Native Lives Matter
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NAICCO, like many others, has taken full notice of what is going on around us during these trying times of today. It is easy for us to recognize the origins of these deep-rooted tensions and unrest we are witnessing today, for it dates back hundreds of years into our Indigenous-ancestral history. As Native People, there is no doubt that 500 plus years of Western colonialization has dramatically impacted our life ways. This is not just an undeniable truth, but also a reality we must contend with on a daily basis. All we need to do is simply take a look around to be instantly reminded of what has happened to our Native People and ancestral homelands over this time period. Because of this, is exactly why NAICCO exists today, and still stands as strong as it does.
Many of the issues and concerns we deal with on a regular basis at NAICCO derive from hundreds of years of historical and intergenerational related traumas. We don’t agree with how things turned out for our Native People, and at the same time we know that we cannot go back and completely undo history. What we can be sure of though, is that we have a choice in matters when it comes to positively impacting our Native Peoples’ lives in this day and age; so that they have a real chance at achieving a brighter future. With that said, know that we have been busy doing just that here at NAICCO. Not only have we committed ourselves to this mission, but we’ve taken the action necessary to make a number of bold steps forward over the past several years – prioritizing the focus areas of cultural preservation/restoration, social development, and economic development.
As leadership at NAICCO, we carry with us the honor and responsibility of being the caretakers of our Native Peoples’ home here in Central Ohio. We do this from our hearts and with the intention of honoring and respecting the foundational teachings our elders and ancestors passed on to us. With that said, and in the light of healing, we’d like to leave you with this insightful teaching:
Among the great Lakota Nation, there exists an ideology that is as old as time. In its most simplified form, it is spoken through the phrase: MITAKUYE OYASIN. This seemingly simple expression translates to mean: WE ARE ALL RELATED. In one of the Lakota’s most iconic symbols, the medicine wheel, one can see this simple and powerful teaching in its entirety. The medicine wheel is made up of a circle that is connected equally on four separate sides by what looks similar to that of a set of crosshairs. Each of these four quadrants are definable by four distinct colors: BLACK, RED, YELLOW, and WHITE. To the Lakota, these four colors stand for and represent the four races of mankind. And in their way of belief, all four colors are meant to be connected, for it takes all four races to make the circle whole – as can be seen in the medicine wheel. Along with this, it is said that whatever happens to one part of the circle inevitably affects the rest of the circle. In short, this teaching simply, yet very meaningfully, illustrates a distinct wisdom: ALL OF LIFE MATTERS.
When considering where you can make a real difference, or a meaningful investment, we’d like to ask that you reflect on the importance of NAICCO’s existence – nurturing the Red Nation within the medicine wheel, and ensuring NATIVE LIVES MATTER.
Thank you for your attention, consideration, understanding, and support.
Ty & Masami Smith
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