MNN. May 11, 2013. Why should we speak our Indigenous languages? To protect ourselves. Destruction of our languages was meant to strip us of our voice, to discriminate against us, to deny us our freedom, self-determination and empowerment. It was to separate us from our intellect and instinct which comes from our connection to each other and our mother, Great Turtle Island, through our Indigenous languages.
Acts begin with thinking which turns into action. Over 100,000 years and thousands of generations we walked this land together speaking thousands of Indigenous languages. Many still exist and many are returning. Our population is growing four times faster than the rest, with a 20% increase between 2006 and 2011. We have a hunger for our natural ties.
Our languages empower and unite us. Our collective conscience is our spiritual connection to the natural world and to our mother. From here we have knowledge and understanding of life. Our ancestors handed down the most elaborate forms of philosophy, understanding of our natural world, our art, culture and values. Everything we needed to survive. Our languages and names have a momentum to establish our relationships with each other and nature.
Language started at creation, how to express our awareness and understanding of our world. It is the basis of our thoughts. It expresses our awareness of “Kariwiio”, that nature is the perfect reality.
Corporate government fears our languages. The invaders tried to snatch them to traumatize us, control us and create gaps and confusion in our identity. The colonizers had to kill us or wipe out our civilization to try to put their roots into our mother, Onowaregeh. The program to murder the survivors was destruction of our languages, customs, songs, dances, beliefs and connection to the great natural power.
Our language is our spiritual link to our ancestors and those yet to be born. Language provides the deeper meanings and feelings about our lives. Each of us together constitutes a whole. The colonists’ language is a set of words and train of fragmented thoughts we are forced to memorize, with no movement or spirit. English gobbles up everything.The artificial ideas of the invaders betray our cultural identity and authenticity.
Language is sovereignty. We are a free and sovereign people meant to survive. We have a governance structure, law and order, justice, literature, a land base, spiritual and sacred practices. We can conduct government to government negotiations. We are placed here with our languages. Our world and our lives cannot be commodities to be traded. All living things cry out to us and we hear them. As Thahoketoteh sings: 01 – Our Minds Are One “Another day upon us, crisp and fresh and new, to rejuvenate our thoughts, like the morning dew. We hear the winged ones first, sing their songs of praise, to greet the world with warmth on the coming of a new day”.
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