The Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) and the Sustainable WNC community continue to provide opportunities for too often-unheard voices to reach the community at large, and for this generosity and kindness we are ever grateful.
In the spirit of bringing some of these voices back around again, we offer this:
A Spiritual Message to America from the Nation’s Native Elders
This Message to America is the result of the National Indian Council on aging’s year 2000 Conference in Duluth, Minnesota. More than 1700 elders from 108 tribes across America attended and contributed to the words in this message. Think about your elders as you read this. They came together, setting aside tribal and political differences in order for you and your children to have some words of wisdom to help you in your lives. Please pass this on to as many people as you can, both Native and non-Native alike. These are the words of our Native elders, but the values expressed can be appreciated by all of humanity. Once you have read it, you are responsible for it. These are the elders’ hopes and dreams for the world you re-create every day. If you have any questions, please call (505) 292-2001. Brooke Mosay Ammann NICOA (National Indian Council on Aging) Assistant Director
As we stand before the dawn of a new millennium, we pray for America’s survival, our survival.
We pray that we will be given strength by the Creator to follow the footsteps of our forefathers to share our love, respect and compassion for one another.
There is good in everyone because the Creator has put a little of Himself in all of us. We pray for forgiveness for the pain and suffering we have caused one another. We pray that our children will not repeat our mistakes. We pray that we can respect the diversity of America; all life is sacred. Every child born is a precious gift of our Creator. It is our sacred trust to embrace children from all walks of life because we are part of the same family. We pray that children will honor and respect their elders, for that is where the wisdom comes from. This respect will not allow forgotten elders. We are all equal, with each having our own special gift to contribute.
These values allow our youth to become leaders and workers in our society. Children, you are our future and our hope for the people. Stand and be courageous. We pray to learn and use the wisdom of all that has come before us, to achieve personal successes and to contribute to those of others. Only when our young ones learn respect for everything can they evolve.
We pray for respect and love of Mother Earth because she is the foundation of human survival and we must keep her pollution-free for those who will travel after us. Protect her water, air, soil, trees, forests, plants and animals. Do not just take and waste resources. Make it a priority to conserve. The land is given to us by the Creator to care for, not to own. If we take care of the land, the land will take care of us.
We should have respect for each other. We pray for commitment and
responsible behavior in order to help those in need and to give them
support and friendship. Be an example in life that others may follow;
serve people, community and country. We should all strive to be leaders
and contributors. Do not sit back and let others plan and do all the
thinking. Let us unite together so that we may have the strength to
protect our future. Strength comes from working through trials and
Spiritual health is the key to holistic health. We pray to have the
discipline to set healthy examples for our children to follow.
Respecting everyone and everything in the universe starts with
self-respect. Take time to listen and take care of your body and spirit.
FAMILY AND YOUTH
Family is important and precious. Always let them know that they are
loved. Let your children and grandchildren know you are always there to
love and support them and that they mean the world to you no matter what
they do or say. Children are of infinite value. Live what you teach.
Spiritual values, honesty, and integrity start in the home. We pray for
the youth. We must teach the youth to work together and respect all that
is living on our Mother Earth. We need to convey to our younger
generations that the survival of our people lies in spirituality.
We pray to learn ways to settle differences peacefully. Teach respect
for each other’s ideas. Value honesty on all levels, from children, to
parents, to community, to governments. We will be happy when we create
peace with each other.
To the 7th Generation
Keep hopes and dreams
Take care of yourself
Remember your spirit
Be there for each other
Always keep learning
Remember your true values
Reprinted with permission from Wellbriety! Volume 2, Number 1 pages 18-19
Phone: (719) 548-1000
Address: 6145 Lehman Drive, Suite 200,
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Paul Gallimore, Director
Long Branch Environmental Education Center
POB 369 Big Sandy Mush Creek
Leicester, NC 28748
Web Site: www.LongBrancheec.org