A Spiritual Message to America from the Nation’s Native Elders

 
This Message to America is the result of the National Indian Council on Aging’s year 2000 Conference in Duluth, Minnesota. More than 1700 elders from 108 tribes across America attended and contributed to the words in this message. Think about your elders as you read this. They came together, setting aside tribal and political differences in order for you and your children to have some words of wisdom to help you in your lives.  Please pass this on to as many people as you can, both Native and non-Native alike. These are the words of our Native elders, but the values expressed can be appreciated by all of humanity. Once you have read it, you are responsible for it. These are the elders’ hopes and dreams for the world you re-create every day.
If you have any questions, please call (505) 292-2001.
Brooke Mosay Ammann
NICOA Assistant Director
 
A SPIRITUAL MESSAGE TO AMERICA
 
As we stand before the dawn of a new millennium, we pray for America’s survival, our survival.  We pray that we will be given strength by the Creator to follow the footsteps of our forefathers to share our love, respect and compassion for one another. There is good in everyone because the Creator has put a little of Himself in all of us.
We pray for forgiveness for the pain and suffering we have caused one another.
We pray that our children will not repeat our mistakes. We pray that we can respect the diversity of America;all life is sacred.  Every child born is a precious gift of our Creator. It is our sacred trust to embrace children from all walks of life because we are part of the same family.  We pray that children will honor and respect their elders-that is where the wisdom comes from. This respect will not allow forgotten elders. We are all equal, with each having our own special gift to contribute. These values allow our youth to become leaders and workers in our society.  Children, you are our future and our hope for the people. Stand and be courageous.  We pray to learn and use the wisdom of all that has come before us, to achieve personal successes and to contribute to those of others. Only when our young ones learn respect for everything can they evolve.
 
EARTH
We pray for respect and love of Mother Earth because she is the foundation of human survival and we must keep her pollution-free for those who will travel after us. Protect her water, air, soil, trees,forests, plants and animals.  Do not just take and waste resources. Make it a priority to conserve.  The land is given to us by the Creator to care for, not to own. If we take care of the land, the land will take care of us.
 
UNITY
 
We should have respect for each other. We pray for commitment and responsible behavior in order to help those in need and to give them support and friendship. Be an example in life that others may follow; serve people, community and country.
We should all strive to be leaders and contributors. Do not sit back and let others plan and do all the thinking.  Let us unite together so that we may have the strength to protect our future. Strength comes from working through trials and tribulations.
 
HEALTH
 
Spiritual health is the key to holistic health.  We pray to have the discipline to set healthy examples for our children to follow.  Respecting everyone and everything in the universe starts with self-respect. Take time to listen and take care of your body and spirit.
 
FAMILY AND YOUTH
 
Family is important and precious. Always let them know that they are loved. Let your children and grandchildren know you are always there to love and support them and that they mean the world to you no matter what they do or say. Children are of infinite value.  Live what you teach. Spiritual values, honesty, and integrity start in the home.  We pray for the youth. We must teach the youth to work together and respect all that is living on our Mother Earth.  We need to convey to our younger generations that the survival of our people lies in spirituality.
 
PEACE
 
We pray to learn ways to settle differences peacefully.  Teach respect for each other’s ideas. Value honesty on all levels, from children to parents to community to governments. We will be happy when we create peace with each other.
 
To the 7th Generation
 
– Survive
– Keep hopes and dreams
– Take care of yourself
– Remember your spirit
– Be there for each other
– Respect courage
– Share knowledge
– Always keep learning
– Remember your true values
 
The founder of News from Native California, Malcolm Margolin, is an old and dear friend of mine, the author of “The Ohlone Way,” a publisher and a great friend to California Indians.