American Indian Holistic Reality
We hear so much about healing the body, mind, and soul which in itself is a wonderful undertaking. However, the most important aspect of this is seemingly left out and that is the spirit. The goal of AMERINDIAN, INC. is to incorporate spiritual training into the other growth areas of the whole person.
Not wanting to look back or to place blame on the reasons why we find ourselves in such dire circumstances, it is important that we move ahead with our most valuable assets, and that is the knowledge and teachings of our elders. We need to learn the language, the ceremonies, the intricacies of the plants and herbs used for food and medicine, and we need to once more be aware of our worth as human beings. We also must accept our responsibility as keepers of the earth and its balance for seven generations. These seem like very lofty ideals for people who have become so dependent on the Euro-American people that they can't even provide food, clothing and shelter for their babies and elders. AMERINDIAN, INC. was formed to strengthen ourselves from within - Indians helping Indians.
Before we can communicate with our children and youth to expand their worlds of social tolerance and cultural understanding, we must take care of their most basic needs. When a four-year-old in the Head Start program has only one pair of underpants and soils that pair, how can you adequately explain self-esteem and self-worth to that child? What kind of a beginning is that into the world of reality? How can you learn if you are hungry?
Once AMERINDIAN, INC. has established itself as a "base camp" to provide for the essential physical needs, it will expand into greater facilities designed and constructed to be hubs for teaching the spiritual laws of our creator. Each hub will be culturally sensitive, environmentally and technologically appropriate, economically sustainable, and will empower our people to learn job skills which will make our people self-sufficient.
AMERINDIAN, INC. proposes to build a multi-purpose community center and retreat. It will serve children and adults alike to reclaim that indigenous birthright which was lost over the last five generations through no fault of our own. The difference in this building as opposed to other buildings throughout this country will be in the "process" that goes into the "product". That "process" will be spiritual in nature rather than just physical.
American Indian Supervised Recreation
The "four corners" area (where Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico meet) will be designated to receive the prototype facility. The needs in this part of the country are profound. Birth defects are twice the national average due to damage which has been caused by low-level radiation. Most suffer from the implied violence of poverty and racism. Almost all are lacking in self-esteem and hope. Even the gifted ones experience a loss of their own culture and traditions due to misappropriation by outsiders.
A majority of adults in the area believe and know that there is a great need for supervised recreation for the youth and children, affordable day care for working or "work-fare"/welfare families, after-school tutoring and "family development" programs including counseling and legal services, substance abuse programs and adult vocational education. Also needed is office/conference space for community organizations, scholarship programs, and most importantly an area for the elders to teach and share sacred knowledge.
AND UNDERLINING FACTORS:
The "Bennett Freeze", (public law 93531) was created in 1966 by Robert Bennett, former U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, because of a governmental fabrication of a land dispute between the Hopi and Navajo nations to make 62,000 acres of trust land available to corporate exploitation of mineral rights.
At stake were 100 million barrels of oil; 25 trillion feet of natural gas; 80 billion pounds of uranium; 50 billion pounds of coal; and miles of power lines. Basically, these resources provided one-third of the nation's "strippable" coal and one-half of its uranium.
As mentioned above, the birth-defect ratio on the reservation(s) is twice that of the national average. The probable cause is exposure to nuclear mining and waste. Indigenous nations were forcibly relocated. Peaceable nations and families of the Hopi and Navajo were partitioned. To enforce relocation and partition, peoples were denied electricity and running water. Even repairing broken windows was an infraction of the "Bennett Freeze". This policy enforced the worst poverty in the United States.
Physically, these conditions were abhorrent. Spiritually, they are inhuman and inexcusable because of the cultural bond with the land. There is no word for "relocation" in the Navajo language. For the Navajo, to relocate is to disappear and never be seen again.
A case against the "Bennett Freeze" was argued in the supreme court in 1989. The freeze was temporarily lifted; then, again imposed. A partial lifting occurred in 1997, and a permanent lifting of the "Bennett Freeze" is under legislative review in congress.
The micro-economy of the region is largely that of small business, employment by corporate (energy/mineral) developers, relief programs, and barter. There is very little liquid capital. In the 1990 census, in Arizona alone, the Navajo people had 38,036 people living above the poverty level and 48,699 were living below the poverty level.
In public policy initiatives, indigenous peoples rank a little above prisoners. We are statistically insignificant and in recent data, we are increasingly left off the charts altogether. Our most important asset to the outside world seems to be that our land is replete with mineral wealth. To us, however, our land is sacred.
Estimated costs for an undertaking such as this would be premature at this time. Confirmation of a site, professional design, and an itemized budget are yet to be derived. Tribal council approval is also required. The cost projection is contingent upon local volunteerism, (which in many instances, would transfer into an acquired "job skill bank" and also confirm a sense of community investment), as well as commercial "in-kind" and/or "at-cost" contributions, philanthropic grants and outright money management.
(A frequently articulated fear among philanthropic institutions is that imparting job skills will entice people out of their own communities. Statistics compiled by the Navajo tribal office indicate the contrary because of the native commitment to family and community. Consider the demographics: 89% of the Navajo nation in the United States remain in the "four-corners" area, despite poverty and/or wealth.)
American Indian World
Without Sustainability For Tomorrow
The concept of "sustainability" is extremely important in the world of philanthropists; however, this normally applies to construction and the management of environment and institutions. When it comes to the welfare of our people and as sovereign nations, we prefer to think in terms of responsibility. It is our "responsibility" to live and teach so that for seven generations we will make available the spiritual grist which the creator provided.
It is our "responsibility" to confer job-skills to nations which clearly are self-governing and, as demonstrated statistically, have opted to develop their own communities rather than seek individual gain in main-stream society. With this "responsibility", we should recognize that 40% of the corporations that operate in the U.S. are operating under chapter eleven (bankruptcy reorganization). That means 40% of mainstream corporations cannot even meet the standards of "sustainability".
A modest capital fund is proposed to first help insure the success of the project, especially during the first two critical years of operation. This could provide a measure of security and autonomy for the project as it matures and would also provide a basis for credit history.
Accountability, oversight, and implementation are not a problem for our proposed project. Capital is the missing element. All funds donated to AMERINDIAN, INC. are under the auspices of the federal government's 501 (c) 3 category. Receipts for tax deductions are available on request.
Copyright 2022, AMERINDIAN, INC.