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Pam Belgarde on Being Your Own Hero

North Dakota Native American Essential Understanding number seven is about Native Identity. It states, Individual and communal identity is defined and supported by shared Native languages, kinship systems, Tiospaye, Clan structures, traditional teachings, values, sacred laws and ceremonies. A continuum of tribal identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional lifestyle. There is no "generic American Indian".

On today's Dakota Datebook, we'll be admonished to wake up with your hero every day by Pam Belgarde, enrolled member of Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Pam Belgarde:

How can we get these good, positive, loving, respectful, honorable messages out to the communities? And that's where I'm at again. So I have a son who's 22. He's actually, he chose to major in film production. I'm proud of him. He's at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. And then he also wants to do some work in international studies. But anyway, so he's out of the house. I did my job. I did my duty.

And then my mom passed, and then I took care of my dad for four years. And so now, and then he passed. So now it's time to look toward what my future, "Okay, now what? where am I at? What do I want to do?" That's something that I'm really thinking a lot about. Everybody loves the superheroes, for example.

Well, we have our superheroes in our culture. It may not look like the modern contemporary Marvel superheroes, but I'm thinking, "Hey, I want to do..." There are people that do comic. There is a native Comic Con and so on. But I think we need to do more with things like that. But in the end, we are our own superhero. We need to put our victim to bed and wake up with our hero every day. Really, we have to do that.

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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