As attendees were speaking, this very old woman, a Seminole, went up to the podium supported by a young man, possibly her grandson. He was translating for her because she refused to speak English, which was, to her people, a language of conquest.
She began by saying that it was a good thing to see so many different peoples and tribes coming together for peace. but then she went on to note that no reparation had been made by any government toward the native peoples; and she said that she would not be going on the morrow to lay stones. HER people had never surrendered. HER people were still at war.
Even as i write this, I had to pause for a few moments at the wash of emotion the memory of those words generated in me. We can learn from this mighty elder: never give up. never surrender. It's a less we should take to heart, given that so many in our community, as we further the restoration of our own indigenous ways, seem to want us to collaborate, to lesson our spiritual devotions, to fit them into a mold comfortable to the majority. We can and should look to women like this Seminole elder and contemplate: just what would this woman do, when asked to spit in the face of her ancestors?
She would, I think, remain at war. We could learn from her, and we should.