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Dr. Teresa Delorme on Interconnectedness

North Dakota Native American essential understanding Number One is about sacred relatives. It states, “Native people practice a deep interconnectedness with the land, the resources, the water, all living things, and all human beings. Land stewardship, respect for all two-legged, four-legged, winged, crawlers and swimmers, and a strong belief in the sacredness of all human beings are key elements for our spirituality."

On today's Dakota Datebook, we'll hear about the importance of interconnectedness from Dr. Teresa Delorme, educator and enrolled member of Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Dr. Teresa Delorme:

Think about the health remedies that Native American people had back in the day, and modern medicine, and a lot of it is derived from what the Native American people were doing a couple hundred years ago and more. Thinking about that connectedness, and for every problem they seem to have a remedy, whether it be health or otherwise. They're solution seekers, critical thinkers that people wouldn't have thought about. You know, you don't think about that today. I always get a little bit irate when people talk about Native American people from pre-, I suppose European Native American people as being primitive. When in fact, they had found a harmony in living with nature that I don't think can ever be replicated or recaptured. Their whole survival depended upon their knowledge of their surroundings and their cultures were built around that. And so their contribution, when you think about it, that whole interconnectedness that they understood long before anybody else did. That whole, we are all related, sort of thing.

If you'd like to learn more about the North Dakota Native American essential understandings, and to listen to more Indigenous elder interviews, visit

Dakota Datebook: Teachings of Our Elders is produced with support from and in collaboration with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

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