Believe What You Like But Know What You Must

People are free to be consumed with contemplating their existence, their origins, the origins of the universe, supreme beings, controllers of destiny or anything else. But solving "the Great Mystery" is neither a requirement of being Ohnkwe Ohnwe nor does it provide a path to righteousness. I maintain that spirituality does not require faith or the leaps that faith requires but rather awareness. If it helps to believe that "God has a plan" and we just must have faith that "He" knows what "He" is doing, then walk that path. My interest is in taking the mystery out of life by pointing to the obvious that is ignored everyday in the midst of fanatical ideology and the sometimes not too subtle influences of promoting beliefs over knowledge. I have said it before: “beliefs are what you are told, knowledge is what you experience”. I support a culture that prepares us to receive knowledge and to live a life with purpose. I am certainly not suggesting there is only one way to do that.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Native Spark

By Matt Hill

Inside every Native person is a spark of who we once were. In some people it shines, some it glows, in most it flickers or is almost out. This spark was strong in our society of not too long ago. We carried it throughout our territory through a network of consensus decision making and mutual respect for the earth and each other. When we shared that spark through a decision based on what was right for now, and for the faces of the grandchildren we would never see. It grew in strength as more people recognized it as being the right thing to do. Our fire was strong.

Through our exposure to the elements of corruption, brought by the colonist after a devastating mass loss of people from disease, we were very vulnerable. Temptation of material things clouded the minds of some of our people. Our decision making was "not of a good mind". The core principal of our society was breached. The respect was fading.

The loss of that spark was further snuffed out by the influences of the boarding schools. There the children were punished, abused and on occasion killed, just for being Native. Out of love for their children, some of our Grandparents thought that if they didn't expose the children to who we once were, it would spare them from the pains. We were falling to assimilation. It was getting colder.

This assimilation has become so deep rooted that some don't even recognize the most basic elements of respect. This past week has shown me a lot. There is a major disconnect from what those elements are. We as a people need to recognize that our society is broken. It is a time to heal the wounds that have cut away at our world. It is hard even for a small room full of people to agree what kind of pizza to order! How are we supposed to win a fight against attacks on our peoples sovereignty if we only look out for our own personal interests and not the good of all? Learn who we are. Look out for each other. Talk to your elders. Read a book. Google it. Whatever it takes. Get your spark back. I did and I'm getting fired up!

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