Thursday, October 6, 2011

As a child I understood how to give, I have forgotten this grace since I have become "civilized"

As stated by Chief Luther Standing Bear, from South Dakota. Don't know when my fascination with Native culture and history began, but I vividly remember being curious about a nation/tribes within a nation and their painful history being told to us in grade 4. Fast forward few years later in high school and all I read in Canadian history and geography books was always so narrowed and gloomy. Like the history of black America/Canadians and many other minorities, we are often told the misery and pain of a proud people, but rarely do we learn a more holistic picture about their strength, achievements and rich contribution to their present countries. Its often been said, history belongs to the victorious, but I beg to disagree. History belongs to all of us, we own it and must seek to educate ourselves and preserve the many diverse and rich culture for present and future generation. And not just the sanitized PC tale of a massacre (in the case of millions disappeared Native tribes) and the struggle many to this day are apart of for their own economic and political freedom.

Last year, I was lucky enough to vacation in Manitoulin Island with few friends. The purpose of our trip was really to finally visit the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, only one of its kind in North America. In particular, the Wikwemikong Pow Wow 50th Anniversary celebration, where many Indian tribes were represented from Oklahoma to Quebec. It was beautiful to see an actual reserve that was not just functioning successfully, but having their own autonomous economic and political structure, raising their families in these beautiful Islands. The reserve belongs to the Ojibwa, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples, under the Council of Three Fires. Here are some of the pictures my friend and I took during the celebration:

 "One does not sell the land upon which people walk." -Tashanka Witko

  "Respect means listening until everyone has been heard and understood, only then 
is there a possibility of "Balance and Harmony" the goal of Indian 
Spirituality." - Dave Chief, Grandfather of Red Dog

there were different style of movements for all age groups and everyone was welcomed to partake in it.

Where no one intrudes, many can live in harmony -Chief Dan George.

It does not require many words to speak the truthChief Joseph

"The American Indian is of the soil, whether it be the region of the forests, plains, pueblos, or mesas. He fits into the landscape, for the hand that fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings. He once grew as naturally as the wild sunflowers, he belongs just as the buffalo belonged..." - Luther Standing Bear, Oglala 

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