by Lea Wetzel, Drop-in Center Coordinator
November 8, 2022
This month is National Native American Heritage Month, acknowledging Indigenous First Nations. I am a member of the Blackfoot Confederated Nation, the Amskapii Piikani Band. We are one band of a six-clan band, and the only band of our nation in the United States. Our culture is prevention on so many levels. Having a connection to both Indigenous First Nations knowledge and the Westernized knowledge can be very helpful in recovery. The definition of Cultural Synergy is, to bring two or more cultures together to form an organization or environment that is based on combined strengths, concepts, and skills. The differences in the world's people are used in such a way that encourages mutual growth by cooperation. Coming from my lineage of tribes, clans, bands, and societies, we have leadership societies, that teach us our old ways of living in harmony and our original belief system. Through the heartbeat of the sacredness of life and our sacred journey, together we grow by learning from one another, culture to culture, to be of support to one another. We believe we are all interconnected here in this Universe. First Nations are the original people who derive from Turtle Island. Montana is one area of multiple tribal territories on this continent, that is part of Turtle Island.
There's a great amount of knowledge centered within this ethnicity. Through mindfulness, acceptance, humility, and patience we can learn a lot from the history right here where we live. Beliefs through the lineage of our culture explains creation, who we are and how we came to be Simple principles of living in harmony, and interconnectedness of ourselves, each other, our surroundings, the animals, and the Universe, is a part of our way of life. We do not claim any land as something we own. We are only borrowing and protecting the land, for the generations to come. We migrated with the seasons and the buffalo here in the plains, the Northern territory. We acknowledge the land as Mother Earth, a gift from Creator. In acknowledging who we are, we are acknowledging where we come from. We are taught to respect the land we are on, and that is surrounding us. We are taught from our Ancestors, and Mother Earths memories. The teachings that come from this area are transferred to us from our lineage, and with this knowledge comes responsibility. Our responsibility is to our ways and preserving it in a sacred manner. First Nations lineage comes from a long blood line of teachings and ways that are highly respected and kept sacred. These teachings come from Elders, the true knowledge keepers, of our First Nations beliefs. Elders are those who have been transferred knowledge and are chosen to have sacred responsibilities.