“I think he shows that everyone can do it—even if you’re from around here,” said Aaron Lapointe, 16, a high school sophomore on the reservation. “It’s good just to see that he is a Native American, that he is the same as me.”
Same, not better. Same, not separate. That is an important distinction for many tribes long ambivalent about fame in a white man’s world, long mistrustful of an America that has mistreated them.
“One of the things we try to instill in the kids around here is to quit trying to play the big victim all the time,” said Jerome Lapointe, Aaron’s uncle and the managing editor of The Winnebago Indian News. “We have to get over that.”