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Native Culture’s Gift to the World
~ Morgan LaRocque
WINDS Applicant 2021
There are perhaps many different answers to this question with valid reasons for them all, but I believe that the greatest contribution Indigenous culture can give to the global community is knowledge. Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools one can possess, and it is essentially our life force. It can be shared with others so that they may understand our history and culture, preserve our culture, and diversify the global community’s perspective.
There are many reasons as to why knowledge is so powerful. It can greatly aid in one’s success; an example of this could be how far we have come today as a society with technology. Knowledge is also powerful because it can be communicated to others. This is one of the reasons why the knowledge of Indigenous culture is so important and sharing that culture/knowledge with the rest of the world is vital. Sharing this knowledge will help others better understand us, where we come from, our ceremonies and the significance of them, our trauma, and the list continues. The spread of our sacred knowledge will allow us not to be erased from history and continue to thrive and grow as Indigenous peoples. This knowledge will allow us to educate others on our history and to let us be known in this world instead of forgotten.
Our knowledge is also what preserves us and our culture. One of the most important examples I can think of is Indigenous language. The language of the many different tribes and Indigenous groups have become lost and forgotten due to hundreds of years of colonization. But through the passing of knowledge, there are still those who know the language and are teaching others so that our sacred language may be preserved. This particular instance reminds me of someone I met through my internship. He was a man with no Indigenous blood, but he was very interested in the Anishinaabe culture. This man was so appreciative of the Anishinaabe culture that he integrated himself with it by going to tribes all over the states to learn as much as he possibly could through the knowledge of the tribe, its elders, and its people. While visiting all of these tribes, he eventually learned and studied the cultural language. He can speak it fluently and have conversations with others. A man who once had no ties to the Indigenous community now appreciates its people and culture so much that he immersed himself in it. This is the power of knowledge.
If not for knowledge, the preservation of our people would cease to exist. The passing down of information (knowledge) is what keeps our culture alive and strong. It is one of the aspects that keeps our people resilient. When Indigenous people were forced into boarding schools, they were not allowed to speak their language. The main purpose of the boarding school was to eradicate any Indigenous culture from the children. Those people did not understand the Native American culture. They deemed it “savage” and wanted to forcefully remove that “savage” culture from the children so that they may civilize them and fit the beliefs of the white man. This very limited, prejudice, and colonial perspective is very common throughout the world today. There are so many valuable lessons that can be learned and taken from Indigenous culture that would help broaden that limited perspective by diversifying and exposing it to a different ideology so that they may get a sense of understanding. Our world could become a place with less conflict if not for the limited perspective.
The greatest contribution Indigenous culture can give to the global community is knowledge. This is a powerful tool that allows us to prosper, grow, and succeed. It can be shared with others so that they may understand our history and culture, preserve our culture, and diversify the global community’s perspective. The world could do with more Indigenous knowledge.