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Direct And Straight Talks Needed Among Indian Leaders

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  • Direct And Straight Talks Needed Among Indian Leaders

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    Direct And Straight Talks Needed Among Indian Leaders

    Posted: June 02, 2005
    by: Editors Report / Indian Country Today

    If only Indians could once again rely on the sacredness of truth spoken among
    real human beings - as before a sacred pipe or a sacred fire - perhaps the
    nations could once again secure a path of survival, recognition and prosperity.

    Instead, it seems most nations are continually called to conflict with each
    other. There is nothing new in this; the bulk of the conflicts in Indian
    country are certainly imported - the results of imposed conditions of conquest and
    the distorted tendencies of colonization.

    The problem is that solution-oriented strategies are mostly lacking. Win-win
    strategies among the various Indian parties in so many conflicts are too often
    cast aside in the new comfort zone of lawyerly thinking and its inevitably
    costly litigation.

    Costly it is, both in fees to the arbiters of the craft of suing, litigating
    and legislating against other people and in the occasional horrible losses in
    the high courts, from which it is not possible to emerge unscathed.

    Here is a thought: Would that Indian leaders, particularly those of
    historically and kinship-related peoples or busted-up confederacies, march one by one
    into their tribal civil houses, take appropriate seats and endeavor to iron out
    the cases that they have in common and have not resolved among themselves,
    and which as a result are up for a state or federal court to resolve - likely by
    imposing decisions that diminish all the conflicting tribes.

    In the context of self-realization and empowerment, however, there is but one
    requirement. All lawyers must be checked at the door. The talk must be among
    Indian tribal leaders, elders and elected officials; all must actually
    represent constituencies. A talking circle must be sponsored, only of leaders, but
    with the impetus to solve problems to benefit the actual Indian families.

    First and foremost: the consideration of why confederated Indian unity is so
    crucial. Such circles need to begin with respect for hearing the full oratory
    of each and every party with agreement to go home and ponder, and answer next
    time. There would be no need for immediate agreement, only the agreement to
    hear each other's needs.

    Hypocrisy, double talk and the head-spinning of legalese would be replaced in
    this forum with hope and the heart, and with the good-mindedness of thinking
    deeply about the rights, needs and responsibilities of the great-grandchildren
    and the ongoing nature of Indian nation struggles, while being considerate of
    the effects of today's decisions ''onto the seventh generation,'' as the
    Iroquois tradition advises.

    Just beginning to talk, as Indian leaders used to, among heads of families
    and communities would be a huge improvement, even if it took years for one true
    common idea to emerge.

    One true idea among Indian leaders is better than 100 devious ones. Evil
    always circles back to its source, whereas one true idea begets another; and
    perhaps the creativity of the people themselves would provide the spark that is
    needed to move along the many issues facing their nations - among each other -
    before running to the governors of states and the courts like domesticated herds
    to the slaughter.

    Truth-seeking and respectful, old-time Indian meetings must be generated
    again. Again, harsh words must be checked at the door. Later, in the days
    following the Indian-to-Indian talk, each delegation can go back and debrief ideas and
    suggestions, get the reasons against, study the legal arguments and potential
    frameworks and pitfalls of any proposals.

    But among Indian leaders, meetings must be convened that tap the spiritual
    sincerity that is the only true weapon any Indian people has ever had. The call
    is for the Indian leadership to speak - before, or as before the sacred pipe,
    the sacred fire, as before the most revered altar of your peoples, as before
    the sacred tombs of your most revered ancestors - about what you truly carry in
    your hearts and minds about the best possible future for your grandchildren,
    your peoples and your lands.

    The high level of hostility toward and betrayal - real or perceived - of
    Indian tribes by other Indian tribes must be seen, in itself, as the number one
    enemy. There are many factors that stimulate inter-tribal conflict, but it takes
    vision, commitment and courage on the part of tribal leaders to tackle the
    central factors of Indian defeat: tribal dysfunction and internal conflict that
    always grows when tribal leaders forget that only in Indian unity around
    integrity of heart and mind is there a possibility of true, self-determined futures
    for our peoples.

    Indian leaders need not be heroes to do what is best for their people, nor do
    litigation strategies need to pervade every decision made on behalf of an
    Indian government. The deepest and most tranquil wisdom, one with a persistent
    sincerity of good intent, is highly encouraged in tribal leadership.
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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