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TAIDA - Tennessee American Indian Development Assoc.

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The continuance of our People rests upon the Spiritual and Inner Strength of the People. This page will contain information to help Indian people gain support from their traditions and the  ways that have helped them over these past 500 years of occupation by another group of People who forced their values and Spiritual ways onto the Indigenous People of this land. Many of the non-Indian ways have supplanted and taken over the traditions of the People, and this has led to a major cultural break.
 
This page will NOT contain specific "How To" information regarding ceremonies or traditions, because those are things that can only be learned in real life by participating in those ways. They cannot be learned from the internet.
 
However, historical information and links to articles and books that give a more in-depth look at how we come to be where we are today, are valuable for all Indians to know about. This is what will be found on this page.
 
Check back for more info as this page is updated. Below is a sample of the type of content that will be posted on this page.
 
 
Native American Indians do not have a formalized "Ten Commandments" that they go by. However, most tribes have developed their own version of  what is proper conduct. One of these versions is called the Seven Guiding Principles, and it is outlined here below.
 
The 7 Guiding Principals
 
These 7 Guiding Principals were determined at a gathering of many religious and spiritual leaders from around the world, at a ceremony to honor the birth of Miracle, the white Buffalo calf. Proper credit must go to Dr. Coyhytis for compiling these words. Also credit goes to someone else, Roger George.
 
 
1. To the Women: The cycle of life for the woman is the baby, girl, woman, and grandmother. These are the four directions of life. She has been given by natural laws the ability to reproduce life. The most sacred of all things is life. Never is it our way to harm her mentally or physically. Indian men were never abusers. We always treated our women with respect and understanding. Therefore, for now on, I will treat women in a sacred manner. The creator gave women the responsibility for bringing new life into the world. Life is sacred, so I will look upon the women in a sacred manner. In our traditional ways, the woman is the foundation of the family. I will work with her to create a home atmosphere of respect, security, and harmony. I will refrain from any emotional or physical abuse. If I have these feelings, I will talk to the Creator for guidance. I will treat all women as if they were my own female relatives. This is my vow.
 
2. To the Children: As an eagle prepares its young to leave the nest with all the skills and the knowledge it needs to participate in life, in the same manner so will I guide my children. I will use culture to prepare them for life. The most important thing I want to give my children is my time. I will spend time in order to learn from them and to listen to them. I will teach them to pray, as well as the importance of respect. We are caretakers of the children for the Creator. They are His children, not ours. I am proud of our Native language, I will learn it if I can and help my children learn it. In today's world, it is easy for children to go astray, so I will teach them the culture. I will encourage education. I will encourage them to talk with the Elders for guidance; but mostly, I will seek to be a role model myself. I make this commitment to my children so they will have the courage and find guidance through traditional ways.
 
3. To the Family: The Creator gave us the family, which is the place where all teachings are handed down from the grandparent, to the parent, and to the child. The children's behavior is a mirror of the parent's behavior. Knowing this, I realize the importance for each man to be responsible to the family in order to fulfill the need to build a strong and balanced family. By doing this, I will break the cycle of hurt and ensure the positive mental health of the children, even the children yet to be born. So from now on, I will dedicate my priorities to rebuilding my family. I must never give up and leave my family only to the mother. I am accountable to restore the strength of my family. To do this I will nurture our family's spiritual, cultural and social health. I will demonstrate trust respect, honor, and discipline; but mostly I will be consistent in whatever I do with them. I will see that the grandparents and community Elders pay a significant role in the education of my children. I will realize that the male and female together are fundamental to our family life. I will listen to my mate's council for our family's benefit, as well as for the benefit of my Indian nation.
 
4. The Community: The Indian community provides many things for the family. The most important is the sense of belonging: to " the people", and to have a place to go. Our Indian communities need to be restored to health so the future generation will be guaranteed a place to go for culture, language, and Indian socializing. In the community, the honor of one is the honor of all. I will work to strengthen recovery in all parts of my community. As an Indian man, I will give back to my community by donating my time and talents when I am able. I will cultivate friendships with other Indian men for mutual support and strength. I will consider the effects of our decisions on behalf of the next seven generations; in this way, our children and grandchildren will inherit healthy communities. I will care about those things in my community so that the mind changers, alcohol and drugs, will vanish, and our communities will forever be free of violence. If each of us can do all these things, then others will follow: ours will be a proud community.
 
5. To the Earth: Our Mother Earth is the source of all life, either it be the plants, the two-legged, four-legged, winged ones or human beings. The Mother Earth is the greatest teacher, if we listen, observe, and respect her. When we live in harmony with the Mother Earth, she will recycle the things we consume and make them available to our children and to their children. As an Indian man, I must teach my children how to care for the earth so it is there for the future generations. So from now on, I will realize the Earth is our Mother, I will treat her with honor and respect. I will honor the incorrectness of all things and all forms of life. I will realize the Earth does not belong to us, but we belong to the Earth. The natural law is the ultimate authority upon the lands and the water. I will learn the knowledge and wisdom of the natural laws. I will pass this knowledge on to my children. The Mother Earth is a living entity that maintains life. I will speak out in a good way whenever I see someone abusing the Earth. Just as I would protect my on mother, so will I protect the Earth. I will ensure that the land, water, and air will be intact for my children's children---the unborn.
 
6. To the Creator: as an Indian man, I realize we make no gains without the Great Spirit in our lives. Neither anything, nor anything I attempt to do, will work without our Creator. Being Indian and being spiritual has the same meaning. Spirituality is our gift from the Great One. This day I vow I will walk the Red Road. As an Indian man, I will return to the traditional and spiritual values that have guided my ancestors for the past generations. I will look with the new eyes on the powers of our ceremonies and religious ways, for they are important to the very survival of our people. We have survived and are going to grow and flourish spiritually. We will fulfill our teachings and the purpose that the Creator has given us dignity. Each day, I will pray and ask for guidance. I will commit to walk the Red Road, or whatever the spiritual way is called in my own culture. If I am a Christian, I will be good one. If I am traditional, I will walk this road with dedication. If each of us can do these things then others will follow. From this day forward, I will reserve time and energy or spirituality, seeking to know the Creator's will.
 
7. To Myself: I will think about what kind of person I want t to be when I am an Elder. I will start developing myself now to be this person. I will walk with the Great Spirit and the grandfathers at my side. I will develop myself to remain positive. I will develop a good mind. I will examine my strengths and weaknesses, then I will ask the Creator to guide me. I will develop a good mind. Each day, I will listen for the creator's voice in the wind. I will watch nature and ask to be shown a lesson that will occur on my path. I will seek out the guiding principles that guided my ancestors. I will walk in dignity, honor, and humility, conducting myself as a warrior. I will seek the guidance of the elders so that I may maintain the knowledge of culture, ceremonies, and songs, and so that I may pass these on to the future generations. I choose to do all these things myself, because no one else can do them for me. I know I CANNOT GIVE AWAY WHAT I DO NOT HAVE, so I will need to learn to walk the talk.
 
 

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