| Our Goal for Sharing Traditions
As a Tribe we have several goals. One of the main ones is to learn, share and practice our traditions. Traditions such as culture, stories, foods, dance, views toward nature and the world, and language just to name a few. In the last several days some of you have inquired about these things to the Council. We are glad to see this interest coming from our members.
In answer to some of your questions, YES we do have our own traditions. Dance, songs, stories, celebrations, customs, language, dress, etiquette, foods, crafts, skills, conduct and the list goes on and on. YES they have been handed down generation, to generation over hundred’s maybe even thousands of years. Yes we do have members who know these traditions and yes they are willing to share them with the rest of us.
One thing that you need to know about NA culture is that it was not the same for every Tribe. There may be similarities but there are also subtle differences. These things are sacred and as such can not be shared to just anyone nor can you learn them from just anyone. Because each Tribal group had it own unique heritage which it held as sacred, it was not shared outside of their own Tribal group. Why you may ask? Because it was sacred, special, unique, something that sat us apart. In generations past we all lived in a small community group and this made the teaching of these things easy. Today we live all over the country making this much more difficult. Because of this you may be tempted to reach out to other Tribes to learn this information quicker or first hand.
There are several problems with that.
1. You are learning someone else’s culture not your own.
2. Other Tribes will wonder why you want to learn their traditions. They will say to themselves why do you not learn your own? Very often this causes them to think you are pretending to be an Indian, a pretend Indian. This cause them to think your whole Tribe is just pretending, that we are just a joke.
3. Sadly if you do reach out to people outside your own Tribe some of them will take this opportunity to make fun of you, your heritage and our Tribe.
You may have been thinking to yourself, “Why is this sharing taking so long? Why can’t I know it all now”? There are several reasons for that.
1. As was part of all Native cultures, these traditions were not written down, they were shared by word of mouth or by direct observation. This has always been our way of teaching these things to the next generation.
2. Because the world has changed and we do not all live in the same small community this is not possible now. We have to write them down to share them or wait till we can all be together at the Gathering. This all takes time.
In fact you probably already know some of these things. They may have been taught to you by a parent, grandparent or some other relative and you don’t even realize it. They were presented to you in the Native way, in an ordinary conversation, just hanging around with family. May you were just sitting and listening to a grandparent tell stories of the old days.
We are trying to get this information out to you. We are doing this in several different ways.
A. The Culture, Languages, and Members Only pages on Facebook.
B. Our Newsletter “The Drum Beat”.
C. At our annual Gathering.
D. Our Web page. (We do not share a great deal on our web page because anyone in the world can see it there and that would not be a good thing)
We have Tribal members who are working very hard to accumulate this knowledge and share it with us all in the appropriate manner and time. If you are interested in learning these things I would like to encourage you to pay close attention to these venues. Check out ALL our Face Book pages, read your newsletter, and attend the Gathering. We have been given an unbelievable opportunity and responsibility. This heritage was almost lost for ever. One more generation and it would have been gone. It will be your responsibility to pass this knowledge on to the next generation. Learn it, teach it, so it will not be lost to time. What better way to honor your heritage and your Ancestors?