Concern for the highest good of all was a virtue that helped our Ancestors thrive and was a concept that served as the backbone to tribal society. Our regal Chiefs of the past believed that personal achievement that would assist the whole were acts worthy of adding a Coup Feather to one’s Bonnet. Personal victory was shared and gratitude and blessings were sent up to the Creator in sacred smoke. Leaders and Warriors always took care of the widowed, aged, and feeble. Material victories were honored and shared by the Give-Away ceremony.
Unfortunately, many tribal communities lost this valuable world-view as a result of the aftermath of colonization. Basic human nature tells us that pre-reservation tribal life was probably not Nirvana but clearly a major contrast compared to reservation life today. Doing what needs to be done for the good of all has become a foreign concept on most reservations. Many Tribals today go about the business of leadership in the image of the United States government rather than pattern themselves after the leadership reflected in the history of their Ancestors. The result on reservations today is the suffering and hardship of the masses and power and abundance for lucky few.
Sadly, many Natives today whose families survived the effects of historical trauma through the generations and who function well in the dominant Anglo Saxon society seem to have no compassion for the many Native brothers and sisters who suffer greatly still. The attitude is often that the poor, the addicted, and the unhealthy members of the tribe are just playing the victim and that they have already been given enough! These people are functioning from the false premise that the poor and down trodden of their tribe are suffering because they want to. They view their own People as not willing to pull themselves up.
The ever-changing Tribal councils and elected leaders usually intend to do what needs to be done for the good of all but eventually things break down and focus soon turns to greed. There is a great discrepancy between the few tribal families who rotate power and the majority of tribal members in the area of services, jobs, aide, and basic human respect. The fact is, after reservation life became mandatory, generations of Natives were born majorly disadvantaged. Far too many sacred souls have found that deep, dark, slimy dungeon nearly impossible to climb out.
As our original system and world-view was drastically and tragically altered, it separated us and broke us. We adopted the sick view of our early oppressors and it’s been every man for himself ever since. Ironically the remedy now is to do what needs to be done for the inner-self first, in order to proceed to do what needs to be done for the good of all. Our Ancestors did this naturally by acknowledging their spiritual natures daily.
Today, we can help one another to remember their paths and realize our relationship to one another. The greatest help we can give someone is to gently wake them up, to gently remind them of who they are and where they came from. The fastest path may be to show them that they are not victims. Give them a new mind about themselves, without judgment. Empower others with spiritual truths to replace the untruths about themselves for rapid independence from oppression.
By our compassion we toss a safety rope down the dark dungeon rather than supporting misguided tribal governments and their supporters that would rather, “Let them eat cake!”