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Indian country is multicultural: our commitment to inclusiveness

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From our perch as the national American Indian newspaper, we must advocate for all Indian peoples. The issues and concerns of Indian country - the tribes and nations - of America's Native peoples, constitute our world of coverage.

The commitment is to try to understand the various viewpoints and to pass on good intelligence and useful information to all people active in Indian affairs. Native peoples express many points of view. Even on the current pressing issue of the War on Iraq - whenever we consider its roots and consequences, conflicting opinions are registered. The Indian veteran does not always think like the Indian college student, or ironworker, or teacher, or businessperson. As passionate as that issue is for many of us, it is always important to consider the basis for rationale that various people endorse.

There are Indian radicals and Indian liberals and Indian conservatives. There are even a few Indian right-wingers. Defenses of sovereignty vary considerably. Many religious denominations criss-cross Indian country. There is a whole range of opinion while there is also an attachment to traditional values, many of which are widely shared by tribal peoples. We like to look for these connections.

While we do endorse the inclusive nature of knowledge gathering, which guides us to be moderate and tolerant, rather than strictly selective or ideological, we don't disallow the need to narrow objectives, nor the desirability of personal responsibility; we can accept and endorse the requirements of use of force in international and tribal defense; we value family and the values of family, intensely.

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On the other side, to balance out, we believe in and endorse a social safety net; we avowedly support the realities of our multicultural world and respect ethnic differences; we prefer peaceful resolution to violence and war. If we would confess to a peculiar streak of fundamentalism, it would be our avowed commitment to seek the best Indian analysis, the most penetrating perspectives on Native national and international issues. We advocate for political, social, educational, economic and cultural potentials of Native communities and nations. Inherent rights to our lands and resources and the trust responsibility inherent in tribal relations to the United States are sacrosanct issues to be approached with utmost seriousness. We are committed to tribal peoples' rights to recover and enhance their well being, so brutally disturbed in the past, but so wonderfully revitalizing now. We believe the very best thinking and advice are due the American tribal leadership.

Indian country is a vast quilted blanket. Each tribe belongs, has its own distinctiveness, and yet must necessarily patch in to the broader body. Unity - such as developing collaborative campaigns, mutual investments and such (not fighting each other for positioning in the mainstream) - while desired, is very difficult among tribes. Many times, such unity seems actually impossible. Nevertheless, the quilt is naturally interwoven. Long-standing identities, shared histories, shared realities network Indian country. Each tribe, all tribes, necessarily belongs. We always will support the search for ways to support fundamental national campaigns that widen and deepen the basis of Indian legal and cultural existence in American life. We encourage and look to support all such efforts, wherever tribal people are mobilized and energized into action on serious matters of common concern.

To our audience: we - editors, writers, photographers, cartoonists, designers, and sales representatives of Indian Country Today - appreciate you. We invite your letters, opinion essays, and other productions for publication in Indian Country Today. We encourage Indian country opinion leaders to express yourselves. Share your perspectives.

Indigenous intelligence applied to integral contemporary practice is the future of our communities; wherever this happens - this is good news to us.