Do you know that a Native American cannot get a mortgage? The land that makes up the reservation belongs to the Nation, and the bank can’t reclaim it. So no bank will loan us money because we don’t have any collateral. When I wanted a house, nothing was going to stop me. I worked long and hard, and I paid for every nut, bolt, and piece of wood, every wire and stone that went into it, all by myself. At first, my house consisted of little more than a counter, a faucet, and a toilet. I had curtains for walls. Each year I added to it until I had built a home that would allow almost all of my family to live in it when they needed to.
This is an excerpt from a comprehensive interview.