Author of the Month

The Bond: Connecting through the Space Between Us (cont.)
By Lynne McTaggart

Excerpt of Chapter 11 from The Bond

The Power of Working Together

Tailholt, Oklahoma, represents one of the forgotten neighborhoods of America. The town name, derived from the pioneer habit of traversing a flooded river by persuading a horse to fjord the river while holding on to its tail, suggests a place hanging on for its very survival.

One-third of its population of 42,000 consists of Native American families, with an average per capital income of $27,000 and a house worth about $60,000. Those businesses that exist in Tailholt mostly cap employment at minimum wage. With a cemetery within each mile of a twelve-mile radius, the most prosperous activity in Tailholt is laying its inhabitants to rest.

The citizens of Tailholt had been trying and failing to get fresh water every year since 1999. Many members of the community had constant problems with their water sources. Wells ran dry, taps had low pressure, water was contaminated, or just smelled or tasted bad. The US’s

Environmental Protection Agency has strict guidelines about coliform bacteria, which give an indication of the amount of harmful microorganisms in the water, and the maximum number of coliform bacteria per milliliter that constitutes water fit to drink. Certain forms—called fecal coliform bacteria—can make people ill. Fifty-eight percent of Tailholt households failed the coliform test. Every annual application to the national Indian Health Services to fund a new pipeline through a grant available to Indian communities had been rejected on the grounds of expense. There was just too little federal money to go around.

Tailholt residents were also desperate for a large community center as a central meeting place for organized activities. Again, it looked as though the vast cost of the project would never be picked up by the federal government.

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