Have you ever wanted to learn something important such as how to sing, conduct a prayer, or even make a certain old cultural food, but have been rejected by even one of your own family elders due to some perceived barrier? These perceived barriers are forms of colonized and oppressive mindsets that undermine our communities and tribes. The perceived barrier may come from a perception that maybe you grew up outside the tribal community and don’t speak the language, don’t know the hardships, and thus cant possibly fully learn. Or that you were raised within a value system that wouldn’t value the important lesson. Or maybe that the elder sees the collapse of traditional values and society and wants to save just their immediate family or even just their own tribe.
What these perceived barriers do is undermine the main value of being tribal. The main meaning of being tribal is to completely engage in the value of ensuring that your kids, your relatives, your neighbors, your tribe succeed. What does succeed mean? In the old days success meant knowing how to live in harmony through ceremony and prayer, to grow your own food or collect and hunt, to build a home, to be able to defend your family and community, to heal the sick, to ensure that all foods were entrusted with healing properties through prayer, offering, and song. To ensure a strong tribe.
This is what ensured our survival for thousands upon thousands of years. It ensured that we thrived in some of the harshest environments. To this day, its why we still have teachings, songs, even language.
Well, why is it that we don’t want to teach someone a song, how to farm, how to raise livestock, how to collect food and medicine, a prayer? We need to first teach them the proper commitment required and map out at teaching methodology. Second, to be patient ask ask Creator to guide us in the sharing. To commit to sharing. And then to mentor. To create a student who will also be part of the sharing culture.
For the fortunate individual that will receive the gift of knowledge, it is important to recognize that in our tribal way, knowledge is to be valued. Please share a gift with the teach, whatever it is that you can provide. Be highly respectful and never misuse the gift. Don’t use it to brag or for profit or to share with just anyone. Grow in the knowledge of your tribe and keep growing. Teach responsible sharing but of utmost importance, please share.
For the individual or family that knows the special knowledge, the songs, the unique stories, the prayers, it is paramount to re-vitalize sharing. To just hold on things without sharing is not tribal because in the end, all of society suffers.
In many tribes, we are taught to help each other, to always be welcoming, to acknowledge and make our guests, our elders, or esteemed medicine people feel important. We are taught to help out, especially in times of ceremony, celebration, or even under the worst circumstance. I am sure you have heard from your grandma or grandpa that to help, to bring something to an event even if you don’t have much, means the utmost to the universal beings and that you and your family will be gifted back by Creator many times over. This same mindset applies to cultural knowledge. Right now many of your neighbors, your own extended family, your community members may be suffering. They could use a prayer, or a little bit of your knowledge of how to make their situation better. By figuring out how to help that person, you will be rewarded with so much positive vibrancy.
As tribal leaders, those of you who are fortunate to serve, please also create the opportunities for and encourage this type of sharing again. We must think about our people, our neighbors, all living things thriving for many thousands more years. We can only all succeed if we share.
Ahxehee! (Thank you!)