"Life in a Native American reservation is among the most hopeless I have ever witnessed as a reporter. The lack of basic facilities, the joblessness, sex trafficking, absence of culture, fetal alcohol syndrome, drunk violence, joblessness and mere desperation are daunting. This is what Cheyenne and Hope from the new Native American movement are standing against, and at stake is the very survival of their people, no less. They understand and explain to us what those cycles of poverty and violence feed on and bring solutions. It is vital that these young women, who are bravely breaking the silence that is killing them, be heard by all of us. By pausing to consider the magnitude of their task, by hearing their stories as they fight every item on the by-products of poverty list, we can help them redeem the dignity they so crave for their people." — Mariane Pearl, Journalist & Author, Managing Editor, CHIME FOR CHANGE.
Chapter 1: Hope
The neighborhood was known in Albuquerque as the “War Zone,” and the squat concrete building at the end of the road, its paint peeling in the New Mexico sun, didn’t do much to try and dispel the nickname.
But back then, the building was the only homeless shelter in the area that would take kids without a parent’s signature, so it was the only place she could go in order to stop sleeping out on park benches or inside the slide at the school playground. Then she could focus on her future, her schoolwork, her 4.2 GPA, her college applications. She could stop running for a change — from her violent mom, her mom’s creepy, addict boyfriend, their drug-filled, filth-ridden home, and an existence that had, for her entire life, been one of rootlessness, homelessness.
The War Zone could actually be the way forward.
It seems almost too perfect, now, that her name was Hope.
“I was really surprised I made it this far. I didn’t think I was going to make it to 16 because of the circumstances,” she says now, looking up at the building through its chain-link fence.