Can We Learn From Tsoai-talee?
Hello to all of our Clean Water Raingers in the watershed and beyond. Summer is finally here in all its glory. We have had a lot of rain over the past few weeks and the water levels are high in our lakes and streams. I think we can assume that there is no danger of drought in the watershed this year!
I have been busy for the last couple of months on a project for the IRWP; creating a special room at the Learning Center that will have artifacts, artwork and information that emphasize Native American culture and history. Much of the information in our Native American room is from the Arkansas Archeology Survey, I try to do a lot of research before I tackle a project and it has been a long time since I attended a history class of any kind. So… it was back to the books, the internet, and the artists, to learn about the tribes that lived or roamed in our region.
I never thought that delving into this project would affect me as much as it has, because I grew up in Colorado, thought of our local tribal communities as the first ones, the people that had been here for a long time, as friends, neighbors, and schoolmates, as fellow horsemen, and most of all, as the true stewards of the open land.
I could see the light; the richness of the cultures, the traditions, and the beauty of the people in their stories and their art. I was again overwhelmed, but this time with intense admiration.
So, you are probably asking yourself… what does any of this have to do with the Clean Water Raingers? Well… Everything. Very simply, Native Americans were the original Clean Water Raingers.
They had, and still have, Reverence. The culture of every tribe I have had the privilege of learning about has a deep respect for the land, the water, and the gifts of nature.
We hope you will visit our Native American room when it is finished. We also plan to start a Storytelling Tradition at the Learning Center. More to come on that soon.
I leave you with this poem from an amazing man, N. Scott Momaday. He was the first Native American to win the Pulitzer Prize. Every Clean Water Rainger could learn something from Tsoai-talee. Try to feel what he feels as he expresses his unity with the world around him. You have the rest of your life to work on it!