River cane is a plant that was once considered a vital cultural and survival resource for most Southeastern Native American tribes. Today, river cane, a species of bamboo, is nearing endangerment, which leaves the continuation of numerous cultural practices severely threatened.
After having read Robert Miller’s book Reservation ‘Capitalism,’ Economic Development in Indian Country, I realized we as Native communities have some work to do around cultivating the importance of entrepreneurship in the larger guise of economic development.
“I always wanted to be a culture teacher from second grade,” Kevin Belin recalled. He fulfilled his childhood dream last year, having earned his B.A. in Secondary Education at Fort Lewis College. Now, as the Navajo Culture and Language teacher at T’iis Ts’ózí Bi’Ólta’ in Crownpoint, NM, Belin is in his element.
Although there may be some argument with regards to the ability of any journalist in embedding themselves in a community and telling a story appropriately, the truth is, the authentic voice of Native peoples in telling their own stories is an exhibition of sovereignty in itself.