Empowering Native Americans
The formal declaration that the 2nd Monday of October will be celebrated as Indigenous People’s Day is welcome news. These and other gestures to honor the original inhabitants of this country show that the awareness of the treatment of Native Americans and the attempts to destroy their religious beliefs, languages, cultures, economies, and life ways are now being recognized. It is a small step in redressing the wrongs of the past. Sadly, the reality remains that Native Americans today are still economically behind many other communities. The colonial legacy of history still limits their growth and achievements. What our nation needs and what will add to our diversity and cohesiveness is the empowering of Native American tribes so that they are able to revitalize their traditions and communities, and contribute to growth.
Empowering a population of 5.5 million people may appear to be a huge task, but with a strategic approach and commitment, the disenfranchisement and marginalization that still exists today can be put in the past.
Learn About the Land
The history of this country is still being presented through the eyes of the colonizers. There is another side to this story and it is a dark one, full of the decimation and subjugation of the Tribes and the systematic destruction of their way of life. Evidence and documentation that presents this alternative perspective is now becoming readily available, through newer publications by Native and non-native scholars, the general public will have to opportunity to reconsider the fabricated and white-washed histories perpetuated by the Dominent society.
Learn a Language
The hundreds of Native American tribes each had their own languages/dialects. The history and culture of each tribe were passed down verbally from generation to generation. Learning an indigenous language is somewhat difficult, however, by doing so one potentially gains an incipient understanding about the socio-cultural complexities and world view of the original civilizations that have been in America for thousands of years. Learning a Native language should be undertaken in consultation with local tribal educators and speakers of the language. This has been partially practiced by the Muwekma Ohlone language committee over the years.
Support Native American Businesses
When Native American businesses grow, so too will the empowerment of the American Indians. There is no sacrifice involved in this support – Native American businesses are, in every respect, equal to others. In fact, the uniqueness of the Tribal culture often adds another dimension to the food, products or services that they offer.
Support Native American Rights Groups
No one today can deny the way the indigenous people were treated and the loss and suffering they underwent. Today, there are many groups, all over the country, that are fighting for the rights of the original inhabitants of this country. Each one will have its own focus area. Spend a little time to find out where you can help in empowering Native American communities.
Read Native American Literature and Watch Movies
Everyone likes to read and watching movies is always nice. The next time you buy a book try one by a Native American author. Add movies by or about Native Americans to your movies app watchlist. You will be surprised by the new horizons that will open up for you and the enjoyment you will find in these stories.
You can find information on all matters online. In addition, please check out a Native American Tribe website. It will be a great place for you to start understanding Native America. You can also find out how and where you can help in empowerment to redress the wrongs of the past.
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