At night, when the camp was quiet, grandfather (an old man) walked around the circle of wigwams. He called out messages. No names were ever mentioned, and everyone could hear him. His messages were a mix of announcements, instructions, and warnings.
The destruction of the buffalo herds and the associated devastation to the Tribes disrupted the self-sufficient lifestyle of the Indian people more than all other federal policies to date. To reestablish healthy buffalo populations on Tribal lands is to reestablish hope for the Indian people.
They were taught to respect older people and people that are handicapped. You have to respect the older people because they know much more than you do. Older people talked Indian fluently. They always told us in Indian to try to do the right thing."
Traditional winter storytelling was absent for those sent away to boarding schools. Many American Indians raised in boarding schools report that they learned about the traditional ways at home during the summertime. The traditional ways were taught to us in the home in the summertime. We learned about food preparation, drying corn, picking berries, sewing and making quilts for the winter. These were the things you had to do for survival.
Childhood is not the only time to learn. Learning is a life-long process. Many people raised in the boarding schools returned to learn about the traditions as adults. Learning occurs throughout life, even for those not sent away to school.
American Indian elders are teachers for the younger generations.The old people were what you'd call a 'blueprint in life.' You never learn those things in school. Older American Indians have a distinct way of looking at and living in the world.
The old Indians have a different type of thinking. They have an appreciation for what you've been given. They have a connection to the spirit. We live with things we don't know anything about. Elders carry some of that stuff from the generation before.
Older American Indians understand all life as connected to the spiritual and natural worlds. More...