“What I would like to see is people with [traditional] knowledge to teach the small, little people how to grow up with pride. This generation is lost. My generation is lost − they’re assimilated. They don’t think like an Indian. What I’d like to see is our five-year-olds being taught their language, their songs, their games, their spirituality, their Indian, eh, their Indian-ness. I’d like to ask all the people out there to reclaim their culture − practice it, teach the children, and let’s reclaim our backbone, our culture and put some pride in our children.”
The above words were spoken by Harriet Nahanee who passed away in 2007 – the loss of another tradition based grandmother/elder the nations can ill afford.
It isn’t just the little ones who no longer think like an Indian, but a great many who were little ones when the AIM era of destruction and corruption began.
Pride….can be misplaced, manipulated, ego centric, inflated, and entirely unwarranted – but it is also an integral part of any culture.
An essential ingredient that contributes to communal well being and standing in opposition to assimilation blunting it’s advance – this is the pride Harriet spoke of.
Not tats proclaiming it, not alcoholism, substance abuse, dependency, gangs, or the likes of cultural genocidists such as the AIM leadership.
Not the selling and corruption of ceremonies that characterizes shaimsters like Leonard Crow Dog, Dennis Banks, Clyde Bellecourt, or the great bunco artist Russell Means.
Harriet was a diminutive grandmother, but more than that a true woman of the nations and proof that women can be as much a warrior as any man, and more than some, when the need arises.
We are more than sheep or cattle to be confined to pastures, we are the land.
Which brings me to this day, The 4th of July, and it’s significance for the nations:
People will be celebrating and watching the fireworks displays.
The children of our nations are no exception, no different than other children when it comes to such things, they too are captivated by the thunderous display of fireworks and I have no issue with that, but at some point they should also understand that as nations our Independence Day has yet to come, that the fireworks only represent bright lights in the night sky for us, for them….and for those who know and understand the history something entirely different.
Hopefully one day we as nations will have a comparable reason to celebrate, and in doing so will not have enslaved or oppressed anyone.
In the interim our little ones may watch and marvel if the opportunity presents itself while they too wait as do all within the nations.