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September 8: Teaching of Our Elders - Aileen Little Ghost on Hope

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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.

In this episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll listen to Aileen Little Ghost, Lakota Elder, talk about hope, faith, forgiveness, and unity.

Aileen Little Ghost:

I always teach there is hope, faith, forgiveness, and unity. And Oceti Sakowin, we are the seven fires of the campfire. We should all get along. We should all help each other, be generous to each other. When we see each other in the street, at the blue building maybe, just say, "Hello. Hi. How you doing?" In Indian. That's what I do. I'm Indian, How about you?" And that conversation starts. And some don't talk it today, they just bow their heads and go about their business. Well, that's okay too. But I keep practice. I still talking. And even though they don't understand, I still talk Indian to them because I want to keep at the practice. Otherwise, you lose it.

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 is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.