Narrative Summary (cont.)
We understand that there is one world, and all things are connected. Each of us understands ourselves as existing as part of a larger whole, and inseparable from all that is.(12) We know who we are as Native people, embracing our connection to our homelands and our cultural heritages. Our identity takes meaning and importance as defined by our sphere of responsibility.(9,12) As members of a community, we are responsible for other people, the lives of young and old, human and non-human. We are responsible for the landscape that sustains us, and we give more than we take, passing along these gifts to future generations.(2,4,7,8,9,10,11,12,13) We are respectful and thankful for all these gifts that make us who we are.(2,3,8) Understanding ourselves within this larger context, we have pride and confidence in ourselves, knowing we are smart, strong, eloquent and beautiful people.(2,6,10)
We revere the beauty and significance of all life, honoring the rights of all species and peoples to exist. We accept our responsibility as caretakers and stewards. Due to our commitment, worldwide there is no animal, or bird, or fish, or plant that is on the endangered species list. Wealth and power are distributed equitably, and there are no peoples who are in danger, or at risk of disappearing.(7,12,13)
Within our communities we have found the balance between modern innovations and preserving our cultural traditions.(4,12) Our children may play video games but they also play in the trees.(4) New ways and technologies are filtered through the wisdom of tradition, ensuring we continue to adapt and thrive while not recklessly experimenting.(12)
We have also achieved a balance in the feminine and masculine forces inherent in all of us and all communities.(12) We are strong and we are nurturing. We speak out and we listen. We attend to the tasks that need to be done and we are sensitive to the impacts our actions have on others. We utilize our minds and we live from the heart. By balancing innovation and tradition and the masculine and feminine, our community is able to function as a whole, healthy organism.(12)
All renewable resources are passionately protected, knowing the livelihoods of future generations depend on them. All the normal things that our past generations were able to do continue to be enjoyed. We walk among and marvel at the big trees. We welcome the salmon back as they run thick through the many streams. Sheep once again blanket Sheep Mountain. We hear the song of the meadowlark. The moose and elk that sacrifice their lives for us are rich in fat. We concede passage to the caribou when they block the road. We pick the plentiful fruits and berries, and we pull clams and pick seaweed at the beach. We breathe fresh, crisp air, and drink fresh, clean water.(2,3,4,6,9,10,11)
Thanks largely to the abundance of the land and our intimate relationship with it, we are healthy and happy people,(2,3,4,6,7,8,10) living long lives, diabetes free (6,8,9) and drug free.(4,6,8,9,13) Our people choose not to use drugs and alcohol because they know who they are and have direction in their lives to better themselves and the community.(4,6,8)
Strong functioning family units are the backbone of our community enabling the development of the individual skills and values required for us to sustain our ways of life and the land.(5,6,7,8,10) Mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, all play important roles in the development of our children. Our elders are valued and respected. They feel valued and work to pass down their knowledge and skills to younger generations.(3,4,8,10,12,13)
The processes by which knowledge and values are transferred inter-generationally are seamlessly woven into everyday life.(5,12) Stories are regularly told (13) and our children are involved in the on-going activities of conservation, restoration, and subsistence living.(3,7,13) Our children learn through these stories and activities to be humble participants in life, to be appreciative of all of our gifts, to engage in reciprocity in all our relationships, and to show respect for all life forms.(9,12,13)
Respect is central to our lives.(2,3,4,6,7,8,9,11,13) We recognize the sacredness of taking another life to benefit our own. We respect the land, plants, fish and game by taking only what we need and not wasting any of what we take. We make beautiful and useful things from our plant and animal relatives to show our respect for their sacrifice.(9,11) Living in this way helps us to live in balance and harmony with natural law.
We share with one another, especially with our elders. As individuals and as cultures we are known for giving more than we receive.(3,4,7,9,11,13) Sharing brings our community together, and lifts the spirits of all. When together, humor is shared, filling the air with laughter, keeping our hearts light.(10)
We encourage our children to live their dreams and we strive to make those dreams attainable. Through formal and informal modes of education, we prepare our children with the skills they need to be successful and able to adapt wherever life takes them and whatever challenges are faced.(5,6,7,8,10) Our children are well educated in both Western thought and our traditional knowledge.(7,13) In the classroom, our children benefit from having good teachers who teach and live our knowledge and values.(5,7,10) Our children continue with interest in their own education, many pursuing advanced degrees, and many returning home where rewarding opportunities await to serve and teach the next generation.(4,5,7,8,10)
We put forth leaders who are principled people, with their principles rooted in the values and practices of our cultures.(11) Our leaders are strong, determined, disciplined, and knowledgeable yet humble, with the skills needed to improve the wellbeing of our communities.(5,6,13) Our leaders are visionary and proactive towards addressing problems (5,6) with the moral courage to speak out against injustices, and the moral integrity to avoid pursuit of self-serving agendas.(5) They give clarity to issues and circumstances, empowering others to make wise choices and take action.(5,11) Our leaders are great listeners. They truly listen to others as well as listen to their own heart and "let spirit speak" to them (8) as they serve the long-term interests of our people.
Our treaty rights and sovereignty are fully recognized, empowering us to make decisions, design our economies, and live in alignment with our values.(6,10,11,13) Guided by our values, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), and our inherent intelligence, our economies function to meet our needs in a manner that simultaneously promotes the abundance and diversity of the land.(12,13) The historical patterns of relationships interconnecting our Native communities are restored, enabling the sharing and exchange of resources for cultural needs and enrichment.(8,9,10)
We are respected as indigenous people. People from within and beyond the region know of the diversity of our cultures. Visitors to our home respect our lands and our cultures. Educational opportunities are available to them to learn our stories and ways of living. They observe us acting with care and respect and they learn to act in these same ways. Visitors leave with greater appreciation and an understanding of who we are and of the shared responsibility to care for Mother Earth.(2,3,4,9)
We continuously build strong collaborative relationships with other organizations that understand and respect our cultures, and are willing to work in true partnership towards protecting the rich natural and cultural treasures of our homelands.(2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13) We have strong ties with the scientific community, bridging Western science and TEK in education and in addressing real world problems.(4,7,13) Local, state and federal agencies understand our needs and work with us to find solutions that work for everyone today and in the long run.(2,3,4,6,7,8,10)
Together we continuously employ our creativity and intelligence as human beings to ensure that all aspects of creation move forward to be experienced and enjoyed by future generations.
How We Get There