Gloria, Survivor

Gloria Holland Thompson
Gloria, Survivor

Age at displacement: 8 years old

I vividly remember like it was yesterday, seeing this half-dressed older man standing in his doorway on the reservation, pleading with the fire department not to tear or burn down his home with all his worldly possessions. It was the first time I saw a man cry because of greed and the evil of people!

When we realized we would have to relocate, too, my parents left my uncle living in our trailer and moved as far north in Palm Springs as we could go and own land. The area was highly windy, blowing desert sand everywhere, and very muddy when it rained. That’s where our new home was built, but we still considered ourselves lucky. Many others were not as fortunate. Soon afterward, my uncle was forced to move off the reservation out of our trailer and former home. The trailer was moved. My father tried, but we never found out where.

Our families had to tolerate the conditions we were forced into. Our new community had no streetlights, paved streets, stop signs, sewer systems, or sidewalks. When it rained, we were constantly flooded and a muddy mess.

A large part of the actual harm done by the city of Palm Springs displacing us back then was breaking up families, our support system. Many were unable to get loans or buy property, and getting to work was difficult. We went from having no caste system to now having a caste system of economic hardship for many families. Alcohol and drugs began to take root. Many of our families and friends fell into the disarray of being unable to overcome the economic evil forced upon us.