SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

November 26, 2012

Column: Finding myself

(Continued)

Native Americans also convene large get-togethers called powwows, which allow people to come from all over to experience their culture. Native Americans wear their traditional dress and engage in the dancing, singing and music of their people. It is a spiritual event where you can meet the medicine man and listen to the different stories of our first Americans. Native Americans, you see, are storytelling people.

My forebears are especially spiritual when it comes to nature and understanding human life. I remember doing a “sweat” with a couple of my cousins on the reservation. The ceremony, although partly social, is supposed to heal us and get rid of the negative energy that builds within us. In essence, it repairs our damaged spirit.

In the past, my tribe used to hunt in New Hampshire, Maine, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It was very hostile to the European settlers and tried to prevent them from settling in their hunting grounds. My tribe has historically been fierce and warlike, with men who thrive in battle.

To this day, we remain warriors, with a lot of violence happening on the reservations. Most of the world doesn’t know about the troubles Native Americans suffer on a daily basis and how the culture is slowly declining. Through all the pain and sorrow, however, the Native American culture is trying its best to live on through stories and events that keep alive its values and beliefs.

Most important for us all to remember is that it doesn’t matter what race we are or where we come from. What matters is how we feel about those around us and our culture. The circle of nations is not one person but all people and all nations. The land of the free is not the soil we walk upon, it is not an object, but is rather in our hearts and minds and souls. Native Americans understand the suffering that was inflicted upon them when bullets were shot, eradicating a whole race of people; bullets shot through millions of Native Americans with no remorse.

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