Indigenous Wisdom: Embracing Native American Teachings
Many Native American teachings are foundational to the essence of living a pure life. While many of their teachings might be common sense to some of us, each one can be expanded to a lifetime of learning. Our ancestors, who were deeply connected to mother earth, the cosmos and all that’s between, carry the roots of our human existence. Embracing their teachings from an authentic source can add a great deal of substance and ground to your path of healing. We honor Native American teachings for their connection to the earth and their belief systems that transcend time and space. Here we have 7 Native American teachings that can be applied to your daily life.
Respect for Nature – Everything on earth is a relative to many Native American peoples. The rivers, the mountains, the bees, the birds and all human beings are like family in many of their traditions. Our native ancestors are the original stewards of land. They typically didn’t overharvest or take more than they needed to survive. In this way, they lived in harmony with nature. A beautiful book called Tending the Wild, by M. Kat Anderson, is an in-depth look at native land management and their traditional ecological knowledge. We can learn a great deal from Native teachings about medicinal plants, wild-harvesting and even working with plant and animal totems.
Service and Selflessness – We can receive immense healing and goodwill when we dedicate our lives to service. Selflessness and service in Native American teachings often comes in the way of prayer and tending to other humans and the earth. When we learn the capacity to keep our families, friends and the planet in our thoughts and prayers, we find that through selfless acts of service it can bring us closer to our own happiness. When we surrender and give ourselves fully to being in service to love, we will find that we are taken care of.
Humility – One of the 7 Ojibwe Grandgather teachings is humility. This teaching means to know yourself, as you are part of creation. In the Anishinaabe language, this humility can also mean compassion. It is to know that you are equal to all others. This teaching can guide us to be better listeners, stewards and help us on the path of becoming selfless. Humility can allow us to develop authenticity and sincerity in everything that we do on this earth.
Animism – In the Navajo or Dine’ heritage, there is an understanding that we are one with everything in the universe. What we do and say affects everything around us. One of their goals is to be in harmony with the universe. Hazho, a Dine’ word, means being and living in harmony, peace, and balance with all life. This belief, if adopted, can bring a greater responsibility to our everyday actions in knowing and understanding our interconnection.
Respect for Elders – In most Native American traditions, elders are deeply respected in a way to carry forth tradition, honor the cultural ancestry and carry knowledge forth to future generations. Elders hold the seeds of decades of experience and life guidance that can help us along our way if we humble ourselves to listen. As we move forward in an increasingly heady, complex and technological world, the wisdom of our elders can help to connect us to our roots. Language, stories, songs, and tradition in many lineages are being lost at an extraordinary rate. Native peoples can teach us how to honor our elders, learn from them and continue passing this wisdom down to our children.
Gratitude – Being thankful is at the core of almost every Native American teaching. They teach us to acknowledge and be thankful for the air we breathe, the water that quenches our thirst and the earth for providing an abundance of food to nourish us. In many Native American ceremonies, gratitude is spoken as a way to give thanks for our lives, our families, and our health. Offering gratitude will open us to receive more out of life. Gratitude goes hand in hand with humility. When we give thanks, it helps us stay centered and grounded in challenging moments.
Patience - “When you are in doubt, be still, and wait; When doubt no longer exists for you then go forward with courage. So long as mists envelop you, be still; Be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists-As it surely will. Then act with courage.” — Ponca Chief White Eagle, Go Forward With Courage. The Native teaching of patience helps us trust our path. There is great wisdom in the liminal space of waiting. Patience can guide us into self-reflection, gentleness and personal resilience. When we have the capacity to slow our mind in a hurried world, pause, listen and reflect, it will provide us the strength to take on great challenges.
Native American culture and cosmology can become a lifelong study and practice that connects you to a great wealth of wisdom and understanding.
When we seek truth, we can always look those who carry ancient traditions forth. Native American teachings can bring us closer to ourselves, the earth and each other. We are all indigenous to the earth and can embrace and incorporate all of these beautiful lessons in our lives and even pass them down to our children.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.