“I hold close the memories and stories my grandmother, who was full-blooded Indian, told me. She always told us, ‘Be proud of who you are. Never let anyone change it.’ She came from the Mohawk reservation in Hogansburg, New York.
I would die today to let people know I’m Native American Indian. When I went in the military back in 1978 as a young kid I let everybody know I was a Native American Indian. But I also let them know I came from the United States and I was proud to be an American.
Now, I don’t feel proud to be an American like I used to. It started when I left the military. I had the VA tell me the medicine I need to stop my blackouts cost too much. So I can give my life for them, but they can’t give me a medicine that will save mine. And so, I’m disappointed in our nation.” Ricky Gates served in the US military from 1978 – 1989. He has lived in upstate NY all his life, and is now retired.