A Newsletter for Kids from a Native American View
Blackberry Ripening Moon
June 26, 1999 Issue 15, Volume 2
Lesson in Traditional Native Values
The following information is adapted from information included in presentations by Sisseton Indian Health Service (IHS) personnel.
Recognizing that these are generalizations, and that most people's values (and behaviors) lie someplace between them, here is a comparison between Indian and non-Indian value systems: A special Thank You to Sota Iya Ye Yapi newspaper for permission to reprint.
Sota Iya Ye Yapi
Time is unimportant. Clocks are not watched. Things are done as needed. Often the family gets up as the sun rises and retires soon after the sun sets. "Indian time" means when everyone gets there. A community meeting may be set for 1:00 p.m., but people come as much later as they wish, so the meeting may begin an hour or two later. This bothers no one. (Additional: If people gather before a scheduled event, it may begin earlier than announced. I have seen funeral services begin before the scheduled time, but this may be unusual. But if you are anxious to see the grand entry at a wacipi, and come "on time," better be prepared to relax for up to a couple of hours before it happens.)
Time is important. Time is of the utmost importance. When someone says they will be somewhere at 10:00 a.m., they must be there at ten. Otherwise, it is felt they steal another person's time. More and more, non-Indians rush. In these cultures, it is felt that using time to its fullest extent is good.
Today concept. Indian people generally live each day as it comes. Plans for tomorrow often appear to be left until the future becomes the present -- although gathering, harvesting, and storing of foods for winter months was a traditional method of survival for many tribes.
Tomorrow concept. Non-Indians constantly are looking toward "tomorrow." Such items as insurance, saving for college, planning vacations, and so on, suggest to what extent non-Indians hold this value.
Patience. To have much patience and to wait is considered to be good and respectful.
Action. The person admired is the one who is quick to act. They get things done and move on quickly to the other things. To sit idly, and let the competitor pass by acting more quickly, is considered bad.
Shame. The Indian community groups often shame an individual (to instruct, or encourage reentry into what is considered by the group to be acceptable behavior), but once this is accomplished, no lingering guilt is felt by the individual.
Guilt. After a non-Indian commits an act that he or she believes to be wrong, he/she carries inside the burden of having done something wrong. This terrible feeling may make them ill mentally and physically.
The Native American 10 Commandments
1. The Earth is our Mother, care for her
2. Honor all your relations
3. Open your heart and soul to the Great Spirit
4. All life is sacred; treat all beings with respect
5. Take from the Earth what is needed and nothing more
6. Do what needs to be done for the good of all
7. Give constant thanks to the Great Spirit for each new day
8. Speak the Truth; but only of the good in others
9. Follow the rhythms of nature; rise and retire with the sun
10. Enjoy life's journey, but leave no tracks
Pow Wow!!! A Non-Native's Experience
by Amy Lockard
(Photo courtesy Jamie Lockard)
A strong feeling stirred deep within me; tears surfaced in my eyes. What could raise such strong emotions? It wasn't a birth, a wedding, or a funeral. It was something that I never envisioned could touch me so deeply.
It was a pow wow, held on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina, Memorial Day weekend.
But why? What had moved me so strongly? I am still unable to answer that question. It may be a single answer. It may be a combination of things. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful, touching, awesome experience that I will never forget.
I did not know what to expect when we first arrived, but the Cherokee people made me feel right at home. They were extremely hospitable and welcoming to my family and myself, as they were towards everyone there -- Natives and non-Natives alike. As we entered the grounds all the beautiful native crafts and the pride on the crafter's faces amazed us. As the pow wow was about to begin, we took our seats. No one could have prepared me for what I was about to witness: the grand entry!
"Wow!" was my first reaction as participants entered the sacred circle, dancing to the beat of the drum--flag and staff bearers, veterans, royalty, dancers, adults, teens, children, infants -- all adorned with feathers, colors, jingles and symbols. The first day the dancers displayed their magnificent talents. The next day they performed in friendly competition.
Awed, I sat through it all, engulfed in wonder with a deep sense of respect for everyone there. But what made me feel that way?
Maybe it was that drumming that made me feel like all life was living within one heartbeat.
Maybe it was Native American eyes shining with pride in their heritage.
Maybe it was the Cherokee's willingness to welcome non-Natives into their traditions, encouraging us to dance. They showed great respect for all veterans during this Memorial Day. They spoke and sang songs in the Cherokee language. They wore the colors and symbols of their ancestors and performed the old dances with renewed passions. And the children, so willing to learn and participate, were included in these activities.
Maybe it was the craftsmanship of the regalia adorned with elaborate bead, cloth, jingle, and feather work. Every outfit, be it on an elder or a child, was strikingly and breathtakingly beautiful.
Maybe it was the respect Natives have for their culture. I felt like a member of a large, caring, peaceful family.
Maybe it was hearing the pain of injustice, past and present, expressed in their songs and dances.
Maybe its my shame for non-Natives who envision only the Native American stereotype, because those same people have never experienced Native cultures for themselves.
Maybe this powwow moved me so deeply because my husband's maternal ancestors were Native Americans, and this experience helps me understand his family's passion for their ancestors and their heritage.
Maybe it was my 7-month-old son's delighted attempt to dance with everyone. The entire time, all he wanted to do was dance. The drum stirs something within even the very young.
Maybe it was a call to pass on to our son the traditions and cultures of his heritage.
Maybe it was a call for me to look inside myself, at my own heritage, and the things I do, to find meaning and traditions in our everyday life.
Or, maybe I'll never know.
What I do know is this: I will always be grateful to the Cherokee People for awakening these feelings inside me, and for the examples they set at the pow wow. I regret that more non-Natives did not attend this extraordinary event. During these troubled times, maybe we all need more opportunities to look within our souls
Thank you to everyone who read my words. I hope my experience will influence other non-Natives to attend Native events, show more respect for Native cultures, and reach deeper within your own souls while searching for answers.
A special thank you goes out to the Cherokee Nation.
A Dancer's Prayer
(By Little Jumper)
("Sneak Up" artwork courtesy David Eveningthunder "Traditional Sneak-Up" N-DE005)
Feel me dancing Maka Ina, with every step, a prayer,
I dance for those who can't - to let them know I care.
I dance for all my elders, their spirits I hope to lift,
I dance for those who are ill, with them I share my gift.
I dance for all the souls I carry, waiting up above,
I dance for all my family, come and share the love.
I dance for those who have no pride -
may they lift their heads up high.
I dance for those whose souls are hurting,
yet still refuse to cry.
I dance for all the women who keep this village going,
I dance for you, Great Spirit, the mighty and all knowing.
So -- when you see me dancing, it truly isn't I --
It is the Great Spirit using me to help us all get by!
Hokay Hey!! Hokay Hey!! Little Jumper
Bald Eagle to be Removed from the Endangered Species List.
(Rewritten by Garnet1654 from an article in the Kansas City Star)
The Clinton administration has decided to remove the bald eagle from the Endangered
Species list. Officials from the Department of the Interior say that the national bird has fully recovered.
The eagle was near extinction in the 1960s and began its recovery after the banning of the pesticide DDT in 1972. The chemical had been the biggest cause of eagle deaths.
"We're going to take the bird off. The eagle is at a point where it's made a full recovery," Interior spokesman John Wright said.
Officials believe that there are more than 4,500 pairs of bald eagles in existence today, compared to fewer than 450 in the late 1960s. The bird was reclassified from "endangered" to "threatened" several years ago.
Administration sources said there are plans to have a ceremony marking the national bird's recovery on July 4 at the White House.
For More information about Eagles visit these sites:
EarthAgenda - Return of the Eagle
The National Foundation to Protect America's Eagles
Website of the Week
North Slope Borough School District
The United States' Northernmost School District
Arctic - k12 North Slope Borough School Distric…
Map of Alaska. School District is highlighted, and enlarged above.
Imagine living in a school district of nearly 2,500 students, eight villages, and ten schools which cover over 88,000 square miles.
Included in your school district is the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, and Point Hope, the oldest continually inhabited village in North America.
Students from North Slope Borough School District can tell you what it's like. In fact, they do! Through several web presentations, students share their cultural experiences and pride. This site is a treasure of Arctic and Inupiaq Cultural Heritage, written from the hearts of its youth, and guided by people who care.
You will love your trip here.
Arctic - k12 North Slope Borough School District
Student's page about her Inupiaq People
To Directly Links to all Student Projects:
Arctic - Activities and Projects -K12, North Sl…
Conference on Education
August 1-7, Hilo Hawaii
Join the world's indigenous peoples for this conference
addressing the importance of higher education
while maintaining cultural values.
World Indigenous Peoples' Conference on Education
Listen live on the Web, June 26-28
Native Music by Chester Knight & the Wind, Sharon Burch, Spirit Nation, and Natay. Also featured is an unreleased track from Jim Boyd, whose song, "A Million Miles Away" appeared on the "Smoke Signals" soundtrack.
Saturday, June 26 at 4:00 pm
Sunday, June 27 at 5:00 am and 4:00 pm
Monday, June 28, at 5:00 am
For more info: www.earthsongs.net
Websites of the Week:
Create your dream date, or give your favorite celebrities a face-lift all their own!
Create a webpage with your preschooler!
CTW - My Page About Me
Are you a teacher or high school graduate wanting to enhance
college entrance skills?
Check into the Center of American Indian and Minority Health website.
Write your own story, then read it with pictures! A MUST for PreK-2! :-)
Crayola Kids : The Birthday Cake
You'll be laughing with these animated tongue twisters!
Animation Grove- Tongue Twisters.
Why is the Black Bear Black? Read this and other stories written by 4th graders!
Mr. Salcedo's 4th Grade Stories
When was the world's very first United Nations Agreement?
Find out at this wonderful site.
Wampum--Native American Beadwork
Find out what you can do to promote
A NATIVE AMERICAN HOLIDAY ???
An excellent site from the Four Corners
Four Corners Post Card
To connect to NA Resources in the Great Lakes Area
Great Lakes Regional American Indian Network