Jacqueline Pata

    Balancing the Raven and Eagle

    Posted November 25th, 2013 by

    Native American, First People, Alaska Native, Tlingit. All of these words describe me, and none of them describe me. I am a tribal councilwoman, a mother, a daughter, a modern Native woman. I am a fighter, defender, and advocate for my people.

    As a Native woman, life for me is about balance just like I was taught by my elders. Day and night, Raven and Eagle, there needs to be balance. I currently live in urban Washington, DC – far away from my home in Alaska. Far away, but not far from my heart. Honoring my culture is a daily priority and I am always aware that I am a Native representative to those who have not had the opportunity to be close to Native people.

    As a mother, I wanted my kids to grow up prepared to find their own balance and be contributing members to their community. I also faced the challenge of raising my children in our Native culture when it was still a difficult time to do so. It wasn’t just about attending the cultural gatherings – it was teaching them to be proud of their culture, the responsibility of learning for the future generations, and to live by the values taught by our ancestors. As I was taught by my elders, I wanted them to represent the family, the clan, and the tribe with dignity – to understand that their actions reflect those that have come before them.

    I am very fortunate that when they were growing up I ran a Native Youth Culture Camp started by our clan leader Danawak (Austin Hammond). Each summer Native elders came to teach our Tlingit traditions to our young people, enriching their understanding of our culture and themselves. I was lucky to have access to many in our community who were also dedicated to bringing up the next generation in our traditions.

    My children are now adults who are proud of and knowledgeable about their culture and are able to share it with their own children and others. My heart is most filled with joy when I am singing our traditional songs with my grandchildren, doing beadwork with my children, and putting up fish with my friends. It is not always easy to continue with our way of life, but that is the reason why I do the work that I do in DC, so that future generations can also have the opportunities to learn their traditions and cultures and be proud to be Native. So they can grow up and find their own balanced world.

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    2 Comments

    November 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm by Nina Perez

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I think it’s so important for women to see that even if you move away from home, you can still find ways to maintain the traditions of your family and culture.

    [Reply]

    November 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm by ANY MARY Weyant

    AS MOTHERS WE ARE HERE TO NOT ONLY CARE FOR OUR CHILDREN, BUT ALSO USE OUR NATURE GIVEN MOTHERLY INSTINCTS TO FORESEE THE DANGERS AHEAD AND DO EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO PREVENT HARM FROM TOUCHING OUR BELOVED.
    WHEN OUR CHILDREN BEGIN DETACHING THEMSELVES FROM THE COCOON OF SAFETY WE HAVE CREATED FOR THEM, OUR MOTHERLY CARE MUST EXTEND ACCORDINGLY AND COMPRISE THE LARGER ENVIRONMENT OUR CHILDREN WILL INHABIT… AFTER ALL, THERE CAN BE NO HUMANITY ONCE THE WORST OF HUMANITY HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO DESTROY THE EARTH!…
    I ALSO BELIEVE IT IS OUR MOTHERLY RESPONSIBILITY TO INSTILL IN OUR CHILDREN THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE NON-ESCAPABLE SYMBIOSIS BETWEEN HUMANS AND THE REST OF THE LIVING SPECIES ON EARTH, AND OUR VITAL DEPENDENCE ON THE SUN’S ENERGY, OUR PLANET’S CLIMATE, LAND, WATER, AIR…
    I BELIEVE THE INDIAN NATIONS HAVE A PROVEN TRADITION OF UNDERSTANDING AND RESPECT FOR MOTHER NATURE,AND I WANT TO PROPOSE AN IDEA THAT COULD COMBINE THE MONEY MAKING OPPORTUNITIES OF THE GAMBLING CASINOS THEY OWN WITH THE INTRINSIC NATIVE SPIRIT OF PRESERVATION AND COMMUNION WITH NATURE. HERE IT IS: SOME CASINOS AND THE SURROUNDING INDIAN OWNED LANDS AND COMMUNITIES COULD BE DESIGNED TO BE ” GREEN FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE” IN OTHER WORDS, A NATIVE VALUES MODEL OF A MODERN TOWN COMMUNITY, WHERE NOTHING IS WASTED AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY UNDERSTANDS THEIR HUMANITY AS PART OF NATURE.

    FROM SELF SUSTAINABLE PLATINUM LEED RATING BUILDINGS, WITH CYCLE OF LIFE USABLE, RE-USABLE,RE-PURPOSE-ABLE RE-CYCLABLE, COMPOSTABLE MATERIALS, MOST EFFICIENT NATURAL ENERGY USAGE STORAGE, CLOSE TO ZERO EMMISSIONS,ETC.

    THE MOST IMPORTANT GOLD MAKING MARKETABLE UNIQUE FEATURE OF THE INDIAN NATION CASINO WOULD BE THAT IT WOULD ALLOW EXCLUSIVELY GAMBLING IN SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND GREEN INVESTMENTS, THIS FEATURE WOULD MAKE THE PACIFIC COAST INDIAN RESERVATIONS CASINOS THE HEART OF THE TRADING OF THE WEST COAST NEW GREEN ECONOMY ON WHICH OUR CHILDREN ON OUR PLANET WILL DEPEND FOR SURVIVAL IN THE FUTURE!

    THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME IN IMAGINING A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR ALL OUR CHILDREN! ANY-MARY WEYANT

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