Greetings to all near and far.
Cante etanhan owoglake (speaking from the heart), it is with great sadness that I bid farewell to this Native American site at BellaOnline -- yet I take with me many lessons and memories you have given me. I have been your editor here since December 2007 and have enjoyed every minute of it. This short time with you has brought much joy, love and spiritual growth into my life and has helped me along on my spiritual path.
I have learned so much from all of you on this part of my journey and leave the site with a heart full of wonderful and loving memories. I hope I have given you as much as you, my readers and forum members, have given me. Many of you have become my personal friends and many my teachers. I will cherish this my whole life.
I have received many questions over the time I have been the editor here that make me realize that there are so many people who want to learn more about Native Americans and their culture, history, beliefs. I also realized that many in the world still think that the term "Native American" means a group of one people.
The term "Native American" comprises over 500 federally recognized tribes and at least that many more that are not federally recognized. Many people do not realize that one cannot categorize all Native American tribes into one group with the same beliefs. Each tribe has their own language, cognitive thoughts, culture, traditions, and beliefs system.
To understand each tribe as a separate group, one must set aside their own perspective and preconceived thoughts defined by much of media and Hollywood. If one wants to know what the Hopi peoples are like, one must look at them from the Hopi perspective. To know the Iroquois, one must know them from the Iroquois perspective -- and so on. Each tribe has cultural differences and come from a long history of traditions and beliefs that are uniquely their own. If one wants to know the history of a particular tribe, it must be learned from that tribe's perspective and history. Each tribe is uniquely different.
Although so culturally different they cannot be categorized into one group, they all have some very distinct similarities. Some of these similarities are:
- Belief in a supreme Creator, the Great spirit.
- Elders are highly respected -- their wisdom and knowledge of the past is of the utmost value.
- Children are highly valued and included in adult recreations and ceremonies, they are not put aside with a sitter. They learn of their culture by being included.
- Mother Earth and all Creation are sacred and must be respected.
I will still be around the forums often, as I am still editor of the Folklore and Mythology site at BellaOnline. A new editor will step in here and become your Native American editor. I pray you will all welcome her or him and give your new editor the respect, friendship, and support you have so warmly given me. I thank each and every one of you for these gifts you have given me and for your valued participation in the forum.
Please remember, in the eyes of Great Spirit we are all related -- mita kuye ayasin, we are relatives.
Walk on Mother Earth softly, and may you always walk in Beauty, Harmony, and Balance. Wakan Takan kici un (May the Great Spirit bless you.)
Please visit nativeamerican.bellaonline.com for even more great content about Native American.
To participate in free, fun online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Native American located here -
I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I thrive on your feedback!
Have fun passing this message along to family and friends, because we all love free knowledge!
Phyllis Doyle Burns, Native American Editor
One of hundreds of sites at BellaOnline.com