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Strength in unity will show world true first Americans

In the 1800s the Native American people of this country were suffering through a transitional process that is on going to this day. Americanized thought has been trying to take us from the spiritual realities of a traditional way of life to a material reality, from a human being to a number. We have been fighting this attack on our Native identity for generations.

Military planners understood then as they do now that the importance of interfering with a foe's ability to communicate is far more effective than destroying its bunkers, factories or occupying lands. In our case, various forms of assimilation communicated through force-fed Euro-religious concepts, the English language and materialistic mentality have exemplified a perpetual destructive relationship between the American Indian and non-Indian.

To survive we have had to learn to communicate as the dominate culture dictates. This adopted voice of survival skills is corrosive to our identity as Native people. After Indigenous America learned the English language, it allowed us to be abused by the power of words. We became dehumanized by words rather than by physical attacks. By forcing the spiritual thought out of the expression of who we are, they have effectively left us off balance with who we are as Native people. It placed boundaries on our people who believed there were no boundaries in life eons before Nike made TV commercials stating such.

The loss we experienced through these processes left generations of us desperately searching for meaning in a world of confusing values. If we are to heal and move forward, I feel we need to acknowledge that we have grown weak for the struggle. Our social structure has become dependent on being the victim. We have many tribal programs which embody this mentality.

Some talk of reconciliation, reappropriation of a jaded spirit. Before healing can begin, Indian country must know at what stage of grieving we are today.

How much longer 'til we actually move forward? Silence and idleness are the worst form of depression. Some relate our struggles to intergenerational grief. That may be good reasoning but let's stop using those terms as an excuse.

Whatever forces have shaped us, we each have a personal responsibility to keep our lives moving forward and not to relive the pains of our collective past. We need to move past the mentality of a victim. Our leaders need to speak with the voice of visionary conducive to our true Native identity and not as a conquered spirit asking for permission to live.

The relationship between Washington and Indigenous America has long been the all knowing of the United States government dictating to tribal nations which are pubescent and inactive to some bureaucratic processes. It's imperative that we learn to react responsibly to our coming of age in the political arenas. Politics are offensive to the spiritual thought of any human being. Tribes must understand that unity will never fully come full circle through political thought because politics only offer conformity and not unity. When communication of spiritual thought is lacking, boundaries and suppression are promoted.

The utilization of western political concepts are only now being understood by tribes. Mastery of such can never happen as long as we are the child and Washington is the adult. A level playing field is not in the vested interest of mainstream America. To offer a level playing field would promote responsibility of their actions which have occurred since the landing of Columbus. The United States is not morally ready nor will ever be ready for honest internal evaluation of such aspects of its personality as long as it is not economically beneficial to the supremacy of its power.

The elders of our tribal nations have long told us to take the best of both worlds. Our struggle lies in determining whose perspective is going to benefit from our actions or lack thereof. It's time we, as tribal nations, take the stand that we are now mature enough to plot our own course and self-identity. If we continue to only adhere to mainstream philosophy as the foundation of our identity, genocide wins. Are we acting in maturity when we continue to perpetuate the adult/child relationship with the U.S. government?

Condescending behaviors keep us in check. An example, Native economic gain is for survival of our people. Non-Indian economics is based on keeping control of power. Will we end up paying for the Republican tax break to America through our natural resources and unappropriated funding to the government's trust obligations?

As long as tribal governments agree to pay the extortion money and concessions to states for permission to operate gaming enterprises we will keep the role of adolescent incapable of acting as a mature, sovereign government. As long as we are dependent upon the federal dollars which are not intended to promote the U.S. government's trust responsibility, we will never know independence. As long as we continue to let anthropologist, historian, economist and the American educational institution dictate the personality of who we are to them, we will remain passively fragmented.

How can the healing process begin when Native America still allows us to be portrayed as the victim, conquered and incompetent. It's our responsibility to learn the procedures to combat this rhetoric and once learned take action to eradicate it.

Americanized doctrines of the non-Indian world don't apply to the true Native American thought although some of these concepts can be beneficial. Some Native people are afraid to embrace the tools needed to move us forward.

They see it as a threat, not realizing the empowering aspects. It is imperative that we create our own path using the best of both worlds. This is not about losing our Native identity, it is about creating an environment conducive and respectful to the human spirit, an environment that promotes life and acceptance of who we are as Indigenous Nations.

Poverty, racism and laziness should no longer be our excuse for complacency. Our weakness lies in our silence. The spirit of Native America should no longer be sequestered due to our own insecurities of who we are or who we wish to become. Our next seven generations deserve more.

It is up to each of us individually to do what is needed within our own capabilities to move us forward. Only then will we find strength in unity and show the world who we really are. The true first Americans.