This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Understanding Indian Time, or Res Time


I went on a history adventure recently through the Gila River Indian Reservation, which is an area that very few Phoenicians go to, between the Estrella Mountains and South Mountain. My interest was to see the route of the last leg of the freeway loop.

But as I got past Laveen, and rode along Pecos Road, I was reminded of how difficult it is for me to understand the concept of what I have often heard called "Indian Time" or "Res Time" (res is short for reservation). No, I know that I will never really understand it, but that won't keep me from trying to. And I have seen glimpses of it. Walk with me.

I'm not being all mystical here. And this way of looking at time is cultural, not racial. It's not something that you can understand by reading about it on the internet, or in a book. It's a feeling that is passed down by the elders. And, no, I have no intention of trying to explain it here, but I will share with you what my journey has been, and will continue to be.

Go there. Stand and look at the Estrella Mountains. Turn off the engine of your car. Don't look at your watch. That piece of dirt that you're standing on is as sacred as you make it. Spend some time with some American Indian people. And shut up. Every moment doesn't have to be filled with chatter. In that silence the earth grows very large, and time fades away. When you return to your time-based world of appointments and errands, it will start to feel very silly, like claiming ownership of the land, the water, the air, and the sky.

My journey has begun. If you are familiar with the Pima symbol of the man in the maze, yours has, too. It's a journey of understanding, and although I can't see beyond the next turn, I want to go there.

Thank you for walking with me.

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