Most people can’t imagine living without smartphones or the Internet, let alone without electricity. But even today — even in the United States — there are still people who live without lights and refrigeration. Many are Native Americans living on tribal reservations.
For many, electricity is a luxury; it can even be magical. Derrick Terry remembers the first winter when there were lights on at his grandmother’s house.
“You see the Christmas lights in the distance, it’s like seeing that unicorn,” he says. “It’s an indescribable feeling, I guess, when you first get electricity.”
Terry grew up on the Navajo Nation. It’s about the size of West Virginia and covers the Arizona, New Mexico and Utah portions of the Four Corners region. When Terry was a boy, his family used a 12-volt car battery to supply their house with power. He says the battery would get low simply by running the TV or house lights.