No Sunset For Our Sons and Daughters Workshop
The colonial political goal of assimilation and acculturation assumes that indigenous (First) people will find the answers to problems by adopting contemporary, westernised cultural values and ways of living. Colonial thinking further asserts that any residual issues of First Peoples will be ameliorated by reliance on modern westernised science. If this were true, Indigenous Peoples would not be in a condition of economic and health disparity “winning all the races no one want to be in.” Winning these races results in the use of methamphetamine and the loss of life to suicide. However, if modern westernised science is carefully encapsulated in a framework of First People’s values, beliefs, practices, and traditions it can be useful.
The framework of which I speak is that of ancient truths, known for generations by First People, world-wide. In words excerpted from the Lakota (Sioux) Medicine Man Black Elk “The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood and so it is - in everything where POWER moves. Our tipis were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle: The Nations Hoop - a nest of many nests - where the GREAT SPIRIT meant for us to hatch our children.”
Black Elk’s commentary is relevant to the troubled times, challenges, and obstacles that we, First People, are facing and overcoming. The relevance is to a nest of many nests. This nest is the First People’s community. Through community revitalisation of values, beliefs, traditions and practices that we revive a framework of Indigenous culture. The Amskaapii-Pikuni tribe call this - niipaitappyssi – a way of life.
Paraphrasing the words of the Lakota warrior, Fast Horse (1891) “I (and my children) will be cunning as a fox(es), we will make the White Man our friend and we will learn his ways, and the day will come when we will outrun the White Man in his own moccasins.”
Within an Indigenous framework selected portions of westernised science can be utilised by First People. Once First People have clearly defined their framework for community revitalisation, they are ready for the next step. That step is to judiciously select, modify, and adapt what is useful from westernised science. Indigenous thinking is the framework and westernised methods are adjuncts and only that.
Dr. Joseph B. Stone & Associates
Dr. Joe Stone PhD, an Amskaapii-Pikuni & Lakota Clinical Psychologist and Addiction Specialist. Indigenous Development Specialists offer two, three, and four day workshops on a variety of topics, including suicide prevention and intervention, methamphetamine assessment and treatment, trauma-focused organisational and clinical care, and child maltreatment assessment and intervention.
These workshops are entitled The No Sundown for our Children training series. It is the I.D.S commitment that our training reinforces an Indigenous framework for community revitalisation. Selected portions of westernised science is presented and examined. First People select what portions of it they want to incorporate into their niipaitappyssi – a way of life. In I.D.S. training sessions we work toward ameliorating colonisation and historical trauma’s byproducts: addictive behaviour, interpersonal violence, and suicide.
You have noticed that everything that an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the “Old Days” when we were a strong and happy people, all of our power came to us from the “Sacred-Hoop-of-the-Nation”. As long as Hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The Flowering Tree was the living center of the Hoop and the circles of the four quarters nourished it. The East gave Peace and Light, the South gave warmth, the West gave rain, and the North with its’ cold and mighty wing gave us strength and endurance. This knowledge came to us from the outer world, with our Religion. Everything that the power of the world does, is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the Earth is round like a ball and so are all the stars. The wind, in its’ greatest power - WHIRLS. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The Sun comes forward and goes down again in the form of a circle. The Moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were.