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A Native Perspective on Sovereignty (Part One)

North Dakota Native American Essential Understanding Number Five is about tribal policies, treaties, and sovereignty.

It states, "Native people practice self-determination, developing tribal policies, and practicing political activism. Despite a history of US policies and treaties that have often been detrimental, Native people are members of sovereign nations that predate the US government."

In this episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll listen to JT Shining Oneside, enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa Nation, in Part One of "A Native Perspective on Sovereignty."

JT Shining Oneside:

They had true sovereignty because they had their tribal policies, how the village would work together. Everybody knew their place. Everybody had a place and they all worked together. And it was all for the child, because it takes a village to raise a child.

True sovereignty is when we really use the gifts in our village, in our tribal places, of our people. Because we have basket makers, either birch bark or red willow. We have our people that do bead work, quill work. We have artists, we have musicians, we have drummers. We have people that do hunting and trapping; all of these very, very different gifts that are there.

We also have education systems, judicial systems. We have all these different entities. But yet, we're all the same people. And if we could learn to all work together to build and govern accordingly, so that the system works for everybody and our dollars would stay. They would fund our education; they would help fund the tribe, all of these things.

If they would work together, they would do that circle building, that nation building, and that would certainly be true sovereignty.

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

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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