Sunday, January 3, 2010
A New Year, Our New Future
A new year and a new decade. It would be worn out to suggest that we are entering unprecedented times; we are always entering unprecedented times. We have gone in and out of periods of self destruction and have faced the threats from the outside as well. We have struggled to survive as people and as a people.
This is where we are now.
Our battle is much more about our survival as a distinct people than it is about struggling to stay alive. Alcohol and drugs will continue to take its toll, as will the degradation of our families but for the most part we have to accept these as our problems and take the steps to correct them. These issues, as wide spread as they may seem, still only impact a small minority of our people. Most of us will survive our childhood and most of us will survive our partying years. It may take a few tries for some of us but eventually we do settle into some semblance of a family.
My concern is more for our communities, our culture and our Native society as a whole. This is what defines us as a people and this is what is still under siege from the outside. As our people have looked to improve life in our communities and our nations, they have all too often looked to the outside for a path to follow. We sent our best and brightest out to become lawyers, accountants and planners. We adopted regulatory systems, including courts and law enforcement from the outside. We partnered with their financiers and their politicians. We hired their lawyers, their managers, their developers and all the crooks and carpet baggers amongst them. So now the threat is fairly well planted within our communities. Make no mistake about it, it is still an outside threat, but our politicians and "educated" are as much a part of the assimilation and watering down of our identity as those that would "kill the Indian, save the man".
We live in a world that sucks everything out of the Earth and puts very little back. This is done by creating a world order based on consumerism. Create a need and you create the needy. We have to decide whether we want to continue down the path of assimilation and consumerism.
Many will sing the praises of Indian gaming and many of us have seen much financial success. But defining success will be part of the challenge. Sustainability, renewable resources and culture based economy are not just discussion topics. They must become a part of meaningful economic development and personal development. We can insulate ourselves from outside economic forces if we become self sufficient in a sustainable manner. Our future depends on reflecting to our past as we move to the future. The next decade will tell us volumes about our long term existence. Happy New Year and Happy New Decade. Let's keep our Seventh Generation in mind as we go into the future.