November is Native American Heritage Month. Indigenous peoples have overcome many hardships over many years and now hold a vital cultural, political, social and moral presence in our society. Tribal Nations are distinct sovereign Nations whom are “partners” with the State of Washington. We honor Native American Heritage Month by acknowledging the indigenous people whom have stewarded these lands since time immemorial.
It is a month to recognize the indigenous collectivist way of life rather than an individualist way of life. Valuing community and family and coming together. Indigenous people were never a singular people but always considered themselves as a collective that lived, worked and communicated collaboratively in everything, in life. They created an atmosphere of teamwork who relied on each other and inter-personal relationships were highly valued.
A common Squaxin term, “kwedigwsaltxw,” means to “walk with gratitude.” It is a holistic look on the world to value our surroundings and be thankful. Also to value honesty, respect, compassion and empathy. The indigenous, “7 generations mindset” is the obligation and want to protect future generations; to acknowledge and respect the past; and to be “Present” by living in “kwedigwsaltxw.”
November is commonly thought of as a month of giving thanks and family; it is also a fitting time to acknowledge the heritage, culture, history and way of life of our Native American friends.