Hey, it's me again.
I, like a lot of white people you've probably heard claim it a thousand times, have some Native American ancestry. Leaving aside the complicated implications of that (and what it really says about what happened to all these Native American women who got carried off to white settlements to have settlers' kids), I do feel I owe something to them.
I seldom can find anything to pay the debt that I owe to them for enriching our world at great cost to their cultures, their livelihoods, and their very existence. But here's something I feel very good about, and you should, too.
Oyate needs our help. I owe them my help, and if you think about it long enough... quite frankly, so do you. If you've ever said, "well, I have some Cherokee blood," or "I'm related to the Lakota," or "I try to integrate Native American spirituality into my life" (and Pagans, I'm looking at YOU here), you have gained something from Native Americans and you should give something back.
Well, it's not hard. And whatever you give has the potential to be doubled if you get it out there fast enough.
Oyate is a Native organization working to see that our lives and histories are portrayed honestly, and so that all people will know our stories belong to us. For Indian children, it is as important as it has ever been for them to know who they are and what they come from. For all children, it is time to know and acknowledge the truths of history. Only then will they come to have the understanding and respect for each other that now, more than ever, will be necessary for life to continue.
The great Lakota leader, Tatanka Iotanka—Sitting Bull—said, “Let us put our minds together and see what life we will make for our children.” The great Cuban revolutionary, José Martí, said, “We work for children because children know how to love, because children are the hope of the world.” Our work is to nurture in our children a sense of self and community. Our hope is that they will grow up healthy and whole.
Our work includes critical evaluation of books and curricula with Indian themes, conducting of “Teaching Respect for Native Peoples” workshops and institutes; administration of a small resource center and reference library; and distribution of children’s, young adult, and teacher books and materials, with an emphasis on writing and illustration by Native people.
Our hope is that by making many excellent books available to encourage many more, especially from Native writers and artists. Oyate, our organiztion’s name, is the Dakota word for people. It was given to us by a Dakota friend.
popelizbet has some progress information for us.
"Oyate has been offered a generous grant that will help them do a major website overhaul. (...) According to Beverly, the delightful woman I spoke to, as of ten minutes until ten central time, and including my little $10, they are now at $3,217.00 of the needed $5000. They must raise the remaining $1783.00 by Saturday, August 1 in order to receive their grant. (...)
To paraphrase something I once said to omnisti, $1783 is just 178.3 people with ten bucks each. But we need to find those one hundred seventy eight and a third people before Saturday.
You can donate here by phone, mail or via Paypal. To use Paypal, click the "Network for Good" link."
Please. Native Americans have lost so much, have given us so much both willingly and unwillingly. There's got to be something you can give back. Do something.
Even if it's tiny, remember that your donation will be doubled if you can give just a little by Saturday. Your support is worth twice as much to them as it is to you. It's something so small, but it matters so much. And you can do it.