As a Native American man living in a Native community, I know many dear Native women who have worked hard to keep their families together. My own mother and grandmother who raised me were a great example of the positive role of Native American women in a community. Their way of life has changed over the years as it has taken an unexpected journey, but returning full circle in modern times in keeping Native communities strong.
With the increase of divorce and abuse over the last 50 years, our Native women have taken on roles both as father and mother to their children. One hundred years ago, Native women had a role of balance and autonomy in the tribe and stood equal with the men in their own way.
While the men handled the hunting and exploring, the women handled the internal operations of the community with much love and respect from the men. Bearing and raising children, gardening and food preparations along with producing clothing and other materials created a full circle of community. They were the guide to our children in teaching right from wrong.
They served as a basis of power within the tribe not from oppression or hierarchy but as equal partners as it was meant to be. Our community was a cooperative between the men and women and we appreciated their input in our councils.
Today, in our complex world, we still strive to serve in our Native communities with the Native women tied equally in all areas: politically, economically and spiritually. Among most tribal nations in our country, the power was and is gained, accrued, mediated, and dispensed only through the grace and beneficence of female influence. We treasure their willingness to heal our communities.
This female influence brought to our children is profound and beyond measure. They stabilize and unify our community in many ways and we see and hear our children grow up to be successful adults. They have the power to uplift and inspire our children to be better as they teach them sound principles of being courteous, kind, and honest. We appreciate all of their input and service in strengthening our families and building our Native nations.
We live on a trail of happiness and balance as we pass down our Native culture from parent to children, keeping traditions alive and teaching the next generation how important our women are in our community.