Remembrance of Native Traditions on Memorial Day

What does your culture mean to you? Why do you practice your traditions? How do these tie into today’s society?

In remembrance of tradition, culture, and values passed along many generations, I ask: How do you remember your culture? I have always questioned what kind of role my culture plays in today’s society, and how it stays relevant. Today, more than ever, our cultures and traditions are at risk of dying out, our languages, ceremonies, and old ideals. Across the many different cultures throughout the tribes in this country, we remember the similarities across Native peoples.

We’ve always had a respect for our tribe’s culture, other tribal cultures, and the place these teachings came from: our ancestors. Memorial Day is a time that brings families and neighbors together to remember those fallen in service to our country. These sacrifices are not easily forgotten, and sometimes remembering them is hard too.

Whether or not we realize it, our traditions are a part of our everyday life and way of thinking, so much so that we may routinely make choices based on teachings we learned early in our lives, choices like service to others, service to our tribe, or in today’s terms, service to our country.

Another tradition across Native cultures is the rate of military service. Many will note that Native Americans have the highest per capita rate of military service of any minority group. I’ve always wondered why so many of our people continue to sacrifice themselves for a country that has committed so many wrongs to our people in the past, and it dawned on me that we still protect our own. In trying times, our neighbors are there for us, and we push on as a whole. Despite what has happened to our people historically, and the impact still occurring today, we continue to fight for our country because we were raised on the values that keep our people in the highest regard.

For the upcoming holiday, I ask that you remember the sacrifices that Native peoples, and all peoples, have made, for those brave enough to serve are a tribe unto themselves, a culture of their own. I ask that you celebrate lives lost, be thankful for those still here, and keep in your prayers those who still serve.  Remember to be safe on the roads, and remember to enjoy yourself, which is the express freedom we have thanks to those who fight for the independence of our country.

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