Respect for the Land
“It is not man who owns the land; it is land that owns the man. And we, the
Anishinabeg, were placed on this land. From beginning to end it nourishes us:
it quenches our thirst, it shelters us, and we follow the order of its seasons. It
gives us freedom to come and go according to its nature and its extent - great
freedom when the extent is large, less freedom when it is small. And when we
die we are buried within the land that outlives us all. We belong to the land by
birth, by need, and by affection. And no man may presume to own the land.
Only the tribe can do that.”
from Ojibwe Ceremonies by Basil Johnston
Children are taught to respect Mother Earth and not to abuse the land.
Having respect for Mother Earth strengthens the connection of American
Indians to the land, particularly the land of one’s own tribe. It is out of
respect for the land and what the land represents to the people that have led
tribal governments to try to buy back as much of the original land holdings as
possible. This effort is a high priority of most tribal governments.
Tribal governments often include a department of natural resources. The
tribes also spend high proportions of tribal funds for services to the people of
the community. The range of services may vary from community to
community but the commitment exists in all tribes.