Monday, November 17, 2008
Katahtawi: I carry myself
As we adopt non-native words to describe Native concepts we get so caught up in defining their words that we move away from what we believe. At some point we began using (or over using) "sovereign" to describe ourselves. The word became almost synonomous with being Native. But soon it was all about sovereign nations and sovereign governments and the question arose; who was the sovereign? With all the talk of government to government relations, the people started taking a back seat to their representatives who increasingly were being referred to as the Nation. There soon became a debate over where sovereignty was vested; with the people or the government? There is no debate if we go back to our language and back off a word that was used for kings. Katahtawi means "I carry myself". This is the concept and practice we need a return to. When we carry ourselves, the concept or definition of sovereignty becomes moot. To carry yourself you accept responsibility to support yourself and help others. If we as individuals can be neither dependant on Native government nor non-native institutions we keep our Nations strong and impossible to be hijacked or sold out.