my head twice up against the brick wall, but my two younger sisters and I were laughing about that, because they remember that particular day exactly the way I remembered it. One day of hard labor changed everything.

     Monica Mayer is now a physician, and she practices medicine in Ft. Berthold. And she talked about her two sisters, Holly and Renee. One is a nurse, and the other is head of social services on the reservation.

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