The Indian (First Nation) theme of the NATIVE SONS AND DAUGHTERS PROGRAMS® family activites is significant, but not simply because a North American Indian provided the inspiration for them. Deeply rooted in North American Indian culture is a profound appreciation for the Creator, or Great Spirit, as well as an understanding of the independence of the forces of nature. The importance of these values is becoming increasingly accepted in modern urban society which, until recently, had failed to recognize their significance. Also ingrained in North American Indian culture are honesty, dignity, and a feeling of responsibility for the well being of others. Perhaps most important is the genuine concern among North American Indian parents to teach these ethics to their children and to guide them to an adulthood of integrity. These traits, which permeate the way of life for the North American Indian, are the essence of parenting and the foundation of this program.
Sensitivity to Indian Cultures
Sensitivity to Indian Cultures is a key element within the programs. Ceremonies and rituals are performed with honor and respect to the Creator and all things in nature which are key elements of Indian cultures. Ceremonies are designed to further the bond between parent and child. Feathers are worn only to honor these things. The NATIVE SONS AND DAUGHTERS PROGRAMS® family activites do not wish to perpetuate the stereotypes of Indian cultures that have existed for many years. We discourage “war-whooping” and the use of any demeaning words such as “ugh,” “how,” and all other conduct that is not respectful and sensitive to the positive aspects of Indian cultures, in which this program was designed to reflect and honor.
Researching Tribal History
When creating “Indian themed” property for your tribe or yourself, keep in mind that designs should honor the spirit and tradition of the Native peoples. One way to do this as a tribe is to actually research the name of your tribe. If your tribe is named after a real North American Indian tribe, see what traditions, customs, and history can be applied. The children would also enjoy learning about the people for which their tribe is named after. Again, the intent is to learn about and honor the tribe namesake. Libraries are a great source for this information.
Incorporate the “A” List
The First Nation way of life can provide many exciting learning experiences. Each tribe ot the NATIVE SONS AND DAUGHTERS PROGRAMS® family activites will determine the extent to which it uses this program focus in its activities. However, it is essential for the tribe to remember the following “A”-List when borrowing from First Nation culture:
Make sure that the artifact, attire, or project you are duplicating is proper for your activity. Avoid using religious items for games and other secular activities. Likewise, avoid using secular or war items for Sunday Worship Services or other religious activities.
When practical, always try to be as genuine and realistic as possible when duplicating First Nation artifacts and attire.
Ensure that your authentic articles or use of cultural references are correct and factual by verifying with books, scholars, or reliable web sites.
Seek the advice of First Nation people, scholars, or organizations to aid you in your projects.
Appreciate and ascribe to the fact that historical culture is only a small part of First Nation culture of today. Be able to differentiate between the past and the present and understand that First Nation culture is still an ongoing process. Remember that each tribe, band, or clan of First Nation people had and still have their own distinct and unique culture within the First Nation community.
“Help yourself by helping others.” Lend assistance and provide support to First Nation organizations and causes that benefit the basic needs and rights of our indigenous people.