Story Telling Towards the Relationship with Nature

BY: Zing Hang Zet Nan (Kachin Tribe, Myanmar), Professional Fellows Program

Whenever I hear about the USA, Red Indians peoples (Native Americans) are always in my mind and I wonders how they have been treated in such a leading human rights based democratized country in the world. It is because that I came from one of the native tribes in our country, Myanmar (or) Burma. There is a wish I have been waiting for to meet how the Native Americans are living in the federal based country.

As part of the family members of YSEALI professional fellows hosted by the Mansfield Center, we have a chance to meet one out of seven reservations in Montana, is called the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe. YSEALI fellows greeted formally to the 10 members of Government of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe in the executive hall.

After that, a brief presentation of the reservation and active questions & answers session followed with the host name called Ms. Germaine White (Information and Education Specialist of Natural Resources Department). The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes is comprised of Bitterroot Salish, the Pend d’Oreille and the Kootenai tribes. Since 1855 Hellgate Treaty, there are over 20 millions acres of territory in northwest of Montana even before the established of Montana State in 1889.

An unique tradition is how the native people when they young taught about the values of love, passion, patience, bad things such of human beings things through the animal story telling, which is also the source of passing down all about history, cultures and languages. It has been the relationship with the natural for almost 12,000 years ago. I also learn that how the tribes are reserving their lands in the priority of water, air and nuclear free. There are also over 9000 acres as remain in wilderness areas across the reservation territory.

The Salish and Kootenai Community College play the importance of maintaining cultures, history and producing human resources for nearly 40 years. It is also remarked as the leading role models across the Nations. It is offering a wide range of degrees with other associate programs and cooperatively. Among them, Native American Studies offers to study the cultural things and Tribal Government & Administration studies offer to study the policies of governing at the level of State and Federal levels which are very interesting for me to see hear.

As one of the remark would like to be made is that our sympathy to two native mothers for their hardness had and promoting the campaign of the against of domestic violence awareness by their daughter in dressing up traditional clothes.

On the way back home, I hope every fellows would do a wish of peace at 1000 Buddha, plus many photos are taken.

In Summary, We have learned that the history with challenging periods, values based on story telling with the mother of natural for thousands of years and the tribal education for all.

On behalf of the YSEALI Professional Fellows Group of Fall 2016, it is horned to express thanks from our bottom of hear to Ms. Germaine, Ms. Sandra Boham (President of SKC), the tribal Government and the Mansfield Center teams (Caitlin, Shanti an Deena).

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