What I shared with the Suicide Prevention Task Force at our Oct 31, 2007 meeting to me is very important and I wished to be clear in my words. My purpose in speaking as I did at our meeting was primarily to stimulate discussion and to get people to do some thinking on the subject. These are my same thoughts on paper.
My feelings on this topic is that it should be a topic of discussion at all future task force meetings if we are serious about Traditional Teachings, Sacred Ceremonies and Traditional Medicine Elders.
The first thing I shared was that Traditional Elders such as myself who have made a conscious choice and lifelong commitment to walking the traditional Red Road Way of the People carry their credentials within their hearts, not on some piece of paper/diploma. Their dedication and commitment to walking the Red Road Way of the People, their many years of conducting and participating in sacred ceremonies (sweat lodge ceremony, sacred pipe ceremony, healing talking circle ceremony), along with their many years of providing requested individual and group counseling, these constitute their earned credential of confidence and respect of the People. It is their years of dedication and commitment to learning, perceiving and passing on the Traditional Teachings that goes into accumulating their credentials.
The fact that they do not possess the whites-mans paper credential of diplomas and/or BA, BS, MSW or PhD degrees should not be held against our Traditional Elders.
Traditional/Healing Medicine Elders who for thousands of generations were the Peoples’ healers, doctors, counselors, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists. They kept our people healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They kept our people, our families, our clans, our communities living in balance and harmony and in peace; inner peace and outer peace.
These words are for both Indian and non-Indian people
It is about respect for oneself, for ones identity, for ones culture, for ones heritage and for ones Traditional Teachings.
It is about faith, faith in our Sacred Ceremonies.
It is about trust, trust in the Ancestors
It is about faith, faith in the Traditional Teachings
It is about faith and trust, faith and trust in ourselves to respect and to pass on the Sacred Ceremonies and the Traditional Teachings.
As we became more and more aware of our true identity as Indian People, and of our Sacred Ceremonies, and of our Traditional Teachings everything else will naturally fall into place.
All My Relations,